Classical Series

Experience Every Moment
You are so immersed that you feel it. The music from the stage before you. The energy from the audience around you. You realize that you’re not merely watching a performance, you’ve become a part of the experience. The relationship between the conductor, musicians and world-class guest artists. The connection between the orchestra and audience. The confluence of art and passion. It’s the 2016-17 Season of your Houston Symphony.


CURRENT SUBSCRIBERS
Welcome back to a season of extraordinary live orchestral music. Renew your subscription today by accessing your account. You can also call our Patron Services Center at (713) 224-7575, Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.

 

NEW SUBSCRIBERS
We're excited to have you join us as a subscriber this season. Please take some time to learn about our many subscription package options. Please feel free to contact our Patron Services Center at (713) 224-7575, Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.

1 MAHLER SYMPHONY NO. 1

September 23, 24, 25, 2016
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
On-Stage Insights with Andrés*
Winning Works of the Houston Symphony
     Young Composer Competition
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Meet the winners of the Houston Symphony’s first Young Composer Competition, and hear the music of tomorrow with performances of the winning pieces. Then, Mahler’s titanic Symphony No. 1 takes listeners from the lyrical purity of nature to the epic struggle and triumph of the earth-shattering finale, reflecting Mahler’s belief that “a symphony must be like the world: it must embrace everything.”

*On-Stage Insights with Andrés features brief commentary about the music during the concert.

2 HAYDN’S THE CREATION

September 29, October 1, 2, 2016
Andrés Orozco-Estrada
, conductor
Nicole Heaston, soprano
Toby Spence, tenor
Peter Rose, bass
Houston Symphony Chorus
     Betsy Cook Weber, director
Haydn: The Creation

Andrés leads the orchestra, chorus and a cast of exciting soloists in the original German-language version of Haydn’s magnum opus, The Creation. A musical depiction of the Genesis creation story, this choral masterpiece is filled with evocative sound paintings. From the creation of light to Adam and Eve’s love duet, the birds, beasts and angels all rejoice in Haydn’s glorious music.

General and Mrs. Maurice Hirsch Memorial Concert Fund, Guarantor

3 | KAVAKOS PLAYS & CONDUCTS

October 28, 29, 30, 2016
Leonidas Kavakos
, violin and leader
Bach: Violin Concerto in A minor
Mozart: Symphony No. 36, Linz
Brahms: Symphony No. 4

Greek violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos has been hailed as “one of the most comprehensively gifted instrumentalists of his time. His playing combines a sweet, singing tone with virtuoso technique and penetrating intelligence” (Boston Globe). This fall he returns to Houston to play Bach’s exquisite Violin Concerto in A minor and conduct Brahms’ searching Symphony No. 4.

 

4 | TRIFONOV PLUS RACHMANINOFF

November 3, 5, 6, 2016
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

Russian piano sensation Daniil Trifonov returns to perform the passionate and lyrical Piano Concerto Schumann wrote for the love of his life, his wife Clara. Andrés then conducts Rachmaninoff’s lushly-scored Symphony No. 2, one of the Russian composer’s greatest masterpieces.

Rochelle and Max Levit, Guarantor

5 A MOZART THANKSGIVING

November 25, 26, 27, 2016
Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24
Mozart: Symphony No. 38, Prague
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21

Give thanks for Mozart when veteran soloist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane leads an all-Mozart program this Thanksgiving weekend. Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor is the perfect foil for his charming and sensuous Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major. His delightful Prague Symphony unfolds like a musical love letter to the Bohemian capital.

6 BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR CONCERTO

January 12, 14, 15, 2017
James Gaffigan, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor
R. Strauss: Don Juan
Liszt: Les Préludes

Hailed by the Telegraph as “a gift from God” after his 2010 win at the London International Piano Competition, Behzod Abduraimov makes his Houston Symphony debut with Beethoven’s majestic Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. In-demand American conductor and Houston favorite James Gaffigan also conducts Strauss’ swashbuckling Don Juan and Liszt’s poetic Les Préludes.

