Houston Symphony Takes Diverse Programming Across Houston with 10 Free Concerts

Houston Symphony Takes Diverse Programming Across Houston with 10 Free ConcertsThe Houston Symphony announced today the details of its free, family-friendly Summer Neighborhood Concerts and ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights. A summer tradition, these evening concerts are held in casual venues across Greater Houston, making these performances accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

This year's Summer Neighborhood Concerts - led by Associate Conductor Robert Franz - will be held in schools and churches across Greater Houston and will feature daring works by Beethoven and Wagner as well as John Williams' Summon the Heroes, Tchaikovsky's blazing Symphony No. 4 and Williams' Remembrances from Schindler's List, which will feature young violinist Katherine Butler of Virtuosi of Houston.

The Houston Symphony returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre for the 78th consecutive time for ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights, an annual tradition that introduces rising guest artists and outstanding soloists and conductors to Houston audiences. This year's special and diverse lineup features leading female conductors and young musicians from culturally diverse backgrounds as Miller celebrates its 95th anniversary.

On June 22, Hong Kong-born conductor Elim Chan - the first female conductor to win the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition - will lead Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony and Bruch's lively Violin Concerto No. 1, which features rising Venezuelan violinist Rubén Rengel, winner of the 2018 Annual Sphinx Competition. Rengel is currently pursuing his Master's degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under the remarkable guidance of Paul Kantor.

Nicholas Hersh, Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, takes the podium the following day on June 23 to lead a program featuring Tchaikovsky's impassioned Symphony No. 5 and Böhme's romantic Trumpet Concerto, which features Houston Symphony Associate Trumpet John Parker in his solo debut with the orchestra. The program opens with Rainbow Body, a Houston Symphony-commissioned composition by American composer Christopher Theofanidis. Rainbow Body is one of the most successful Houston Symphony commissions and one of Theofanidis's most performed compositions.

On June 29, another up and coming female conductor, Jessica Cottis, leads a British-American program featuring works by Elgar, Gershwin and Vaughan Williams. Prolific jazz pianist Aaron Diehl takes center stage in Gershwin's rhythmic Piano Concerto in F. Cottis closes out the program with Vaughn Williams' brilliant love letter to London, his Symphony No.2, A London Symphony.

Under direction of Kensho Watanabe, Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Houston Symphony continues its celebrations of Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday on June 30 with Three Dance Variations from Fancy Free. The program will also feature the Silver Medal Winner of the 2018 Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition performing his or her winning concerto. A Fourth of July tradition, this year's Star-Spangled Salute showcases Broadway vocalist Ryan Silverman's powerful sound under the direction of Houston Symphony Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke. The booming 1812 Overture (which will feature a local drumline) and magnificent fireworks will make for a patriotic Independence Day celebration.

Admission is free to all of the ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre, but tickets are required for the seated area. Each concert is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of each performance between the hours of 10:30am-1pm. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before showtime to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating is available on the hill. Visit www.milleroutdoortheatre.com for more information.

About the Houston Symphony

During the 2017-18 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America's leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony's four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg's Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

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