Houston Symphony Announces Concert in Honor of 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 11/3
Today, Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker joined former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III and representatives from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Houston-Leipzig (Germany) Sister City Association and the Houston Symphony to announce a concert event at Jones Hall marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The world-renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will kick-off a tour of the United States in Houston, Leipzig's official sister city, with a concert on Monday, November 3, presented by the Houston Symphony. The performance will include works by famous German composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn, one of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra's most celebrated music directors.
Former President George H. W. Bush and Mr. Baker, the 61st U.S. Secretary of State, will serve as honorary chairs of the concert, having served in critical roles leading up to and after the events in 1989 when the wall fell, ultimately paving the way for Germany's reunification in 1990.
"Leipzig, for centuries a world center of music and art, played a magnificent symphony for
freedom in October 1989 when its "prayers for peace" demonstrations led to the fall of the
Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany," said Baker. "On the 25th anniversary of that historic event, I am proud that my hometown is hosting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on its first-ever performance in Houston."
Leipzig is located 90 miles southwest of Berlin and was part of East Germany. Twenty-five years ago, more than 70,000 citizens marched around the inner ring of the Leipzig city centre on October 9, 1989, with the calls "We are the People" and "No Violence" - protesting against communism and advocating for freedom and democracy. Additional peaceful marches for freedom continued in Leipzig during that historic period, drawing close to 400,000 citizens.
Leipzig has been an official sister city to Houston since 1993. Sister Cities International is a non-profit organization created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in an effort to build bonds and partnerships between people of different cultures to ultimately lessen the chance of new conflicts. In total, Houston has 17 sister cities worldwide.
"To hear the distinctive Leipzig sound of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Houston's Jones Hall will be magical!" said Angelika Schmidt-Lange, Board Member and former President, Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association. "Under Riccardo Chailly's hands the orchestra excels; it is a wonderful gift from our sister city and emphasizes the strength and endurance of our sister city relationship."
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world, its history stretching back in excess of 250 years. Its distinguished reputation, enduring influence on the history of music, its countless appearances on every continent of the globe since 1916 and hundreds of recordings have made the Orchestra one of the most beloved of our time.
"We are privileged to have Gewandhausorchester, one of Germany's oldest and finest orchestras, kick off this extraordinary musical experience in Houston for which President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker have graciously agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs," said Mayor Annise Parker. "As a world-class city with a robust arts and culture scene, we appreciate this caliber of classical music, which is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty."
"On the heels of our Centennial Season, the Houston Symphony is honored to present our sister symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, on this historic occasion," said Mark C. Hanson, executive director and CEO of the Houston Symphony. "Music crosses cultural barriers and unifies us all wherever it is performed and is the perfect vehicle for marking this historic anniversary of peace and unity."
Following the one-night-only performance in Houston, the orchestra will continue its tour to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on November 5; Symphony Hall in Boston on November 7; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on November 8; and closing with two nights at Lincoln Center in New York City on November 9 and 10.
Tickets for the performance on November 3 will be available exclusively to Houston Symphony subscribers now through June 30, and then on sale to the general public starting July 1, 2014.
The Houston performance of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is generously supported in part by Houston Saengerbund; Shelby Allen; M.D. Anderson Foundation; Dr. Gary Hollingsworth and Dr. Ken Hyde; Robin Angly and Miles Smith; Team Alloys LLC; Jackson Hicks; Sybil F. Roos; Mr. & Mrs. Robert B. Springob / Laredo Construction Inc.; Tim Bohnert; Debbie and Frank Jones; and Sue Schwartz.
HOUSTON SYMPHONY PRESENTS
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Monday, November 3, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Jones Hall for the Performing Arts: 615 Louisiana Street, Houston, TX, 77002
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Nikolaj Znaider, violin
Bach: Orchestral Suite No.4 in D major
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Reformation Symphony
Prices: From $25