Houston Symphony Presents
Andrés Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth
Friday 9/17/2021 8:00 PM
Saturday 9/18/2021 8:00 PM
Sunday 9/19/2021 2:30 PM
The most famous four notes in music usher in a towering masterpiece for the ages in Beethoven’s immortal Fifth Symphony. Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada returns to Houston for the first time since February 2020 in this momentous Classical Series opener. And, world-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman, Concertmaster Yoonshin Song, and Principal Cellist Brinton Averil Smith serve up three times the virtuosity in Beethoven’s graceful and sparkling “Triple” Concerto.
Energy, elegance and spirit—these are the qualities that distinguish Andrés Orozco-Estrada as a musician. Since the 2014–15 season, he has been music director of the Houston Symphony and principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Beginning in the 2020–21 season, he will be chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony.
Andrés conducts many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Orchestre National de France, and American orchestras in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago. He has also directed successful concerts and opera performances at the Glyndebourne and Salzburg festivals.
Highlights of the 2019–20 season include performances with the Vienna Philharmonic at the BBC Proms and the Lucerne Festival, as well as tours to China, South Korea, and Japan. In the spring, Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts his debut concert with the New York Philharmonic and returns as a guest to the rostrum of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In May 2020, the Dutch National Opera Amsterdam premieres a new production of Carmen under his direction. With the Houston Symphony, he presents a new two-week Schumann Festival in February featuring the composer’s symphonies, concertos, choral works, and chamber music. The same month, he conducts three concerts at the Wiener Musikverein, leading the Vienna Symphony as principal conductor designate.
Andrés is particularly committed to new concert formats in which spoken commentary and visual elements complement the music as he rediscovers known repertoire together with the audience—be it a Spotlight concert with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra or a Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra family concert.
His CD releases at Pentatone have attracted critical praise. His Dvořák cycle with the Houston Symphony was praised by Pizzicato as a “vital Dvořák with warm colors.” With the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, recordings of Stravinsky’s Firebird and The Rite of Spring were hailed as “beguiling” by Gramophone, and the same publication recently described him as “a fine Straussian” in a review of their recent recording of the Alpine Symphony from his Richard Strauss cycle. In addition, his interpretations of all the Brahms and Mendelssohn symphonies are available on recordings.
Born in Medellín, Colombia, Andrés began his musical education with the violin. He received his first conducting lessons at 15 and began study in Vienna in 1997, where he was accepted at the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in the conducting class of Uroš Lajovic, a student of the legendary Hans Swarowsky. Andrés has since lived in Vienna.
Internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by the most illustrious conductors, chamber musicians, orchestras, festivals, and recital series. His commanding technique, power, and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.
Widely praised for his solo, chamber, and orchestral recordings, Yefim has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning in 1997 with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for their recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti. His prolific catalog of recordings includes works for two pianos by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, the complete Prokofiev concerti with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, a Schubert/Mozart disc with the Zukerman Chamber Players, and the soundtrack to Disney’s Fantasia 2000. His most recent CD releases include the 2014 Grammy-nominated Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label.
Now available on DVD are his performances of Liszt’s second piano concerto with Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic, Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rachmaninoff’s third concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, and both Brahms Concerti with Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra.
Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists, he was further honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University and an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.
Brinton Averil Smith
Cellist Brinton Averil Smith continues to win rave reviews for virtuosic performances with musical ideals rooted in the golden age of string playing. His debut recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Cello Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra won widespread international critical acclaim, with Gramophone praising Smith as a “hugely eloquent, impassioned soloist,” and his recording of the chamber music of Fauré with Gil Shaham was chosen by numerous critics as one of the year’s best albums. A passionate advocate of compelling unfamiliar repertoire, Smith recently gave the North American premieres of rediscovered works of Jean Sibelius and Alexander Zemlinsky. Smith’s performances, hailed as “stunningly beautiful” by the American Record Guide, have been broadcast on CBS’s Sunday Morning and on the radio throughout the United States, including American Public Media’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast.
