Joshua Bell to Perform with the Houston Symphony, 9/20-22

Joshua Bell to Perform with the Houston Symphony, 9/20-22

On September 20, 21 and 22, the Houston Symphony will welcome back former music director Lawrence Foster and superstar of the violin Joshua Bell for a concert featuring Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, a musical masterpiece complete with heartbreaking melodies and fiery virtuosity. The Houston Symphony will also perform Mussorgsky's Dance of the Persian Maidens fromKhovantchina, Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves from Sir John in Love and Elgar's Enigma Variations, which paints musical portraits of 14 of Elgar's dearest friends.

The historic Centennial season falls between the tenure of two music directors, so the Houston Symphony is delighted to welcome back past and future artistic leaders to conduct the orchestra. In addition to Mr. Foster, who served as the Houston Symphony's music director from 1971-78, the Symphony will showcase Conductor Laureate Hans Graf, Music Director Designate Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Christoph Eschenbach, music director from 1988-99, on the Jones Hall stage this season.

HOUSTON SYMPHONY CLASSICAL SERIES continues at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St., Houston, TX, on Friday, September 20, 2013, 8:00 p.m., Saturday, September 21, 2013, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 22, 2013, 2:30 p.m. Tickets from $35. Joshua Bell returns with Lawrence Foster, conductor.

PROGRAM:

Mussorgsky: Dance of the Persian Maidens from Khovantchina

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Lawrence Foster holds the position of Music Director with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille. This season sees productions of La Traviata, Le Roi D'Ys and future opera plans include Flying Dutchman, Falstaff and Madama Butterfly. Following a successful ten-year tenure as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Foster recently became their Conductor Laureate. Over the past 10 years, he and the orchestra have toured extensively and recorded a number of highly acclaimed discs for PentaTone Classics.

Future performances as a guest conductor include appearances with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Lucerne Festival, Orchestre National de Lyon, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Copenhagen Philharmonic and Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo. He will also make return visits to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, take part in Krzysztof Penderecki's 80th birthday celebrations in November 2013 and tour China with NDR Radiophilharmonie.

Is 2013, Foster was also awarded L'Orfée d'Or from L'Académie National du Disque Lyrique for his recording of Vincent D'Indy's L'Etrangerwith Opera et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc Roussillon. Also a prolific opera conductor, he works regularly at Hamburgische Staatsoper. Future opera engagements include Rusalka for Opéra de Monte Carlo, San Francisco and Welsh National operas.

Born in 1941 in Los Angeles to Romanian parents, Lawrence Foster has been a major champion of the music of Georg Enescu, serving as Artistic Director of the Georg Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001. His latest Enescu recording, his own orchestration of the String Octet with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo for EMI, was released in spring 2009. In January 2003, he was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music.

Often referred to as the "poet of the violin," Joshua Bell's stunning virtuosity, beautiful tone and charismatic stage presence have brought him universal acclaim. An Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical America's 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year, Bell received the New York Recording Academy Honors in June, 2013. Recently appointed as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Bell is the first person to hold this title since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. Their first recording under Bell's leadership of Beethoven's 4th and 7th symphonies from Sony Classical debuted in February at #1 on the Billboard Classical music chart.

Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Mercury, Grammy, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards. Recent releases include French Impressions with pianist Jeremy Denk, the eclectic At Home With Friends, the Defiance soundtrack, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, The Red Violin Concerto, Voice of the Violin, and Romance of the Violin, which Billboard named the 2004 Classical CD of the Year, and Bell the Classical Artist of the Year. His discography encompasses critically-acclaimed performances of the major violin repertoire in addition to John Corigliano's Oscar-winning soundtrack, The Red Violin.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell received his first violin at age four and at age 12 began studying with Josef Gingold at Indiana University. Two years later, Bell came to national attention in his debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra and, at age 17, made his Carnegie Hall debut. Bell's career has now spanned over 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor. Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius.

During the 2013-14 Season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its 100th year as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. 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 $30.4 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 280 concerts for 280,000 people, including 84,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

Photo Credit: Lisa Marie Mazzucco