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Texas Music Festival presents rising stars in the classical music galaxy

TMF Orchestra

Moores School of Music’s 23rd edition of the festival features highly regarded young conductors

Classical music's rising stars aligned in Houston June 4-July 1 for the 23rd annual Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival.

Based at the Moores School of Music at UH, the Texas Music Festival featured performances by outstanding student musicians and distinguished conductors and faculty artists from all over the world. The musical genres performed during the one-month, on-campus residency include orchestral masterworks, chamber music, jazz, guitar, voice, and piano.

The Texas Music Festival presented nearly 50 performances, master classes and seminars at the University of Houston Moores School of Music and venues throughout the Houston area and at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Each orchestra concert began with an outdoor gathering on the University of Houston’s main campus in the Jane Blaffer Owen Plaza featuring pre-concert musical performances and refreshments by local food trucks.

The festival challenged its Orchestra Fellows each week by presenting a new, full symphonic program under a new conductor of international stature. The TMF Orchestral Fellows studied and rehearsed under the direction of an international faculty of conductors and artists/teachers who also performed on the PERSPECTIVES Series concerts, presented weekly at Texas A&M University and in the Moores Opera House at the University of Houston.

“A record number of students -- nearly 400 -- applied to The Texas Music Festival Orchestral Institute this year representing such noted music schools as the Juilliard School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Eastman School of Music, and Houston’s Shepherd and Moores Schools of Music,” said Alan Austin, the festival’s general and artistic director, as well as a former participant in TMF.

Out of the applicant pool, 95 were chosen as Orchestra Fellows through competitive live and recorded auditions. This year’s festival student musicians came from across the United States and 13 foreign countries.

In addition to the orchestra series concerts, the festival also spotlighted faculty artists through the Perspectives Series of chamber music and jazz concerts and the Classical Minds Guitar Festival and Competition.

The Texas Music festival also included the Le Chiavi: The Keys to Bel Canto vocal program for advanced singers and summer intensives for high school jazz and piano students.

In the 2012 season, the Texas Music Festival welcomed several prominent conductors:

  • Josep Caballé-Domenech of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic
  • Daniel Hege of the Wichita Symphony (Kansas)
  • Franz Anton Krager of the UH Moores School of Music
  • Lavard Skou-Larsen of the Salzburg (Austria) Chamber Soloists (Austria)

Soloists who graced the festival’s stages included:

  • Soprano Cynthia Clayton
  • Mezzo-soprano Heather Scanio
  • Tenor Vale Rideout
  • Baritone Hector Vasquez

Access the full performance calendar at

~ Jill Bays-Purtill

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