November 8, 2014


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PR Coordinator
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Vanessa Astros
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Andrés Orozco-Estrada | Yulia Van Doren


New Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada leads the second installment of 3 Weeks of Beethoven

HOUSTON (November 8, 2014) – Whether it’s your first or hundredth time to hear Mozart’s Requiem, this dramatic composition, featured in the famed 1984 movie Amadeus, never fails to evoke strong emotions. On November 20, 22 and 23, the Houston Symphony and Houston Symphony Chorus will perform this masterwork, which also marks the second installment of Music Director Andrés Orozco Estrada’s 3 Weeks of Beethoven.

Soprano Yulia Van Doren will open with Beethoven’s Overture to Coriolan, followed by the fierce Overture to Egmont. The Cleveland Plain Dealer calls Van Doren “…An artist possessed of a clear, mellifluous instrument and the rare ability to convey the literal and emotional core of each musical sentence.” The Houston Symphony Chorus will sing throughout the vivid Requiem, culminating in the iconic Third Movement Lacrimosa dies illa.

As the myth of what actually happened at the end of 1791 collides with reality, the intense composition will conclude with a “Requiem” you won’t soon forget.

Audience members interested in learning more about the background of the music are invited to attend the free Prelude pre-concert discussion led by fine arts professor Ira J. Black, 45-minutes prior to the start of the concert.


Mozart's Requiem Plus Beethoven  
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014, 2:30pm

Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Yulia Van Doren, soprano
Elizabeth DeShong, mezzo-soprano
Joel Prieto, tenor
Evan Boyer, bass
Houston Symphony Chorus
    Betsy Cook Weber, director
Beethoven: Overture to Coriolan
Beethoven: Overture to Egmont
Brahms: Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)
Mozart: Requiem

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

About Andrés Orozco-Estrada

Andrés Orozco-Estrada, born in Colombia and trained in Vienna, is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation. He begins his tenure as the Houston Symphony’s 15th Music Director in September 2014.

In addition to his appointment in Houston, Andrés will take up the position of chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra during the 2014-15 season and will become principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra beginning in the 2015-16 season. Since the 2009-10 season, he has held the post of music director of the Tonkünstler Orchestra Niederösterreich, one of the most important institutions of traditional Austrian music culture, which holds subscription series at the Vienna Musikverein and is orchestra-in-residence at the Grafenegg Festival. He will conclude his tenure with the Tonkünstler Orchestra in summer 2015. From 2009 through 2013, Andrés was also principal conductor at the Basque National Orchestra in San Sebastián, Spain.

As a guest conductor, he regularly works with the world’s most prominent orchestras, including the Vienna, Munich, London, Rotterdam, Royal Stockholm and La Scala Philharmonic Orchestras; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Mahler Chamber Orchestra; London, City of Birmingham and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras; the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome; Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg; the Orchestre National de France; Verbier Festival Orchestra; and the St. Louis and Oregon Symphonies.

Following his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, Andrés was hailed “a brilliant stand-in” for Esa-Pekka Salonen and celebrated as an “eminent talent” by Austria’s Wiener Zeitung and Die Presse. In November 2012, Andrés stepped in once again with just one rehearsal’s notice to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in the Musikverein for Riccardo Muti and was praised as a “stand-in worth his weight in gold” and “an inspired master of communication” by the Viennese daily newspapers Kurier and Der Standard. In the 2015-16 season, he will make his official debut with the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra on its subscription season.

Born in 1977 in Medellín (Colombia), Andrés began his musical studies on the violin and had his first conducting lessons at age 15. In 1997, he moved to Vienna where he joined the conducting class of Uroš Lajovic, a pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky, at the renowned Vienna Music Academy and completed his degree with distinction by conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein. The emphasis of his artistic work lies in the Romantic repertoire and Viennese classics. At the same time, Andrés shows a keen interest in contemporary music and regularly performs premieres of Austrian composers as well as compositions of Spanish and South American origin. He currently lives in Vienna.

About Yulia Van Doren

Recognized by Opera Magazine as “a star-to-be” following her Lincoln Center debut, Russian-American soprano Yulia Van Doren maintains an extensive international performance schedule. After 2013 debuts with the Toronto, Nashville, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Albany Symphonies, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and two trips to the Netherlands for performances with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Ms. Van Doren continues her very busy performance schedule in 2014. Upcoming engagements include appearances with Music of the Baroque, Boston Baroque, the Columbus, Indianapolis and San Francisco Symphonies, and Washington D.C.’s Folger Consort. Ms. Van Doren’s well-received artistic collaborations with Mark Morris also continue with a production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea for New York City’s Mostly Mozart Festival, conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

The only singer awarded a top prize in all four US Bach vocal competitions, she has been presented as a soloist by almost all of the North American early music festivals and orchestras. Her recordings include two Grammy-nominated opera recordings with the Boston Early Music Festival, and the world-premiere recording of Shostakovich’s Orango, recorded with the LA Philharmonic and released by Deutsche Grammophon. Yulia is an Astral Artist, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and a Beebe Grant recipient.

