Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada will lead the Houston Symphony on a four-country, eight-city European Tour through some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals, March 9–March 19, 2018. World-renowned violinist and three-time Grammy Award-winner Hilary Hahn joins the Houston Symphony for all performances. The high-profile tour, which features concerts in Belgium, Germany, Poland and Austria, is Orozco-Estrada’s first international tour with the orchestra and the Houston Symphony’s first major European tour in more than 20 years.
Central to the tour repertoire will be Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, a work that was featured in Orozco-Estrada’s critically-acclaimed inaugural recording with the Houston Symphony. The program also celebrates the 100th birthday of legendary conductor, composer and musical ambassador Leonard Bernstein, including Bernstein’s Serenade for Violin (featuring Hilary Hahn); Overture to West Side Story; and Three Dance Episodes from On the Town. Rounding out the tour repertoire will be Dvořák’s The Noon Witch.
The tour opens at the distinguished Klarafestival at BOZAR in Brussels, Belgium (March 9), followed by two performances in Germany, one at Philharmonie Essen (March 11) and one at Konzerthaus Berlin (March 12). The orchestra then travels to Warsaw, Poland, to perform at the Filharmonia Narodowa (March 14) before heading to Vienna, Austria (March 15) to perform at the Wiener Konzerthaus. The orchestra returns to Germany for the last leg of the tour to perform at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg (March 17), the Hannover Congress Centrum (March 18), and Gasteig München (March 19).
As a cultural ambassador for the city and the region, the Houston Symphony has toured extensively, from regional tours to military bases in Texas and Louisiana, to international appearances in Singapore, Moscow and Japan in addition to various parts of Europe. The 2018 European Tour marks the first major international touring activity since the 1990s under the artistic leadership of Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, whose last tour with the orchestra was the European Festival Tour in 2000, with appearances in Germany and Switzerland.
Since becoming music director in 2014, Orozco-Estrada, who holds the Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair, has quickly forged a strong artistic bond with the musicians of the Houston Symphony. This 2018 tour marks the next step in a dynamic artistic partnership that has included a series of critically-acclaimed recordings of the last four Dvořák symphonies under the Dutch recording label PENTATONE. Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony 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. Additional recording projects with PENTATONE include Haydn’s The Creation.
“It is very special for me to take the orchestra to some of the most distinguished halls in the world with major works that are essential to the classical repertoire, such as Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, which we recently recorded and released to international audiences,” said Orozco-Estrada. “Touring is an important part of our artistic growth that helps us connect with audiences in other parts of the world and represent our city of Houston well.”
“This is an opportunity for us to showcase not only our musicians and Andrés, but to reinforce to European audiences that Houston is the Cultural Capital of the South,” said Mark C. Hanson, Executive Director and CEO, Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. “We’re confident that both audiences in Europe and in Houston following the tour will be moved and inspired by the performances of the Houston Symphony.”
The European Tour is made possible through the generosity of 34 generous individuals, foundations and corporations, including the following leadership donors: Rochelle & Max Levit, Barbara J. Burger, Janet F. Clark, Barbara & Pat McCelvey, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Drs. Dennis & Susan Carlyle, Mr. John N. Neighbors, Bobby & Phoebe Tudor, John & Lindy Rydman/Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods/Spec’s Charitable Foundation, Ron Franklin & Janet Gurwitch, The Joan & Marvin Kaplan Foundation, Carol & Michael Linn & The Michael C. Linn Family Foundation, Beth Madison, Nancy & Robert Peiser, Dave & Alie Pruner, Mr. Jay Steinfeld & Mrs. Barbara Winthrop, Judith Vincent, Viviana & David Denechaud, Cora Sue & Harry Mach, Brad & Joan Corson, and Steve & Joella Mach.
Houstonians can get a sneak peek of the tour when repertoire is featured Feb. 15, 17 and 18 and Feb. 23-25 at Jones Hall. Single tickets for these preview performances go on sale to public on August 27, 2017. For more information, visit houstonsymphony.org.