Excitement arose among the audience in the Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting–Channel 8 studio on Friday evening.
The brass ensemble of the Houston Symphony Orchestra filled the room at the count of “one” for the live broadcast of the special night, the announcement of the symphony’s 2014-2015 inaugural season of designate music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada.
The show, “Conducting Electricity,” was hosted by Houston Public Media’s St. John Flynn, featuring executive director and CEO Mark Hanson and the man of the hour, Orozco-Estrada. The broadcast was the first for the Houston Symphony to be live and streaming around the world. The program provided a preview of upcoming shows, which include “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander, recording artists Ben Folds and Andrea Bocelli and Tony Award-winner Bernadette Peters.
A reception and viewing party at the Conrad N. Hilton College followed the live broadcast.
Orozco-Estrada will be the Houston Symphony’s 15th music conductor and its first Hispanic music conductor. Born and raised in Colombia, he began his musical studies with the violin.
“What I always try — and it sounds a little bit too romantic — is try to identify with the piece I’m conducting in the moment,” Orozco-Estrada said. “The pieces I’m conducting for that week, such as ‘Zarathustra,’ are currently my favorite pieces.”
He is also designated chief conductor at the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the music director at the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna.
“The universe is so big; it’s never-ending, which is fantastic,” Orozco-Estrada said. “For example, the Houston Symphony is playing Mahler No. 8, ‘Symphony of the Thousand,’ at the end of this season, but this is one piece I haven’t done yet. I hope to conduct sometime a lot of symphony repertoire.”
Moores School of Music affiliate artist Robert Johnson is an associate principal horn player of the Houston Symphony Orchestra.
“Orozco-Estrada is the real deal. He’s incredible,” Johnson said. “It’s so exciting, the amount of passion and energy he brings into the music. I have never seen anything like it before.”
Johnson said there’s a lot of exciting music in store for audiences in the coming future.
“He’s programming things the orchestra hasn’t played in a long time,” Johnson said. “He’s programming some favorites that we really desperately do want to play that we’ve also played in the last three years, so it’s exciting repertoire.”
The symphony will also play Mozart’s final composition, the “Requiem,” and Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 7.” For Beethoven’s Fifth, Orozco-Estrada, who is also fluent in English and German, will speak only in Spanish.
“These concerts that he’s doing all in Spanish are the greatest thing,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be talking to the audience completely in Spanish, and other music directors, they can’t do that. And with the audiences in Houston, it’s exactly what we need right now for the orchestra to grow.”
For more information about this season and the forthcoming season, visit http://www.houstonsymphony.org.