7 | GERSHWIN & RACHMANINOFF

January 27, 28, 29, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Denis Kozhukhin, piano
OnStage Insights with Andrés*
Gershwin: An American in Paris
John Adams: Doctor Atomic Symphony
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

The brilliant young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to Houston to perform Rachmaninoff’s ultra-Romantic Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also celebrates American music with Gershwin’s jazzy An American in Paris and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, a work inspired by Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.

Margaret Alkek Williams, Underwriter

*OnStage Insights with Andrés features brief commentary about the music during the concert.

 

8 | ANDRÉS CONDUCTS WEST SIDE STORY

February 2, 3, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Robin Kesselman, double bass
Revueltas: Sensemayá
Koussevitzky: Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra
Piazzolla: Tangazo
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Andrés leads a program of music from the
Americas, featuring Revueltas’ serpentine tone poem, Sensemayá and Piazzolla’s brooding Tangazo. Principal Double Bass Robin Kesselman also performs a virtuoso concerto by the legendary Serge Koussevitzky, while the raucous rhythms and gorgeous melodies of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story bring the program to a close.

Note: Due to Houston’s Super Bowl activities, Saturday subscribers will attend on Friday and Sunday subscribers will attend on Thursday.

9 PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

February 23, 25, 26, 2017
Hans Graf, conductor
Timothy McAllister, saxophone
Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
John Adams: Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

The Houston Symphony celebrates John Adams’ 70th birthday with a performance of his Saxophone Concerto from the virtuoso who inspired it, native Houstonian Timothy McAllister. Former Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf also conducts Ravel’s classic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s colorful and wildly imaginative Pictures at an Exhibition.

Margaret Alkek Williams, Underwriter

10 ESCHENBACH CONDUCTS BRUCKNER

March 3, 4, 5, 2017
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Lindsay Russell, soprano
Zoie Reams, mezzo-soprano
Jack Swanson, tenor
Kyle Albertson, bass-baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
     Betsy Cook Weber, director
Bruckner: Te Deum
Bruckner: Symphony No. 1

Former Houston Symphony Music Director Christoph Eschenbach returns to Houston with his authoritative interpretations of spiritually uplifting works by Anton Bruckner. Bruckner’s Te Deum (We Praise Thee, O God) is a joyous, celebratory statement featuring the magnificent Houston Symphony Chorus, and his First Symphony is a marvel of accessible lyricism and grandeur.

 

11 | TCHAIKOVSKY'S PATHÉTIQUE

March 9, 11, 12, 2017
Fabien Gabel, conductor
Ingrid Fliter, piano
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Explore the Scottish isles in Mendelssohn’s musical postcard, The Hebrides, plus hear acclaimed pianist Ingrid Fliter perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The program concludes with Tchaikovsky's powerful Symphony No. 6, Pathétique. Tchaikovsky wrote, "I have put my whole soul into this work." His final masterpiece, this symphony is a tour-de-force of unforgettable melodies.

12 BEETHOVEN 6 & 7

March 24, 25, 26, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

An exploration of nature, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony evokes cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside and a harrowing storm which resolves in one of music’s most satisfying finales. Beethoven’s lively Seventh Symphony abounds with high spirits that surround a haunting second movement, featured in films such as The King’s Speech.

Houston Symphony Endowment, Diamond Guarantor

13 BEETHOVEN’S FIDELIO—OPERA IN CONCERT

March 31, April 2, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
featuring Phylicia Rashad, narrator
Tara Faircloth
, director
Rebecca Von Lipinski, soprano (Leonore/Fidelio)
Russell Thomas, tenor (Florestan)
Lauren Snouffer, soprano (Marzelline)
Nathan Stark, bass (Rocco)
Joshua Dennis, tenor (Jaquino)
Alfred Walker, bass-baritone (Don Pizarro)
Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone (Don Fernando)
Houston Symphony Chorus Chamber Choir,
     Betsy Cook Weber
, director
Sarah Tundermann, projection and lighting design
Beethoven: Fidelio

Experience a riveting semi-staged performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. This politically-charged drama follows the heroic struggles of Leonore, who disguises herself as a man (Fidelio) to rescue her husband Florestan, a political prisoner tormented by the tyrant Pizarro. An inspiring hymn to freedom, this opera contains some of Beethoven’s most powerful and beautiful music.

