Friday night, first time Hispanic music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts Dvořák opened for the Houston Symphony.
Prior to the production, audience members were given the opportunity to hear a talk back and get a little insight into the music which would be preformed. It was a pleasure to be familiarized a bit with the music we would hear and given tips as to what we could listen to. A bit of time was also allotted for questions before the production began.
Andrés took the stage to start the first piece. Andrés born in Columbia began conducting at age 15. His passion for music and getting the best of his musicals was obvious from the moment he took the podium. The first piece Slavonic Dances (selections) was one of the first of Dvořák’s pieces to gain the composer fame. This piece takes Dvořák’s interest in folk music and he adds his own touches to make this piece his own. It mixes fast upbeat with the slow and melodic.
Prior to Simone Porter, guest violinist, making her Houston Symphony debut audiences were able to watch a recording of an interview with her and the conductor. Hearing Porter articulate the piece she would be performing gave audiences a bit of insight into what to expect. Porter mentioned she enjoyed how her solo spoke with the rest of the piece and how she hoped audiences would be transformed with her playing. Prior to her taking the stage, audiences anticipated her first notes. Porter more than delivered as the orchestra performed “Violin Concerto, Opus 14”. This piece is broken into three parts and you could truly hear the way Porter’s solo spoke with the larger piece, as she described.
Porter raised in Seattle and at age 18 has already made a mark on the music world. Porter has played with the New York and Los Angles Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. At age 10, she made her professional debut with the Seattle Symphony and at age 13 debuted internationally with the Royal Philharmonic. Porter has such elegant grace and beauty as she performs with such passion and energy. Her outstanding performance last night drew a much deserved standing ovation.
Andrés came back to conduct as the orchestra preformed “Symphony No. 6 in D major, Opus 60”. This is a grand piece that perfectly ebbs and flows. The piece is comprised of four parts that are each unique and moving in their own ways. Just as mentioned in the pre-show discussion audiences could hear the echoes of Dvořák’s mentor, Johannes Brahms, namely his Symphony No. 2.
Not only a unique experience for a night filled with wonderful music and talent, it is truly a gift to the ears. The Houston Symphony are recoding Symphony No. 6 for a CD to later be released. This is a musical experience all audiences should come out to enjoy.
Andrés conducts Dvořák plays this weekend. For ticket information, call Patron Service Center at (713) 224-7575, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or visit the Houston Symphony website at www.houstonsymphony.org. While at their site, be sure to see what exciting events are upcoming for the Houston Symphony.