PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Houston

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ILLUSTRIOUS ONES Honorees are usually long-time trustees, but this soirée departed from tradition in acknowledging the members of the selection committee that brought the new musical director to town: while that list featured immediate past board president Bobby Tudor, current board pres Bob Peiser, chair lady/League member Barbara McCelvey and board VP Brett Busby, it also encompassed a wide berth of those at the Symphony. Also receiving a bow were executive director/CEO Mark Hanson, and colleagues GM Steve Brosvik, chief of artistic planning Aurelie Desmarais, principal timpanist Ronald Holdman, principal second violin Jennifer Owen, and principal cello Brinton Averil Smith, joined by Rice University Shepherd School dean Robert Yekovich. Sitting at the table with cellist Smith, we got the scoop first-hand about how members of the Aspen Music Festival, where Smith was performing, put forth the name of Orozco-Estrada, who was one of the final candidates proposed, but the one that everyone, including the orchestra, most enthusiastically embraced. CATHERINE D. ANSPON HEARS A NEW MELODY AT JONES HALL. PHOTOGRAPHY WILSON PARISH, MICHELLE WATSON. NOVEMBER | PAGE 12 | 2014 101 Houston Symphony Opening Night Gala Years in the Making SOCIAL SOLOISTS Hitting the highest notes: Kelli Cohen Fein (a standout in a green Oscar de la Renta) and Martin Fein; Mach family Cora Sue and Harry Mach and Joella and Steve Mach, who co- chaired last spring's Centennial Gala; music maven Marie Taylor Bosarge with pals Evan Thayer and tenor Kenneth Gayle, in Bosarge's Music Doing Good troupe; underwriting chairs Viviana and David Denechaud, who helped bring in the big bucks; Beth Madison squired by ConocoPhillips' Ralph Burch; Carol and Michael Linn; Betty and Jess Tudor; Audrey and Brandon Cochran; Consul General of Colombia Miguel Lopez and wife Olga; Moores School recently minted director Andrew Davis and wife Corey chatting with maestro conductor-violinist Dagang Chen; parents-to-be Rachael and Jason Volz; Melanie Jarrell with Al Lasher; Tara and David Wuthrich; my tablemates cellist Brinton Smith with wife Manhattan- based pianist Evelyn Chen, and her parents and brother, Grace and John Chen, and Johnny Chen, traveling from Taiwan to be there; and the conductor's first lady, Julia Orozco-Estrada, who joined her husband in making an entrance at The Corinthian's grand stair. THE BATON IS PASSED How often does Houston Symphony Opening Night coincide with a storied anniversary? And what are the chances of that anniversary heralding the tenure of a thrilling new music director? The Opening Night Gala that debuted the Symphony's centennial-plus-one season sounded notes of the sublime: New director Andrés Orozco-Estrada set both orchestra and listeners afire as he ushered in the second century with impeccable musicianship melded with charismatic emotion. The acclaimed Colombia-born, Vienna-educated conductor truly lived up to his reputation that night, with an energy and a presence destined to bring new audiences to the already ascendant Symphony. TRUMPET SENSATION As if Orozco-Estrada leading the orchestra weren't enough, concertgoers were treated to a special guest performer: the British-born Alison Balsom, who was named the Gramophone 2013 Artist of the Year for her velvety and seismic skills on the trumpet. She and Orozco-Estrada paired up on works including Haydn's Trumpet Concerto. Other high points of the evening were the joyous Mozart standard Overture to the Marriage of Figaro and Mussorgsky's lyrical Pictures at an Exhibition (so perfect for our art-centric town), set to the orchestration of Ravel. Afterwards, a riotous standing ovation yielded an encore, which again highlighted the winsome Balsom's bravura way with her instrument. MELODIOUS MOMENTS Everything was in perfect harmony at this half-million dollar night — a near record-setter for an Opening Night Gala (surpassed only by last year's centennial fête). Chairmen Barbara and Pat McCelvey, who have lived in Colombia, took their cue from the beauty and history of Orozco-Estrada's native country when designing the gala at The Corinthian, which followed the Jones Hall performance. Fine flourishes included the Jackson and Company seated repast savored by more than 500 supporters — a flawless feast with grilled beef tenderloin, papitas criollas and pandebono, followed by a quartet of the conductor's favorite chocolate delicacies. The Richard Brown Orchestra performed with aplomb for dancing, while late-night DJ SalsaEddy spun for the young folks' after-party. Richard Flowers and The Events Company set the perfect stage for these culinary and musical marvels with spectacularly simple decor: hundreds of gilded abstract bird sculptures, arranged in a formation, dramatically suspended from the second floor of the Corinthian. The avians alluded to the splendors of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's golden Pre-Colombian holdings — the MFAH was the site of the underwriters' bash — while making an apt metaphor and program motif for the soaring spirit of the Symphony at its 101st season. Jason Volz Kelli Cohen Fein Martin Fein Alison Balsom Chairman Barbara McCelvey Andrés Orozco- Estrada Julia Orozco- Estrada Mark Hanson Christina Hanson Marie Taylor Bosarge Carol Linn Michael Linn Kenneth Gayle Joella Mach Cora Sue Mach Harry Mach Steve Mach Adam Dinitz Amanda Dinitz Chairman Pat McCelvey Lindley Arnoldy Jess Tutor Ana García Fau Alejandro Rodriguez Carmona Betty Tutor Clint Wetmore Christie Wetmore David Wuthrich Jim Daniel Suhair Misleh Bob Peiser Nancy Peiser Dancie Ware Andres Guerrero Kayla Murray Jim Ware Mariquita Masterson Mike Stude Harvin Moore Ralph Burch Forrest Lauher Macy Brocato Beth Madison Margaret Williams Janet Moore Juliet Moths Phillip Freeman Brandy Freeman Rachael Volz

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