HOUSTON (Dec. 29, 2016) – Young piano virtuoso Behzod Abduraimov will make his Houston Symphony debut in a performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at 8 p.m. Jan. 12 and 14 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Jones Hall. Guest conductor James Gaffigan, who is Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, will lead the program.
True to Gaffigan’s unconventional program configurations and inversions of the usual concert sequence, the performance will commence with Beethoven’s last piano concerto, Piano Concerto No. 5. Popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, the piece will be interpreted by twenty-six-year-old Abduraimov.
Uzbek-born Abduraimov, who has already earned great recognition and critical acclaim for his exceptional caliber of pianistic ability, has quickly established himself among the frontrunners of his generation’s outstanding pianists. Abduraimov has performed with leading orchestras worldwide such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston and NHK Symphony Orchestras and Leipzig Gewandhaus. Most recently, he performed in recital at the Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall’s main stage, after his successful Weill Recital Hall debut last season.
In addition to his post with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Gaffigan is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and is the first Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne. As a rising young American conductor in high demand by leading orchestras and opera houses, he has enjoyed guest engagements with the London and Dresden Philharmonics, Vienna Symphoniker, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis, and National Symphony Orchestras, among others.
After intermission, the orchestra will spotlight one of Richard Strauss’ most famous tone poems, Don Juan, as well as Liszt’s melodic Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3.
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.
BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR CONCERTO
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m.
James Gaffigan, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor
R.Strauss: Don Juan
Liszt: Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3
Tickets from $25
About James Gaffigan
James Gaffigan is considered by many to be today’s most outstanding young American conductor. In 2010, he was appointed chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; he recently concluded his tenure as principal guest conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne.
James’ international career was launched when he was named first prize winner at the 2004 International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti in Frankfurt, Germany. Today, he works with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
In addition to these concerts, season highlights include reengagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Aspen Music Festival and Music Academy of the West. In addition to his work with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, he guest conducts the Oslo Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Following his Vienna State Opera debut in 2011/12 conducting La bohème, James was immediately invited to conduct Don Giovanni the following season and returned in 2015 for The Marriage of Figaro. He made his professional opera debut at the Zurich Opera in 2005 conducting La bohème. He conducted Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival and made his debut at Glyndebourne sharing a production of Così fan tutte with the late Sir Charles Mackerras. Houstonians remember his performances of The Marriage of Figaro with the Houston Grand Opera. Future projects include debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Santa Fe Opera.
James’ first recordings with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic: an all-Wolfgang Rihm disc and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6 and the America Suite (Harmonia Mundi). He is recording the complete Prokofiev symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and his most recent recording is the first Tchaikovsky and second Prokofiev piano concertos with Kirill Gerstein and the DSO Berlin (Myrios).
Born in New York in 1979, James attended the New England Conservatory of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he earned his Masters of Music in conducting. He was chosen to study at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School and was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has served as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, including artistic director of the orchestra’s Summer with the Symphony, and was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.
About Behzod Abduraimov
Described by The Times as the “master of all he surveys” and with The Washington Post noting to “keep your ear on this one,” Behzod Abduraimov’s captivating performances receive international praise.
Recent seasons have seen Behzod work with prestigious conductors and leading orchestras worldwide, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston and NHK Symphony Orchestras and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Last season, he debuted with the Munich Philharmonic in its new Festival MPHIL 360º and subsequently made his BBC Proms debut with that ensemble.
Upcoming European highlights include the Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Further afield, he will work with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In recital, Behzod is one of the featured artists for the Junge Wilde Concert Series in Dortmund; he appears at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and returns to the Verbier Festival and La Roque d’Anthéron.
In North America, in addition to these performances with the Houston Symphony, Behzod performs in recital at the Isaac Stern Auditorium following his successful 2015 debut at Carnegie Hall. He performs for the Cliburn Concerts, Carolina Performing Arts, Vancouver Recital Society and concerts with the Pittsburgh and Montreal Symphony Orchestras and Minnesota Orchestra, among others. He has recently appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony.
In 2017, Behzod will tour Asia for performances with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also embark on a recital tour of Australia.
An award-winning recording artist—his debut recital CD won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason découverte—Behzod released his first concerto disc in 2014 on Decca Classics. It features Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1 with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra under Juraj Valčuha.
Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1990, Behzod began to play the piano at age 5 as a pupil of Tamara Popovich. He is an alumnus of Park University’s International Center for Music where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch, and now serves as the ICM artist-in-residence.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third 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 87 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.