Houston Symphony Magazine From the Orchestra July 2011

On behalf of my fellow musicians, welcome to the Houston Symphony. July in Houston is an excellent time to be indoors and we're happy to welcome you to our summer concerts in beautiful (and air conditioned!) Jones Hall. This month the orchestra will present of variety of concerts spanning the entire range of what a modern orchestra can offer: from Mendelssohn's stirring Scottish Symphony for the Houston Chronicle Dollar Concert, a perennial sell-out, to providing live music for rock bands, video games, movies and even “Bugs Bunny!”

It is interesting to see an increasing number of pop and rock musicians incorporating orchestral instruments and sounds into their works. It seems that their natural desire to broaden their range of sounds and expressive possibilities leads them to seek out classical instruments, and the two genres, once rigidly segregated are intersecting to provide fertile creative ground. Most classical musicians today grow up knowing and enjoying rock and popular music, and many devoted rock and pop audiences are surprised to find how much they enjoy hearing classical symphonic sounds and music.

It sometimes seems that classical music is isolated from much of modern culture, but a closer look shows that―even if the concert going experience is unfamiliar to many ―the symphony is part of our daily lives in ways we hardly notice. As you will hear when we perform the Lord of the Rings score live with the film, the symphony orchestra has been an integral part of almost all of our most beloved movies. From Erich Korngold to John Williams to Howard Shore, when a movie composer wants to move our emotions, they compose new 'classical' music. And as we see with music of Final Fantasy, when a video game strives to go beyond simply providing an adrenaline boost and wants to reach our deeper emotions, skilled video game composers also compose new works that follow in the classic traditions. And of course many of us have a special place in our hearts for “Bugs Bunny!” The Warner Brothers animation studio of that era was a place of genius, and they loved incorporating popular classical works into many of their cartoons. Many of us in the orchestra developed our first love of classical music watching “Bugs Bunny” play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody and "Elmer Fudd" sing “Kill de Wabbit!” to the music of Wagner. If you catch us smiling onstage, you'll know why! Enjoy the concert.