New World Symphony

American composers and compositions inspired by America are at the heart of the Houston Symphony’s weekend program. It centers on Czech composer Antonin Dvorák’s New World Symphony, composed in 1893 during a visit to the United States, during which Dvorák was deeply inspired by African-American spirituals and native American music. Fans of the uplifting perennial favorite “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland will be pleased to hear it along with Joan Tower’s response, “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,” which was commissioned by the Houston Symphony in the late ‘80s as a tribute to risk-taking women. Finally, conductor Hans Graf and guest soloist Jonathan Biss will present Schumann’s piano concerto, called “Fantasy in A Minor,” which has little to do with America but is still an extremely pleasurable piece of music, composed during a burst of joyful creativity around the time Schumann married his wife, Clara. (Biss is a busy boy. The 27-year-old releases a recording of Mozart concertos, then debuts with the Detroit Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra before performing at Carnegie Hall in December.) 8 p.m. Friday and today, 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit $27 to $107.
Sept. 12-14, 2008

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