October 27, 2014

Austin Dressman
(713) 337-8557

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For photo and video media of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Pres. Bush and Sec. Baker, and the Houston Symphony, please click here.


World renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra begins celebratory U.S. tour in Houston on November 3

Former President George H. W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III to serve as honorary chairs of the concert

Mayor Annise Parker, Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung, and other dignitaries will be in attendance

HOUSTON (October 27, 2014) – On Monday, November 3, at 7:30pm, the world-renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will kick-off a concert tour of the United States in Houston, which is an official sister city of Leipzig, Germany. The concert marks the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung will be in attendance, as well as Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker,German Consul General Ricarda Redeker, and the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association. The performance will include the works of Felix Mendelssohn, one of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s most celebrated music directors. There will also be 600 area students in attendance, including German and orchestral program students underwritten by a generous donor.

Honorary Chairs Former President George H. W. Bush and Secretary James A. Baker III, the 61st U.S. Secretary of State, are honorary chairs of the concert, having served in critical roles leading up to and after the events in 1989 when the wall fell, ultimately paving the way for Germany’s unification in 1990.

"I am delighted and proud that the Houston Symphony and Jones Hall will host Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra for this special concert marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall," said Bush. When I think back to that hopeful and historic time, what I recall most of all is the courage of the East Germans in places like Leipzig, together with the other peoples throughout Central and Eastern Europe, who were determined to cast aside totalitarianism and claim their God-given freedom. They showed then the best in the human spirit, and I couldn't be more pleased that this concert will once again unite Germans and Americans to celebrate the best in the human spirit today -- and in such a unique and uplifting way."

“Leipzig, for centuries a world center of music and art, played a magnificent symphony for freedom in October 1989 when its ‘prayers for peace’ demonstrations led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany,” said Baker. “On the 25th anniversary of that historic event, I am proud that my hometown is hosting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in Houston.”

Leipzig and Houston – Sister Cities

Leipzig is located 90 miles southwest of Berlin and was part of East Germany. Twenty-five years ago, more than 70,000 citizens marched around the inner ring of the Leipzig city centre on October 9, 1989, with the calls “We are the People” and “No Violence” – protesting against communism and advocating for freedom and democracy. Additional peaceful marches for freedom continued in Leipzig during that historic period, drawing close to 400,000 citizens.

Leipzig has been an official sister city of Houston since 1993. Sister Cities International is a non-profit organization created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in an effort to build bonds and partnerships between people of different cultures to ultimately lessen the chance of new conflicts. In total, Houston has 17 sister cities worldwide.

“The celebrations in Leipzig on October 9 in commemoration of the peaceful ending of the confrontation of protesters against the communist dictatorship with secret police forces were most moving; 200,000 people attended,” said Wolfgang Schmidt, President Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association. “Former Secretary of State Baker gave a visionary speech and former Secretary of State Kissinger was welcomed with much applause. The concert in Houston and the panel discussion at the Baker Institute will be a great opportunity for Houstonians to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War four weeks after the events in Leipzig 25 years ago.”

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world, its history stretching back in excess of 250 years. Its distinguished reputation, enduring influence on the history of music, its countless appearances on every continent of the globe since 1916 and hundreds of recordings have made the Orchestra one of the most beloved of our time. “We are delighted to have President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker serve as honorary co-chairs,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “We are looking forward to experiencing the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, as they recreate the Romantic era of Felix Mendelessohn. The music of this esteemed composer achieves a remarkable marriage of boldly distinctive melodic lines weaving in counterpoint, yet creating a coherent harmonic logic.”

The Orchestra in Houston

“On the heels of our Centennial Season, the Houston Symphony is honored to present our sister symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, on this historic occasion,” said Mark C. Hanson, executive director and CEO of the Houston Symphony. “Music crosses cultural barriers and unifies us all wherever it is performed and is the perfect vehicle for marking this historic anniversary of peace and unity.” The Houston performance of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is generously supported in part by M.D. Anderson Foundation; Dr. Gary L. Hollingsworth & Dr. Ken Hyde; Houston Saengerbund; Eric S. Anderson; Robin Angly & Miles Smith; City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Houston; Team Alloys LLC; John G. Turner & Jerry G. Fischer.

Accompanying Activity in the Houston Community

On November 2, the Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy will host a free forum to accompany the concert. The program will begin with a brief performance by musicians of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, followed by an excerpt of the film, “The Miracle of Leipzig”. The film excerpt will be followed by a panel discussion on this historic demonstration and the impact of the end of the Cold War. After a question-and-answer session, the evening will conclude with a reception. The event begins at 4:30pm at the James A. Baker III Hall at Rice University.

Pre-Concert Press Conference

Members of the press are invited to attend a pre-concert press conference event at Jones Hall on November 3rd from 6:30pm-7:00pm, featuring comments from Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung, Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker, German Consul General Ricarda Redeker, and the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association.

The Tour Continues

Following the one-night-only performance in Houston, the orchestra will continue its tour to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on November 5; Symphony Hall in Boston on November 7; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on November 8; and closing with two nights at Lincoln Center in New York City on November 9 and 10.


November 2 – Rice University Baker Institute Forum – 4:30pm (open to the public)
November 3 – Jones Hall

  • 6:30pm – Press conference and photo opportunity (press only)
  • 7:30pm – Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Concert (open to the public)
  • 10:00-12:00am – Post-concert reception (press and sponsors only – not open to public)


Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Monday, November 3, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Jones Hall for the Performing Arts: 615 Louisiana Street, Houston, TX, 77002
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Nikolaj Znaider, violin
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5, Reformation

Tickets: For tickets, call (713) 224-7575, Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm or visit

Prices: From $25



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