Piano Legend Emanuel Ax Return to Houston

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Piano Legend Emanuel Ax Return to Houston

The Houston Symphony welcomes back legendary, seven-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax in Ax Plays Beethoven. Ax takes center stage in Jones Hall at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 17.

Undisputedly one of the greatest pianists currently performing on the world stage, Ax marks his return to the Houston Symphony by performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. In this early masterpiece, Beethoven harks back to Mozart and Haydn while also surprising audiences with his revolutionary musical ideas. Joining Ax and the Houston Symphony is internationally renowned guest conductor and Houston favorite Fabien Gabel, music director of the Quebec Symphony as well as the innovative Orchestre Français des Jeunes. This performance marks Gabel's first appearance this season with the Houston Symphony; he returns to close out the Classical Series in May.

After opening with the brilliance of Ax's Beethoven, Gabel leads the Houston Symphony in Brahms' gorgeous Symphony No. 2 in the second half of the program. For Brahms' contemporaries, the symphony's warm geniality and heartfelt melodies evoked "blue sky, babbling of streams, sunshine, and cool green shade," leading some to dub it Brahms' "pastoral" symphony.

Ax Plays Beethoven, part of the Shell Favorite Masters and sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, takes 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 houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

During the 2019-20 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its sixth 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 June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $35.2 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 1,000 community-based performances each year at various schools, community centers, hospitals, and churches reaching nearly 200,000 people in Greater Houston annually.

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.

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