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orchestra and chorus

Andrés Orozco-Estrada Leads Renowned Vocalists, the Houston Symphony and Houston Symphony Chorus in Rare Performance of Dvořák’s Choral Masterpiece Stabat Mater

HOUSTON (Sept. 13, 2018) – Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, an all-star cast of vocalists, the Houston Symphony and the Houston Symphony Chorus all join to afford Houston the chance to hear Dvořák’s seldom-heard, grand choral masterwork Stabat Mater at 8 p.m., Sept. 27 and 29, and 2:30 p.m., Sept. 30 in Jones Hall.

Returning guest vocalists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano) and Toby Spence (tenor) are joined by Lucy Crowe (soprano) and Dashon Burton (baritone) in their Houston Symphony debuts. They join the orchestra and the Houston Symphony Chorus under the direction of chorus director Betsy Cooke Weber in performing Dvořák’s luminous and deeply moving masterpiece.

Inspired by the Latin poem Stabat Mater dolorosa, Dvořák’s towering choral piece meditates on the Virgin Mary’s grief at the death of her son, Jesus. Orozco-Estrada and the combined forces onstage take listeners through an emotional journey of grief, leading to spiritual healing and redemption in Dvořák’s masterpiece.

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater sponsored by Rand Group takes 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 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.

Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Lucy Crowe, soprano
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Toby Spence, tenor
Dashon Burton, baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
    Betsy Cook Weber, director
Dvořák: Stabat Mater

About Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada began his tenure in the 2014–15 season. He immediately established a dynamic presence on the podium and a deep bond with the musicians of the orchestra. He carefully curates his programs to feature engaging combinations of classical masterworks paired with the music of today, significant artistic collaborations with composers and guest artists, and innovative use of multimedia and visual effects, all in order to make meaningful connections with the audience.

In the 2017–18 season, Orozco-Estrada continued to engage with audiences both with casual commentary from the stage and discussions with guests in “Behind the Scenes with Andrés” videos. Upon the commercial release of the critically acclaimed Dvořák series featuring the composer’s last four symphonies, he and the orchestra recently released a Haydn—The Creation recording in collaboration with the Houston Symphony Chorus and a Music of the Americas disc featuring Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Revueltas’ Sensemayá, Piazzolla’s Tangazo and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Andrés began his musical studies on the violin and started conducting at age 15. At 19, he entered the renowned Vienna Music Academy, where he studied with Uroš Lajovic (pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky), and completed his degree with distinction conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein. Andrés burst onto the international scene with two substitutions with the Vienna Philharmonic: the first, his debut in 2010, standing in for Esa-Pekka Salonen, and then in 2012, substituting for Riccardo Muti at the Musikverein. Andrés now regularly appears with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Orchestre National de France, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

His engagements for the 2017-18 season featured debuts at the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich and the Staatskapelle Dresden with two concerts at the Salzburg Easter Festival. As a guest, he performed once again with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and with the Vienna Philharmonic, which he led on a tour to Paris and Budapest. In June 2018, he toured Asia for two weeks with his Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his post in Houston, Andrés is chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was recently named music director of the Vienna Symphony as of the 2021-2022 season.

About Lucy Crowe
Lucy Crowe has established herself as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation. Performing at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, English National Opera, Glyndebourne and Canadian Opera Company, her roles include Pamina, Adele, Eurydice, Adina, Sophie, Gilda, Susanna, Countess, Rosina, Iole, Vixen, Micaëla and Merab. In recital, she has appeared at the Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Mostly Mozart and Salzburg festivals and the BBC Proms.

In concert, she has worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nézet-Séguin, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Haïm, Oramo and Nelsons, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Mackerras and Egarr, Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Mackerras and Nézet-Séguin, the Monteverdi Orchestra under Gardiner and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Pappano.

Recordings include a solo Handel disc, ll caro Sassone, with Harry Bicket and The English Concert (Harmonia Mundi); Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gardiner for LSO Live; Handel’s Il pastor fido and a Handel and Vivaldi disc with La Nuova Musica under David Bates (Harmonia Mundi); a Lutosławski disc with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner, Handel’s Alceste with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company and Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris (Chandos).

Engagements this season and beyond include Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Berlin Philharmonic, Pamina in The Magic Flute for English National Opera, the title role of Rodelinda for Frankfurt Opera, Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen with the London Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.

Lucy is a Fellow to the Royal Academy of Music.

About Sasha Cooke
Grammy Award®-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” (New York Times) and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” (Opera News). Sasha is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music.