Smith has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Houston Symphony since joining the orchestra as Principal Cellist in 2005. Prior to this appointment, he was the first musician chosen by Lorin Maazel to join the New York Philharmonic and was Principal Cellist of the San Diego and Fort Worth Symphonies. As a chamber musician, Smith has collaborated with artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Dawn Upshaw, and members of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Berg quartets. Smith is also a faculty member of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and Aspen Music Festival.
The son of a mathematician and a pianist, Smith was admitted to Arizona State University at age 10, where he took courses in mathematics, music, and German. At age 17, Smith completed a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He then became a student of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California, where he was also a teaching assistant in the mathematics department, and completed work for a Master of Arts in Mathematics at age 19. He subsequently studied with the renowned cellist Zara Nelsova at The Juilliard School, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts, disserting on the playing of Emanuel Feuermann. Smith resides in Houston with his wife, pianist Evelyn Chen, their daughter, Calista, and two slightly evil, but kind-hearted dogs. For further information, please visit www.brintonaverilsmith.com.
Acclaimed as “a wonderfully talented violinist…whose sound and technique go well beyond her years”, violinist Yoonshin Song was born in South Korea, where she began her musical studies at age 5. Making her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 11, she has since built a successful performing career internationally.
Yoonshin was appointed as Concertmaster of the Houston Symphony in August 2019. Prior to that she has held the same position with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons. Yoonshin has also served as guest concertmaster of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer.
Beyond her first chair duties, Yoonshin has performed as a soloist with many orchestras around the world, including the Houston Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, the Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the KBS Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. The highlights of her 2020-2021 season as a soloist include concertos with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Houston Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra.
She has also participated as a soloist and chamber musician in numerous leading music festivals, including the Marlboro, Deer Valley, Great Lakes, and Aspen Music Festivals in the United States; the Miyazaki Chamber Music Festival in Japan; and the Verbier, Lucerne, and Bayreuth Festivals in Europe.
Yoonshin has earned many prestigious prizes throughout her career, including top prize awards in the Lipizer International Violin Competition in Italy; the Lipinski & Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poland; the Henry Marteau International Violin Competition in Germany; and first prize at the Stradivarius International Competition in the United States. She studied under the tutelage of Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory and continued her studies with Robert Mann and Glenn Dicterow at the Manhattan School of Music.
The music of Kyle Rivera (b. 1996) is dynamic, intriguing, and energetic. Through the use of bold gestures and nuanced effect, he creates musical narratives that are vibrant and compelling. He continually seeks out a wide variety of sonorities in order to best capture the human experience.
Kyle is a Colorado-based composer and violist. He earned a BM in Music Composition and Viola Performance from the University of Houston with a Minor in Kinesiology. His principal teachers were Dr. Rob Smith for composition and Suzanne LeFevre for Viola. He has also studied composition with Jimmy Lopez, Reiko Feuting, Pierre Jalbert, Martin Bresnick, and David Ludwig. Kyle has performed as a member of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble, with Sphinx Virtuosi, the Ariel Quartet, and the world-renowned Houston Ballet Academy. He has participated as a fellow at the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival, Fresh Inc Music Festival, and the Atlantic Music Festival.
As a composer, his music has been performed in numerous cities, on public radio, and by various ensembles. Past collaborations include the Houston Symphony, AURA Contemporary Ensemble, KINETIC Ensemble, Houston Grand Opera Co., Opus Illuminate, 10th Wave Chamber Music Collective, the Chelsea Music Festival, the Kenari Quartet, Kingwood Park High School, as well as Grammy award-winning violist Nathan Schram.
G. BRIDGETOWER/Arr. K. RIVERA
Henry, A Ballad, for Fortepiano and Voice,
arranged for Orchestra
(HS Commission, world premiere)
Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano
Symphony No. 5
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