May 6, 2015


Vanessa Astros
Senior Director, Communications

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Andrés Orozco-Estrada


Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 marks the conclusion of Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s Inaugural Season

More than 100 singers from the Women of the Houston Symphony Chorus and a children’s choir to share the stage

HOUSTON (May 6, 2015)—Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada concludes a successful first season with the Houston Symphony on May 15-17 at Jones Hall with Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 3.

Mahler’s Third Symphony is the longest symphony ever written by the late-romantic composer. This 100-minute long colossal symphony explores the power and beauty of nature through the colorful sounds of the orchestra. For Mahler, nature meant everything; it was the world. It is a powerful symphony to conduct, perform and experience. This is the first time the Houston Symphony performs a Mahler symphony under the baton of Orozco-Estrada.

“Mahler’s music is very challenging: it demands the highest virtuosity from every musician. The Third Symphony in particular is very emotional; it gives Mother Nature a voice with the beautiful vocals of the mezzo-soprano solo, children’s choir and female chorus,” said Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

The Houston Symphony’s history with Mahler dates back to 1948 when it first performed the composer’s First Symphony, but it was not until 1994 – at the League of American Orchestras convention in Dallas – when the Houston Symphony caught the attention of musical leaders across the country with its rendition of Mahler's First Symphony. The Houston Symphony also took Mahler's Fifth Symphony on two European tours, including one that culminated in a performance in Vienna's prestigious Musikverein concert hall. Orozco-Estrada stated, “The musicians of this great orchestra deeply identify with this talented composer, so I wanted to continue the tradition with my own style and interpretation of Mahler.”

Orozco-Estrada, who studied conducting in Vienna, has a strong affinity for Mahler's music and has conducted his symphonies frequently with leading European orchestras. Most recently, he led the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Mahler’s Second Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall in late 2014, and in July 2013, Orozco-Estrada lead the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in celebration of that orchestra’s 20th anniversary.

The Symphony’s performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony will be amplified by the angelic voices of the Women of the Houston Symphony Chorus and the award-winning advanced chorus of the Parker Elementary School, under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson. The vocal soloist for the fourth and fifth movements is American mezzo soprano Kelley O’Connor, whose sophisticated voice and innate dramatic artistry has elated audiences across the world.

The Grammy-Award winning California native has had an impressive year. Her credit during the 2014-15 season include Mozart’s Requiem with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Leoš Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert, Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue and Duruflé’s Requiem with Donald Runnicles conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker, among others.

Unless otherwise noted, all concerts 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.

Full Concert Details:

Andrés Conducts Mahler 3 
Friday, May 15, 2015, 8:00pm
Saturday, May 16, 2015, 8:00pm
Sunday, May 17, 2015, 2:30pm
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus
     Marianna Parnas-Simpson, director
Women of the Houston Symphony Chorus
     Betsy Cook Weber, director

Tickets from $25
Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002

About Andrés Orozco-Estrada

Andrés Orozco-Estrada began his tenure as Music Director of the Houston Symphony in the 2014-2015 season, and immediately established a dynamic presence on the podium and a deep connection with musicians and audiences. In addition to his Houston post, he is chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and in the 2015-16 season, will become principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Next season will also mark his official subscription debut with the Vienna Philharmonic, as well as debuts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Born in Medellin, Colombia, Orozco-Estrada began his musical studies on the violin, and started conducting at age 15. At the age of 19 he entered the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied with UrošLajovic (pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky), and went on to complete his degree with distinction conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein. Orozco-Estrada burst on the international scene with two substitutions with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: the first, his debut in 2010, standing in for Esa-Pekka Salonen, and then in 2012 stepping in for Riccardo Muti at the Musikverein. He has worked with the most prominent European orchestras, most recently Munich Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, City of Birming¬ham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Orchestre National de France and Oslo Philharmonic. Highlights of the 2014-15 season include debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam as well as at the Salzburg Festival.

About Kelley O’Connor

Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation.
This season, the California native’s impressive calendar includes this performance with the Houston Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Leoš Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert, Debussy’s La damoiselle élue and Duruflé’s Requiem with Donald Runnicles conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestraq, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Colorado Symphony and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Mahler’s Second Symphony with the San Antonio Symphony and Reno Philharmonic, and additional appearances with the National Orchestra of France and the London Symphony Orchestra, again with Runnicles.

She returns to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation Oratorio led by Music Director Robert Spano, as well as for Mahler’s Rückert Lieder conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Runnicles. O’Connor also returns to the operatic stage as Smeton in a new production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Patrick Summers and directed by Kevin Newbury, and as Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in a concert performance with the Minnesota Orchestra. Visit

About Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus

The Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus is a part of the 36-year-old music magnet program at Parker Elementary School, HISD Magnet School for Music. Parker has an ethnically diverse population of 800 students – 650 of which receive music instruction thanks to the considerable efforts of the faculty and parents who raise private funds to make the music programs possible. A Title I school, a high percentage are low-income families. The program was recognized as a National GRAMMY® Signature School in 2002. The tremendous effect of music education at Parker is evident: 99.9% of Parker graduates are holding High School diplomas; 90% are college graduates. Most of the Parker students always have music as a part of their lives, not to mention Beyoncé Knowles who attended Parker.

More than 270 students participate in the choral program at Parker Elementary. The Parker Advanced Chorus is composed of 70 fourth- and fifth-grade students, its high level of performance recognized nationally and within the state of Texas. Under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, Parker Chorus was selected to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio in 2003 and 2005. In March 2007 Parker Chorus was the only elementary school chorus invited to perform at the National Convention of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) in Miami, the biannual gathering of 10,000 musicians from the U.S. and abroad. The Parker Chorus performance was considered to be the highlight of the entire Convention. In January 2008 Parker Advanced Chorus performed at the American Masterpiece Festival, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in March 2010 will perform for the National Conference of Kodaly Educators in Dallas, Texas.

About Houston Symphony

During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada. 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 $29 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit or call (713) 224-7575.