“one of America's oldest performing arts organizations”
Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony is one of America's oldest performing arts organizations, with a distinguished musical history. Over the years, the orchestra has grown and matured under the direction of distinguished leaders such as Ernst Hoffmann (1936-47), Efrem Kurtz (1948-54), Ferenc Fricsay (1954), Leopold Stokowski (1955-61), Sir John Barbirolli (1961-67), Andre Previn (1967-69), Lawrence Foster (1971-78), Sergiu Comissiona (1979-88) and Christoph Eschenbach (1988-99). Maestro Hans Graf, who took the podium in September 2001, is the Houston Symphony's fifteenth music director. The orchestra came of age in the 1940s, when Maestros Hoffmann and Kurtz began hiring highly talented professional musicians, many of whom remained with the orchestra for more than 30 years. Leopold Stokowski brought the Symphony international recognition by commissioning new works and making recordings, and, in Sir John Barbirolli's years, the Houston Symphony flowered under the influence of his lush romantic style. The orchestra moved into Jones Hall, its current home, in 1966, and in 1971, the Symphony signed its first 52-week contract with the musicians. Today, the Houston Symphony is widely acclaimed as one of the top orchestras in the world.
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