Violinist Rainel Joubert Joins Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musician Program

The Houston Symphony's Community-Embedded Musician Program begins its second year with the addition of Cuban-born violinist Rainel Joubert, who will succeed Jenna Barghouti upon her acceptance of a one-year contracted violin position in the orchestra.

Joubert joins the program after an extensive search and selection process that drew nearly 40 applicants earlier this summer. A fourth-place 2012 finalist of the prestigious Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string musicians, Joubert has extensive experience touring as a member of Sphinx Virtuosi and as a recital soloist. He also taught at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in Havana, Cuba, the same institution where he began his musical studies at the age of seven.

"We were extremely impressed with Rainel's exceptional musical abilities, passion for teaching and community work and culturally-diverse background," said Pam Blaine, Chief of Education and Community Programming. "There's an increasing need for the Symphony to help transform the lives of so many in our diverse community where more than 90 languages are spoken. We're thrilled to welcome Rainel to help lead us in bringing about that change through our concerts, educational and community engagement programs."

The 29-year-old violinist is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a master's degree in music performance. While there, he won the first prize of the concerto competition, an accomplishment that allowed him to solo with the symphony orchestra of the same university.

Joubert will join the three other Community-Embedded Musicians in their mission to serve Houston's diverse population and enhance the impact of the orchestra's growing education and community engagement activities. Joubert together with the other Community-Embedded Musicians are expected to perform onstage with members of the Symphony during more than 40 concerts throughout the 2016-17 season.

"The Houston Symphony's dedication to reaching a large diverse audience is one of many reasons I am thrilled to come to Houston and join the talented group of Community-Embedded Musicians," said Joubert. "I look forward to combining my two biggest passions of music and teaching to make a positive impact in the overall quality of life in Greater Houston."

About the Community-Embedded Musician Program

Since the program's inception in 2015, the Community-Embedded Musician Program has allowed the Houston Symphony to educate, engage and excite thousands of children and adults through hundreds of interactions in underserved areas.

In the 2015-16 season, the addition of Community-Embedded Musicians made it possible for the Houston Symphony to provide an additional 650 educational and community activities in a wide variety of education and community settings, from in-depth school residencies to health and wellness initiatives including musical therapy. Some of the initiatives made possible through the Community-Embedded Musician Program include:

· New partnerships with three social service agencies, which allowed 500 people to attend a Houston Symphony concert or on-site workshops.

· A residency at Crespo Elementary School, presented by BBVA Compass, providing 260 classroom lessons, on-campus performances and opportunities to attend orchestra concerts at Jones Hall. This program impacted 950 students and approximately 500 family members.

· Four hundred school visits, including pre- and post-concert classroom lessons for students attending Student Concert Series performances, workshops, chamber ensemble performances and high school residency activities.

· A Music and Wellness initiative reaching more than 800 patients through more than 100 personalized small group interactions over an eight-month period.

· Summer collaborations with the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation and Alley Theatre provided engagement activities for nearly 200 students through music lessons and theatrical programs

In the 2016-17 season, the Community-Embedded Musician Program will continue to position the musicians in settings where they can help students develop essential life, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, Community-Embedded Musicians will continue to enhance the music and wellness program aimed at increasing the quality of health care through music and engage with diverse community sectors through the social service partnerships program.

The selection process for the recruitment of Community-Embedded Musicians involves both live auditions before a committee comprised of Houston Symphony musicians and in-person interviews with administrative leadership. Candidates are selected based on a combination of exceptional musical ability, passion for doing work in the community and in educational settings, and communication skills.

The Community-Embedded Musician Program is made possible through the investment of these generous supporters: Spec's Charitable Foundation, the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, BBVA Compass, Mr. Monzer Hourani, H-E-B, Jay Steinfeld and Barbara Winthrop, Nancy and Robert Peiser, Union Pacific and LTR Lewis Cloverdale Foundation. The orchestra intends to add more of these musicians in the coming seasons, providing ever-increasing levels of service and music education to the rapidly growing Houston region.

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