In 2018-19, Sasha’s operatic engagements include role debuts as Eduige in Rodelinda at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the title role of Orlando with the San Francisco Opera. She returns to the title role in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, which she performs with the Los Angeles Opera under the direction of James Conlon. Orchestral appearances include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, the National Symphony Orchestra for Ravel’s Shéhérazade under Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, and the Houston Symphony in her first performance of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Sasha celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth by performing his songs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah, with the Nashville Symphony and Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, with the St. Louis Symphony with Leonard Slatkin. She will reprise Passage (a work she created at the Kennedy Center in 2017) with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.

Sasha Cooke has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Seattle Opera. Previous orchestral engagements have included the New York, Hong Kong, Netherlands Radio and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras; the Boston, London and Chicago Symphony Orchestras; and the Tokyo, New Zealand, San Francisco, Seattle, Melbourne and New World Symphonies. Leading conductors with whom she has worked include Riccardo Muti, Bernard Haitink, Sir Andrew Davis, Alan Gilbert, Edo de Waart, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jaap van Zweden, Gustavo Dudamel, and Sir Mark Elder.

Sasha is a recording artist for Hyperion Records, Naxos, Bridge, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels. Her most recent recording, Sasha Cooke LIVE, is a collection of her performances from the Music@Menlo chamber music festival. Sasha is a graduate of Rice University, The Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

About Toby Spence
An honor graduate and choral scholar from New College, Oxford, Toby Spence pursued Opera Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society 2011 Singer of the Year award.

In concert, Toby has sung with the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi, Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonica under Sir Simon Rattle, San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and at the Salzburg Easter and Edinburgh International Festivals. Recent appearances include The Creation with this orchestra; The Seasons with the Philharmonie de Paris; Bruckner F minor Mass with the Sinfonieorchester Basel; Messiah, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Mumbai; and Missa Solemnis with the LSO under Tilson Thomas.

Recent opera engagements include Ghandi in Satyagraha at English National Opera; Captain Vere in Billy Budd for Teatro Real, Madrid and Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma; Anatol in Vanessa for Oper Frankfurt; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Liceu Opera Barcelona; Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Antonio in The Tempest for the Metropolitan Opera; Don Ottavio and Tito for the Vienna State Opera; Essex in Gloriana and Tamino Die Zauberflöte for the Royal Opera House, where his previous roles have also included Ferdinand in The Tempest, David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ramiro and Tom Rakewell; among other important performances for English National Opera, Edinburgh International Festival, Bavarian State Opera and Opéra national de Paris.

Toby’s 2018-19 season engagements include Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with this orchestra, Britten’s War Requiem with Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Szymanowski’s 3rd Symphony for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Orff’s Carmina Burana in Shanghai and Beijing with Long Yu and Aida Garifullina for Deutsche Grammophon’s 120th anniversary. Opera engagements include Captain Vere in Billy Budd for the Royal Opera House and a staged version of Britten’s Les Illuminations for Teatro Real, Madrid.

About Dashon Burton
Praised for his “nobility and rich tone,” (The New York Times) and his “enormous, thrilling voice seemingly capable … [of] raising the dead” (The Wall Street Journal), bass-baritone Dashon Burton has established a vibrant career in opera, recital and orchestra. In key elements of his repertoire—Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the B minor Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven 9, the Brahms Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem—Dashon is a frequent guest with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque; the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City; and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a regular guest with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, appearing there in the Brahms and Mozart Requiems, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and recently on tour in Europe and Japan in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. In June 2018, he opened the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago’s Millenium Park singing Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.

Dashon’s 2018/19 season begins with his debut at the Salzburg Festival in Salomé. In addition to these performances of the Stabat Mater, he sings Beethoven 9 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Philharmonia Baroque, and the Requiem with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He sings the role of Zebul in Handel’s Jeptha, the Verdi Requiem, Moussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death; and he returns to the Cleveland Orchestra for a subscription week of Schubert’s Mass in E-flat major. With the contemporary vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of which Dashon is an original member, he appears in Peter Sellars’ production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, Ritual de la mort in Paris. He appears in recital in Boston and San Francisco.

His opera engagements include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in Dijon and Paris, and the role of Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor and Pollux with Les Talens Lyriques. He has toured Europe in the St. John Passion with Le Concert Lorrain, and Italy with Masaaki Suzuki and the Yale Schola Cantorum in the St. Matthew Passion. Dashon’s recording of “Songs of Struggle & Redemption: We Shall Overcome” was singled out by The New York Times as “profoundly moving…a beautiful and lovable disc” in its May 2016 Classical Playlist.

A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Dashon holds a master’s degree from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

About Houston Symphony
During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

Eric Skelly: (713) 337-8560,
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557,


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