Shelby's Social Diary

Standing ovations galore: Houston Symphony's new maestro charms a red carpet crowd on opening night

Standing ovations galore: Houston Symphony's new maestro charms VIPs

12 Mark and Christina Hanson, from left, and Viviana and David Denechaud at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Mark and Christina Hanson, from left, and Viviana and David Denechaud. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
19 Jimmy Montgomery and Sharon Adams at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Jimmy Montgomery and Sharon Adams. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
34 Barbara and Pat McCelvey, from left, and Julia and Andrés Orozco-Estrada at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Barbara and Pat McCelvey, from left, and Julia and Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
40 Deborah Lugo and Andres Gonzalez at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Deborah Lugo and Andres Gonzalez. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
23 Steve and Joella Mach, from left, and Cora Sue and Harry Mach at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Steve and Joella Mach, from left, and Cora Sue and Harry Mach. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
38 Daniella and Manolo Sanchez, from left, and Dr. Kelli Cohen-Fein and Martin Fein at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Daniella and Manolo Sanchez, from left, and Dr. Kelli Cohen-Fein and Martin Fein. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
31 Jess and Betty Tutor at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Jess and Betty Tutor. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
22 Chris and Kristy Bradshaw, from left, and Isabel and Danny David at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Chris and Kristy Bradshaw, from left, and Isabel and Danny David. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
15 Audrey and Brandon Cochran at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Audrey and Brandon Cochran. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
37 Sofia Adrogue and Sten Gustafson at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Sofia Adrogue and Sten Gustafson. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
35 Sheila Jackson Lee, left, and Desiree Simpson at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Sheila Jackson Lee, left, and Desiree Simpson. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
27 The Corinthian interiors at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
The scene at The Corinthian. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
21 Reggie Smith, from left, Mary Klotman, Leigh Smith and Dr. Paul Klotman at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Reggie Smith, from left, Mary Klotman, Leigh Smith and Dr. Paul Klotman. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 Steve Lasher and Janiece Longoria at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Steve Lasher and Janiece Longoria. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9 Ellie and Michael Francisco at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Ellie and Michael Francisco. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Evin Thayer, from left, Marie Taylor Bosarge and Kenneth Gale at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Evin Thayer, from left, Marie Taylor Bosarge and Kenneth Gale. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
4 Rachel and Jason Volz, from left, with Lindley Arnoldy at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
Rachel and Jason Volz, from left, with Lindley Arnoldy. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Symphony Opening Night, Aurelie Desmarais, Mike Stude, Mariquita Masterson , Sept. 2014
Aurelie Desmarais, from left, Mike Stude and Mariquita Masterson. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
12 Mark and Christina Hanson, from left, and Viviana and David Denechaud at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
19 Jimmy Montgomery and Sharon Adams at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
34 Barbara and Pat McCelvey, from left, and Julia and Andrés Orozco-Estrada at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
40 Deborah Lugo and Andres Gonzalez at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
23 Steve and Joella Mach, from left, and Cora Sue and Harry Mach at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
38 Daniella and Manolo Sanchez, from left, and Dr. Kelli Cohen-Fein and Martin Fein at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
31 Jess and Betty Tutor at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
22 Chris and Kristy Bradshaw, from left, and Isabel and Danny David at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
15 Audrey and Brandon Cochran at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
37 Sofia Adrogue and Sten Gustafson at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
35 Sheila Jackson Lee, left, and Desiree Simpson at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
27 The Corinthian interiors at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
21 Reggie Smith, from left, Mary Klotman, Leigh Smith and Dr. Paul Klotman at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
11 Steve Lasher and Janiece Longoria at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
9 Ellie and Michael Francisco at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
5 Evin Thayer, from left, Marie Taylor Bosarge and Kenneth Gale at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
4 Rachel and Jason Volz, from left, with Lindley Arnoldy at Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala September 2014
News, Symphony Opening Night, Aurelie Desmarais, Mike Stude, Mariquita Masterson , Sept. 2014

As if the rounds of standing ovations in Jones Hall were not enough to convince Andrés Orozco-Estrada that the welcome mat was out for the Houston Symphony's new music director, the young Colombian and his wife, Julia, received yet another standing ovation as they descended the grand staircase into The Corinthian for the post-concert dinner, their first official black-tie evening in the city.

"This is a very special evening," Orozco-Estrada noted as he charmed the tony gathering. "This is a brilliant and unique moment. I think I will not forget this moment . . . I am very happy, very very proud, very full of emotion."

 "This is a brilliant and unique moment. I think I will not forget this moment . . . I am very happy, very very proud, very full of emotion." 

In brief remarks, symphony executive director and CEO Mark Hanson reminded guests that Orozco-Estrada was easily selected from 50 candidates. "We knew from the moment that he stood at the podium," Hanson said, "that there was an amazing chemistry between our musicians and Andrés."

That chemistry overflowed from the Jones Hall stage all the way to The Corinthian where praise for the opening night concert was bountiful. "This is exactly what the symphony needed," said Steve Mach, incoming Houston Symphony Society president. "This is our ticket to growing a younger audience," remarked David Wuthrich.

The gala dinner, presented by the symphony society and symphony league, was chaired by Barbara and Pat McCelvey. Joining society president Bob Peiser on stage before the concert were Sharon Adams, representing the evening's honoree Houston First, and Ralph Burch, representing ConocoPhillips, concert sponsor and lead corporate underwriter for the gala.

In a nod to the music director's native Colombia, the Jackson & Co. menu and the centerpieces (roses, orchids and lighted geodes) reflected a South American esthetic. After dinner, the Richard Brown Orchestra cranked up the dance tunes for the enthusiastic crowd. Overhead, a sculpture of soaring birds, inspired by one of the gold pieces in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Pre-Colombian exhibit, signaled to a high-flying future for the symphony. The evening earned more than $585,000 for symphony education and community programming.

Among the red carpet crowd of 500 were Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Betty and Jess Tutor, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Beth Madison, Isabel and Danny David, Darlene and Cappy Bisso, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Elwyn Lee, Marie Taylor Bosarge, Viviana and David Denechaud, Dr. Kelli Cohen-Fein and Martin Fein.