For the 23rd Annual Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival, maestro Franz Anton Krager is pushing his talented orchestra fellowship students to their tuneful limits.
His rationale: Young musicians are lured by exceptional repertoire, the pièces de résistance that make classical music junkies salivate. It so happens that their mastery also helps students win auditions and land one of the coveted, and very few, professional orchestra jobs available.
Moreover, programming big works also serves as a way for players to bond and create friendships to thrive through the intense days ahead.
The month-long summer program, which runs through July 1 (read CultureMap's feature on the festival here), is well underway, but the inaugural symphony orchestra concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Moores Opera House.
Young musicians are lured by exceptional repertoire, the pièces de résistance that make classical music junkies salivate.
The 95-piece ensemble's "Celebratory Opening" tackles Paul Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis of themes by Carl Maria von Weber and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor "Ode to Joy," ushering in the first time Beethoven's magnum opus will be performed at this yearly festival, aided by soprano Cynthia Clayton, mezzo-soprano Heather Scanio, tenor Vale Rideout, bass-baritone Hector Vasquez and the Houston Symphony Chorus directed by Charles Hausmann.
To add to the jovial ambiance, an al fresco gathering at 6:30 p.m. will take over the Jane Blaffer Owen Plaza with music by the Virtuosi Youth Chamber Group and refreshments by Bare Bowls Kitchen and Porch Swing Desserts food trucks.
Camera on hand, I had the opportunity to observe and videotape the orchestra while it was refining the fourth movement of the joyful symphony. In this Art & About escapade, I chat with clarinetist Amanda Witt, bassist Stephen Martin and dirigent Krager to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of an emerging artist.
Click on the video above to get a piece of the musical action.
Texas Music Festival "Celebratory Opening" orchestra concert is Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Moores Opera House. General admission tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors and can be purchased online or by calling 713-743-3313.