top of page


PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Grass Photographer

This summer the 27th Annual Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival (TMF) will chart several musical firsts, including the TMF debut of distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf, who holds the distinction of having been the longest serving Music Director in Houston Symphony history. The June 3 – July 2 international music residency, based at the University of Houston (UH) Moores School of Music, attracts classical music’s rising stars from top tier music conservatories worldwide to study and perform in concert with world-class soloists, conductors and faculty artists at the UH Moores Opera House and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.  


TMF Orchestra Series will open Saturday, June 11 with a rich “Roman Holiday”-themed musical getaway.  Mark Hughes, Houston Symphony Principal Trumpet, will provide fitting fanfare as guest soloist under the baton of TMF Music Director & Chief Conductor Franz Anton Krager. For TMF Week 2, June 18, Hans Graf will conduct three “Musical Firsts:” Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13;  Webern: Passacaglia, Op. 1; and Berg: Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6.  (See release of "first" details.)


TMF Week 3 will be “The Audience’s Guide to the Orchestra,” TMF’s first approach to an orchestral “primer” program for classical music lovers of all ages. Guest Conductor Mei-Ann Chen will be on the podium for the June 24 and 25 concerts, which will boast the student winner of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition as soloist (work TBA), complemented by the following family-friendly program: Piotr Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture – Fantasy; Benjamin Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34 narrated by Houston Public Media’s St. John Flynn; and Igor Stravinsky: Petrouchka.


Topping off the four-week festival will be the Grand Finale Saturday, July 2, featuring Richard Strauss: An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64, an epic piece about an 11-hour physical and spiritual journey climbing an Alpine mountain, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds, Op. 297b. The concert will spotlight four of TMF’s faculty members with native Texan Carl St. Clair conducting. The soloists are Richard Beene, bassoon, Dean Emeritus of the Colburn School Conservatory of MusicLeone Buyse, flute, a professor at the Rice University Shepherd School of MusicJonathan Fischer, oboe, principal oboe of the Houston Symphony; and Robert Johnson, horn, associate principal horn of the Houston Symphony. Fischer and Johnson are both affiliate artists at the UH Moores School of Music.   


Background:  TMF is a rigorous training ground for serious music fellows to learn and perform 13 major classical works over four weeks with four different conductors. “Our demanding schedule is on par with a professional symphony orchestra’s,” says TMF General and Artistic Director Alan Austin, 1990 TMF alum. “Our number of applicants continues to rise because conservatory students desire the depth and scope of our repertoire. They have to stretch themselves here, but they relish the opportunity.”


Four hundred applicants from the U.S. and 22 foreign countries applied for the prestigious TMF Orchestral Institute this year, representing 112 conservatories and schools of music, including such noted music schools as Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, University of Houston Moores School and Yale University.  Those chosen to participate are from all over the US, as well as Bolivia (twin brother and sister!), Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, South Korea and South Africa. 


The 95 fellows who comprise the Festival Orchestra are chosen by highly competitive live and recorded auditions held in January and February each year.  All receive a full fellowship to underwrite their time in Houston.


2016 Texas Music Festival Season Highlights


TMF Orchestra Series: Saturday evenings, 7:30 p.m., Moores Opera House

Pre-concert performances by members of Virtuosi of Houston begin 6:30 p.m.

Settling the Score, preconcert lectures with Dr. Andrew Davis, begins at 6:40 p.m., Rm. 108 Moores School of Music (MSM)


Tuesday, June 7, 7:30 p.m., DRH

PERSPECTIVES: Faculty Chamber Music

Parisian Holiday

Loeffler: Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano

Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp

Ravel: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano

Performers include: Robert Atherholt, English horn; Kirsten Yon, violin; Wayne Brooks, James Dunham, viola; Desmond Hoebig, cello; Timothy Hester, piano; Aralee Dorough, flute; Paula Page, harp


Friday, June 10, 7:30 p.m., DRH, Free


The final performance of TMF’s program of bel canto training for young singing artists, featuring arias and ensembles by Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti.


Saturday, June 11, 7:30 p.m., MOH


Franz Anton Krager, conductor

Mark Hughes, trumpet

Roman Holiday

Tartini: Trumpet Concerto in D Major

Clark: Carnival of Venice from Trumpet and Orchestra

Respighi: Fountains of Rome, Roman Festivals, Pines of Rome



Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m., DRH, Free


TMF’s young artists compete for the chance to perform as soloist with the festival orchestra, cash prizes, and an international appearance in Leipzig, Germany.


