Press Room

Karen Gomyo

Dynamic Violin Star Karen Gomyo Returns to the Houston Symphony for Tchaikovsky’s Daunting Violin Concerto

HOUSTON (Oct. 12, 2018) – Captivating violin virtuoso Karen Gomyo and guest conductor Fabien Gabel mark their return engagements with the Houston Symphony in a program featuring works by Tchaikovsky and two selections from iconic film scores. Titled Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, the program is at 8 p.m., Oct. 26-27, and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Gomyo joins Gabel and the Houston Symphony to take on the demanding and challenging concerto that gives this program its name. Once deemed unplayable, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto has gone on to become a beloved cornerstone of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and best-known of violin concertos.

Current Music Director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Gabel opens the program with Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo Suite, from Hitchcock’s psychological thriller Vertigo. Evoking Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Hermann’s score masterfully paints a musical portrait of the film’s protagonist (played by Jimmy Stewart) and his uncontrollable amorous obsession.

Based on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Gabel continues the second half with Tchaikovsky’s symphonic tone poem The Tempest, and concludes with the swash-buckling thrill ride of Korngold’s Suite from the classic Errol Flynn action film The Sea Hawk, the second film score featured in the concert.

Prior to each concert, audience members can enjoy an intimate chamber music performance of select movements from Korngold’s Piano Quintet in E major, Op. 15.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, 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.

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Fabien Gabel, conductor
Karen Gomyo, violin
Herrmann: Vertigo Suite
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Korngold: Suite from The Sea Hawk
Tchaikovsky: The Tempest

About Fabien Gabel
Recognized internationally as one of the stars of the new generation, Fabien Gabel is a regular guest of major orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia. He has been music director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra since September 2013 and was recently appointed music director of the Orchestre français des jeunes (French Youth Orchestra).

Following a highly-anticipated debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, last season took Fabien across the United States and Europe, including high-profile performances with this orchestra, the National and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Frankfurt’s Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester and the Orchestre de Paris. Additional American appearances include performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony. After an acclaimed debut with the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester last season, Fabien’s European engagements will again feature concerts throughout Germany and welcome returns to the Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

He has worked with leading performers, including Emanuel Ax, Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Julian Steckel, Johannes Moser, Antȏnio Meneses, Marc-André Hamelin, Beatrice Rana, Gautier Capuçon, Simone Lamsma, Jennifer Larmore, Measha Brueggergosman, Danielle de Niese, Natalie Dessay and Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

Fabien had first attracted international attention in 2004, winning the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, which subsequently led to his appointment as the London Symphony Orchestra’s assistant conductor (2004-2006). The LSO has since regularly engaged him as a guest conductor.

He made his professional conducting debut in 2003 with the L’Orchestre National de France. He now regularly conducts that orchestra in subscription concerts and recently recorded a French opera aria CD with mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Naïve).

Born in Paris and a member of a family of accomplished musicians, Fabien Gabel began studying trumpet at age 6, honing his skills at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris, which awarded him a First Prize in trumpet in 1996, and later at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. He played in various Parisian orchestras under the direction of prominent conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle and Bernard Haitink. In 2002, he pursued his interest in conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, where he studied with David Zinman, who invited him to appear as a guest conductor at the Festival in 2009. He has worked with Haitink and Davis as their assistant.

About Karen Gomyo
Praised by the Chicago Tribune as “a first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity,” violinist Karen Gomyo captivates audiences worldwide.

In May 2018, she performed the world premiere of Samuel Adams’ Chamber Concerto, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, to great critical acclaim. The work was written for her and commissioned by the CSO to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its MusicNow series.

Highlights of the 2018-19 season include debuts with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Jakub Hrůša and England’s Royal Northern Sinfonia with Karina Canellakis; as well as returns to this orchestra; the San Francisco, St. Louis and Oregon Symphonies; Minnesota Orchestra; Vancouver and Dallas Symphony Orchestras; and Germany’s WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln.

Last season, she performed in recital at the Sydney Opera House, toured with Edo de Waart and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, followed by performances with West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; she returned to orchestras in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Cincinnati, Detroit and Indianapolis, among others. She also performed in her annual chamber music project at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.

Strongly committed to contemporary works, Karen performed the North American premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Concerto No. 2 Mar’eh with the composer conducting the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., as well as Pēteris Vasks’ Vox Amoris with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds. She has collaborated in chamber music compositions with Jörg Widmann, Olli Mustonen and Sofia Gubaidulina.

In recital and chamber music, Karen has performed in festivals throughout the United States and Europe. She recently toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and fellow guest artist, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Her chamber music collaborators have included the late Heinrich Schiff, Christian Poltéra, Alisa Weilerstein, Julian Steckel, Leif Ove Andsnes, Kathryn Stott, Christian Ihle Hadland, Antoine Tamestit, Isabelle van Keulen and Lawrence Power. This year, she appeared at the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

Karen participated as violinist, host and narrator in a documentary film produced by NHK Japan about Antonio Stradivarius, The Mysteries of the Supreme Violin. She is deeply interested in the Nuevo Tango music of Astor Piazzolla and often performs with his partners. She also performs regularly with the Finnish guitarist Ismo Eskelinen.

Karen Gomyo plays on the “Aurora, exFoulis” Stradivarius violin of 1703, bought for her exclusive use by a private sponsor.

About the 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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