Press Room

The Houston Symphony Announces 2021–22 Season Single Tickets On Sale and New Program Details

HOUSTON, TX (Aug. 4, 2021) — Individual tickets to all the announced Houston Symphony 2021–22 Classical and POPS concerts are now available via houstonsymphony.org and 713.224.7575. Single tickets to the Symphony’s BBVA Family Series are currently only on sale to subscribers. The 2021–22 Season begins in September with the Bank of America POPS program, Once Upon a Time: Alan Menken’s Broadway, Sept. 3–5, followed by the one-night only Opening Night Gala and Concert with Renée Fleming, sponsored by ConocoPhillips, on Sept. 11. Then, the 2021–22 Classical Series opens with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s much-anticipated return and final season celebration in Andrés Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth, Sept. 17–19.

“The talent, collaborative spirit, and personality of every musician on stage, combined with the energy we receive from the audience, are the aspects of Houston I have missed the most, and I can’t wait to return,” said Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. “The level of musicianship in our orchestra is second to none, and I’m looking forward to showing this artistry through these works of art. Audiences will also get the chance to see members of the orchestra performing alongside renowned guest artists, which is a testament to our musicians’ world-class virtuosity.”

To conclude his tenure, Orozco-Estrada welcomes back pianists Yefim Bronfman and Emanuel Ax, and violinist Gil Shaham and Augustin Hadelich in concertos and collaborations with Concertmaster Yoonshin Song, Principal Cello Brinton Averil Smith, Principal Oboe Jonathan Fischer, Principal Double Bass Robin Kesselman, and Principal Keyboard Scott Holshouser; as well as a lineup of audience-favorites including Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 and Mahler’s dramatic Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, with soprano Ana María Martínez and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor; and spotlights Houston Symphony musicians in solo performances. Among the new highlights announced for the 2021–22 Season are Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting the world premiere Houston Symphony commission of a new orchestral arrangement of 19th-Century Afro-European composer George Bridgetower’s Henry, a Ballad, for Fortepiano and Voice in a new arrangement by Kyle Rivera, a Houston-area composer who most recently collaborated with the Symphony as part of the Resilient Sounds initiative in 2019. Later in the season, another commission by the Houston Symphony gets its COVID-delayed world premiere performance, as Robert Spano conducts Associate Principal Timpani and Percussionist Matthew Strauss, guest percussionist Svet Stoyanov, and the orchestra in Jennifer Higdon’s Double Percussion Concerto.

Guest artists for the 2021–22 Classical Season include Yefim Bronfman in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Concertmaster Yoonshin Song and Principal Cello Brinton Averil Smith, Sept. 17–19. Augustin Hadelich as violin and leader on Sept. 24–26 in Bach’s Double Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe with Principal Oboe Jonathan Fischer; Shostakovich’s Sonata for Violin; Bach’s Prelude from Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin, Percussion, and Strings; Saint-Georges’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Other luminaries include pianist Hélène Grimaud in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Nov. 19–21; superstar violinist Simone Lamsma in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, Nov. 26–28; pianist Alexandra Dariescu making her Symphony debut in Nadia Boulanger’s Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra and Franck’s Variations symphoniques, Feb. 11–13; Gil Shaham in Samuel Barber’s ravishing Violin Concerto and Bottesini’s dazzling Grand duo concertante with Principal Double Bass Robin Kesselman, Dec. 3–5; world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax in Saint-Saëns’s beloved and colorful Le carnaval des animaux (Carnival of the Animals) alongside Houston Symphony Principal Keyboard Scott Holshouser, Mar. 18–20; Principal Harp Megan Conley in Kaija Saariaho’s Trans for Harp and Orchestra, Mar. 11–13; French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Apr. 15–16; and legendary violinist and Houston Symphony Artistic Partner Itzhak Perlman, May 12, 14 & 15.

Other highlights include the return of the Houston Symphony Chorus under the direction of Dr. Betsy Cook Weber in four concerts throughout the season: Handel’s Messiah, Very Merry POPS, Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s last performances as Music Director leading Mahler’s Second Symphony with soprano Ana María Martínez and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, and Music Director Designate Juraj Valčuha leading Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to close the season.

