Press Room

Houston Symphony Opens 105th Season with Opening Night Concert Featuring Pianist Yuja Wang

HOUSTON (Aug. 28, 2018) – The Houston Symphony opens its 105th season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 2018, with an unforgettable Opening Night performance featuring the dazzling piano virtuoso Yuja Wang for one-night-only at Jones Hall.

Led by conductor Gustavo Gimeno, who serves as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the glamourous evening begins with Ravel’s whimsical love song Alborada del gracioso (“The Jester’s Aubade”). Then, Yuja Wang’s celebrated virtuosity is on full display in Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. This unusual work was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a pianist who lost his right arm in World War I. Wang will also play with both hands in a number of Romantic solo piano works by Rachmaninoff.

The evening also includes American composer Samuel Barber’s popular Overture to The School for Scandal. Gimeno closes out the program with evocative excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, one of ballet’s greatest scores. The concert 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.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Gustavo Gimeno, conductor
Yuja Wang, piano
Ravel: Concerto for the Left Hand
Barber: Overture to The School for Scandal
Rachmaninoff: Selections for Solo Piano
Prokofiev: Excerpts from Romeo & Juliet

About Gustavo Gimeno
Gustavo Gimeno has been music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL) since 2015. He has conducted the OPL in a wide variety of concert formats, appearing with the orchestra in many of the most prestigious concert halls throughout Europe. He builds on the successful tours of previous seasons with guest performances in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Turkey and Greece.

Gustavo and the OPL will continue their series of recordings, launched in 2017, on the classical label Pentatone. Since this collaboration began, the First Symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich and Anton Bruckner, Maurice Ravel’s complete ballet music to Daphnis et Chloé and, most recently, Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony have been released.

During past seasons, Gustavo has shared the Luxembourg Philharmonie stage with soloists Daniel Barenboim, Krystian Zimerman, Khatia Buniatishvili, Bryn Terfel and Frank Peter Zimmermann. Guest artists during the 2018/2019 season will include Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang and Katia and Marielle Labèque.

Gustavo is also a much sought-after guest conductor. In 2018/2019, he returns to the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. He makes his debut conducting this orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Louis Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He will return to the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, which specializes in historically informed performance practice, conducting symphonies by Robert Schumann.

He will appear at the Zürich Opera for the first time in January 2019 with Verdi’s Rigoletto, in a production directed by Tatjana Gürbaca. He will also conduct concert performances of this opera with the OPL in Luxembourg and Paris. Gustavo made his opera debut in 2015 with Bellini’s Norma at the Valencia Opera House. In 2017, he conducted Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the OPL at Luxembourg’s Grand Théâtre.

Born in Valencia, Gustavo Gimeno began his international conducting career in 2012 as assistant to Mariss Jansons, while he was a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. He also gained invaluable experience as assistant to Bernard Haitink and Claudio Abbado, who strongly supported and influenced him as a mentor.

About Yuja Wang
“Her combination of technical ease, colouristic range and sheer power has always been remarkable … but these days there is an ever-greater depth to her musicianship, drawing you into the world of each composer with compelling immediacy.” Financial Times, June 2018

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. The Beijing-born pianist, celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, is ready to register fresh achievements during the 2018-19 season, which features recitals, concert series, season residencies and tours with some of the world’s most venerated ensembles and conductors. She began the summer of 2018 with a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Tanglewood Music Center with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons. That performance was followed by a tour with the Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko on a program featuring Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3.

Later engagements include an extensive recital tour to South America as well as several concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev in Asia. She will be the artist-in-residence for the Carnegie Foundation’s Perspectives as well as at the Wiener Konzerthaus and for the Philharmonie Luxembourg. In addition to these performances, highlight engagements include concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic at Versailles as well as the Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn with Gustavo Dudamel. She also embarks on tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Other notable appearances include concerts in Istanbul, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago and Kotor.

Spring 2019 sees Yuja embark on a tour to Los Angeles, Seoul and Tokyo with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to give the first-ever performances of John Adams’ newest piano concerto as well as reuniting with cellist and frequent collaborator Gautier Capuçon for a vast U.S. chamber tour.
Yuja Wang was born into a musical family. After childhood piano studies in China, she received advanced training in Canada and at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Her international breakthrough came in 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, she signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon and has since established her place among the world’s leading artists with a succession of critically acclaimed performances and recordings.

Yuja was named MusicalAmerica’s Artist of the Year for 2017.

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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