Note: Thursday and Saturday subscribers will attend Friday.

Houston Symphony Endowment, Diamond Guarantor

14 FALLA & ESPAÑA

April 13, 14, 15, 2017
Kazuki Yamada, conductor
Brinton Averil Smith, cello
Sofia Selowsky, mezzo-soprano
Chabrier
: España
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Cello Concerto
Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat (complete)

Bask in the Iberian sunshine with colorful Spanish inspired works, including Chabrier’s España and Falla’s complete score from The Three-Cornered Hat. Principal Cello Brinton Smith also presents Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s lost Cello Concerto, giving the first professional performance of this acclaimed composer’s work since its 1935 premiere by the great cellist Piatagorsky under the baton of Toscanini.

Note: Sunday subscribers will attend on Thursday due to the Easter holiday.

 

15 THE PINES OF ROME

April 20, 22, 23, 2017
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Elina Vähälä, violin
Verdi: Overture to Un giorno di regno
John Corigliano: The Red Violin Concerto
Respighi: The Fountains of Rome
Respighi: The Pines of Rome

Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä, “whose brilliant technique is matched by abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination” (Chicago Tribune), performs John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto, based on the composer’s Oscar®-winning film score. Acclaimed Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko also leads the orchestra in two technicolor tone poems by Respighi.

16 | ANDRÉS CONDUCTS SHOSTAKOVICH 5

May 5, 6, 7, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Jessica Rivera, soprano
Andrew Garland, baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
     Betsy Cook Weber, director
OnStage Insights with Andrés*
Gabriela Lena Frank: Conquest Requiem
     Houston Symphony
     Commission/World Premiere
     includes commissioned text by
     Nilo Cruz
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Hear the world premiere of a major work by Houston Symphony Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank as she unveils her Conquest Requiem, a multicultural work that interweaves traditional Latin and Meso-American texts with new passages by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz. Then discover Shostakovich’s thrilling Symphony No. 5, a gripping masterpiece sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

*OnStage Insights with Andrés features brief commentary about the music during the concert.

17 BRONFMAN PLUS PETRUSHKA

May 11, 13, 14, 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Gabriel Galíndez Cruz, choreographer
Emilio Díaz Abregú, assistant
     choreographer and technical director
Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts
     Middle School Dance Ensemble,              Chadwick Peters
, artistic director
Crespo Elementary Fine Arts Magnet
     School Dance Department,
     Tiffany Gilbert, dance director
Ives: The Unanswered Question
Bartók
: Piano Concerto No. 2
Stravinsky: Petrushka

“A fearless pianist for whom no score is too demanding...” (Wall Street Journal), Yefim Bronfman returns to Houston with Bartók’s heart-pounding Piano Concerto No. 2. The the program concludes with Stravinsky’s colorful ballet score, Petrushka

This performance will include original choreography developed and performed by students from Houston Symphony Partner School dance programs.

The Cullen Foundation Maestro’s Fund, Grand Guarantor

18 SHAHAM PLUS BRAHMS

May 19, 20, 21, 2017
Marc Albrecht,
conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Schumann: Overture to Genoveva
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2  
Brahms: Symphony No. 1

Hear Gil Shaham go “sailing through the darting off-kilter rhythms and pyrotechnical flights in the violin’s highest register with panache” (South Florida Classical Review) in Prokofiev’s spellbinding Violin Concerto No. 2. Marc Albrecht, who “On the podium…turns all into gold” (Financial Times), brings our season to an end with Brahms’ heroic Symphony No. 1, a monumental work that takes listeners from darkness to triumph.

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SHAHAM PLUS BRAHMS

May 19, 20, 21, 2017

Marc Albrecht, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Schumann: Overture to Genoveva
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2  
Brahms: Symphony No. 1