The complete chronological listing of concerts—including performance dates, times, and guest artists—is below.

POPS 1
Once Upon a Time: Alan Menken’s Broadway (no intermission)
FRI, SEPT. 3, 8 P.M.
SAT, SEPT. 4, 8 P.M.*
SUN, SEPT. 5, 2:30 P.M.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Katie Rose Clarke, vocalist
Matt Doyle, vocalist
Jordan Donica, vocalist
Montego Glover, vocalist

SYMPHONY SPECIAL
Opening Night: Renée Fleming
SAT, SEPT. 11, 7:30 P.M. (no intermission)
Steven Reineke, conductor
Renée Fleming, soprano

CLASSICAL 1
Andrés Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth
FRI, SEPT. 17, 8 P.M.
SAT, SEPT. 18, 8 P.M. *
SUN, SEPT. 19, 2:30 P.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Yoonshin Song, violin
Brinton Averil Smith, cello
Yefim Bronfman, piano

G. BRIDGETOWER/Arr. KYLE RIVERA Henry, A Ballad, for Fortepiano and Voice, arranged for Orchestra (Houston Symphony Commission, World Premiere)
BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5

CLASSICAL 2
The Artistry of Augustin Hadelich (no intermission)
FRI, SEPT. 24, 8 P.M.
SAT, SEPT. 25, 8 P.M.*
SUN, SEPT. 26, 2:30 P.M.
Augustin Hadelich, violin and leader
Jonathan Fischer, oboe

BACH Double Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe
SHOSTAKOVICH Sonata for Violin, Percussion, and String Orchestra
BACH Prelude from Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin
SAINT-GEORGES Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2

POPS 2
Whole Lotta Shakin’: Swing to Rock
FRI, OCT. 8, 8 P.M.
SAT, OCT. 9, 8 P.M.*
SUN, OCT. 10, 2:30 P.M.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Dave Bennett, clarinet
Houston Symphony Big Band

CLASSICAL 3
Title TBC
FRI, OCT. 22, 8 P.M.
SAT, OCT. 23, 8 P.M.*
SUN, OCT. 24, 2:30 P.M.
Jane Glover, conductor

Artists and Program TBC

CLASSICAL 4
Symphonie fantastique
FRI, OCT. 29, 8 P.M.
SAT, OCT. 30, 8 P.M.*
SUN, OCT. 31, 2:30 P.M.
Jader Bignamini, conductor

COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Symphonic Variations on an African Air
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique

POPS 3
Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Songbook
FRI, NOV. 5, 8 P.M.
SAT, NOV. 6, 8 P.M.*
SUN, NOV. 7, 2:30 P.M.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Byron Stripling, trumpet and vocalist

CLASSICAL 5
Hélène Grimaud Plays Ravel
FRI, NOV. 19, 8 P.M.
SAT, NOV. 20, 8 P.M.*
SUN, NOV. 21, 2:30 P.M.
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano

DEBUSSY “Ibéria” from Images
RAVEL Piano Concerto in G
U. CHIN Graffiti
RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole

CLASSICAL 6
Thanksgiving Weekend: Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty
FRI, NOV. 26, 8 P.M.
SAT, NOV. 27, 8 P.M.*
SUN, NOV. 28, 2:30 P.M.
Fabien Gabel, conductor
Simone Lamsma, violin

S. MOUSSA Nocturne for Orchestra
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1
HUMPERDINCK Königskinder: Prelude, Introduction to Acts II and III
TCHAIKOVSKY Sleeping Beauty Suite

CLASSICAL 7
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker + Gil Shaham
FRI, DEC. 3, 8 P.M.
SAT, DEC. 4, 8 P.M.*
SUN, DEC. 5, 2:30 P.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Robin Kesselman, double bass

BARBER Violin Concerto
BOTTESINI Gran duo concertante
TCHAIKOVSKY The Nutcracker, Act II

Performance does not feature dancing.

