September 15 marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to honor the rich traditions, histories, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to our nation’s cultural mosaic.
This season is poised to be an extraordinary celebration of Hispanic heritage, filled with captivating performances that will resonate with music lovers of all backgrounds. Let’s take a closer look at some of the musical gems that await:
What better way to celebrate the close of Hispanic Heritage Month than with our annual Fiesta Sinfónica concert on October 13? This performance will be conducted by guest conductor Donato Cabrera, who was recognized by the Consulate-General of Mexico in San Francisco as a Luminary of the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee for his contributions in promoting and developing the presence of the Mexican community in the Bay Area. Cabrera’s passion for music and his dedication to fostering cultural
connections and programming music by women and people of color make him the perfect conductor for this occasion. Joining him on stage will be the exceptionally talented Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez.
Ginastera’s Four Dances from Estancia
Alberto Ginastera’s, a celebrated Hispanic composer, Four Dances from Estancia, will be featured on the October 14 & 15 program Barber’s Violin Concerto + Duke Ellington. This composition is a vibrant tribute to the rhythms and melodies of Argentina, capturing the spirit of the Latin American landscape.
Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauymari
Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today. Her piece Kauymari will be included in the Valčuha Conducts Rachmaninoff program on November 10, 11 & 12. Inspired by the Mexican legend of the Blue Deer, this piece weaves a musical tapestry that draws from the depths of Mexican culture and mythology.
Mandy Gonzalez at Very Merry Pops
This holiday season will be infused with the melodious voice of Mandy Gonzalez during Very Merry Pops performances on December 20, 21, 22 & 23. She is best known for her portrayal of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning, Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway musical In the Heights.
World premiere by Jimmy Lopez Bellido
An exciting highlight of the season is the world premiere of a Houston Symphony commissioned piece by Jimmy Lopez Bellido, a distinguished Peruvian composer, and former Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence. This piece will be a part of the Carmina burana program on April 26, 27 & 28. Other Houston Symphony commissions by Lopez Bellido include pieces performed by Lopez Bellido by the Houston Symphony, including America Salvaje (2017), Houston Symphony commission Aurora for Solo Violin and
Orchestra (2017 & 2019), Techno from Fiesta! (2017), Lago de Lagrimas (Lake of Tears) Concerto for Flute (2018), and Houston Symphony Commission Symphony No. 2 ad Astra (2019).
John Adams’s El Niño
El Niño is a composition that seamlessly blends biblical verse, Spanish language poetry, and a contemporary perspective on the Christmas story told through the eyes of Mary. These performances are on May 25 & 26.
As we revel in these splendid performances, we also reflect on the invaluable contributions of Hispanic artists and composers to the world of music. The Houston Symphony’s commitment to celebrating diversity through music is a testament to the unifying power of the arts.