Press Room

Houston Symphony Announces 2017-18 Season, Names Jimmy López New Composer-in-Residence

HOUSTON (Jan. 23, 2017) – The Houston Symphony and Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada announced today details of the 2017-18 season, which marks Orozco-Estrada’s fourth year as music director. Highlights of the season include the appointment of Peruvian-born composer Jimmy López as the Houston Symphony’s new Composer-in-Residence and the introduction of Ars Electronica Futurelab’s musical visualization of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, an immersive concert experience directed by acclaimed choreographer Klaus Obermaier. The season also features the continuation of the Rachmaninoff piano concerto cycle with world-class pianist Denis Kozhukhin, a project that is being recorded for commercial release by Dutch label Pentatone.

In the 2017-18 season, Orozco-Estrada continues his tradition of exploring timeless orchestral masterpieces by major composers Gustav Mahler, Charles Ives and Dmitri Shostakovich as well as presenting an extraordinary roster of established and rising guest artists. Orozco-Estrada’s partnership with Composer-in-Residence Jimmy López kicks off with a newly commissioned Violin Concerto, a piece he is composing for Spanish violinist Leticia Moreno and the Houston Symphony. Leading American composer John Corigliano is highlighted with a performance of Conjurer for Percussionist, Strings and Brass, to be performed by Scottish percussion virtuoso Colin Currie.

As part of Orozco-Estrada’s commitment to multimedia collaborations and the integration of technology in the concert hall, the Houston Symphony will introduce a bold, multisensory stereoscopic dance and music project, never seen in an American concert hall, which offers audiences an interactive way to experience Stravinsky’s famous Rite of Spring. Orozco-Estrada is teaming up with acclaimed artistic director and choreographer Klaus Obermaier and Ars Electronica Futurelab to transfer dancer Yuka Oishi into a virtual three-dimensional space through the use of state-of-the-art stereo cameras and a complex computer system. Obermaier’s staging of Rite of Spring was premiered in 2006 with the Bruckner Orchester Linz and has since captivated audiences across Asia, Europe and Mexico. Orozco-Estrada worked with Obermaier’s dance and music project in 2012 while leading the Tonkünstler Orchestra.

Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio is a featured soloist this season, performing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, often said to be the most perfect composition Mozart ever wrote and one of the greatest of the clarinet repertoire. This will be the first time Houston audiences will hear Nuccio as a concerto soloist since his appointment as Principal Clarinet of the Houston Symphony at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Nuccio’s addition is one of many important appointments Orozco-Estrada has made since being named Music Director Designate during the 2013-14 centennial season.

“The last few years at the Houston Symphony have been an exhilarating ride for all of us; from planning and embarking upon an amazing centennial celebration to finding our Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and a new Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke,” said Mark C. Hanson, Executive Director and CEO, Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. “This season, I’m most excited about the continuation of our Rachmaninoff piano concerto cycle with Denis Kozhukhin and the important centennial celebrations of Ella Fitzgerald on the POPS side and Leonard Bernstein on the classical side. I also look forward to welcoming back acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn in a performance of Bernstein’s Serenade for Violin and Orchestra.”

About Jimmy López

Peruvian-born, California-based, award-winning composer Jimmy López joins the Houston Symphony during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons as the Symphony’s new Composer-in-Residence. Described as “one of the most admired among the younger generation of South American composers” (Chicago Tribune) and “one of the most interesting young composers anywhere today” (Chicago Sun-Times), López will play an integral role both onstage and in the community. Details about his involvement with Houston’s youth will be released at a later date.

Known for his unique working relationship with conductors, musicians and soloists, López has had his works performed by leading orchestras around the world. His music has been heard in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House; and at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Darmstadt and Donaueschingen Music Festivals. His first opera Bel Canto, commissioned by the Lyric Opera Chicago, premiered Dec. 7, 2015, to wide critical acclaim and was recently broadcast nationwide on PBS’ Great Performances.

López’ América Salvaje, a symphonic poem that blends South American and European musical traditions, was performed by the Houston Symphony under the direction of Orozco-Estrada Sept. 18, 2016, during the Symphony’s annual Fiesta Sinfónica program. Orozco-Estrada selected López as the Symphony’s new Composer-in-Residence because he believes the composer’s music is fresh, original and has wide audience appeal.

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