Tuesday, June 14, 7:30 p.m., DRH

PERSPECTIVES: Faculty Chamber Music

Classical Mashup

Beethoven: Sonata No. 1 in D Major for Piano and Violin

Performers include: Emmanuel Borok, violin


Thursday, June 16, 7:30 p.m., DRH

PERSPECTIVES: Faculty Chamber Music

A Texas Original: Chamber Music of David Ashley White

Elegy and Exaltation for Piano Trio; The Peace of Wild Things for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano; L’isola di S. Michele for Oboe and Piano; Six Miniatures for Three Players; Gathering the Lost Garden for Mezzo-Soprano, Clarinet and Piano; Lagniappe for Solo Piano; Phantasy and Toccata for Solo Piano; Four Madrigals of Michelangelo for Soprano, Violin and Piano; Divertimento for Violin and Viola

Performers include: Robert Atherholt, oboe; Wayne Brooks, viola; Timothy Hester, piano; Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano; Valkov-Sulyga-Kostov Trio (Oleg Sulyga, violin; Lachezar Kostov, cello; Viktor Valkov, piano); Michael Webster, clarinet/bass clarinet; Kirsten Yon, violin; Megan Stapleton, soprano


Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m., MOH


Hans Graf, conductor 

Musical Firsts

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 1

Webern: Passacaglia, Op. 1

Berg: Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6


Tuesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m., DRH

PERSPECTIVES: Faculty Chamber Music

American Voices

Previn: Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano

Kevin Puts (premiere): In at the Eye for Baritone, Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano

Performers include: Jonathan Fischer, oboe; Elise Wagner, bassoon; Brian Suits, piano; Timothy Jones, baritone


Thursday, June 23, 1:30 and 3:40 p.m., MOH

Ars Lyrica Houston

Houston’s premier early music ensemble presents Summer Zephyr: Music of Vivaldi, Bach, and Mozart. Presented as part of the American Guild of Organists National Convention. Open to the public. Tickets at the door.


Thursday, June 23, 7 p.m., MSM 160, Free

YOUNG ARTIST CHAMBER MUSIC - Ensembles of classical music’s rising stars, featuring festival percussion ensembles.


Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m., DRH, Free

HIGH SCHOOL PIANO INSTITUTE ENSEMBLES RECITAL -Gifted high school pianists perform ensemble works.


Friday, June 24, 8 p.m., Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - Free

Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., MOH


Mei-Ann Chen, conductor

St. John Flynn, narrator

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition Winner, soloist

The Audience’s Guide to the Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy

Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Stravinsky: Suite from Petrouchka (1947)

Sunday, June 26, 10 a.m. AND 1 p.m., MOH, Free

HIGH SCHOOL PIANO INSTITUTE SOLO RECITAL - Gifted young pianists offer polished solo performances.


Tuesday, June 28, 7:30 p.m., DRH

PERSPECTIVES: Faculty Chamber Music

Side by Side: Faculty and students perform together, including Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat


Thursday, June 30, 7 p.m., DRH, Free

YOUNG ARTIST CHAMBER MUSIC - Ensembles featuring classical music’s rising stars.


Friday, July 1, 7 p.m., MOH, Free

HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ INSTITUTE CONCERT - Classical to contemporary jazz in a big band setting. Directed by Noe Marmolejo.


Friday, July 1, 7 p.m., DRH, Free

YOUNG ARTIST CHAMBER MUSIC - Ensembles featuring classical music’s rising stars.


Saturday, July 2, 7:30 p.m., MOH


Carl St. Clair, conductor

Richard Beene, bassoon

Leone Buyse, flute

Jonathan Fischer, oboe

Robert Johnson, horn

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds,  K.297b

Strauss: An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64




MOH-Moores Opera House, Moores School of Music

DRH—Dudley Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building

MSM 160—Choral Recital Hall, Moores School of Music

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands, TX





Full season packages (13 concerts), Orchestra Series only packages (4 Saturdays), PERSPECTIVES Series only packages (4 Tuesdays, plus bonus Thursday, June 16) available online and through box office.  Senior/students packages available, too.

Individual Orchestra Series Tickets: $25 gen., $15 student/senior

Individual PERSPECTIVES Series Tickets: $20, $15 student/senior

Box Office: 713-743-3313

Festival Contact: Alan Austin, Gen. and Artistic Director, ph. 713-743-3167,        



All faculty, guest artist, and conductor biographies and photos may be found at       ​






bottom of page