Commemorate Hans Graf’s farewell season at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion May 10 at 8 p.m. for Maestro Graf’s Farewell Concert. The beloved maestro steps onto The Pavilion’s stage for the last time as Music Director of the Houston Symphony. The Symphony’s 2012-13 season is Graf’s grand finale after 12 years at the helm of this world-renowned orchestra. Tickets are $15 for orchestra seating. Mezzanine and lawn are free courtesy of The Wortham Foundation. Tickets are not required for free seating. Gates open at 7 p.m.
Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, Graf is one of today’s most highly respected musicians. He began his tenure with the symphony Opening Night of the 2001-02 season. Born in 1949 near Linz, Graf studied violin and piano as a child. He earned diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz and continued his studies with Franco Ferrara, Sergiu Celibidache and Arvid Jansons. His career was launched in 1979 when he won first prize at the Karl Böhm Competition. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l’ordre de la Legion d’Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world and the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.
At Maestro Graf’s Farwell Concert, the symphony performs Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to “Euryanthe,” Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” Special guest, Janina Fialkawska, joins the symphony on piano. Fialkowska has been enchanting audiences for more than thirty years with her glorious lyrical sound, her sterling musicianship and her profound sense of musical integrity.
Help honor Graf for a special event in the North Plaza before the concert. Join us for “A Toast to the Maestro,” a free wine tasting event provided by Hubbell & Hudson starting at 7 p.m. Other pre-concert activities in the North Plaza sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Renewal by Andersen and Century 21 Realty Partners include The Pavilion Partners and Woodforest National Bank. Guests can register-to-win Tommy Bahama’s “Best Seats in the House,” which includes dinner for four at the next performing arts event and participate in Fidelity’s Seat Exchange. At the symphony get insight into the evening’s program with Pavilion Talk, a free pre-concert discussion led by noted music scholar and former college professor Ira J. Black from 7:15- 7:45 p.m. in the North Plaza.
At all symphonies, guests are welcome to have a picnic in their seat or on the hill. Keep in mind that beverages cannot be brought into The Pavilion. Sitting on the hill? Lawn chairs also are provided free for this event!