HOUSTON, TX (May 19, 2021) — This June, the Houston Symphony returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre for two free and exhilarating performances: Romeo and Juliet, Piazzolla & More, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. and Mozart, Holst & More, June 12 at 8:30 p.m. with the Saturday performance being livestreamed. An annual summer tradition, these evening concerts bring the Symphony to Houston audiences in a relaxed and casual outdoor setting. Houstonians can access the free livestream through Miller Outdoor Theatre’s Facebook page, their website, and YouTube channel. This marks the Houston Symphony’s first performances in its annual summer home after COVID-19 caused the cancellation of its 2020 performances there.
This year’s performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are led by the Symphony’s Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Conducting Fellow Yue Bao, who makes her Miller Outdoor Theatre debut. The Shanghai-born conductor joined the Symphony in 2019 after completing her tenure as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music. She made her Houston Symphony debut in May 2019 followed by conducting the annual Theater District Open House concert in August 2019, and then opened the Symphony’s 2020–21 Season in September 2020 marking her subscription debut.
June 10, Houston audiences are treated to a concert highlighting the brass, winds, and percussion sections of the Symphony in Music at Miller: Romeo and Juliet, Piazzolla & More at 8:30 p.m. Bao opens the program with two short works: a two-minute Fanfare for brass choir from Dukas’s La péri, and Red Clay & Mississippi Delta for wind quintet, a blues-inspired chamber music work by Valerie Coleman. The program continues with Tielman Susato’s Renaissance-era Susato Suite for brass and percussion, Richard Strauss’s melodic and lyrical Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7 for 13 wind instruments, and a wind octet arrangement by Andreas Tarkmann to excerpts from Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet, Opus 64, one of ballet’s greatest scores. Lastly, Bao concludes the evening’s program with Astor Piazzolla’s rhythmic and tango-inspired Suite from Maria de Buenos Aires arranged for brass by Steven Verhelst.
To close out the performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Bao leads the strings of the Houston Symphony in Music at Miller: Mozart, Holst & More, June 12 at 8:30 p.m. The program opens with China-born, American-composer Yi Chen’s piece Shuo for String Orchestra followed by Mozart’s lively and joyous three-movement Divertimento in D major for Strings, K.136 and Elgar’s Serenade in E minor, Opus 20, a Romantic-era string work, full of dancelike character. Then, the program continues with contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery’s one-movement work titled Starburst, which combines exploding dynamics and gentle melodies to create a multidimensional musical landscape. The evening concludes with a string arrangement of the high-spirit and energetic “Jupiter” movement from The Planets by Gustav Holst. The final performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre is livestreamed on Saturday, June 12, at 8:30 p.m. CT.
The Houston Symphony’s performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are generously supported by the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.
MUSIC AT MILLER: ROMEO AND JULIET, PIAZZOLLA & MORE
Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8:30 p.m.
Yue Bao, conductor
Dukas: Fanfare to La péri
Valerie Coleman: Red Clay and Mississippi Delta
T. Susato/J. Iveson: Susato Suite
Strauss: Serenade in E-flat major for Winds, Opus 7
Prokofiev/A. Tarkman: Suite from Romeo and Juliet, Opus 64 [excerpts]
Piazzolla/S. Verhelst: Suite from Maria de Buenos Aires
MUSIC AT MILLER: MOZART, HOLST & MORE
Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 8:30 p.m. *
Yue Bao, conductor
Yi Chen: Shuo, for String Orchestra
Mozart: Divertimento in D major for Strings, K.136
Elgar: Serenade in E minor, Opus 20
Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
Holst/S. Adler: “Jupiter” from The Planets
*Livestreamed at 8:30 p.m. CT
Admission is free at Miller Outdoor Theatre, but tickets are required for the covered seating area for each performance. Free tickets are available online (limit of 4 tickets per person) a week prior to each performance starting at 9 a.m. via milleroutdoortheatre.com. A limited number of tickets will be available at the box office which opens 90 minutes prior to the performance beginning. Those with disabilities needing assistance with seating and those who do not have access to the internet or a printer, call 832.487.7123 for help with tickets. As always, open seating is available on the hill on a first-come, first-served basis for each designated seating pod (up to 10 people in each pod). Visit milleroutdoortheatre.com for more information on tickets, livestreaming, seating pods, and health and safety protocols. All programs are subject to change.
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 annual operating budget of $25.8 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 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.
In March 2020, local and state government mandates dictated a full closure of the Houston Symphony’s activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the cancelation of 219 events in the 2019–20 season. The Symphony resumed activities in May 2020, opening the 2021–22 season on schedule in September 2021 with small audiences of 150, which the Symphony was gradually able to increase to its current COVID capacity of 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 continues to fulfill its mission through creative and virtual means throughout this period.
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.