Musicians’ Pick: Mahler Symphony No. 7

Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts Mahler's

Musicians’ Pick: Mahler Symphony No. 7

Instantly arresting. Brazenly theatrical. Larger than life. To experience a Mahler symphony live is an experience unlike any other. In his Seventh Symphony, Mahler paints with every color in the orchestral palette—from clanging cowbell to strumming mandolin—to summon nocturnal worlds both nightmarish and serene, menacingly dark and lustrously moonlit. Night erupts into dazzling day in a riotous finale replete with blazing brass and pealing bells. On April 3, 4, and 5, Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada leads the Houston Symphony in this epic masterpiece. When we first announced the current season, many musicians named these concerts as the ones they were most looking forward to. Here are just a few reasons why.

Araless Dorough, principal flute

Every orchestra player probably remembers the first time he or she got to play a Mahler symphony. It’s like no other repertoire. For me, it was during my sophomore year at Oberlin Conservatory. It was this same symphony, which has five flute parts. The principal part was assigned to one of the seniors, Adam Keunzel, who is now principal flute in the Minnesota Orchestra. He was a wonderful player, and I was in awe, hoping someday I would be able to play principal flute on a big orchestral work with that kind of finesse and confidence. I had a long way to go at the time! The first time I played the first part for this symphony was with former Music Director Christoph Eschenbach in 1992. I have not played it since, so I’m really looking forward to performing this special piece again. —Aralee Dorough, principal flute

Mark Hughes, principal trumpet

I’m most excited about the Mahler 7 weekend. If the last movement doesn’t excite you, you need to check your pulse! —Mark Hughes, principal trumpet

Mark Nuccio, principal clarinet.

Mahler 7 is a piece that is not performed often enough. With the leadership coming from our wonderful music director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, it is guaranteed to be a huge crowd pleaser, as well as a season highlight for the musicians. —Mark Nuccio, principal clarinet

Brian Del Signore, principal percussion

Mahler is arguably the greatest symphony composer ever, and Andrés always brings energy and compassion to his music. Late Mahler is very impassioned and rich, very complicated and beautiful music. It keeps changing and surprising the listener. As for what I love about his Seventh Symphony…bells!!! They make for a glorious ending to the symphony. —Brian Del Signore, principal percussion

Robin Kesselman, principal double bass

I have never even had the opportunity to hear Mahler 7 live, much less play it. It is sure to be an unforgettable weekend. —Robin Kesselman, principal double bass

Don’t miss Andrés Conducts Mahler 7 April 4, 5, and 6. Learn more and get tickets.

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