FAMILY 1
Musical Treats from The Nutcracker—for Kids!
SAT, DEC. 4, 10 A.M. & 11:30 A.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor

Program to Include:
TCHAIKOVSKY The Nutcracker, Act II

Performance does not feature dancing.

SYMPHONY SPECIAL
Handel’s Messiah
FRI, DEC. 10, 8 P.M.
SAT, DEC. 11, 8 P.M.*
SUN, DEC. 12, 2:30 P.M.
Bernard Labadie, conductor
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director
Janwin Overstreet-Goode, choral preparation

HANDEL Messiah

POPS 4
Very Merry POPS
SAT, DEC. 18, 8 P.M.*
SUN, DEC. 19, 2:30 P.M.
SUN, DEC. 19, 7:30 P.M.
Michael Krajewski, conductor
Rodney Ingram, vocalist
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director
Matthew Hazzard, choral preparation

POPS 5
Pink Martini
FRI, JAN. 7, 8 P.M.
SAT, JAN. 8, 8 P.M.*
SUN, JAN. 9, 2:30 P.M.
Steven Reineke, conductor

Classical 8
Christoph Eschenbach Returns
FRI, JAN. 21, 8 P.M.
SAT, JAN. 22, 8 P.M.*
SUN, JAN. 23, 2:30 P.M.
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Remainder of program TBC

POPS 6
Classic Rock: The Sound of a Generation
FRI, FEB. 4, 8 P.M.
SAT, FEB. 5, 8 P.M.*
SUN, FEB. 6, 2:30 P.M.
Michael Krajewski, conductor
Shem von Schroeck, vocalist
Micah Wilshire, vocalist
Lori Zabka, vocalist

FAMILY 2
Let’s Be A Pirate!
SAT, FEB. 5, 10 A.M. & 11:30 A.M
Robert Franz, conductor

CLASSICAL 9
Fabien Gabel Conducts French Masterworks
FRI, FEB. 11, 8 P.M.
SAT, FEB. 12, 8 P.M.*
Fabien Gabel, conductor
Alexandra Dariescu, piano
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Matthew White, tenor

STRAVINSKY Chant funébre (Funeral Song)
N. BOULANGER Fantaisie Variée for Piano and Orchestra
FRANCK Variations symphoniques
L. BOULANGER Scenes from Faust et Hélène

CLASSICAL 10
Title TBD
FRI, FEB. 25, 8 P.M.
SAT, FEB. 26, 8 P.M.*
SUN, FEB. 27, 2:30 P.M.
Ryan Bancroft, conductor

Remainder of program TBC

POPS 7
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi—in Concert
FRI, MAR. 4, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAR. 5, 8 P.M.
SUN, MAR. 6, 2:30 P.M.
Damon Gupton, conductor

CLASSICAL 11
Rachmaninoff’s Second
FRI, MARCH 11, 8 P.M.
SAT, MARCH 12, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MARCH 13, 2:30 P.M.
Lionel Bringuier, conductor
Megan Conley, harp

K. SAARIAHO Trans for Harp and Orchestra
RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2

CLASSICAL 12
Andrés Conducts The Carnival of the Animals
FRI, MAR.18, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAR. 19, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAR. 20, 2:30 P.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano
Scott Holshouser, piano

SAINT-SAËNS Le carnaval des animaux (Carnival of the Animals)

Remainder of program TBC

CLASSICAL 13
Symphony Soloists
FRI, MAR. 25, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAR. 26, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAR. 27, 2:30 P.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
TBC, Houston Symphony soloists

Remainder of program TBC

CLASSICAL 14
Thibaudet Plays Liszt
FRI, APR. 15, 8 P.M.
SAT, APR. 16, 8 P.M.*
Rafael Payare, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2

