The Houston Symphony recently announced that its choral counterpart, the all-volunteer Houston Symphony Chorus, will have a new director in the fall of 2014. Current director, Dr. Charles Hausmann, who has headed the group for the past 28 years, will be retiring after the chorus's final concert of the summer in Mexico City. Starting in September, the chorus will be directed by Betsy Cook Weber, who has worked with the Houston Symphony Chorus previously in the Assistant and Associate Director positions. Dr. Weber currently serves as the Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston’s Moore’s School of Music.
“Conducting the Houston Symphony Chorus has always been a great source of joy and pride for me,” said Dr. Hausmann in a release from the Houston Symphony. “It has been such a privilege to lead the preparation of all of the great masterworks in the repertoire that we have performed with such acclaim in Houston and internationally. After 28 years of service, including over 700 performances of over 150 different major works in collaboration with more than 40 international conductors, I believe it is time to pursue other professional opportunities at the University of Houston and elsewhere. I will certainly miss my work with the Houston Symphony and Chorus, but I leave with an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.”
The Symphony Chorus, under Weber's direction, will participate in six concert series during the 2014-2015 season, which will also be the first season of the new Music Director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The Chorus's debut under the direction of Weber and Orozco-Estrada will be in late November, when they perform Mozart's Requiem and Brahms' Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny). Other performances featuring the chorus include Handel's Messiah and Very Merry Pops in December, Verdi's Requiem, Mahler's Third Symphony, and a special performance with Andrea Bocelli.
About the Houston Symphony Chorus
The Houston Symphony Chorus is the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony. It is a chorus of volunteer singer-musicians who are committed to rehearsing and performing the choral-orchestral repertory at the highest level of choral artistry. In addition to presenting an annual schedule of concerts in Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony, the Chorus has toured Europe several times and performs regularly in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineriá. The group, originally known as the Houston Chorale, was founded in 1946 by Alfred Urbach, then principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. The Chorale made its debut with the Houston Symphony in 1949 with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This inaugurated what was to be a lasting relationship, one that has produced hundreds of memorable performances of the great choral masterworks led by some of the world’s leading conductors. In 1986, the Chorale was renamed the Houston Symphony Chorus.