The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra of Germany has chosen Houston to kick off its U.S. tour to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Former Secretary of State James Baker, Mayor Annise Parker and acting German Consul General Clemens Kroll made the announcement at a press conference at Houston City Hall on Thursday.
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, one of the oldest classical music ensembles in the world, will perform in Jones Hall on Nov. 3 before continuing on to Washington, D.C., Boston, Newark, New Jersey and New York City. On the program are works by composers of German provenance, including Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor.
"This concert will be a powerful reminder of the fact that music crosses cultural barriers and unifies us all wherever and whenever it's performed."
"On the 25th anniversary of this historic event, I am proud that my hometown is hosting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on its first ever performance in Houston," Baker said.
Both former President George H.W. Bush and Baker, who played a decisive role in the historic events leading up to German reunification, call Houston home. That, in addition to the fact that Liepzig, Germany, is Houston's sister city, made Houston the ideal location for the Gewandhaus Orchestra to begin its 15th tour of North America, noted Lindsey Kroll, president-elect of the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association.
"This concert, under the direction of chief conductor Riccardo Chailly and featuring violinist Nikolaj Znaider, will be a powerful reminder of the fact that music crosses cultural barriers and unifies us all wherever and whenever it's performed," Mark Hanson, Houston Symphony executive director and CEO, said.
Following the announcement, members of the Houston Symphony played for guests as they enjoyed refreshments and a cake celebrating the two symphonies as well as Bush's birthday. (The former president marked his 90th birthday in Maine with a dramatic skydive.)
Tickets, which start at $25, will be available for sale on June 30 for Houston Symphony subscribers and on July 1 for the general public.