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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Life + Arts

Musicians get classical at TMF

In 1990, Immanuel and Helen Olshan set out to craft a program that would ease the transition from high school and college music to the field of professional composition and performance. With support from partners such as David Tomatz at UH, Texas A&M University and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, they founded the Texas Music Festival.

The festival has since grown into one of ‘the premiere orchestral training programs and music festivals in the U.S.,’ TMF General Director Alan Austin said in a letter to the public.

TMF strives to bring together talented, motivated music students with top faculty, including composers, soloists and conductors. The educational principles behind the festival include a commitment to live performance.

Students study for four weeks with the best soloists and instrumentalists, then perform alongside them at venues like the Moores Opera House the Presidential Conference Center at Texas A&M and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

This year, one of the featured soloists is Houstonian Richard Dowling, praised by the New York Times as ‘an especially impressive fine young pianist.’ Dowling has won numerous awards internationally and at home, including first place at the San Antonio International Keyboard Competition. He was declared the National Winner of the prestigious Music Teacher’s National Association Collegiate Artist Competition.

Among the soloists performing for the TMF is Elmar Oliveira, the famed violinist from Connecticut. During his career, Oliveira has played with a collection of symphonies and orchestras that reads like a list of the most talented and progressive in the country, including the Chicago Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic.

The organizers hope that by bringing together students with musical luminaries known for their progressive and intellectual style and virtuoso talent, they can inspire aspiring musicians to greater heights of aptitude and creativity.

In its 20 years of existence, the festival has grown beyond its humble and diminutive roots, constantly reinventing itself and incorporating new themes and styles. One such example is the Classical Minds Guitar Festival, which takes an innovative look at the field of classical guitar from a modern perspective.

TMF has doubled in size three times since its initial offering six years ago and is host to a prestigious solo competition and world-class instrumentalists.

Although the festival is centered on students and education, the organizers intend for it to be entertainment for anyone interested.

‘Our combined concerts, master classes, outreach performances and other public offerings bring nearly 50 events to the greater Houston area. Join us for some of the best summer music making anywhere,’ Austin said.

The Classical Minds Guitar Festival opens June 28 and continues through July 2. Information about the upcoming concerts and performers can be obtained from the festival Web site at

Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival

When: Now through July 3, 2009

Price: Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 students and seniors for all Moores Opera House and Dudley Recital Hall concerts, unless otherwise stated.

Visit or call 713-743-3313 for tickets and more information.

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