HOUSTON (Jan. 28, 2018) – The Houston Symphony’s live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf won a Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in the Best Opera Recording category. This is the first nomination and win in the orchestra’s 104-year history.
Hailed by Gramophone as “One of the finest Wozzecks on record, orchestrally speaking,” and by Fanfare as a “Terrifically imposing performance” under the direction of “An experienced and confident conductor,” the two-disc album features Hans Graf (conductor/producer); recording engineer Brad Sayles (producer), Anne Schwanewilms & Roman Trekel (principal soloists); the Houston Symphony; and Chorus Of Students And Alumni, Shepherd School Of Music, Rice University & Houston Grand Opera Children’s Chorus.
Wozzeck is a significant addition to the successful Houston Symphony recordings conducted by Graf during his tenure as music director. Graf made his Naxos debut in 2009 with the Houston Symphony’s recording of Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Berg’s Three Pieces. “Büchner’s timeless, daring message of empathy and understanding along with Berg’s incredible music, emotional and precise, yielded perhaps the greatest opera of the 20th century,” said Graf. “The Houston Symphony’s performances show how it can be done in concert, staged lightly with great care and love – and with great impact.”
The album was also recently awarded the distinguished ECHO Klassik Award for Best Opera Recording (20th/21st Century Opera). Recorded during concerts at Jones Hall in 2013 by Sayles, who now serves as the Houston Symphony’s recording engineer, the album was met with worldwide recognition upon its Jan. 13, 2017, international release on the Naxos label.
Other Houston Symphony recordings under the direction of current Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada include the critically acclaimed recordings of the last four symphonies of Dvořák on the Dutch label PENTATONE. Upcoming releases under PENTATONE include a Music of the Americas album (February 2018) featuring Gershwin, Revueltas, Piazzolla and Bernstein, followed by Haydn’s The Creation (May 2018).
Digital downloads and CDs of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck are available through Amazon.
About Hans Graf
Appointed Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2001, Hans Graf concluded his tenure in May 2013 and is the longest serving Music Director in the orchestra’s history. Prior to his appointment in
Houston, he was the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994. He has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, CBC, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels, and his extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert, the première recording of Zemlinsky’s opera Es war einmal and the complete orchestral works of Dutilleux. He has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour.
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 more than 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston. For tickets and more information, please visit houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.