The gathering of professional musicians around the world every year drives the Texas Music Festival as they quickly learn and perform pieces of music that shape the foundation of the classical music culture.
This year is no different.
After a two week run through of more than 400 tape auditions, Moores School of Music Conducting Chairman Franz Krager and Special Projects Director Alan Austin have narrowed it down to 95 talented musicians. These lucky few have been chosen to assemble and perform as the Texas Music Festival Orchestra.
“The good news for the students who get selected is that once they get to Houston, they don’t have to pay for anything else,” Krager said. “They get a full scholarship, this way we can compete with other big music festivals in America.”
The festival, which will be held until July 1, is peppered with performances that have been practiced by local and international students over the course of just one week.
From the jazz performances in the opening night to the chamber music given by the students and faculty members, all of the music will have been thoroughly mastered and ready for performance.
“It usually takes about six weeks to prepare for a concert,” Krager said. “The TMF festival does all of this in one week. The first time they see the music is seven days before they perform it. You couldn’t do that with most university groups. The learning curve goes much quicker and you’re able to do major, difficult work in such a short amount of time.”
The international element that fused with TMF 20 years ago was not at its highest peak like it is now.
Very few foreign students played their role while the rest of the orchestra’s musicians came straight from UH.
Now, plenty of conductors and top-notch musicians from around the world have arrived in Houston and Krager feels that this aspect is what makes learning music a rewarding experience.
One student, who has taken part in many international competitions and festivals, said she is both excited and focused for what is ahead.
Flying in from New York is prize-winning flute performer and instructor Caity Piccini, who looks to expand her horizons and hone her skills. She is also thrilled about meeting new international talent.
“The other festivals that I’ve been to have a lot of international students. Often you find that you’re able to connect with them through the things you have in common and music is that connection. My main goal is to gain more personal experience and to become a better player,” Piccini said.