September 23, 2015
Senior Director, Communications
HOUSTON SYMPHONY PRESENTS RARE SCHUMANN MASTERPIECE FEATURING DANCERS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON DANCE ENSEMBLE
The fairytale story full of choral ensemble and solo writing, features special lighting and visual elements as part of the season’s “Sound + Vision” series
October 3 and 4
HOUSTON (September 23, 2015)—Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada will lead the Houston Symphony in Robert Schumann’s rarely performed choral work The Pilgrimage of the Rose, a cantata that features solo vocalists, chorus and orchestra on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 4, at 2:30 p.m. The program also features Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings.
The Pilgrimage of the Rose, inspired by Moritz Horn’s poem of the same name, is an art-song-inspired oratorio about a rose who yearns to become human and experience love. The Pilgrimage of the Rose is one of the last of Schumann’s choral works that tells the story of a rose that eventually becomes human and experiences both love’s pain and compassion. Schumann ends the piece with the rose rising to Heaven.
Though less-well known than his symphonies, The Pilgrimage of the Rose is a powerful piece that contains magical elements and a story that spans a full year. With fairies and angels being an important part of the story, Orozco-Estrada wanted audiences to experience the various changes in mood as the rose embarks on a human journey searching for love. To creatively tell the story, Orozco-Estrada incorporated contemporary dancers from the University of Houston Dance Ensemble to act out certain parts of the story as the soloists tell the story through song. The choir alternatively represents fairies, townspeople and angels.
“Schumann recreates the story through music and singing, but Andrés wanted to bring to life the narration by adding a new layer of depth with the addition of dancers and lighting,” said Carlos Andrés Botero, the Houston Symphony’s new Musical Ambassador/Assistant Conductor. “The simple, yet effective lighting design will decorate each scene, building further layers of meaning and strengthening the storytelling.”
Joining the contemporary dancers are the Houston Symphony Chorus under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber and sopranos Yulia Van Doren and Elizabeth Toy, mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle, tenor Brian Stucki and bass-baritones Michael Kelly and John Gallagher.
The program also features Bartók’s lighthearted and inventive Divertimento for Strings, one of the composer’s most accessible works. One of the last pieces Bartók completed before immigrating to the United States to escape the Nazis, this piece combines Bartók’s modern style with Hungarian folk influences and the charm of eighteenth-century divertimenti, or musical “entertainments.”
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 www.houstonsymphony.org. 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.
SCHUMANN AND BARTÓK
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 4, 2015, 2:30 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Yulia Van Doren, soprano
Elizabeth Toy, soprano
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
Brian Stucki, tenor
Michael Kelly, bass-baritone
John Gallagher, bass-baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director
Jim Johnson and Teresa Chapman, co-directors
Barbara Niederer, costume designer
Gillian Bowen, dance
Josh Eguia, dancer
Kara Stenz, dancer
Schumann: The Pilgrimage of the Rose
Bartok: Divertimento for Strings
General Admission Tickets $25
About Houston Symphony Chorus
The Houston Symphony Chorus is the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony. Each season the volunteer chorus prepares and presents great choral-orchestral masterworks under the baton of conductors of international acclaim. Recent seasons have included performances with Houston Symphony conductor Hans Graf and Houston Symphony Pops conductor Michael Krajewski, Houston Symphony Chorus Director Emeritus Charles Hausmann, as well as with guest conductors such as Claus Peter Flor, William Lacey, Nicholas McGegan, and Christopher Seaman. In addition, the chorus has made several European concert tours performing with orchestras in Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria and England. It also performs regularly in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2015-16 season, the Houston Symphony will celebrate its second 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 $32.8 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 330,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.