April 22, 2015
Senior Director, Communications
GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING VIOLINIST JAMES EHNES RETURNS TO HOUSTON TO PERFORM BEETHOVEN’S VIOLIN CONCERTO
Andrés Orozco-Estrada leads the orchestra at Jones Hall, Rice University, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
World-renowned violinist James Ehnes returns to perform with the Houston Symphony
“Musically Speaking with Andrés” returns to Stude Concert Hall featuring commentary and musical examples
HOUSTON (April 22, 2015) Canadian violinist James Ehnes returns to Jones Hall on May 8-10 to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, one of the most indelible and profound masterpieces of the violin repertoire.
Houston audiences may remember Ehnes from his 2011 performance of Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto at Jones Hall. This will be his seventh appearance with the orchestra and his first under the direction of Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The award-winning violin virtuoso has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly alongside the world’s most celebrated orchestras and conductors.
The Beethoven and Bartók program will also feature Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, a piece originally commissioned by then Boston Symphony Music Director, Serge Koussevitzky, shortly after the staunchly anti-fascist composer fled his war-threatened Hungary. It has been speculated that Bartók's previous work, the String Quartet No. 6, could have very well been his last had it not been for this commission, which was followed by his Piano Concerto No. 3 and Viola Concerto, his final major works.
Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, which as the title suggests treats single orchestral instruments in a soloistic and virtuosic manner, is full of life despite the tumultuous moments the composer was experiencing at the time, including a terminal illness diagnosis and the culture shock that ensued shortly after fleeing Hungary and moving to New York. A true pioneer of ethnomusicology, Bartók had a natural ability to integrate elements of folk music styles from Eastern Europe, the Near East and North Africa in his Concerto for Orchestra.
A free Prelude pre-concert discussion led by Principal Tuba David Kirk will be held 45-minutes prior to the start of the concerts at Jones Hall on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. 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 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.
“Musically Speaking with Andrés” Series at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall
Prior to the weekend performances featuring Ehnes, Andrés and the Houston Symphony take the stage at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall at the Shepherd School of Music on Thursday, May 7, for "Musically Speaking with Andrés."
Andrés will be joined by friend and fellow conductor Carlos Andrés Botero in this program that integrates musical commentary, examples and a post-concert Q&A session with a performance of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Andrés’ goal with this series is to deepen connections between the audience, the music and the makers of music, providing insightful context that adds to the richness of the listening experience.
With this new concert format, Andrés hopes to further open the eyes and ears of new and veteran Symphony goers in order to connect more of Houston’s diverse population to the power of live symphonic music.
Full Concert Details:
Musically Speaking with Andrés
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 7:30pm
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Carlos Andres Botero, co-host
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
This Thursday program will focus exclusively on Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. James Ehnes will not appear on this program.
Stude Concert Hall (in the Shepherd School of Music, at the Alice Pratt Brown Hall)
6100 Main St
Beethoven and Bartók
Friday, May 8, 2015, 8:00pm (The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)
Saturday, May 9, 2015, 8:00pm (Jones Hall)
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 2:30pm (Jones Hall)
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
James Ehnes, violin
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Tickets from $25
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 James Ehnes
Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors. Upcoming engagements include concerts and recitals in Lyon (France), London, Montreal, and at the Grand Teton, Grant Park, and Blossom Music Festivals. He also appears with the Ehnes Quartet and will lead the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the artistic director.
Ehnes has an extensive discography of more than 35 recordings. Recent projects include Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto paired with Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 7 & 8, an American chamber music disc, a CD of Franck and Strauss Sonatas and a recording of Aaron Jay Kernis' Two Movements (with Bells) written for Ehnes. His CDs have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone and 10 Juno Awards.
Born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, Ehnes began violin studies at age 4, and at 9 became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and at The Juilliard School. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He lives in Florida with his wife and two children. Visit jamesehnes.com.
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 www.houstonsymphony.org or call (713) 224-7575.