HOUSTON (Sept. 24, 2020) — The Houston Symphony announces October concert programs for its Classical, Bank of America POPS, and BBVA Family Series as in-person performances for subscribers and weekly livestreaming to ticketed home audiences continue. The lineup offers such audience favorites as Haydn’s Piano Concerto No. 11 with pianist George Li, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with violinist James Ehnes, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, alongside inspirational new works by contemporary composers like Anna Clyne, Philip Herbert, and Gabriela Ortiz. Part of the BBVA Family Series, Ghosts, Ghouls & Goblins gives families a chance to celebrate Halloween with a kid-friendly morning concert. Halloween-loving adults can enjoy an evening of spooky classics from thrilling films and the orchestral repertoire, as part of the Bank of America POPS Series. Tickets are now on sale at houstonsymphony.org/2021season.
The month of October begins with three Classical Series concerts. Under the direction of debuting guest conductor Xian Zhang, music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony presents Clyne, Haydn & Dvořák on Oct. 2–4. Known for his technical prowess and depth of expression, rising young piano star George Li returns to the Symphony in Haydn’s popular Piano Concerto No. 11. First on the program is Within Her Arms for string ensemble by the “dazzlingly inventive” (The New York Times) composer Anna Clyne. To wrap up the evening, members of the Symphony wind section are spotlighted in Dvořák’s charming and versatile Serenade in D minor featuring delightful folk melodies.
Oct. 16–18, the Classical Series continues with international violin virtuoso James Ehnes, who joins the orchestra as soloist and leader in the program Ehnes Plays Mendelssohn. The program opens with Vaugh-Williams’s pastoral, romantic, and transcendent The Lark Ascending for solo violin and orchestra. Listeners are taken on a journey through the English countryside with the help of lush folk melodies. Next, the Symphony continues to explore engaging works by living composers in a performance of Philip Herbert’s Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence, featuring members of the Symphony’s string section. Herbert’s poignant Elegy serves as a reflection on racial injustices, past and present. To close out the evening, Ehnes takes the spotlight in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, one of the most beloved concertos in the violin repertoire.
Concertmaster and Max Levine Chair Holder Yoonshin Song is the violinist and leader in the program Tchaikovsky’s Serenade on Oct. 23–25. At the top of the program, a quartet of Symphony strings perform Puccini’s Chrysanthemums. Most known for his opera works, Puccini’s short piece for string quartet is seldom heard, overshadowed by the composer’s wildly popular operas. Next on the program is Tepito: Barrio de Resistencia, a piece by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. The lively and rhythmic piece is inspired by Mexico City’s colorful and energetic Tepito neighborhood. Song serves as leader in Tchaikovsky’s beloved and sentimental Serenade for Strings, a piece that showcases the virtuosity of the Symphony’s string section, to close out the evening’s program.
The morning of Halloween, Oct. 31, Houston families can get in the trick or treat spirit as the Symphony opens the 2020–21 BBVA Family Series with Ghosts, Ghouls & Goblins at 11 a.m. The musical morning features music from Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many more. Ticketholders can get in the spooky spirit with at-home kid-friendly, concert-themed, engaging activities to take part in before or during the concert, delivered right to their inbox before the livestream.
Later that evening, the Bank of America POPS Series continues with Haunted Halloween POPS under the direction of former Principal POPS Conductor Michael Krajewski. The thrilling evening of music features recognizable works ranging from In the Hall of the Mountain King, music from Psycho, and more. This concert presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate Halloween with entertainment, thrills, and maybe some spirits!
For those who will not be attending concerts in person at Jones Hall, 2020–21 Season livestream subscription options are still available so patrons can continue to enjoy live music from the comfort of their own homes. 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. To purchase a livestream subscription, visit houstonsymphony.org/liveconcerts.
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. Those who do not yet have tickets but are interested in attending live performances when tickets become available should contact the Symphony’s box office, or fill out an interest form at houstonsymphony.org/standby.
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. Concertmaster, and Max Levine Chair Yoonshin Song is sponsored in part by Gary and Marian Beauchamp and the Beauchamp Foundation. Livestream of Houston Symphony concerts is made possible by Barbara J. Burger.
CLYNE, HAYDN & DVOŘÁK
Friday, October 2, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 3, at 8 p.m.*
Sunday, October 4, at 2:30 p.m.
Xian Zhang, conductor
George Li, piano
Anna Clyne: Within Her Arms
Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 11 in D major
Dvořák: Serenade in D minor
EHNES PLAYS MENDELSSOHN
Friday, October 16, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 17, at 8 p.m.*
Sunday, October 18, at 2:30 p.m.
James Ehnes, violin and leader
Vaughan-Williams: The Lark Ascending
Philip Herbert: Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
Friday, October 23, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 24, at 8 p.m.*
Sunday, October 25, at 8 p.m.
Yoonshin Song, violin and leader
Gabriela Ortiz: Tepito: Barrio de Resistencia
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major for Strings
GHOSTS, GHOULS & GOBLINS
Saturday, October 31 at 11 a.m.*
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN POPS
Friday, October 30, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 31, at 8 p.m.*
Sunday, November 1, at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Michael Krajewski, conductor
*Livestreamed at 8 p.m. CST
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 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.
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.