While many of the city's art presenters go into summer hibernation mode, another tuneful bacchanal is preparing to bubble with zestful energy on June 4 to 29.
The 24th annual Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival, in residence at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, will welcome 95 orchestra fellows in addition to voice, guitar and piano students to refine their craft under the tutelage of world renowned music faculty. This month-long binge offers a cornucopia of concerts, master classes, recitals and competitions.
"Nearly 350 applicants applied for the TMF Orchestral Institute this year representing such noted music schools as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Cleveland and Peabody Institutes of Music, Eastman School of Music and Houston's Shepherd School and Moores School of music," Alan Austin, general and artistic director and a former TMF participant, said in a statement.
The fellows, which hail from across the globe, are chosen via live and recorded auditions.
Anchoring the musical feast are four orchestra performances. Each will kick off with an outdoor gathering that includes pre-concert amusements like performances by youngsters from Virtuosi of Houston, nibbles from local food trucks and lectures that serve as a listening guide to the programmed repertoire hosted by experts such as Andrew Davis, director of graduate studies and associate professor of music theory at Moores.
Adding to the educational fun are 250 musicians who will study voice at the Le Chiavi: The Keys to Bel Canto institute, jazz and piano, and guitar at the Classical Minds Guitar Festival and Competition. Festival faculty will also perform a series of chamber music concerts.
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Resident maestro Franz Anton Krager leads Festival Orchestra 1: Celebratory Opening (June 8). While percussion soloists Ted Atkatz and Matthew Strauss tackle Mark Anthony Turnage' Fractured Lines - Concerto for Double Percussion and Orchestra, the students will take on one of the genre's most infamous scores, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, in celebration of the centennial of its premiere in Paris. Selections from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty will lighten up the otherwise hefty playbill.
Festival Orchestra 2 (June 14 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and June 15 at UH) welcomes back Horst Foerster, former conducting professor at the Berlin Music Academy, for Richard Strauss' Don Juan, a tone poem that tests the virtuosity of the whole string section and the lyricism of the oboe, clarinet and flute sections. Also on the program are Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E Minor and a solo selection by the 2013 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition winner.
Rossen Milanov, principal conductor of Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, dedicates an evening to a world of music for Festival Orchestra 3 (June 22). That would be Mahler's Symphony No. 7 in E Minor, whose massive forces call for an expanded wind section, tenor horn and mandolin.
For Festival Orchestra 4: Grand Finale (June 29), conductor Carl St. Clair, music director of the Pacific Symphony, collaborates with soprano Janice Chandler Eteme for Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs. Add Strauss' Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major and you have an evening worthy of closing this summer affair.
Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the ticket office at 713-743-3313. Single tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors.