Chorus Director Charles Hausmann Retires from the Houston Symphony After 28 Years
Today, the Houston Symphony announced the retirement of long-time Houston Symphony Chorus Director Charles Hausmann. Over an illustrious tenure of 28 years, Dr. Hausmann has prepared and conducted the Chorus for more than 700 concerts. Since he became director of the Chorus in 1986, Dr. Hausmann has collaborated with many of the world's great conductors, including Hans Graf, Christoph Eschenbach, Claus Peter Flor and Robert Shaw. "Conducting the Houston Symphony Chorus has always been a great source of joy and pride for me," said Dr. Hausmann. "It has been such a privilege to lead the preparation of all of the great masterworks in the repertoire that we have performed with such acclaim in Houston and internationally. After 28 years of service, including over 700 performances of over 150 different major works in collaboration with more than 40 international conductors, I believe it is time to pursue other professional opportunities at the University of Houston and elsewhere. I will certainly miss my work with the Houston Symphony and Chorus, but I leave with an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction." "The entire Houston Symphony and Chorus family joins me in thanking and congratulating Charles on a job incredibly well done," said Mark C. Hanson, Houston Symphony Executive Director/CEO. "It is rare to find a person who can successfully lead an ensemble through nearly three decades of artistic achievement and growth. In Charles Hausmann we have such a leader who has inspired our chorus members to perform at a very high level while delivering moving and memorable performances." In addition to Houston performances of most of the major choral masterworks found in the orchestral cannon, Dr. Hausmann and the Houston Symphony Chorus have toured throughout the United States, Europe and Mexico. In 2007, Dr. Hausmann led the chorus on its fourth European tour where he appeared as guest conductor at the Prague Spring Festival and with the Budapest Concert Orchestra and the Symphonie-Orchester der Wiener Volksoper. He and the Chorus also share a 20-year collaboration with Mexico City's Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. Prior to assuming the title Houston Symphony Chorus Director Emeritus in recognition of his exemplary service, Dr. Hausmann will travel back to Mexico City with the chorus in August to again collaborate with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería. As Director of Graduate Choral Studies and Professor of Conducting at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, Dr. Hausmann directs the masters and doctoral programs in choral conducting. Choirs under his direction have performed for conventions of the Music Educator's National Conference and the American Choral Director's Association. He also serves as Director of Choral Music at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. He frequently appears as a guest conductor, lecturer and clinician. At the same time, the Houston Symphony announced the appointment of Betsy Cook Weber as the next Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus, effective September 1. Dr. Weber is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston's Moore's School of Music and is also highly active as a clinician, adjudicator, lecturer, and conductor. In the summer of 2013, Dr. Weber became the 13th person and 1st woman to receive the Texas Choral Director Association's coveted Texas Choirmaster Award. Choirs under her direction have been featured in state and national conventions and have garnered prestigious prizes in a number of important European competitions. In the 1990s, she served as Assistant and, later, Associate Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus, helping prepare major works for renowned conductors including Robert Shaw, Christoph Eschenbach, Nicholas McGegan, and Christopher Seaman. "Following the retirement of Charles Hausmann, the Houston Symphony Chorus will find itself in very capable and familiar hands as Betsy Cook Weber assumes this well-deserved directorship," said Hanson. "Betsy's conducting talents, leadership abilities, passion for choral music, and commitment to the Houston Symphony will all contribute to her success as our next Chorus Director. Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada joins me in congratulating Betsy on her appointment." Before coming to the University of Houston, Dr. Weber was a successful music teacher in the public schools at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, during which time choirs under her direction enjoyed numerous successes. Dr. Weber holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and the University of Houston. In September, Dr. Weber and the Houston Symphony Chorus will begin preparations for performances on November 20, 22 and 23 with the Houston Symphony under the direction of new Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. These performances will feature two choral works - Mozart's Requiem and Brahms' Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny). Additional Houston Symphony Chorus repertoire during the 2014-15 season will include Verdi's Requiem, Mahler's Third Symphony, and Handel's Messiah, in addition to the annual Houston Symphony Very Merry Pops concerts and a special concert with Andrea Bocelli in December. "It is unlikely that anyone will ever match Charles' longevity as Director of this wonderful chorus, and for this and many reasons, I am very happy that the Houston Symphony has decided to award him the title, Director Emeritus," said Dr. Weber. "I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to build upon and further his legacy." About the Houston Symphony Chorus The Houston Symphony Chorus is the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony. It is a chorus of volunteer singer-musicians who are committed to rehearsing and performing the choral-orchestral repertory at the highest level of choral artistry. In addition to presenting an annual schedule of concerts in Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony, the Chorus has toured Europe several times and performs regularly in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineriá. The group, originally known as the Houston Chorale, was founded in 1946 by Alfred Urbach, then principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. The Chorale made its debut with the Houston Symphony in 1949 with a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. This inaugurated what was to be a lasting relationship, one that has produced hundreds of memorable performances of the great choral masterworks led by some of the world's leading conductors. In 1986, the Chorale was renamed the Houston Symphony Chorus. About the Houston Symphony During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $30.7 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.