HOUSTON, TX (Mar. 31, 2021) — Music Director and Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair, Andrés Orozco-Estrada returns to Houston in May to close out the 2020–21 Season with two magnificent Classical Series concerts featuring Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante, K. 297b, E flat major and Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), May 7–9; and a program of instantly recognizable and famous overtures including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Beethoven’s Egmont, Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, and more, May 14–16. And, for the first time, Orozco-Estrada will conduct the livestream of the BBVA Family Series, May 15 at 11 a.m. These performances mark Orozco-Estrada’s first with the Houston Symphony since February 2020, just prior to the cancelation of the remainder of the 2019–20 Season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person and livestream tickets for these concerts, all part of the Spec’s End of Season Celebration, are now available at houstonsymphony.org/2021season.
“I can’t wait to explore this incredible music with my orchestra colleagues and friends. This season has been profoundly difficult for all of us, and I’m so proud that the Houston Symphony has achieved a full season of interesting programs at the highest level of artistry,” said Orozco-Estrada. “I’m sure these coming weeks will provide great and emotional moments—being together with the audiences in Jones Hall and musicians on stage—and I can’t wait to be back for this great finale to the season.”
The month of May opens with Orozco-Estrada conducting Mozart + Piazzolla’s Four Seasons, the penultimate concert of the 2020–21 Classical Series, May 7–9. First on the program, Orozco-Estrada highlights the orchestra’s brass section with Canzon septimi toni No. 2 by Gabrieli. Then, Houston Symphony Principals Jonathan Fischer (oboe), Mark Nuccio (clarinet), Rian Craypo (bassoon), and William VerMeulen (horn) take center stage in Mozart’s charming and melodious Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Orchestra, K.297b, one of Mozart’s most popular and often performed chamber pieces. The program continues with Orozco-Estrada conducting Escaramuza by former Houston Symphony Composer-In-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank. The short, high-energy piece for strings, percussion, harp, and piano is inspired by the kachampa music of Andean Perú, used to convey triumph and joyful spirit. To close out the program, Orozco-Estrada leads the strings in Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (Four Seasons) featuring Concertmaster Yoonshin Song as soloist. The immensely popular piece is a collection of individual tangos formed into one remarkable masterwork by Piazzolla. During his tenure at the Symphony, Orozco-Estrada conducted this energizing and rhythmic work during one of the Symphony’s first free concerts to the public at Rice Stude Concert Hall after Hurricane Harvey. This performance, part of the Rand Group Great Performers series, is livestreamed on Saturday, May 8, at 8 p.m. CT.
Orozco-Estrada and the Symphony close out the 2020–21 Classical Series with a program highlighting dramatic overtures in Iconic Overtures: Andrés Conducts Mozart, Beethoven & More, May 14–16. Orozco-Estrada leads the orchestra in the overture of Mozart’s beloved masterpiece Don Giovanni; Beethoven’s heroic and powerful Egmont Overture; Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, an early tone poem inspired by one of Mendelssohn’s trips to the British Isles; and the evening of powerful masterworks includes Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, one of the cornerstones of romantic opera. This performance, part of the Frost Bank Gold Classics series, is livestreamed on Saturday, May 15, at 8 p.m. CT.
As a parent himself, Orozco-Estrada knows the importance of music education and encourages giving children greater access to the performing arts. For the final concert of the 2020–21 BBVA Family Series, Musical Short Stories, Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra perform an exciting and kid-friendly version of select works from the Iconic Overtures: Andrés Conducts Mozart, Beethoven & More program for Houston families to enjoy exclusively from the comfort of their homes. This performance is livestreamed only on Saturday, May 15, at 11 a.m. CT.
In-person and livestream tickets are now available for these performances at houstonsymphony.org/2021season. Each livestream performance is available via a private link to ticket holders for $20, and livestream subscribers who purchase a package of tickets receive an additional 25% discount. For patrons attending in person, concerts will continue to have a one-hour run time with no intermission, and food and beverage service will be suspended to eliminate crowding. For a comprehensive list of safety measures, visit houstonsymphony.org/safety. For tickets and information, please call 713.224.7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. All programs and artists are subject to change.
The Classical Series, sponsored by the Robert Cizik Family, is endowed by the Wortham Foundation, Inc., in memory of Gus S. and Lyndall F. Wortham. Livestream of Houston Symphony concerts is made possible by Barbara J. Burger.
MOZART + PIAZZOLLA’S FOUR SEASONS
Friday, May 7, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 8, at 8 p.m. *
Sunday, May 9, at 2:30 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Jonathan Fischer, oboe
Mark Nuccio, clarinet
Rian Craypo, bassoon
William VerMeulen, horn
Yoonshin Song, violin
Gabrieli: Canzon septimi toni No. 2
Mozart: Sinfonia concertante, K.297b, E flat major
Gabriela Lena Frank: Escaramuza
Piazzolla: Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (Four Seasons)
ICONIC OVERTURES: ANDRÉS CONDUCTS MOZART, BEETHOVEN & MORE
Friday, May 14, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 15, at 8 p.m. *
Sunday, May 16, at 2:30 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni
Beethoven: Egmont: Overture
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides
Weber: Der Freischütz: Overture
FAMILY CONCERT: MUSICAL SHORT STORIES
Livestreaming on Saturday, May 15, at 11 a.m. (No audience)
Including program from Iconic Overtures: Andrés Conducts Mozart, Beethoven & More
*Livestreamed at 8 p.m. CT
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2020–21 Season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its seventh 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 on Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $25.8 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 two Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 1,000 community-based performances each year at various schools, community centers, hospitals, and churches reaching more than 200,000 people in Greater Houston annually.
In March 2020, local and state government mandates dictated a full closure of the Houston Symphony’s activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the cancelation of 219 events in the 2019–20 season. The Symphony resumed activities in May 2020, opening the 2021–22 season on schedule in September 2021 with small audiences of 150, which the Symphony was gradually able to increase to its current COVID capacity of 450 audience members per performance. Due to the financial impact of the canceled 2019–20 season events, plus the reduction of sales capacity due to audience social distancing in 2020–21, the Symphony cut expenses, reducing the annual budget from $35.2 million in 2019–20 to $25.8 million in 2020-21. The Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement team continues to fulfill its mission through creative and virtual means throughout this period.
The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Koch International Classics, Naxos, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, 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.