Press Room

Principal Bass Robin Kesselman Makes His Houston Symphony Solo Debut

HOUSTON (Jan. 19, 2017) – Houston Symphony Principal Bass Robin Kesselman steps out in front of the orchestra for the first time as a soloist at 8 p.m. Feb. 2-3, 2017, to perform Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra. The program, titled Andrés Conducts West Side Story, features modern and contemporary music from the Americas and will be led my Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

Appointed Principal Bass of the Houston Symphony by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada when he was just 24 years old, Kesselman is among the youngest musicians to hold a principal post at a major American orchestra. Outside of the orchestra, he frequently performs as a soloist and chamber musician and conducts masterclasses nationally and abroad. He has appeared with the National, Atlanta and Baltimore symphonies. Most recently, he was featured as a soloist at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as a part of the Curtis Chamber Orchestra’s residency with Krzysztof Penderecki performing his Duo Concertante.

Composed at the turn of the century by Russian-born Koussevtizky, a bassist best-known for his tenure as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the dramatic concerto is a notable and lyrical contribution to the scarce bass repertoire.

“Koussevitzky was an incredible musician in the American scene. His bass concerto is a heart-on-sleeve, emotive kind of piece. It’s the kind of lyrical play that we rarely get to do,” said Kesselman. “It’s very exciting for me to be a vehicle for the instrument and be able to step in front of the orchestra to play that kind of drama.”

Also on the program is Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas’ Sensemayá, based on a poem by Cuban poet Nicolás Guillen that describes the ritual killing of a snake; Astor Piazzolla’s seductive Tangazo; and Leonard Bernstein’s buoyant Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The works will be recorded for future commercial release on the Houston Symphony’s “Music of the Americas” album.

Please note: Traffic will be slow in the area due to Super Bowl-related events. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early, leaving extra time for traveling to Jones Hall and parking. There will likely be delays entering and exiting the garage. For more information, visit


  • Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, at 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, at 8 p.m.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada Conductor
Robin Kesselman Double Bass
Revueltas: Sensemayá
Koussevitzsky: Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra
Piazzolla: Tangazo
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Tickets from $25

The concert will take 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.

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