Many are stuck at home, already tired of what’s on TV, and wondering what else there is for entertainment and distraction from the intense and worrisome news cycle. The Houston Symphony is offering musical relief. It’s making its concert broadcasts available to stream on demand for free online, as well as creating musician videos, blogs, curated playlists, and more available at houstonsymphony.org/listenathome. While the Symphony already broadcasts live on Houston Public Media each Sunday evening, each broadcast concert will now also be posted on the Houston Symphony website for on-demand streaming, and new broadcasts will be made available on-demand for one month after their broadcast date. In addition, the Symphony is stepping up to create a new schedule of content available in greater quantity on its website and via social media.
“As we make certain that our audiences and musicians are kept safe by suspending our concert activities through May 10,” said Executive Director, CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair John Mangum, “we want to be sure our audiences can still have the Houston Symphony as part of their daily lives, especially during these trying times of social distancing. We hope our regular schedule of performances, broadcast and online, and our enhanced schedule of social media content will give people not only entertainment, but also comfort in the weeks ahead. For those who are able, we are also asking that people consider donating to the Symphony at this time.”
As a nonprofit, the Houston Symphony has always been able to thrive, even in challenging times, thanks to supportive donors and patrons. COVID-19 and related closures have had a devastating impact on the arts sector, and the Symphony is no different, currently projecting a loss of more than $2 million in ticket revenue due to canceled concerts.
The link for the broadcast streams and regularly updated Houston Symphony digital content is houstonsymphony.org/listenathome.
The first broadcast concerts now available to stream are:
- 2011–2012 Season Concert
HANS GRAF, conductor
MOZART Serenade No. 10 in B-flat major, K.361 (Gran Partita)
STRAVINSKY Apollon musagète
MOZART Serenade in G major, K.525 (Eine kleine Nachtmusik )
- 2012–2013 Season Concert
ANDRÉS OROZCO-ESTRADA, conductor
WILLIAM VERMEULEN, horn
BERLIOZ Le carnaval romain (The Roman Carnival), Opus 9
- STRAUSS Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Opus 11
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Opus 14
- 2012–2013 Season Concert
HANS GRAF, Conductor
FRANK HUANG, violin
BRINTON AVERIL SMITH, cello
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Opus 56a
BRAHMS Concerto in A minor for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Opus 102 (Double) BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98
This Sunday evening’s broadcast on News 88.7 FM includes the 2018–2019 season performance of Orff’s monumental Carmina Burana, and will be available for streaming after its March 22, 2020 air date.
Entertaining videos that come out each Friday and give listeners the back stories of the works on that weekend’s broadcast program are just one example of the regular digital content the Symphony is producing to help fill the live performance void. Videos featuring Houston Symphony musicians will come out regularly throughout each week, beginning with Associate Principal Horn Rob Johnson’s Peter and the Wolf video, featuring his family, already posted online. Thursdays, the Houston Symphony’s Community Embedded Musicians (CEM) are producing a plethora of videos, blog posts, and other content focusing on education.
The Symphony continues to reach out to ticket-holders for its canceled live concerts via email, phone, web, and social media to ask that they:
- exchange their ticket(s) for another scheduled performance in 2020─the Symphony is waiving all exchange fees─or
- donate the cost of the tickets to the Symphony. The Symphony will provide a donation form for the ticket value for tax purposes.
- The Houston Symphony Patron Services Center is available by phone to answer any questions or help with exchanges at 713.224.7575 during operating hours: Monday–Saturday, 12 noon–6 p.m.