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Mike Emery

Texas Music Festival Announces First-Ever Conductor's Contest

June 2, 2010-Houston-

Six Houston personalities, including an AM radio talk show host, an Iron Chef, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, a KTRK Channel 13 news reporter, a three-time Grammy Award nominee singer and a Houston Culinary Awards "Chef of the Year"," will vie for the chance to conduct the 95-member Texas Music Festival (TMF) Orchestra as participants in the festival's first-ever "Be A Conductor" contest.

"It's such a thrill to stand on the podium, face a concert stage filled with incredible musicians and conduct the symphony orchestra -- especially the ‘Star Spangled Banner' with July 4th right around the corner," said Texas Music Festival general director Alan Austin.  "We wanted to give local celebrities outside the classical music realm that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  It's ‘Conducting with the Stars,' if you will."

The contest will be held online through June 9 on the Texas Music Festival Facebook Fan Page.   The contestant who generates the greatest number of votes (one vote per person) on this site by the June 9 midnight deadline will get to conduct the orchestra in the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Moores Opera House on Saturday, June 26, 7 p.m.

The candidates who are up for the conductors challenge are:

  • Nick Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Houston Chronicle and in syndication
  • Brent Clanton, Host of the "CNN 650 AM Radio Morning Show"
  • Scott Gertner, Three-time GRAMMY Award nominee and owner of Scott Gertner's SkyBar
  • Hugo Ortega, "Chef of the Year"/Houston Culinary Awards/executive chef of Hugo's Mexican Restaurant and Backstreet Cafe
  • Monica Pope, Award-winning chef/owner of t'afia restaurant and recent "Iron Chef" participant
  • Miya Shay, Reporter for KTRK-TV, ABC 13 whose main focus is government and politics

 The Texas Music Festival is a summer music residency program at the University of Houston Moores School of Music now in its 21st season.  Advanced music students from top music schools from all over the U.S. and several foreign countries audition for the 95 spots in the orchestra.  This year 350 students applied from such renowned schools as the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College, The New England Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, as well as the Shepherd School at Rice University and the Moores School of Music, to name a few.

The winner of the "Be A Conductor" contest will be announced June 10 and will receive a one-half hour complimentary conducting lesson from UH Moores School of Music conducting professor Franz Anton Krager.  Tickets to the June 26 performance, which will feature the Mitchell Young Artist Competition Winner, are included in the prize package for:  Saturday, June 26, 2010; Moores Opera House, University of Houston, 7:30 p.m. FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA; Stefan Sanderling, conductor; Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition Winner, soloist.  The program includes Debussy: Prélude to the Afternoon of a Faun; Concerto TBA; Franck: Le chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman); and Ravel: Bolero.

Other highlights of the 2010 Texas Music Festival season are:

  • Five PERSPECTIVES: Festival Artist Chamber Music and Jazz series concerts developed and "curated" by faculty artists and guests, featuring innovative programming and stellar performances of jazz and classical music
  • Conductors: Mei-Ann Chen (Memphis Symphony Orchestra), Horst Foerster (Akadesmisches Orchester Leipzig), Franz Anton Krager (Moores School of Music, Stefan Sanderling (The Florida Orchestra, Chatauqua)
  • Soloists with orchestra: brothers Leonel (piano) and Jesús (marimba) Morales in the world premiere of Peter Lieuwen's Concerto for Piano, Marimba and Orchestra; Rita Porfiris (viola) in Bela Bartók's Viola Concerto; Houston Symphony principal flute, Aralee Dorough, in Mozart's Concerto in D Major for Flute
  • a series of master classes in all instruments, featuring festival faculty and guests. For a complete listing, please visit our web site
  • Classical Minds Guitar Festival and Competition (June 15-20), including recitals by faculty, guest performers, competition winners

 For tickets, call Moores School of Music Box Office 713/743-3313 (All University of Houston concerts); Texas A&M University 979/845-1234, and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (free).


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Categories: Arts