About Elizabeth DeShong

In the summer of 2012, Elizabeth DeShong sang the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, at the Glyndebourne Festival. Of that performance The Guardian wrote: . . “this is, quite simply, one of the great operatic performances. It is dominated by DeShong, whose voice combines a contralto opulence with blazing top notes and some of the most staggering coloratura you will ever hear . . . “

Ms. DeShong's operatic and orchestral engagements during the 2014/15 season will take her to the Canadian Opera Company for performances as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, the Orchestra of St. Luke's for Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht in Carnegie Hall, the Wiener Staatsoper for Angelina in La Cenerentola, and the Los Angeles Opera where she will perform Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In addition, Ms. DeShong will sing Elgar's The Kingdom with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Mozart Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the role of Hermia in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Festival Aix en Provence.

Last season, at the Metropolitan Opera, she sang two Hermias: in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in the pastiche opera, The Enchanted Island, as well as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly; a role she will also sing at the San Francisco Opera. In addition, Ms. DeShong performed Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein's "Jeremiah" Symphony with the Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien, under the direction of Marin Alsop, and the Mozart Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of David Robertson, and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall conducted by Manfred Honeck.

In addition to her portrayal of Angelina in La Cenerentola at the Glyndebourne Festival during the 2012/13 season, Ms. DeShong sang Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, made her debut at Michigan Opera Theatre as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and was the First Norn in Götterdämmerung at the Metropolitan Opera. She also made her debut with the LA Philharmonic in Bach’s Cantata No. 60, under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam as Marta in the Dutch premiere of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, and sang Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs, with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Ms. DeShong’s 2011/12 season, featured her as Maffio Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia with the San Francisco Opera, and as Hermia in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of The Enchanted Island, as well as performances as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with the Veroza Company in Japan. Additional performances of note include Maffio Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia with English National Opera, Angelina in La Cenerentola with the Canadian Opera Company, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. DeShong received the Washington National Opera’s “Artist of the Year Award” in 2010, for her debut performance as the Composer in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Her portrayal of Maffio Orsini in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Lucrezia Borgia, was recently released on DVD on EuroArts Music and Naxos of America.

About Joel Prieto

Since he was unanimously awarded the highly coveted distinction of first prize in Placido Domingo’s 2008 Operalia Competition, Joel Prieto has become one of the most sought-after and exciting artists of his generation. He sings in some of the most prestigious opera houses and concert venues around the world. The Spanish-born singer, who grew up in Puerto Rico, captivates his audiences, bringing depth and subtlety to his leading roles, infusing his characters with vitality, elegance and beauty.

This season, Prieto will perform as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, as Fernando Soler in Doña Francisquita at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and his debut at the Santa Fe Opera as Count Belfiore in La finta giardiniera. In the 2013-14 season, Prieto performed as Fenton in Falstaff, as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and as Iopas in Les Troyens at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and as Narraboth in Salome at the Staatsoper Berlin, Contino Belfiore in La Finta Giardiniera at the Glyndebourne Festival. He also performed in a televised Christmas concert in Vienna with the Vienna Radio Symphony and the Vienna Children Choir.

Prieto has collaborated with celebrity conductors including Daniele Gatti, Roberto Abbado, Ivor Bolton, Adam Fischer, Fabio Luisi, Ottavio Dantone, Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Daniele Callegari.

About Evan Boyer

Evan Boyer is a recent graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Boyer will sing the role of Masetto in Don Giovanni with Seattle Opera, as well as Colline in La bohème with Palm Beach Opera. He also sees performances of the Armchair/Tree in L’enfant et les Sortilèges with Seiji Ozawa’s Music Academy in Japan. Orchestral engagements include Mozart’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony and the Houston Symphony, as well as Handel’s Messiah with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Last season, Mr. Boyer was heard in a concert with the Lyric Opera of Chicago at Millennium Park, and also sang the role of Lodovico in Otello at the Lyric. Additionally, he performed Sarastro in The Magic Flute in a new production with Los Angeles Opera, and returned to the Canadian Opera Company, singing Samuel in Un ballo in maschera. Mr. Boyer completed his tenure at the Ryan Opera Center in 2012-13. Throughout that season he was heard in productions of Simon Boccanegra, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, La bohème, and Rigoletto. Subsequently, Mr. Boyer made his debut with the Canadian Opera Company as 1st Soldier in Salome, followed by performances as the 2nd Commisaire in Dialogues des Carmelites. He also sang the role of Colline in La bohème with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in the Dominican Republic.

About Betsy Cook Weber

Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, who begins her tenure as director of the Houston Symphony Chorus this season, is professor of music and director of choral studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She teaches a full course load, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School and is an internationally active conductor, clinician, adjudicator and lecturer. In 2013, Betsy became the 13th person and first woman to receive the Texas Choral Directors Association’s coveted Texas Choirmaster Award.

Under her leadership, The Moores School Concert Chorale has established a reputation as one of the world’s finest collegiate choirs. It has been a featured choir at multiple state and national conventions. Internationally, Chorale has received acclaim at prestigious competitions, including the National Eisteddfod of Wales, winning or placing in every category in which it was entered, and the Vocal in Tours, France. In May 2013, she led Chorale to a first-place finish as one of only 10 choirs selected worldwide to compete in the famous International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany. She has prepared singers for Da Camera and early music orchestras Ars Lyrica and Mercury Houston. She is routinely called upon to prepare singers for touring shows, including Josh Groban, NBC’s Clash of the Choirs, Telemundo’s Latin Grammys and Star Wars in Concert.

Betsy served seven years as assistant and, later, associate director of the Houston Symphony Chorus, helping prepare major works for renowned conductors, including Robert Shaw, Christoph Eschenbach, Roger Wagner, Nicholas McGegan and Christopher Seaman. She holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ) and the University of Houston.

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.