Houston Symphony Magazine From the Orchestra October 2010

On behalf of all my colleagues in the orchestra, welcome back to Jones Hall and the Houston Symphony's 97th season! We musicians have been eagerly anticipating this season in part because this month's performances in the U.K. will mark the symphony's first overseas tour in a decade.

As a musician, a tour is an exciting challenge. The logistics of moving 90+ musicians, chorus, support staff, instruments and equipment around the world are quite grueling, and between concerts, rehearsals and personal practicing, you rarely get a chance to see much more of the country than can be seen in a few free hours in an afternoon or out the window of the bus. However, as a musical challenge, it gives us the chance to represent our city, performing on the same stages as the most famous orchestras in the world, and to show the world what this city has built and what the arts mean to Houstonians. As an orchestra, the repetition of the same program under constant pressure, in different acoustics each night, refines the orchestra, and I guarantee that those of you hearing the concerts when we've returned will hear the polish and swagger that touring brings to an orchestra.

Tours also enhance the reputation of our orchestra, making it easier for us to attract the best musicians to perform here in Houston. However, as challenging and exciting as it is for us, our orchestra's ultimate reason for existence, and for touring, is to serve the city of Houston. Touring allows us to show people in distant places, who may have imagined Houston only as a center of oil and cowboys, that we also pride ourselves in world-class space science, medicine, culture, art and theater, with our symphony as the crown jewel of our artistic life (and yes, we love our Energy sector and Rodeo, too!)

Classical music, dismissed in the recent past as the music of 'dead, white European males' is in fact proving to have an incredible and unique power to speak to people of every culture, gender and background, from the barrios of Venezuela to the most exotic reaches of Asia. Classical music is exploding around the globe because great music speaks to us all, and unites us on a fundamental spiritual level. In bringing Houston's orchestra and the inspired work of NASA to new audiences, we look forward to building personal connections for our city that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the concert!