Houston, we have audience

On Saturday night the Houston symphony played and livestreamed Mozart’s Prague Symphony under guest conductor Kensho Watanabe.

The musicians were masked and distanced, everyone having had a covid test on Tuesday.

Principal cello Brinton Smith thinks this was the first performance of a full symphony in North America since March.

A small group of masked, socially distanced guests was admitted. Smith says: ‘I’m so proud of everybody who made this possible, proving that there is a third way between being reckless and simply going into hibernation.’


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  • I think we have to credit the Montreal Symphony for being the first full orchestra to perform since March with their airport concert…

    • The Quebec Symphony had concerts in their hall earlier in August with 250 people, the maximum allowed by the government health guidelines.

    • Yes, I missed that, thanks. So the first indoor symphony in North America, or the first symphony in the US. (Things seem to be going a bit differently in Canada… perhaps in part for reasons that are best discussed elsewhere!) Let’s hope it’s the first of many more to come (safely) from all our great orchestras

      • Many have admired Kensho since his days as an UG at Yale. His musicianship and character are impeccable. Where did you go to school? Hahaha!

    • Remember the name Kensho Watanabe. He is already well on his way to great conductorship. We hated to see him leave the Philadelphia Orchestra Asst. Conductorship. He has already recorded a program with a similarly reduced Philly Orchestra, for release within the next 2 weeks.

      • I saw him when he conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC is Holst’s Planets a couple of years ago. Then he filled in when Yannick was out in 2019 and conducted a thrilling performance of Rachmaninoff’s 1st Symphony. That put him on my list of promising conductors.

  • Step aside Montreal and Houston! The Fort Worth Symphony played a big program for the Fourth of July in the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. It was a much larger orchestra than Houston used to play the Prague Symphony.
    It was recorded before July 4th, but it was shown on tv July 4. It had a full wind and brass section with lots of percussion too!

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