Press Room

A Scheherazade Thanksgiving Featuring Grammy Award-Winning Violinist James Ehnes

HOUSTON (Nov. 8, 2017) – Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes joins the Houston Symphony under the direction of Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada at Jones Hall for A Scheherazade Thanksgiving at 8 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 26.

Known for his virtuosity and unfaltering musicality, Ehnes and Orozco-Estrada start off the holiday season with a program fit for the occasion. A Julliard alumnus, Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. He returns to Jones Hall for an unforgettable interpretation of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra finish the night with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a poetic piece that will send listeners along on voyage across Sinbad ending with an electrifying festival in Baghdad. The concert will take 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 www.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.
Due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Jones Hall, the Theater District Parking Garage is closed until further notice. For a list of nearby alternatives, visit https://www.houstonsymphony.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Directions-Parking/jones

A SCHEHERAZADE THANKSGIVING
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
James Ehnes, violin
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

About Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada began his tenure in the 2014–15 season. He immediately established a dynamic presence on the podium and a deep bond with the musicians of the orchestra. Orozco-Estrada carefully curates his programs to feature engaging combinations of classical masterworks paired with the music of today, significant artistic collaborations with composers and guest artists, and innovative use of multimedia and visual effects, all in order to make meaningful connections with the audience.

In the 2017–18 season, Andrés continues to engage with audiences both with casual commentary from the stage and discussions with guests in “Behind the Scenes with Andrés” videos. On the recording front, Andrés and the orchestra will soon release a Music of the Americas disc, featuring Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Revueltas’ Sensemayá, Piazzolla’s Tangazo and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, recorded in early 2017. Additional projects with Pentatone include Haydn’s The Creation. In the 2016–17 season, Andrés and the Symphony released the third disc in their critically acclaimed series featuring Dvořák’s last four symphonies, his first commercial recording project with the orchestra.

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Orozco-Estrada began his musical studies on the violin and started conducting at age 15. At 19, he entered the renowned Vienna Music Academy, where he studied with Uroš Lajovic (pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky), and completed his degree with distinction conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein. Orozco-Estrada burst on the international scene with two substitutions with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: the first, his debut in 2010, standing in for Esa-Pekka Salonen, and then in 2012, substituting for Riccardo Muti at the Musikverein. Orozco-Estrada now regularly appears with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Orchestre National de France, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

His engagements for the 2016-17 season featured débuts with the San Francisco Symphony in April and the Berlin Philharmonic in May. Orozco-Estrada and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony gave a series of concerts as orchestra-in-residence in Vienna and Salzburg, in addition to undertaking tours to Budapest, Warsaw, Monte Carlo, the Dresden Music Festival and across Spain. He also accompanied Colombia’s outstanding youth orchestra, the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia, on their first European tour, conducting eight concerts in Berlin and Stuttgart, at the Rheingau Music Festival, at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and at the styriarte in Graz. Andrés will lead the Houston Symphony on a four-country, eight-city European Tour in March 2018, taking the orchestra through some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals. World-renowned violinist and three-time Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn will join Andrés and orchestra for all performances.

In addition to his post in Houston, Andrés is chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

About James Ehnes
Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, James Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors. In addition to the Houston Symphony, he has appeared with leading orchestras in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New York, London, Prague, Berlin and Tokyo.

Recent and future highlights include appearances with the MET Orchestra; Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; Vienna Symphony; New York Philharmonic; Orchestre National de France; the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and the London, Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. In 2017, James premiered the Aaron Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto and Dallas Symphony Orchestras and the Seattle Symphony; he was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the instrumentalist category.

Alongside his concerto work, James regularly gives recitals at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, the Concertgebouw and the Salzburg Festival. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with Leif Ove Andsnes, Louis Lortie, Jan Vogler and Yo-Yo Ma. In summer 2017, he debuted at the Verbier Festival, performing with Antonio Pappano, Yuja Wang, Nikolai Lugansky and Mischa Maisky. In 2010, he established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed at Wigmore Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre and the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix-en-Provence. He is the artistic director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

James has won many awards for his numerous recordings, including a Gramophone Award for his live Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and a JUNO award for Best Classical Album of the Year. Diapason wrote of his recording of the Paganini Caprices, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years.’”

After beginning violin studies at age 4, James became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin and made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal at 13. He graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and, in 2010, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth 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. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560, vanessa.astros@houstonsymphony.org
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557, mireya.reyna@houstonsymphony.org

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