Mikhail Svetlov, bass
||Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905, Opus 103|
About the Houston Symphony
The Houston Symphony, one of America’s oldest performing-arts organizations, has a distinguished history. Over the course of nearly a century, the orchestra has grown and matured under the direction of eminent leaders such as Ernst Hoffmann (1936-47), Efrem Kurtz (1948-54), Ferenc Fricsay (1954), Leopold Stokowski (1955-61), Sir John Barbirolli (1961-67), André Previn (1967-69), Lawrence Foster (1971-78), Sergiu Comissiona (1979-88) and Christoph Eschenbach (1988-99). Maestro Hans Graf, who took the podium in September 2001, is the Houston Symphony’s fifteenth music director.
The orchestra came of age in the 1940s, when Maestros Hoffmann and Kurtz began hiring highly talented professional musicians, many of whom remained with the orchestra for more than 30 years. Leopold Stokowski brought the ensemble international recognition by commissioning new works and making recordings, and, in Sir John Barbirolli’s years, the Houston Symphony flowered under the influence of his lush romantic style. Widely acclaimed as one of the world top orchestras, the Houston Symphony moved into Jones Hall, its current home, in 1966 and performs a wide range of concerts—approximately 170 annually—for more than 350,000 people. The summer schedule includes a series at Miller Outdoor Theatre, where the orchestra has appeared for more than 60 years.
The Symphony’s Music Matters! education program serves more than 40,000 students who attend Symphony Explorer and Detective concerts. Every summer, the orchestra tours the region with free family Sounds Like Fun! concerts, reaching 13,000 people. The orchestra’s educational partners include the Houston Independent School District and five other area school districts, as well as many private schools. In partnership with business corporations, the Houston Symphony also provides music education opportunities and instruments to deserving band students at local high schools. Through the Community Connections program, orchestra musicians serve the community as soloists, master class teachers, ensemble performers, lecturers, recitalists and in student competitions. They also educate and entertain more than 112,000 area residents in schools, hospitals, retirement homes, shelters and community centers. For more information, visit houstonsymphony.org.
About Houston, Texas
The fourth largest city in the United States, which has an almost unimaginable 56,405 acres of parkland, is also one of the most sociologically rich. Host to 90 consulates, Houston radiates with diversity. It also beats with artistic and scientific imagination, from the oldest African-American theater in the Southwest to the brains behind United States space exploration. Whether the footwork you fancy comes in cowboy boots (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo), toe shoes (Houston Ballet) or cleats (the NFL Texans), the city has it. With nearly 21,000 concerts, plays, exhibitions and other arts programs presented in Houston annually, residents and visitors have access to an enormous variety of cultural programs.