The Houston Symphony's September and October 2014 Calendar Features Jason Alexander, Andrés Orozco-Estrada's Inaugural Season, and More

The Houston Symphony's September and October 2014 Calendar Features Jason Alexander, Andrés Orozco-Estrada's  Inaugural Season, and More

The Houston Symphony's 2014-15 Classical and POPS concert series will kick-off in September with an exceptional line up of orchestral repertoire, world-class soloists and comedic fun. Following a laugh-filled weekend of POPS performances with Tony Award-winning actor and Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, the inaugural season of conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada will feature three concerts in a "¡Bienvenido, Andrés!" weekend including Opening Night and Gala along with two free performances.

Fall brings the return of renowned pianist André Watts playing Rachmaninoff and the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank's South American-inspired Karnivalingo. POPS lovers can take in the reminiscent fun of your favorite TV theme songs with TV's Greatest Hits conducted by guest artist Steven Reineke and featuring singer/comedian Nicole Parker of MADtv.

On October 2-5, the world-famous Korean-American violinist Sarah Chang comes to Houston to perform Barber's Violin Concerto. Renowned composer, Rice University faculty member and founding member of Houston's premier contemporary music group, Musiqa, Karim Al-Zand shares his composition, City Scenes, in the same program that will be accompanied with photographs from Houston-based photographer Libbie Masterson. The tales of Arabian nights come alive in Rimsky-Korsakov's seductive Scheherazade. Conductor Laureate Hans Graf returns to the podium to lead Ravel's Mother Goose and Debussy's Images with Houston favorite Jon Kimura Parker playing Ravel's jazzy Piano Concerto in G minor. October concludes with the dynamic and powerful trumpeter Byron Stripling's returns the stage as he weaves a tapestry of ragtime, blues and jazz music and the stories surrounding the music.

Unless otherwise noted, all concerts take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston's Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org unless otherwise noted. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

Friday, September 5, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, September 6, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 7:30pm

Jason Alexander
An Evening Of Comedy And Song

Michael Krajewski, conductor

*Jason Alexander, vocalist

Tony Award® winner and multi-talented star of the ground-breaking hit TV show Seinfeld, Jason Alexander joins the orchestra for his first-ever symphonic performance in Texas. Alexander engages you for an evening of music and laughs as he reminisces about his remarkable and versatile career on the stage and screen. Hear songs from Broadway's Music Man, Pippin and Merrily We Roll Along.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 8:30pm
¡Bienvenido, Andrés! Concert
Free Community Performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Gabriela Montero, piano
All of Houston is invited to Miller Outdoor Theatre for a free concert to celebrate and welcome Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Bring your family and join us under the stars as Andrés leads the orchestra through music of Colombia and America, complete with folk dancing and other festive elements. Also on the program, Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero dazzles you with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Don't miss this milestone event in the Symphony's history!

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 7:30pm
Opening Night with Andrés
Concert and Gala at Jones Hall and The Corinthian
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Alison Balsom, trumpet
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Haydn: Trumpet Concerto
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
Saluting the official start of his Inaugural Season, Andrés leads the Opening Night concert with Alison Balsom, British trumpeter extraordinaire and recipient of the 2013 Gramophone Awards "Artist of the Year" title. The concert opens with Mozart's delightful Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. Balsom performs Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, and the night concludes with Pictures at an Exhibition, Mussorgsky's ten-movement suite, in a brilliant orchestration by Maurice Ravel.
Afterwards, continue the evening with elegance and Columbian festive fun at a black-tie dinner and dance at The Corinthian, featuring cuisine by Jackson and Company and the sounds of the Richard Brown Orchestra.
Barbara and Pat McClevey, Chairs of the Opening Night Gala
ConocoPhillips, Concert Sponsor and Lead Corporate Gala Underwriter
Individual tickets for the concert and black-tie dinner start at $500. Tables for ten, including concert seating, start at $5,000. For further information on the Opening Night Gala, please contact Houston Symphony Special Events atspecialevents@houstonsymphony.org or (713) 238-1485.

