Houston Symphony Tickets
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Houston Symphony: Hans Graf - Pictures at an Exhibition
Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
Feb 25 2017
Houston Symphony: The Suffers
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Jun 17 2017
Details of Houston Symphony and the Ticket Luck value
The orchestra, which is based in Houston, Texas, has a history that dates back all the way to 1913. The first concert was played by 35 musicians, who took on the job only on a part time basis and was organized by Ima Hogg, a philanthropist. June 21, 1931 was the day that the orchestra that has now come to be known as the Houston Symphony took the stage. The Symphony’s first ever conductor was Julien Paul Blitz, who became responsible for leading the band to its early success. Small scale and on a limited budget as they were, the audience response was almost instantaneous, so they continued to play shows one after the other. Blitz parted ways with the orchestra in 1916 and was replaced by Paul Berge who conducted the orchestra till 1918 when it split up.
It was not until 1930 that the orchestra was reformed, although still not quite the professional lineup. Regardless, with Uriel Nespoli as their conductor, the mix of professional and amateur musicians played many shows in the season for the year. By 1936, they formally began to play under the name of the “Houston Symphony Society”. Next in charge of the symphony was Ernst Hoffman, who perhaps began the movement to shape the orchestra into what it is today. With the society’s full support, his broader vision led to the hiring of more professional musicians for a seemingly fuller and more technical sound. And so the band began to grow and expand over the following years, establishing itself as a name in big band music. They sold their first ever full season’s Houston Symphony tickets in 1971 when they signed a contract to play a concert series of the course of 52 weeks.
The Houston Symphony has not been without its share of controversy. Sometime in the 1960s, the conductor of the time, Leopold Stokowski invited Shirley Verett to be part of the band. Verett was a known opera singer of the time and was an African American woman. The Houston Symphony board did not see eye to eye with Stokowski’s decision—they simply did not want to have a black woman as part of their orchestra. Due to the board’s discouragement, Stokowski had to revoke his invitation. He later did make compensation by inviting her to perform for the Philadelphia Orchestra instead.
Up until this point, the orchestra had been performing in the Houston City Auditorium, sometimes alternating with the Music Hall as well. When the “Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts” was built in 1966, it became the permanent home of the Houston Symphony.
In 2001, the “Tropical Storm Allison” hit Houston, greatly affecting Jones Hall as well. As a result the orchestra’s archives, instruments and music were destroyed—putting the band at a loss of millions of dollars. By 2003, things were not looking up for the orchestra as many musicians were let go, reducing the size of the symphony and there were many pay cuts. The musicians remained on strike for nearly the entire month until a settlement was agreed upon.
Hans Graf continued to be the Houston Symphony’s music director from 2001 to 2012. Graf has had a lot of experience as a conductor, his first being with the Vienna State Opera back in 1981. He has led many opera productions across the world, including in Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Munich. He has recorded Mozart and his complete symphonies, as well as Schubert. He has also worked and recoded for many major labels, including CBC, EMI, Capriccio, Orfeo and JVC. The French government also presented him with an honor for his contributions in expanding and playing French music all over the world. He is also known for winning the first prize in 1979 for the Karl Bohm Competition.
In 2009, the end of his tenure was announced as the music director. It had seemed that after eleven years he would part ways with the orchestra, but news of him taking over as the conductor was ousted. The Houston Symphony tickets for the 2012-2013 season will present Graf as the orchestra’s conductor laureate.
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