Christoph Koenig Conducts Houston Symphony in THE MUSIC OF MAHLER AND MENDOLSSOHN, Now thru 2/3

Welcoming guest conductor Christoph Koenig, the Houston Symphony invites audiences to a lively performance of two orchestral Favorites tonight, January 31, February 2 and 3. The concert will feature the string section on Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major and close with Mahler's famous First Symphony.

Opening with Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major, the Symphony's string section will be showcased in one of the quintessential pieces of the chamber music repertoire. Composed when Mendelssohn was only 16 years old, the piece is hailed as one of his adolescent breakthroughs and is said to outshine any other composer's early works. Following the octet, Koenig will invite members of the woodwind and brass sections back to close the program with Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major. Also called Titan, Mahler's first symphony is said to be a symphonic poem that paints a picture of the earthly struggles of man and acts as a first chapter in the story told by his first five symphonies. Though they were written over 50 years apart from each other, both pieces share a landmark quality in that they both became one of their composer's most well-known and beloved works. Koenig, who is known for his musical expressiveness as a conductor, will undoubtedly lead the Symphony in a beautiful and unforgettable evening of these classical orchestral works.

Houston Symphony Classical Series plays Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St., Houston, Texas. Performances of this program will take place tonight, January 31, 2013, 8:00pm; Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8:00pm; and Sunday, February 3, 2013, 2:30pm. Tickets from $25.

Christoph Koenig is a conductor of deep intelligence and musicality. His conducting is marked by an energetic and serious approach to musical collaboration and a commitment to thoughtful and stimulating programming. He currently holds positions as Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (2009-14) and Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Solistes Européens in Luxembourg.

Last season, Koenig's U.S. debut with the New Jersey Symphony resulted in an immediate reengagement. This season, he will appear with the symphonies of Colorado, Houston, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Toronto and Vancouver. Worldwide, he has appeared with the Barcelona Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, Netherlands Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Oslo, Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, Real Filharmónia de Galicia, RTVE in Madrid and the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna.

Koenig has also been Principal Conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria. With both orchestras, he conducted a wide range of repertoire from Haydn and Mozart to Ligeti, Henze and Turnage. His reputation as an opera conductor rose swiftly after stepping in at short notice to successfully direct the Zürich Opera's 2003 production of Jonathan Miller's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He has also led the Zurich Opera in productions of Die Zauberflöte and Il Turco in Italia with Cecilia Bartoli and Ruggero Raimondi. Other operatic productions include Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart and Die Zauberflöte and Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin.

Koenig was born in Dresden, where he sang as a boy soprano in the famous Dresdner Kreuzchor. He later studied conducting, as well as piano and voice, at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden. Koenig also participated in masterclasses given by such renowned conductors as Sergiu Celibidache and Sir Colin Davis, who subsequently invited him to be his assistant for both concerts and opera productions with the Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden.

In the 2012-13 Season, the Houston Symphony is in its 99th year as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. Under the artistic leadership of Hans Graf, the orchestra's longest serving music director, the Symphony has established a reputation for innovative, powerful performances. With its Centennial Celebration on the horizon in 2013-14, 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 $28 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 280 concerts for 300,000 people annually. For tickets and more information, visit or call 713-224-7575.

Pictured: Christoph Koenig

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