Classical Season

Best of Brahms- Weekend 1
September 14, 15, 16, 2012
Hans Graf, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
Frank Huang, violin
Brinton Averil Smith, cello
Program A- September 14, 16, 2012
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
Brahms: Symphony No. 1

Program B- September 15, 2012
Brahms: Variations on a Theme  
   of Haydn
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and
Brahms: Symphony No. 4


Best of Brahms- Weekend 2
September 20, 22, 23, 2012

Hans Graf, conductor
Erin Morely, soprano
Joshua Hopkins, baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
   Charles Hausmann, director
Frank Huang, violin
Brinton Averil Smith, cello
Program C - September 20, 22, 2012
Brahms: Tragic Overture
Brahms: Nänie
Brahms: Requiem

Program B- September 23, 2012
Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Cello
Brahms: Symphony No. 4


Best of Brahms- Weekend 3
September 28, 29, 30, 2012
John Storgårds, conductor
Jonathan Biss, piano
Program D- September 28, 30, 2012
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

Program E- September 29, 2012
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
Brahms: Symphony No. 2

The New York Times calls him “young and impetuous, but firmly in control” Jonathan Biss - one of the most exciting piano virtuosos on the classical music scene today- returns to the Houston Symphony to perform Brahms’ majestic Piano Concerto No. 2.


Lang Lang Plays Beethoven
3 Concerts. 3 Different Concertos.
October 18, 20, 21, 2012
Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor
Lang Lang, piano
Lindberg: EXPO
Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2, 3 and 5
Schumann: Symphony No. 4

The New York Times’s “hottest artist on the classical music planet” is heading back to Houston. Hear Lang Lang perform three of the most beloved Beethoven piano concertos in one weekend as he plays a different concerto each performance. Experience Beethoven’s joyful 2nd, the dramatic 3rd and the epic Emperor.


Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique
October 26, 2012 - Friday ACCESS concert
October 27, 28, 2012 - Standard concert format
Andres Orozco-Estrada, conductor
William VerMeulen, horn
Berlioz: Roman Carnival
R. Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique*

One of the pillars of the symphonic repertoire, Symphonie fantastique brings you to a new world of sound, where images morph into music. Follow a young musician, afflicted by unrequited love and flooded with romantic passion. As he drifts from one fantastic dreamscape to another, obsessed by the image of his beloved, you'll follow him from the tumult of a grand ball, to the peaceful contemplation of nature, and finally to his plunge into delirium in a sinister witch’s sabbath.

*Friday ACCESS concert only includes this work.


  Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony
November 1, 3, 4, 2012
Alexander Shelley, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Enter the world of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, a landscape of contrasts and shocking climaxes, all wrapped in vivid orchestral coloring. Also hear Bartok's remarkably lyrical and romantic violin concerto.


Beethoven & Liszt
November 16, 17, 18, 2012
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
Stephen Hough, piano
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable

Beethoven's Leonore Overture, from his only opera Fidelio, will draw you into a dramatic tale of sacrifice, heroism and triumph.  Then, experience virtuoso Stephen Hough performing Liszt’s dazzling first piano concerto.  Hear the flawless dialogue between the piano and the orchestra as the concerto rolls from exciting fireworks to tender melodies.


Schumann Plus Bruckner’s 6th
December 1, 2, 2012
Hans Graf, conductor
Martin Helmchen, piano
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Bruckner: Symphony No. 6

Join the Houston Symphony for an ultra romantic evening of music.  Immerse yourself in the lyricism of Schumann's Piano Concerto, which he composed for his beloved wife Clara.   From the attention grabbing opening chords to a middle movement full of tenderness and on to the exhilarating finale, you will be riveted.  You'll also enjoy the visceral and grand Sixth Symphony of Bruckner.


Dvorák’s New World Symphony
January 11, 2013 - Friday ACCESS concert
January 12, 13, 2013 - Standard concert format
Hans Graf, conductor
Adam Dinitz, English horn
Mark Hughes, trumpet
Copland: Quiet City for English horn,
trumpet and strings*
Dutilleux: Symphony No. 2, Le Double
Dvorák: Symphony No. 9, From the New World*

Composed and premiered during his visit to the United States, Dvorák’s New World Symphony serves as an embodiment of the American experience. This most popular work is filled with delightful melodies, bold horn calls, and an unforgettable theme that weaves its way throughout. Conveying the composer’s homesickness for his native Bohemia, while embracing America’s native melodies, experience what is quoted to be "a vigorous and beautiful work" that "must take the place among the finest works in this form produced since the death of Beethoven."

*Friday ACCESS concert only includes these works.


