What a dazzling year it has been for the Houston Symphony, a year that sounded the city's premier classical ensemble's centennial milestone, a year that redefined the orchestra's critical role in uniting Houstonians through the universal art form of music, a year that will be remembered as an energizing turning point that launched the orchestra into its next century.
Amid the retirement of Hans Graf, the Houston Symphony's longest serving music director, and the appointment of the charismatic Andrés Orozco-Estrada to that prestigious post, the 100-year anniversary season has been a remarkable one.
Let's take a look, shall we?
A remarkable season of music making
"None of the orchestra's work today would be possible without the support of the tens of thousands of donors."
Was your favorite event the al fresco spectacular at Miller Outdoor Theatre that welcomed 18,000 people to the park plus an additional 250,000 listeners who tuned into the live broadcast on KTRK ABC Ch. 13 and Classical 91.7 FM for a performance exactly 100 years to the day from the inaugural 1913 concert? With associate conductor Robert Franz on the podium, the program featuring American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones included a handful of scores from the original show — such as excerpts from Bizet's Carmen and Tchaikovsky's The Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker — with which this tuneful journey began.
Or was your favorite performance the sold out Opening Night Concert and Gala? This was a magic night, an unforgettable soirée in which the incomparable Renée Fleming crooned a melange of all time favorites songs from yesteryear and today. Or perhaps it was the Day of Music at Jones Hall? The free day-long gathering showed guests what can happen when countless art presenters collaborate to stage a festival that uncovers the rich cultural diversity that exists in Houston.
For some, the favorite may have been reliving a collection of Hollywood's iconic films in a concert that featured composer John Williams as maestro alongside cello soloist Yo-Yo Ma, who took time out of his busy schedule to chat with young musicians about life on the road. And, of course, many will forever remember the emotional rendition of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 "Symphony of A Thousand" with former music director Christoph Eschenbach and 437 musicians.
Even with all these wonderful offerings, the success of this season, and any other season for that matter, hinges on the Houston Symphony's ability to reinvent itself to continue to be relevant to the citizens who enjoy it year after year.
And without the support of those citizens — people just like you — there's no way the Houston Symphony would be looking forward to the next 100 years.
"Courtesy of a consortium of donors, any new or increased gift of $50 or more made before May 31 will be matched dollar for dollar."
Participate in a record-breaking campaign
"None of the orchestra's work today would be possible without the support of the tens of thousands of donors who have made philanthropic gifts to the Houston Symphony during our first 100 years," Mark Hanson, Houston Symphony executive director and CEO, says. "This rich tradition of philanthropy has helped the Houston Symphony thrive."
Such a generous tradition started in 1913 with Houston Symphony co-founder Ima Hogg and 137 other original underwriters — and you can continue this important legacy by contributing to the Houston Symphony's Centennial Matching Gift Campaign.
Courtesy of a consortium of donors, any new or increased gift of $50 or more made before May 31 will be matched dollar for dollar. Every donation matters, whether $1 or $10,000 or more.
The campaign aims to raise an additional $500,000 from 1,000 donations or more before May 31. When the goal is achieved, the season's Annual Fund campaign will be the most successful in the orchestra's 100-year history.
As a special thank you, anyone who contributes to the philanthropic effort will be invited to a Donor Appreciation Concert on Aug. 28 at Jones Hall
Don't you want to be a part of history?
Contributions to the Houston Symphony's Centennial Matching Gift Campaign can be made online.