Remainder of program TBC

POPS 8
Aretha: Queen of Soul
FRI, APR. 22, 8 P.M.
SAT, APR. 23, 8 P.M.*
SUN, APR. 24, 2:30 P.M.
Lucas Waldin, conductor
Capathia Jenkins, vocalist
Ryan Shaw, vocalist
The Phillip Hall Singers
Phillip Hall, director

FAMILY 3
African Adventure
SAT, APR. 23, 10 A.M. & 11:30 A.M.
Robert Franz, conductor

CLASSICAL 15
Andrés’s Farewell: Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony
FRI, APR. 29, 8 P.M.
SAT, APR. 30, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAY 1, 2:30 P.M.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Ana María Martínez, soprano
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director

MAHLER Symphony No. 2, Resurrection

CLASSICAL 16
Copland 3 + Higdon World Premiere
FRI, MAY 6, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAY 7, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAY 8, 2:30 P.M.
Robert Spano, conductor
Matthew Strauss and Svet Stoyanov, percussion

THEOFANIDIS Rainbow Body
J. HIGDON Double Percussion Concerto (World Premiere, Houston Symphony Commission)
COPLAND Symphony No. 3

CLASSICAL 17
Itzhak Perlman Returns
THU, MAY 12, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAY 14, 8 P.M.
SUN, MAY 15, 2:30 P.M.
Itzhak Perlman, conductor

Remainder of program TBC

CLASSICAL 19
Season Finale: Beethoven 9
FRI, MAY 20, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAY 21, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAY 22, 2:30 P.M.
Juraj Valčuha, conductor
J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Mark Doss, bass-baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director

C. SIMON An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9, Choral

POPS 9
The Best of John Williams: Star Wars & More with Chorus
FRI, MAY 27, 8 P.M.
SAT, MAY 28, 8 P.M.*
SUN, MAY 29, 2:30 P.M.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsey Cook Weber, director

*Livestreamed at 8 p.m. CT

Ticket Information
Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2021–22 Season, including the Classical and POPS Series are now on sale. While individual tickets to the Symphony’s BBVA Family Series are currently only on sale to subscribers. For more information, visit houstonsymphony.org or call the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center at 713.224.7575, Monday─Saturday, 12─6 p.m. All programs subject to change.

Houston Symphony Season Partners
Support from the Houston Symphony’s corporate, foundation, and government partners allows the orchestra to reach new artistic heights in music, education, and community engagement. Two-thirds of the Symphony’s annual operating budget comes from donations and philanthropic support. The Houston Symphony 2021−22 partners include Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods/Spec’s Charitable Foundation (Principal Corporate Guarantor), Houston Methodist (Official Health Care Provider), United Airlines (Official Airline), Tenenbaum (Preferred Jewelry Partner), and media partners ABC-13 (Official Television Partner) and Houston Public Media (Media Partner). Series support comes from Bank of America (POPS Series), BBVA (Family Series), Shell, ExxonMobil, Frost Bank, and Rand Group. The Classical Season is endowed by The Wortham Foundation, Inc., in memory of Gus S. and Lyndall F. Wortham. The activities and projects of the Houston Symphony are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Livestream of Houston Symphony concerts is made possible by Barbara J. Burger.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2021–22 Season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its final 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 on Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an operating budget of $28.5 million, the full-time ensemble of 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.

After cancelling the remainder of 2019 events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Symphony resumed activities in May 2020, opening the 2020-21 Season on schedule in September 2020 with small audiences of 150, which the Symphony gradually increased to 450 audience members per performance. Due to the financial impact of the canceled 2019–20 Season events, plus the reduction of sales capacity due to audience social distancing in 2020–21, the Symphony cut expenses, reducing the annual budget from $35.2 million in 2019–20 to $25.8 million in 2020-21. The Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement team continued to fulfill its mission through creative and virtual means throughout this period. The Symphony successfully completed a full season with in-person audiences and weekly livestreams of each performance making it one of the only orchestras in the world to attain this achievement.

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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Eric Skelly: 713.337.8560, eric.skelly@houstonsymphony.org
Mireya Reyna: 713.337.8557, mireya.reyna@houstonsymphony.org

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