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2017 Texas Music Festival Season Announced

This summer, expect to be engaged, enraptured and invigorated when classical music's rising stars perform major classical and contemporary works by luminaries including Daniel Catán, Chausson, Elgar, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Shostakovich and Strauss at the 28th Annual Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival (TMF). The TMF "Cool & Classical" Orchestra Series, set for June 10, June 17, June 23-24 and July 1, will showcase the crème de la crème of pre-professional musicians here to study and perform with world-class conductors, soloists and faculty artists at the University of Houston (UH) Moores Opera House and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

The 2017 TMF Season will include two TMF conductor debuts, Maestros Andrés Franco (Week 2) and Brett Mitchell (Week 3), Houston Symphony assistant conductor 2007-11, and the return of audience favorites Franz Anton Krager and Daniel Hege. There will be some contemporary works, two of which are Houston premieres: György Ligeti: Concert Romanesc and Daniel Catán: Mariposa de Obsidiana (Obsidian Butterfly, an Aztec Goddess). The Catán work features soprano Cynthia Clayton, the festival chorus and orchestra for Opening Night. The centerpiece will be Clayton's Mariposa and "Escuchame" ("Listen to Me") from Florencia en el Amazonas (Florencia in the Amazon). The opera, co-commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, premiered here in 1996 and was the first Spanish-language opera commissioned by major U.S. opera houses. The work will be recorded with the TMF Orchestra for a Catán recording project being orchestrated by Clayton with support from University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies and other grantees. Catán's widow, Andrea Puente Catán, will attend the concert, according to Alan Austin, TMF General and Artistic Director.

Other season highlights: Guest solo by Lucie Robert, the violin virtuoso and pedagogue whose concert will celebrate her milestone 20th anniversary on the TMF Faculty; Modeste Mussorgsky/arr. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition showpiece; Esa-Pekka Salonen: L.A. Variations, first performed 20 years ago with Salonen conducting the LA Philharmonic; Edward Elgar: Variations on an original theme, "Enigma;" Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances; Maurice Ravel: La valse; and Richard Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

TMF is a rigorous training ground for serious music fellows to learn and perform 13 major classical works over four weeks with four different conductors. "Our demanding schedule is on par with a professional symphony orchestra's," says Austin, a violinist and 1990 TMF alum. "Our number of applicants continues to rise because conservatory students desire the depth and scope of our repertoire. They have to stretch themselves here, but they relish the opportunity."

Over 300 hundred applicants from across the U.S. and 13 foreign countries applied for the prestigious TMF Orchestral Institute, representing nearly 100 institutions including such noted music schools as The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, The Peabody Institute, Rice University Shepherd School of Music and UH Moores School. The Texas Music Festival is considered on par with such renowned festivals as Aspen or Tanglewood Music Festivals. Its founders, the late Immanuel and Helen Olshan, were two Houstonians who loved attending summer music gatherings in Colorado and New England.

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