A Gold Star for Hans
As the role of music director at professional symphony orchestras has evolved to become not just the artistic voice but the father figure of these large ensembles, Hans Graf's 12-year tenure with the Houston Symphony is significant in the company's almost 100 years of history.
Fittingly, the likable maestro's accomplishments deserve a gold star — literally.
Ahead of Graf's retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season, the Houston Symphony added a second plaque to its Walk of Fame outside of the public entrance to Jones Hall Tuesday. The first was dedicated to the Symphony's beloved former music director Christoph Eschenbach, who held the post from 1988 to 1999.
Alongside his wife Margarita and an in-crowd of the orchestra's stakeholders including Board Chairman Emeritus Mike Stude, executive director and CEO Mark Hanson and musicians and staff, Graf was honored in a red carpet ceremony that permanently etched his signature on a metal tablet. The inscription will serve as a keepsake of his contributions, which include helping navigate the trials and tribulations of a shaky economy post 9/11, the loss of the music library after Tropical Storm Allison, a musician's strike in 2003 and changes in administration leadership, in addition to successful world tours, the commission of the HD Odyssey series and recording projects.
Colombian-born Andrés Orozco-Estrada will take over Houston Symphony's podium next season.