HOUSTON (Oct. 18, 2018) – Sensational vocalist Storm Large and guest conductor Bramwell Tovey return to the Houston Symphony for a “sinful” program of Weill, Richard Strauss and Scriabin titled The Seven Deadly Sins, 8 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Jones Hall.
Large first shot to fame in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova and has since earned a following with her enormously popular performances with the group Pink Martini. She makes her Houston Symphony Classical Series debut in the dual roles for which she’s renowned: Anna in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins.
Best known as the composer of The Threepenny Opera from whence comes the song “Mack the Knife,” Kurt Weill here tells the satirical story of one woman’s travels across seven cities in America in pursuit of the American dream, discovering a different cardinal sin at every stop. Vocal group Hudson Shad makes its Houston Symphony debut as The Family in the social critique work.
Setting the evening’s sinful theme, Grammy-Award-winning conductor Tovey opens the concert with “Salome’s Dance” from Richard Strauss’ opera Salome. Loosely based on a biblical story, Strauss’s opera climaxes with Salome’s notorious Dance of the Seven Veils, which she performs for her stepfather Herod in return for the head of John the Baptist.
Also on the program is Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy, a mystical symphonic work that renders in timeless, sensual music the movement of a spirit toward awareness and consciousness.
The Seven Deadly Sins sponsored by Shell 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 houstonsymphony.org. 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.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS
Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
Storm Large, vocalist (Anna)
Hudson Shad, vocalists (The Family)
R. Strauss: “Salome’s Dance” from Salome
Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy
Weill: The Seven Deadly Sins
About Bramwell Tovey
Grammy and Juno Award®-winning conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey is principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, beginning January 2018.
Following an exceptional 18-year tenure as music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, which concluded in summer 2018, he now returns as the orchestra’s music director emeritus. Under his leadership, the VSO toured China, Korea, Canada and the United States. His VSO innovations included the VSO School of Music, of which he is artistic advisor; the orchestra’s annual festival of contemporary music; and the VSO Orchestral Institute at Whistler, a comprehensive summer training program for young musicians held in Whistler, British Columbia.
This season, in addition to conducting here, his guest appearances include the Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Toronto orchestras and special Christmas programs with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In January, he returns to the Winnipeg New Music Festival, which he initiated during his tenure there.
In 2003, Bramwell won the Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work, Requiem for a Charred Skull. His song cycle, Ancestral Voices, which addresses the issue of reconciliation, was written for acclaimed Kwagiulth mezzo-soprano Marion Newman and premiered in June 2017. His trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for principal trumpet Andrew McCandless and performed in 2014 by Alison Balsom in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and London. A recording of his opera, The Inventor, commissioned by Calgary Opera, features the original cast, members of UBC Opera and the VSO. His Concerto for Orchestra premiered in April to commemorate the VSO’s Centenary. A violin concerto for James Ehnes was commissioned by Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Bramwell received the Oskar Morawetz 2015 Award for Excellence in Music Performance. Previously music director of Orchestre Philharmonie Luxembourg, he led the world premiere of Penderecki’s Eighth Symphony on the opening of the principality’s new concert hall, the Philharmonie. He won the Prix d’or of the Academie Lyrique Française for OPL’s recording of Jean Cras’ 1922 opera, Polyphème, and toured with the orchestra to China, Korea, the United States and throughout Europe.
In 2013, he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for services to music. Since 2006, he has been artistic director of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. As a faculty member of Boston University, he teaches conducting, oversees an extensive orchestra program and directs orchestral and conducting studies.
About Storm Large
Storm Large: musician, actor, playwright, author, awesome. She shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on CBS’ Rock Star: Supernova, where despite having been eliminated the week before the finale, she built a fan base that follows her around the world.
Storm spent the ’90s singing in clubs throughout San Francisco. Tired of the club scene, she moved to Portland to become a chef, but in 2002, a last-minute cancellation at the club Dante’s turned into a standing Wednesday night engagement for Storm and her new band, The Balls. It wasn’t long before she had a cult-like following in Portland and a renewed singing career soon to be launched onto the international stage.
This season, Storm performs her one-woman autobiographical musical memoir, Crazy Enough, at La Jolla Music Society and Portland Center Stage, celebrating the show’s 10-year anniversary. She debuts with the Philly Pops, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, as well as return engagements here and with The New York Pops and the Louisville Orchestra, with whom she recorded the 2017 album All In. Storm continues to tour the country with her band Le Bonheur and as a special guest on Michael Feinstein’s Shaken & Stirred tour.
Storm made her debut as guest vocalist with Pink Martini in 2011, singing four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. She continues to perform with the band, touring nationally and internationally, and is featured on its CD, Get Happy. She has performed with k.d. lang, Kirill Gerstein, John Doe, Rufus Wainwright and George Clinton. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013, singing Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times called her “sensational,” and the classical music world instantly had a new star.
Storm is featured in Rid of Me, a James Westby film, starring Katie O’Grady and Theresa Russell. In 2010, she starred at the Mark Taper Forum with Katey Sagal and Michael McKean in Jerry Zak’s production of Harps and Angels, a musical featuring the work of Randy Newman.
In 2014, Storm and Le Bonheur released a record designed to capture their sublime and subversive interpretations of the American Songbook. Entitled Le Bonheur,¬ the recording is a collection of tortured and titillating love songs: beautiful, familiar, yet twisted … much like the lady herself.
About Hudson Shad
A six-man ensemble consisting of five singers and a pianist, Hudson Shad officially debuted in 1992, but its nucleus formed in 1977 when three members made their Carnegie Hall debuts as soloists in Penderecki’s Magnificat.
The nascent group developed further in 1989, when bass Wilbur Pauley contracted a quartet to perform as The Family in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins with Marianne Faithfull at the Arts at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn. Since then, the Hudson Shad quartet has given more than 100 performances of Sins in more than 50 locations worldwide and was honored to participate in the Carnegie Hall premiere of the work with Ute Lemper and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The group has recorded the work twice, once with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic and once with Faithfull, Dennis Russell Davies and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. They create a third recording in May 2019 with Storm Large and the Oregon Symphony led by music director Carlos Kalmar. Houston is the 14th location where the ensemble has performed Sins with Large since their initial collaboration at the Ojai Music Festival in 2014.
Hudson Shad has also performed Weill’s Kleine Mahagonny with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Salzburg Festival. In 2018, the ensemble collaborated with pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Stefan Jackiw, singing hymns that Charles Ives used as the basis for his four Violin Sonatas in Boston and New York. Conducted by the composer, Hudson Shad debuted with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Wild Things in Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are. They have also performed their own English-language version of Stravinsky’s Renard at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and with Charles Dutoit at the Miyazaki Festival. In a double bill with Sins, they performed Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
For the 1997 Schubert bicentennial, Hudson Shad performed works by the composer with the New York Philharmonic and the Bruckner Orchester Linz. In 1999, the group was featured on Broadway in Band in Berlin, a musical tribute to the legendary German singers. With the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Hudson Shad was the barbershop quartet in The Music Man.
These performances in Houston feature members Mark Bleeke, tenor; Eric Edlund, baritone; Peter Becker, bass-baritone; and Wilbur Pauley, bass.
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.