Houston Symphony names Colombia native as music director

Posted on: January 17, 2013

In Thursday’s (1/17) Houston Chronicle (subscription required), Steven Brown writes, “At Andrés Orozco-Estrada’s debut as a guest conductor with the Houston Symphony in October, he and the musicians hit it off. ‘We felt like lightning had struck,’ symphony executive director Mark Hanson said. The committee charged with replacing music director Hans Graf called off its three-year search. Orozco-Estrada joins the orchestra in 2014 as the organization’s first Hispanic leader and becomes, at 35, among the nation’s youngest conductors of a major orchestra. … His October performances, including Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, were the Colombia native’s U.S. debut with a professional orchestra, although he trained to be a conductor in Austria and already leads groups in Vienna and in Spain. … Houston isn’t alone in tapping a young conductor. It’s also not unusual for a U.S. orchestra to choose a leader who doesn’t have a big reputation in this country, said Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras. The Indianapolis Symphony and Seattle Symphony also have chosen young, unfamiliar conductors. Rosen said Orozco- Estrada’s new job in a new country could put him on ‘a path of discovery’ as he finds how to put his stamp on the orchestra and community. ‘There’s a kind of excitement inherent in that,’ Rosen said. … In Houston, a city with a large and growing Hispanic population, bringing in a Hispanic music director is ‘a tremendous opportunity,’ Rosen said.”

Photo by Werner Kmetitsch

Posted January 17, 2013