Three Weeks of Beethoven Series Returns to Houston Symphony, Starting Tonight

Three Weeks of Beethoven returns for a second year at the Houston Symphony this month, featuring Beethoven's second, third, eighth and ninth symphonies. In musical contrast, Superheroes at the Symphony!, and An Evening with Matthew Morrison will round out the last weekend of the month.

The Three Weeks of Beethoven series is the Houston Symphony's three-year blueprint for Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada to lead the orchestra in all nine of Beethoven's epic symphonies. This year's sequence begins this weekend, March 4-6, 2016, with Beethoven 2 & 8, both works paying homage to the likes of Mozart and Haydn with aural lightheartedness and wit. Also on the program is Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank's ghost story-inspired La Llorona for Viola and Orchestra, featuring Principal Viola Wayne Brooks.

The following weekend, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica, will be spotlighted, as well as Shostakovich's haunting Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, featuring the Symphony's own Principal Trumpet Mark Hughes during Beethoven's Eroica Plus Shostakovich March 10, 12 and 13. Houston composer Pierre Jalbert will also be included on the program with his innovative piece, Music of Air and Fire.

On March 18-20, Beethoven 9 & Bernstein will encompass Bernstein's tuneful Chichester Psalms featuring 10-year-old soprano Dennis Xu in his Houston Symphony debut. Beethoven's monumental Symphony No. 9, the composer's last complete symphony, will feature the Houston Symphony Chorus and vocalists Gordon Gietz, Peixin Chen and Kelly O'Connor. Chen, a recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, will also be appearing with the orchestra for the first time.

Broadway and Glee fans will relish An Evening with Matthew Morrison, taking place March 24-26. The Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe-nominated star will join the orchestra and Principal POPS Conductor Designate Steven Reineke for a night of dancing and singing featuring songs like Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing)," "Sway," "Luck Be a Lady," and "What I Did for Love."

The third Family concert of the season will take place Saturday, March 26, titled Superheroes at the Symphony! Children will be introduced to the orchestra through Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, with special guest characters revealing the superpowers of the orchestra's instrument families. Associate Conductor Robert Franz will lead the ensemble and costumes are encouraged.

All concerts will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston's Theater District, unless otherwise noted. For tickets and information, call (713) 224-7575 or visit 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.

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