Mercury to Open 2015-16 Downtown Series 10/10 with Haydn, Mozart and Rameau

Mercury opens its Downtown Series at the Wortham Center's Cullen Theatre on October 10 at 8 PM with a diverse array of delightful music by Haydn, Mozart and Rameau. Led by Artistic Director, Antoine Plante, Mercury will perform Haydn's famous "Surprise" Symphony, a suite from Rameau's Baroque opera Les Boréades, as well as Mozart's spirited Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467 with guest fortepianist, Alex Weimann, playing on an 1839 Bösendorfer 80-key fortepiano, on loan from the Moores School of Music. This concert is sponsored in part by Dee Kreft in celebration of Mercury's 15th Anniversary Season. To purchase tickets or for more information visit or call 713.533.0080.

Alexander Weimann is one of the most sought-after ensemble directors, soloists, and chamber music partners of his generation. Born in Munich, Weimann has traveled the world with ensembles like Tragicomedia, Cantus Cölln, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the Gesualdo Consort and Tafelmusik. He now focuses on his activities as Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques, Le Nouvel Opéra and Tempo Rubato. Early Music says "By all accounts a musician of wide and varied interests and experiences... [Weimann] plays with the utmost passion, vigour and virtuosity."

Founded in 2000, Mercury has a mission to serve the community by celebrating the power of music, Baroque and beyond, teaching, sharing and performing with passion, intimacy and excellence. The orchestra offers performances of a broad repertoire of music on period instruments and has garnered critical acclaim around the world through innovative and accessible performances, domestic and international tours, and groundbreaking music education programs.

What makes a Mercury performance unique? Mercury musicians perform on period instruments similar in style and sound to those used by composers of the Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic periods. Differences between modern and period instruments can be seen in the string section where players use gut rather than steel strings and often utilize a Baroque bow that is shorter and more curved than a modern bow. Brass instruments have no valves and are more modest in shape than their modern equivalents, and the timpani drums utilize leather skins rather than synthetic heads. Perhaps the most recognizable differences can be seen in the woodwind section; these instruments have less keys and are actually crafted from wood as opposed to metal or plastic like many modern instruments. Mercury chooses to perform with period instruments to create a distinctive and exciting sound, true to the composer's intent. Mercury musicians also perform standing to better express the passion and vitality of the music. All of this provides a singular listening experience for our audience.

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