quite the score

Houston Symphony's 2019-20 season unleashes angels, robots, and the Queen of Soul

Houston Symphony's 2019-20 season unleashes angels and Aretha

Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra
Andrés Orozco-Estrada will mark his sixth year as Houston Symphony music director for the remarkable 2019-2020 season.  Courtesy photo

Get ready, Houston, because a host of angels, demons, robots, wizards, space trippers and royals are coming to town. No, it’s not the latest superhero, fantasy, Scifi flick but the just-announced 2019-2020 Houston Symphony season. As always, the Houston Symphony will offer a calendar of concerts set to satisfy every orchestra music taste, from classical to modern to pops along with a Saturday family morning series that even the youngest music aficionados will love.

For an expansive view of this beautiful musical vista, check out the full season, but here are just some of the highlights we don’t want to miss.

A Broadway Star Comes Home (September 6-8, 2019)
The Houston Symphony POPS season opens with An Evening with Renée Elise Goldsberry, as the Tony Award-winner and Houston native makes her HS debut with a concert of Broadway show tunes including The Lion King and Rent. Don’t waste your shot at this concert because there’s a definite possibility she might turn her golden voice to songs from the show that won her the Tony, Hamilton.

Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphonic Journey (October 11-13)
America’s favorite travel guide and guru teams up with the Houston Symphony and Conductor Michael Krajewski to take us on a musical video exploration through Italy, England, France, Vienna and Norway as the Houston Symphony performs classical favorites such as Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube Waltz and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

John Williams Wizard of Space and Time
The 2019-2020 season will have a galaxy full of music composed by John Williams with two big POPS concerts, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back─in Concert, with Principal POPS Conductor Reineke leading the orchestra in an in-sync performance as the film plays on the big screen (November 8-10, 2019) and The Best of John Williams—Star Wars & More with Chorus! (May 22-24, 2020) taking audiences through the many space and magical realms of Williams. But expect to hear him again in the Family Series concert Wands & Wizards: Music from Harry Potter & More (October 12, 2019) as Williams composed the score for the first three Potter films.

A Winter World Premiere
Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts a world premiere and HS commissioned work from Composer-in-Residence Jimmy López, in the third and final year of his residency. López’ Symphony No. 2, Ad Astra (December 5-8, 2019), takes its inspiration from a subject deep in Houston’s heart: the space program and humankind’s exploration of the stars.

Concerts fit for a King, Queen, and Sinatra
The POPS season includes tributes to some of the vocal giants of the 20th century including Frank Sinatra (Sinatra and Beyond, with Sinatra interpreter Tony DeSare January 3-5, 2020), Nat King Cole (Unforgettable: Celebrating the Nat King Cole Centennial, featuring Ryan Shaw, February 28-March 1, 2020) and just-lost goddess of soul Aretha Franklin (Aretha: Queen of Soul, featuring vocalist Capathia Jenkins, April 17-19, 2020)

Schumann Festival (begins February 8, 2020)
Titled Angels and Demons this two-week deep dive into the symphonies, intimate songs and grand choruses will explore the music of the Romantic era master Robert Schumann with a festival focus seldom experienced in the U.S.

Christmas in March from an American Icon (March 14 and 15, 2020)
The Houston Symphony gives the Texas premiere of John Adams’s seminal work, El Niño, a Spanish-language telling of The Nativity. David Robertson, one of Adams’ greatest interpreters, conducts the Houston Symphony; Houston Symphony Chorus; soloists Susanna Phillips, soprano; Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano; Davóne Tines, bass; and The Three Countertenors, Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Nathan Medley.