Press Room

David Kirk

Conroe High School Choir Joins the Houston Symphony in Educational Family-Friendly Concert

HOUSTON (Feb. 21, 2018) – Members of the Conroe High School Choir will join the Houston Symphony at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 3 in Be Our Guest, a family-friendly concert about adventure and fairytale fantasy.

Associate Conductor Robert Franz leads the orchestra and choir in a program featuring the unforgettable music from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and the adventure of Tubby the Tuba, an orchestral tale that has introduced generations of children to orchestral music. Houston Symphony Principal Tuba David Kirk (Tubby the Tuba) and piccolo player Kathryn Ladner (Peepo the Piccolo) will be featured as soloists in this timeless children’s classic.

Craft activities and an instrument petting zoo, which allows children to hold and play orchestral instruments, will be offered in the lobby beginning one hour before the 10 a.m. concert and immediately following the 11:30 a.m. concert. Franz always dresses up for the occasion, and audiences are encouraged to do the same.

The concert will take 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.

Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 10 a.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 11:30 a.m.
Robert Franz, conductor
David Kirk, tuba
Kathryn Ladner, piccolo
Conroe High School Choir
    Clay West, director

About Robert Franz
Robert Franz, acclaimed as a first-rate conductor and award-winning educator, is recognized as a creative force by critics, composers and audiences of all ages. Composer Bright Sheng praised Robert for his “extremely musical and passionate approach towards music making,” and critics hail his “masterly pace, emphasis and technical control.”

This season, Robert celebrates his 10th year as Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony. A tireless ambassador for children’s musical education, he continues to work toward the Symphony’s goal of serving more than 100,000 students by the year 2025. His steady progress has almost doubled attendance during his tenure. Last season, he was the first member of the Symphony’s conducting staff honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership, in recognition of his success in advancing the Symphony’s educational and community engagement activities. He leads the orchestra in a broad range of creative educational and family concerts, including its summer neighborhood concert series and an outreach program dedicated to bringing music to all Houston communities.

Robert’s expressive and incisive style has placed him in increasing demand as a guest conductor, with appearances including The Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis and Victoria Symphonies, and Italy’s Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina.

ASCAP has recognized Robert on two occasions for his advocacy in arts education. Under his direction, both the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Louisville Orchestra were awarded the Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming. The Louisville Orchestra’s award led to the creation of Creating Music and Stories, an education program for Kentucky Educational Television.

Robert’s expertise in music education was recognized by the Idaho Legislature when he was invited to speak about its importance to the education committee. He was also invited to speak at the League of American Orchestra conference on the topic of New Music: Opportunities to Broaden Audiences.

In addition to his current post in Houston, he is music director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra. Robert also served as music director of the Boise Philharmonic (2008–16) and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in Ohio (2003–10), resident conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (2005–09) and associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra (1997-2006).

Robert received his Master of Music degree in conducting and his Bachelor of Music degree in oboe performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Please visit

About David Kirk
David Kirk is Principal Tubist of the Houston Symphony and an Associate Professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, positions held since 1982.
Mr. Kirk enjoys an international reputation for effective teaching of musicianship and the physical aspects of wind playing. He has presented master classes throughout North America and in Japan. Kirk was selected for his teaching and playing positions during his final year of undergraduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York City. While at Juilliard, he studied with Don Harry. Kirk’s other teachers include David Waters, Chester Schmitz, Warren Deck, and Neal Tidwell.

Mr. Kirk appears as a guest performer with ensembles throughout the US. Locally, he is an active recitalist, chamber music collaborator, and spokesman for the musical arts. He serves on the faculty of the Texas Music Festival, a summer conservatory held at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.

His orchestral playing is heard on Houston Symphony recordings under conductors Sergiu Comissiona, Newton Wayland, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Krajewski, Hans Graf, and Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Kirk’s solo playing is featured on Mark Custom Recordings’ The Music of Leroy Osmon, Volume 1.

About Kathryn Ladner
Kathryn Ladner joined the Houston Symphony in the fall of 2016. She moved to Houston from Nashville, Tennessee where she played third flute and piccolo with the Nashville Symphony from 2012-2016. While in Nashville, Kathryn also enjoyed playing with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and the Alias Chamber Ensemble, among other groups, and teaching flute lessons at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt and the W.O. Smith Music School.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Kathryn began playing flute in the public schools at age 10. Kathryn holds a Bachelors of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and a Masters of Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. While at Eastman, she studied flute with Bonita Boyd and took piccolo lessons with Anne Harrow. In 2010 she was the Piccolo Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, and she has also performed with the National Repertory Orchestra and the Pacific Music Festival. At the Shepherd School of Music she studied with Leone Buyse, graduating in 2012.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth 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.

For tickets and more information, please visit or call 713-224-7575.

Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557,


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