Mahler & Mendelssohn
January 31, February 2, 3, 2013
Christoph Koenig, conductor
Mendelssohn: Octet for Strings- for Full String Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Mahler’s 1st Symphony is filled with some of the young Composer’s most brilliant and contrasting musical ideas. You’ll be taken on an epic journey that guides you from folk melodies to the enigmatic awakening of nature, while the familiar “Frere Jacques” melody is transformed into a chilling funeral march.  Also, hear Mendelssohn’s youthful and brilliant Octet for Strings.


Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet
February 14, 16, 17, 2013
Gilbert Varga, conductor
Vilde Frang, violin
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet

Relive the stories of William Shakespeare’s most cherished characters.  Romeo and Juliet’s romantic encounters will populate your imagination as you hear Prokofiev’s riveting score based on the story of the ill-fated lovers. Plus, hear Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, written as a present to his wife Cosima and performed the morning of her birthday by a small ensemble as his beloved awoke from her sleep.


Wozzeck in Concert
March 1, 2, 2013
Hans Graf, conductor
Roman Trekel, Wozzeck
Anne Schwanewilms, Marie
Gordon Gietz, Drum Major
Marc Molomot, Captain
Nathan Berg, Doctor
Robert McPherson, Andres
Katherine Ciesinski, Margaret
Calvin Griffin, Apprentice 1
Samuel Schultz, Apprentice 2
Brenton Ryan, Fool
Voice Students from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Adult Chorus, Grant Loehnig, Director
Members of the Houston Grand Opera Children's Chorus, Karen Reeves, Director

“Alban Berg’s music is so deep, so new and so perfect. It strikes an
inescapable chord of compassion and empathy for our ill-fated hero,
Wozzeck.” - Hans Graf

Rooted in real life, Wozzeck’s tale is one of social criticism, lust, murder and morality. You’ll feel compassion for poor Wozzeck as he falls victim to cruelty and descends into insanity.


Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony
March 7, 9, 10, 2013
Hans Graf, conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Hans Graf and Leonidas Kavakos are great friends whose partnership has produced great music-making on the Jones Hall stage and around the world. They’ll join together once more to perform Shostakovich’s 1st Violin Concerto.

The nickname “Pathétique” actually means “passionate”
and Tchaikovsky’s final symphony is packed with passion.  You’ll feel the power of fate in both life and death as you get caught up in the music’s sweep of emotion, complete with gorgeous violin melodies and blazing brass.


Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast
March 15, 16, 17, 2013
Hannu Lintu, conductor
Stephen Powell, baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Haydn: Symphony No. 98
Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast

Belshazzar’s Feast vividly portrays the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. With driving and barbaric splendor, often compared to Carmina Burana, it culminates in the death of Belshazzar which frees the Jews from exile.


Spanish Masters- Rodrigo & Falla
April 5, 6, 7, 2013
Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Pablo Sainz-Villegas, guitar
Haydn: Symphony No. 20
Ginastera: Variaciones concertantes
Rodrigo: Fantasia for a Nobleman – for Guitar and Orchestra
Falla: Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat

Composed at the request of the legendary Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia, who is referenced in the work’s title as the “Nobleman,” Joaquin Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un gentilhombre will transport you to 17th Century Spain, where the composer found his inspiration. Experience the rich sounds of rising star and Spanish guitar virtuoso Pablo Sainz-Villegas.


Debussy’s La Mer
April 11, 13, 14, 2013
Hans Graf, conductor
Benjamin Schmid, violin
Ariane Haering, piano
Mendelssohn: Capriccio brillant
Paganini/arr. Kreisler: Violin Concerto
Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra
Debussy: La Mer

As in Impressionist paintings, Debussy uses colorful musical brush strokes to conjure images of his travels to the seaside at Cannes and the Mediterranean. The shimmering movement of the sea left him with deep inspiration, illustrated in this orchestral work of beauty.


Mozart’s Symphony No. 40
May 3, 2013 - Friday ACCESS concert
May 4, 5, 2013 - Standard concert format
Hans Graf, conductor
Eugene Ugorski, violin
Mozart: Symphony No. 19
Stravinsky: Violin Concerto*
Adams: The Chairman Dances
Mozart: Symphony No. 40*

From wunderkind to one of the great masters of all time, Mozart’s talent grew and blossomed during his short life. Hear the poise of his Symphony No. 19, composed when he was only 16, and then experience the maturity and genius of one of his last great symphonies.

*Friday ACCESS concert only includes this work.


Chopin & Beethoven
May 9, 11, 12, 2013
Hans Graf, conductor
Janina Fialkowska, piano
Weber: Overture to Euryanthe
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Eroica

Hear the glorious, soaring phrases of Chopin’s masterpiece, and then experience Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, initially inspired by his admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte. Later, he became disillusioned by Napoleon’s ascent to power and literally tore through the dedication, writing instead a ”Heroic Symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.”

Dates, artists, programs, and prices are subject to change. All
concerts are at Jones Hall unless otherwise noted.