Sunday, September 14, 2014, 6:00pm

Fiesta Sinfónica con Andrés
Free Community Performance at Jones Hall
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Gabriela Montero, piano
Our weekend-long "Bienvenido" celebration culminates with Andrés leading the orchestra for our annual free concert saluting Hispanic Heritage Month. Gabriela Montero, acclaimed Venezuelan pianist, performs Gershwin's jazz-influenced Rhapsody in Blue. The New York Times describes Montero as "compelling, elegant, and incisive." Also on the program, hear sizzling danzas from Mexico, France and Colombia.

Friday, September 19, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:30pm
Watts Plays Rachmaninoff 2
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
André Watts, piano
Gabriela Lena Frank: Houston Symphony Commission, World Premiere
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)
Renowned pianist André Watts returns to Houston to perform Rachmaninoff's deeply romantic Piano Concerto No. 2. Enduringly popular since its 1901 debut, the concerto's themes have found fame in movies such as Brief Encounter, The Seven Year Itch and the popular song "All by Myself." Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada also leads the heroic symphonic tone poem Ein Heldenleben by R. Strauss.

Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, September 28, 2014, 7:30pm

TV'S Greatest Hits

Steven Reineke, conductor

Nicole Parker, vocalist

Join the Houston Symphony for a night celebrating some of TV's most memorable music. With the wickedly funny singer/comedian Nicole Parker from MADtv and guest conductor Steven Reineke as your hosts, explore themes from your favorite TV shows like M*A*S*H, Downton Abbey, Hawaii Five-O and The Flintstones, among others. Plus, join the fun with sing alongs and an on-stage game show. Hear music from crime dramas, cartoons, game shows, variety shows, sit-coms and more from yesterday and today. Additionally, Parker salutes iconic variety show performances by the likes of Carol Burnett, Judy Garland and Ethel Merman.

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 4, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 5, 2014, 2:30pm
Sarah Chang Plus Copland
Cristian Macelaru, conductor
Sarah Chang, violin
Karim Al-Zand: City Scenes
Barber: Violin Concerto
Copland: Symphony No. 3
Touted by The New York Times as "technically brilliant, lively and characterful," Sarah Chang has been captivating audiences since her New York Philharmonic debut at age eight. The Korean-American violinist performs Barber's intensely lyrical Violin Concerto on this program, which also features Al-Zand's three-part, urban-inspired City Scenes and Copland's Symphony No. 3. Experience a glorious variation on the Fanfare for the Common Man in the Symphony's fourth movement.

Friday, October 17, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 2:30pm
Scheherazade
Jakub Hruša, conductor
*Denis Kozhukhin, piano
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
Musical storytelling at its best, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade captivates and seduces with vibrant tales of Arabian nights. Let your imagination soar as dazzling symphonic sounds portray Scheherazade's stories that captured the Sultan's curiosity and admiration. Plus, hear young Russian pianist and winner of the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition Denis Kozhukhin perform Prokofiev's virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 2:30pm
Ravel And Debussy
Hans Graf, conductor
Jon Kimura Parker, piano
Ravel: Mother Goose - complete ballet music
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Debussy: Images
Peer through a musical kaleidoscope as Conductor Laureate Hans Graf leads a program full of French imagery and evocative melodies. Ravel's Mother Goose epitomizes his light and colorful musical style while Debussy's trilogy Images explores colorful landscapes including Ibéria, complete with castanets and orchestral effects reminiscent of a Spanish guitar. Also hear worldclass pianist and Houston favorite Jon Kimura Parker in Ravel's jazzy Piano Concerto.

Friday, October 31, 2014, 8:00pm
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 8:00pm
Sunday, November 2, 2014, 7:30pm
Ragtime, Blues & All That Jazz
Michael Krajewski, conductor
Byron Stripling, trumpet and vocalist
Hailed by The New York Times as "a powerful trumpeter, at ease with the most complicated and detailed bebop lines and an open-armed Armstrong swagger," Byron Stripling returns, showcasing ragtime masters Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton and blues legends B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Hear Byron's entertaining anecdotes about the music and its creators from this unforgettable era. The charismatic musician finishes the concert in style with a toe-tapping jam session.

About 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.