Press Room

Houston Symphony Announces Performance with Three-Time Grammy Award-Winning Hip-Hop Artist Common

HOUSTON (July 1, 2019) – Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and three-time Grammy Award-winning actor, activist, and hip-hop artist Common joins conductor Steven Reineke and the Houston Symphony for an unforgettable one-night-only performance on September 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The multi-talented artist Common will perform selections from his latest albums, including the upcoming album “Let Love” due later this summer, as well as some of his most memorable hits. Since his 1992 album Can I Borrow a Dollar?, Common has remained one of hip-hop’s and popular culture’s most influential figures. In 2015, having starred in the film Selma, Common won the Academy Award─alongside John Legend─for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture” for “Glory,” which was featured in the film. His 11th studio album, “Black America Again” on the ARTium/Def Jam label, features a collaboration with Stevie Wonder on the title track, as well as the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-Nominated documentary 13TH, for which he also received the 2017 Emmy for “Best Music and Lyrics.”

Common and Reineke, Houston Symphony Principal POPS Conductor, previously collaborated with symphony orchestras across the nation, beginning with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.─where Reineke also serves as Principal POPS Conductor─which created this program for Common. Other orchestras include the San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony—the artist’s hometown Common said of performing with a symphony, “Hip-hop has a spontaneity to it and a freedom to it whereas orchestras and symphonies perform with written music, so you know what bar you’re going to end. It makes me stay on my toes.” (WBEZ Chicago)

Common performs with the Houston Symphony September 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. Tickets are now on sale for Common with the Houston Symphony, as well as for most of the Symphony’s 2019–20 performances via and 713.224.7575. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.).

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Common, artist

About Steven Reineke
Steven Reineke has established himself as one of North America’s leading conductors of popular music. In addition to being Principal POPS Conductor at the Houston Symphony, Steven is the music director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, principal pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and principal pops conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the posts of principal pops conductor of the Long Beach and Modesto Symphony Orchestras and associate conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Steven is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include Atlanta, Cincinnati, Edmonton, and San Francisco.

On stage, Steven has created programs and collaborated with a range of leading artists from the worlds of hip hop, Broadway, television and rock, including Common, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Sutton Foster, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, Wayne Brady, Peter Frampton, and Ben Folds, among others. In 2017, he was featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered leading the National Symphony Orchestra—in a first for the show’s 45-year history—performing live music excerpts between news segments.

As the creator of more than 100 orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Steven’s work has been performed worldwide and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America, including performances by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His Sun Valley Festival Fanfare was used to commemorate the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s pavilion, and his Festival Te Deum and Swan’s Island Sojourn were debuted by the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands worldwide.

A native of Ohio, Steven is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned Bachelor of Music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband, Eric Gabbard.

About Common
Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy-winning artist, actor, author, and activist, Common continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed, diverse roles, and continued success in all aspects of his career.

Most recently, Common released his second memoir, “Let Love Have the Last Word” which instantly became a New York Times best seller the week it was released. The book shares Common’s own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer. This follows his first memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make sense” which was released in 2011 and is also a New York Times best seller.

This summer, Common will release a new album titled “Let Love.” The album was inspired by the work and experiences that came to fruition while writing his most recent memoir of the same name.

Common recently wrapped production on the upcoming action drama, Eve for director Tate Taylor. Also cast in the film are Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain. He also completed production on actor Charlie Day’s independent Hollywood satire El Tonto alongside Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, and Jason Sudeikis.

Common is set to star alongside Jonny Lee Miller in Nine Lives, the movie adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi novelette of the same name. He has also been tapped to star in Quick Draw, a revenge action thriller from the producers of Transformers.

Up next, Common will be seen in The Kitchen based on the DC/Vertigo female-led comic book series. He stars alongside Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss. Set in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen during the 1970s, the story follows wives of Irish mobsters (McCarthy, Haddish, and Moss) who team up to take over running the business after their husbands are sent to prison. The film was released August 9, 2019.

Common will also be seen in The Informer with Joel Kinnaman and Rosamund Pike. The film follows a story of an ex-convict working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum-security prison. The film is set to release on August 16, 2019.

Last year, Common was seen on the silver screen in the Fox 2000 film, The Hate You Give with Amanda Stenberg, Issa Rae, and KJ Apa. This timely drama, directed by George Tillman Jr., premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. He lent his voice to the Warner Bros animated film Smallfoot alongside an all-star cast, Channing Tatum, Zendaya, James Corden, and LeBron James. Common also starred in the indie film, All About Nina opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead and directed by Eva Vives and the action film Hunter Killer with Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, and Linda Cardellini.

He starred in the Oscar nominated film, Selma, a film centered around the civil rights marches that changed America. Alongside John Legend, he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2015 for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture” for “Glory” which was featured in the film. In 2016, he appeared in the David Ayer’s high-profile comic book movie, Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad. The film broke box office records both domestically and around the world.

In 2017, Common starred opposite Keanu Reeves in the highly anticipated sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 and appeared in Judy Greer’s directorial debut A Happening of Monumental Proportions with Allison Janney. He also appeared in Bleecker Street’s Megan Leavey alongside Kate Mara, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, and Edie Falco.

Behind-the-scenes, Common recently executive-produced the Netflix drama Burning Sands and performed the closing credits original song “The Cross” featuring Lianne Le Havas. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released on Netflix March. He serves as an executive producer of Showtime’s hit TV series “The Chi,” a coming-of-age story set in Chicago from Emmy Award winning writer Lena Waithe.

Common’s 11th studio album, Black America Again, was released November 4, 2016 on ARTium/Def Jam Recordings. The album includes socially conscious new single, “Black America Again” featuring Stevie Wonder and the anthem “Letter to the Free,” the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-Nominated documentary 13th, for which he also received the 2017 Emmy for “Best Music and Lyrics.” After collaborating on the album, Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins joined together to form supergroup August Greene. The trio made their live debut in January 2018 at New York’s Highline Ballroom as part of Glasper’s annual Grammy Awards party and will release their first joint album on March 9th through Amazon Music.

In 2017, Common was featured on Andra Day’s song for Open Road Films’ Marshall soundtrack, “Stand Up for Something,” co-written by Common and eight-time Academy Award-nominee Diane Warren. The original song has received Oscar, Grammy, NAACP, and Critic Choice Award nominations, as well as the “Hollywood Song Award” at the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards.

For the past few years, Common has dedicated countless hours and has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work around mass incarceration, mental health, and voting. After the success and impact of his Imagine Justice concert in 2017 and his Hope & Redemption Tour to eight different prisons, Common decided to establish and launch Imagine Justice as a new nonprofit in 2018. Centered at the intersection of art and activism, Imagine Justice is dedicated to leveraging the power of art to advocate for communities around the country, to fight for justice and equality and to stand united against injustice wherever it appears.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2019–20 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its sixth 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 hundreds of 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, [email protected]
Mireya Reyna: 713.337.8557, [email protected]



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