February 13, 2017


 Feb. 23, 25-26, 2017

HOUSTON (Feb. 13, 2017) – The Houston Symphony joins musicians and orchestras around the world in the continued celebration of American composer John Adams’ 70th birthday with a performance of Adams’ Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra featuring world-renowned saxophonist Timothy McAllister at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and 25 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Jones Hall.

Former Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf, the orchestra’s longest-serving music director, returns to the Jones Hall stage to lead the orchestra in a program with a heavy focus on woodwind and brass instruments, beginning with Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and followed by Adams’ Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra.

Composed for and dedicated to McAllister after finding inspiration in classic jazz saxophone recordings of the 1950s and 1960s, Adams’ Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra is a major addition to the instrument’s repertoire. In 2013, McAllister performed the world premiere of this work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer in the Sydney Opera House. A Houston resident in his youth, McAllister graduated from Clear Lake High School and made his solo debut with the Houston Civic Symphony at age 16. His rise to international acclaim came in 2009 with his celebrated work in Adams’ City Noir, filmed as part of Gustavo Dudamel’s inaugural concert as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The program concludes with Ravel’s classic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s wildly imaginative Pictures at an Exhibition, a masterpiece inspired by the artworks of Viktor Hartmann, a close friend of Mussorgsky who suffered a tragic early death. One of history’s most popular orchestral works, Pictures at an Exhibition is a tribute to the power of art and friendship to withstand the test of time.

The concert will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2016, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Hans Graf, conductor
Timothy McAllister, saxophone
Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
John Adams: Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
Tickets from $25

About Hans Graf
Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians. The longest-serving Houston Symphony Music Director (2001-2013), Hans has also served as music director of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and has led the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. He is a frequent guest with all of the major European and North American orchestras as well as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong, Malaysia and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestras.
            Hans made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in 2006 and, re-invited in 2010, presented the New York premiere of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, featuring Holst’s The Planets. In 2012, they presented an all-Shostakovich program at Carnegie’s Spring for Music festival.
            In 2010, Hans led the Houston Symphony on a tour of the UK. In 2012, under his direction, the Symphony was the first major American orchestra to appear at the Festival of World Symphony Orchestras in Moscow, presenting the first performance in Russia by an American orchestra of Shostakovich Symphony No. 11.
            An experienced opera conductor, Hans first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome, among others. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres. He has also appeared at prestigious festivals throughout Europe and the United States.
            Hans’ discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert, the premiere recording of Zemlinsky's opera Es war einmal and the complete orchestral works of Dutilleux (BMG Arte Nova). His recordings with the Houston Symphony include Bartok’s The Wooden Prince (Koch International); Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony, Berg’s Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Naxos); a DVD of The Planets – An HD Odyssey (Houston Symphony); and a live performance of Wozzeck (Naxos). Recent recordings are the complete works by Paul Hindemith with Tabea Zimmermann and the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin and a live recording of Carmina Burana with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
            Born near Linz, Hans Graf first studied violin and piano. After receiving diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz, he continued his studies in Italy and Russia. He has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government and the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.

About Timothy McAllister
Saxophonist Timothy McAllister has been hailed as “a virtuoso…one of the foremost saxophonists of his generation” (The New York Times) and “a titan of contemporary music and the instrument, in general” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer). He is one of today’s premier soloists, a member of the renowned PRISM Quartet and a champion of contemporary music credited with more than 40 recordings and 200 premieres of new compositions by eminent and emerging composers worldwide.
            His rise to international fame came in 2009 with his celebrated work in John Adams’ City Noir, filmed as part of Gustavo Dudamel’s inaugural concert as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2013, he performed the world premiere of John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer in the Sydney Opera House. Subsequent performances included the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bilkent Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the New World Symphony, among others. 
            As part of this years’ Adams at 70 celebration of the composer’s birthday, Timothy will also perform the Saxophone Concerto with Netherlands Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Orchestre National de Lyon and Indianapolis Symphony, along with performances of Adams’ other music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and the Berliner Philharmoniker.
            Timothy has appeared with more than 40 of the world’s top orchestras and wind ensembles in 15 countries, and he has the distinction of being the second saxophonist to appear as soloist in the 120-year history of the BBC Proms concerts. He has recorded for the Nonesuch, ECM, Deutsche Grammophon, XAS/Naxos and several other labels. He won a 2015 Grammy Award with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and David Robertson as soloist on the album John Adams: City Noir, featuring the Saxophone Concerto.
            Timothy is regularly invited to teach at the world’s leading conservatories and music festivals. Previously on the faculty of Northwestern University, he was appointed Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance in September 2014, succeeding his legendary mentor, the American classical saxophonist Donald Sinta. Visit


During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 713-224-7575.

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