The Houston Symphony announced that it has selected Colombian-born, Vienna-trained conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada as its next Music Director. Orozco-Estrada, who will occupy the Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair, will serve as Music Director Designate during the 2013-14 season and will begin a five-year contract in the 2014-15 season. Orozco-Estrada’s appointment was formally announced on the Jones Hall stage in front of several hundred people, including Houston’s Mayor, the Honorable Annise D. Parker.
The selection caps a three-year pursuit for the Houston Symphony led by a 12-member search committee comprised of musicians, board members and staff. Orozco-Estrada only recently debuted with the Houston Symphony in October 2012, but the connection with the orchestra and audience was immediate.
Orozco-Estrada was born in Medellin, Colombia, and began his musical studies in violin. He first conducted at age 15, and at 19 years old and speaking only Spanish, Orozco-Estrada traveled alone to Vienna in pursuit of furthering his studies of the art form. He completed his degree from the renowned Vienna Music Academy with distinction, conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein. Currently, Orozco-Estrada is the Music Director of Austria’s Tonkünstler Orchestra, and he serves as Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi in San Sebastián, Spain, a position that he will relinquish in May 2013. A natural communicator, Orozco-Estrada is fluent in Spanish, German and English.
Orozco-Estrada will become the 16th music director in the Houston Symphony’s 100-year history, and he is the Symphony’s first Hispanic music director. His predecessors include Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, Lawrence Foster, Christoph Eschenbach and Hans Graf.