Newsroom

October 9, 2014



MEDIA CONTACTS:
Austin Dressman
(713) 337-8557
austin.dressman@houstonsymphony.org


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:
Hans Graf | Jon Kimura Parker | MFAH, Monet's Ice Floes 


CONDUCTOR LAUREATE HANS GRAF RETURNS TO JOIN WORLD-CLASS PIANIST AND HOUSTON FAVORITE JON KIMURA PARKER

Former Houston Symphony music director makes his 2014-15 Season conducting debut

World-class pianist and Rice University Professor Jon Kimura Parker performs Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, partners to provide Impressionist imagery complementing the concert

HOUSTON (October 9, 2014) – On October 23, 25, and 26, the Symphony welcomes back Conductor Laureate Hans Graf in his 2014-15 Season debut with the Houston Symphony in Ravel and Debussy. A program mixing French artistic imagery, evocative melodies and jazzy piano sounds, Ravel and Debussy promises a unique take on the two prominent Impressionist composers. Mr. Graf pairs the whimsical style of Ravel’s Mother Goose with Debussy’s famously nostalgic Images trilogy. The Symphony will also join forces with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) on Images, enhancing the musical landscapes with imagery from their upcoming Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River exhibit. Local favorite and Professor of Piano at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Jon Kimura Parker will delight audiences with Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto. Audience members interested in learning more about the background of the music are invited to attend the free Prelude pre-concert discussion 45-minutes prior to the start of the concert. The Thursday Prelude will be led by Jane Evans, William A. Camfield Graduate Fellow, as she elaborates on the MFAH’s Impressionist art and music. The Saturday and Sunday Prelude will be led by Helga Aurisch, MFAH curator of European art.

Audience members interested in learning more about the background of the music are invited to attend the free Prelude pre-concert discussion 45-minutes prior to the start of the concert. This Prelude will be led by Zoe Miller from Houston Public Media’s “Music in the Making” with Denis Kozhkukhin as guest.

HOUSTON SYMPHONY CLASSICAL CONCERT
Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St., Houston, TX 77002

Ravel and Debussy
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 2:30pm
Hans Graf, conductor
Jon Kimura Parker, piano
Ravel: Mother Goose – complete ballet music
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Debussy: Images
Tickets from $25

About Hans Graf

Distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians. Graf concluded his 12-year tenure as Music Director of the Houston Symphony in May 2013, and he currently holds the title of Conductor Laureate. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra (1984-1994).

Graf made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006, and they were invited to return twice: in January 2010, for the New York premiere of The Planets – An HD Odyssey and in May 2012 to participate in Carnegie’s Spring for Music Festival. In October 2010, Graf led the Houston Symphony on a tour of the UK, and in June 2012, Graf and the Houston Symphony, became the first major American orchestra to appear at the Festival of World Symphony Orchestras in Moscow.

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 with Franco Ferrara and Sergui Celibadache and in Russia with Arvid Jansons. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria. He is a Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the University Mozarteum Salzburg.

He will also present Graf Conducts Schumann early next year as part of the Houston Symphony’s classical season. Mr. Graf is currently the artist-in-residence at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

About Jon Kimura Parker

A veteran of the international concert stage, Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andre Previn, and shared the stage with Jessye Norman at Berlin’s famed Philharmonie. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor.

An unusually versatile artist, Mr. Parker has jammed with Audra McDonald, Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen. As a member of the outreach project Piano Plus, Mr. Parker has toured remote areas including the Canadian Arctic, and as a special AmeriCares ambassador, performed in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995. Active in the media, Mr. Parker hosted the television series Whole Notes on Bravo! Canada, and CBC Radio Two’s Up and Coming. His YouTube channel features the Concerto Chat videos, promoting the piano concerto repertoire. Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, and has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Steans Institute, New York University, and Yale University.

“Jackie” Parker studied with Edward Parker and Keiko Parker, Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre, and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH)

Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and spans the art of antiquity to the present.

About the 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 $30.7 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 www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

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