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Houston Symphony

Houston, TX            

Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony is one of America’s oldest performing arts organizations and has played a central role in Houston’s cultural life for more than 100 years. The Symphony celebrated its Centennial during the 2013-14 Season and welcomed new Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada in the 2014-15 Season.

The mission of the Houston Symphony is to inspire and engage a large and diverse audience in Greater Houston and beyond through exceptional orchestral and non-orchestral performances, educational programs and community activities.  The Houston Symphony is the city’s largest and most established performing arts organization with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million for the 2016-17 Season.  It is our vision to become America’s Most Relevant and Accessible Top-Ten Orchestra by 2025.


To achieve our vision for what the Houston Symphony will be in 2025, Vision 2025 outlines six main institutional strategies listed below, each with an associated identifiable outcome.


STRATEGY 1: Strengthen artistic, staff and board quality. 2025 Outcome: The Houston Symphony’s artistic and organizational excellence is celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.


STRATEGY 2: Improve the quality of education in Greater Houston through the arts. 2025 Outcome: The Houston Symphony is an indispensable community leader, partner, advocate and resource for propelling academic achievement of Greater Houston’s students.


STRATEGY 3: Grow our reach, relevance and profile in Greater Houston and beyond. 2025 Outcome: The Houston Symphony is an industry and local leader providing opportunities for people from all walks of life to learn about, engage with and participate in music.


STRATEGY 4: Secure a large, engaged and loyal audience. 2025 Outcome: Widespread and meaningful personal relationships are present and valued between the Houston Symphony and its audience.


STRATEGY 5: Implement a strong and sustainable financial structure. 2025 Outcome: The Houston Symphony achieves annual balanced budgets supported by reliable sources of earned, contributed and endowment income.


STRATEGY 6: Secure an improved performance space solution that facilitates transformational artistic, programmatic and financial growth. 2025 Outcome: The Houston Symphony’s performance home facilitates artistic, educational and programmatic excellence, promotes all institutional strategies outlined in this plan, and positions the Houston Symphony to be the outstanding cultural service provider that our world-class city deserves.

During the 2015-16 Season, the Symphony’s 87 full-time musicians, 79 full-time and 14 part-time staff members presented a broad and expanded range of concerts, recitals, education and community programs and events which reached more than 400,000 people. These included:


  • 173 concerts at Jones Hall
  • 9 concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
  • 3 concerts at the Sugar Land Baptist Church, which comprise our annual Sugar Land Series
  • 25 Community Concerts at venues throughout the city, inclusive of five free summer concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre for more than 55,000 people
  • 20 Student Concerts that served more than 55,000 public, private and home-schooled students


From its beginnings as an ensemble of 35 part-time musicians, the Houston Symphony has grown into one of the country’s finest orchestras under the leadership of such distinguished conductors as Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, André Previn, Lawrence Foster, Christoph Eschenbach and Hans Graf. Andrés Orozco-Estrada took the podium as the orchestra’s 15th Music Director during the 2014-15 Season. Orozco-Estrada is a young, dynamic conductor who radiates charm and energy both on and off the podium, and he is the orchestra’s first Hispanic music director.  Michael Krajewski, the orchestra’s first Principal POPS Conductor, joined the Symphony in 2000 and will retire following the 2016-17 Season. This role will be assumed by Principal POPS Conductor Designate Steven Reineke, currently the music director of the New York Pops and Carnegie Hall.


Over the course of a season, the Houston Symphony presents eighteen weekends of Classical concerts, featuring orchestral masterworks and internationally renowned soloists, and nine weekends of POPS concerts, showcasing a variety of acts that span the genres of Broadway, folk, pop, rock and movie soundtracks. Most subscription weekends feature three performances, for a total of up to 81 subscription concerts each season. In addition, our Family Concert Series welcomes children and parents into the hall for four educational and entertaining Saturday morning programs, with two concerts on each of the four Saturdays. Our Symphony Specials, which range from performances with Andrea Bocelli to the music of video games, ensure there is something for everyone at the Houston Symphony.


Furthermore, as a nonprofit cultural arts institution in one of the nation’s largest and most multicultural cities, we exist to serve not only our ticket buyers but the entire community in which we operate. For this reason, each season the Symphony invests nearly $5.8 million, or 16% of its annual budget, in Education and Community Programming.

In addition to our investments within our community, we are commitment to artistic excellence, including maintaining a commitment to advancing new orchestral compositions through our composer-in-residence program.  Our composer-in-residence program is not only an institutional priority, but an artistic priority of Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada.  Andrés maintains a strong commitment to performing music of living composers, beginning each season with a new composition as part of the first classical subscription concert weekend, in addition to performances of new musical works throughout the season.    We look forward to continuing to expand our commitment to this vital institutional priority for many years into the future.

Achieving our vision will ensure that we are an invaluable cultural resource to Greater Houston, and an artistic ambassador for our city throughout the national and the world.

Man and Man: Jimmy Lopez

A composition by newly engaged Houston Symphony Composer-In-Residence Jimmy Lopez, Man and Man honors the day he exchanged vows with Heleno, his love, his friend, and now-husband. Man and Man symbolizes Heleno and Jimmy’s journey and commitment to one another.

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