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What Houston’s new maestro can do

We have retrieved the most recent video of Andres Orozco-Estrada in action. It’s three months old and he’s conducting Firebird with the Niederoesterreichs Tonkuenstler orchestra. Certain gestural similarities with Gustavo Dudamel are unmistakable.

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  1. I believe that is the Tonkünstler Orchestra.

  2. Steve de Mena says:

    2012 Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich
    Grafenegg Music Festival, Austria

  3. That’s the Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra – Summer Open Air at Grafenegg 2012. Orozco-Estrada is leader of the orchestra since 2007.

  4. Thanks for posting that Norman. I personally find this Brahms clip: and this Mozart clip more typical of Andres, but we’re grateful to have you help spread the news!

  5. Gary Schneider says:

    He may indeed be a fine musician, but he is going to have to get rid of all the unnecessary motions and dance steps and just let the orchestra play. He’s young. Why is it that it takes so long to realize how much better it sounds when we do less and think more.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      1. “You should not perspire when you are conducting; only the audience should get warm.”
      Richard Strauss, 10 Golden Rules for the Album of a Young Conductor

      2. Not sure of the significance of gestural similarities between Orozko-Estrada and Dudamel.

  6. christophe says:

    Very good orchestra. I agree with the Dudamel comparison, but to be fair, each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Aside from the dancing comment from Gary Schneider, I think his conducting too much mirrors left and right hand (except when turning pages). Additionally, all of these excerpts, from Stravinsky to Brahms to Mozart, while effective, are monochromatic and muscular, showing less nuance, subtlety, and sorry to say, maturity. When I played with him, it was Beethoven, and while fun, it was not groundbreaking. But he is young, and he will grow. He certainly has all the talent. Look where Dudamel is now as compared to when he started. I think Houston audiences are not as cultivated as Austrian, but that is another argument, but they clearly appreciate Estrada’s style. But is that all conducting has become? Style over substance? Musicians will over a maestro’s vision? Lets wait and see the evolution of the conductor when he is on the Houston podium as long as Eschenbach or Graf were.

  7. Very charismatic. Although the Figaro overture Brinton posted is a little over the top as far as his conducting goes.
    I am relieved that Houston did not consider the so called native born savior of classical music.

  8. I saw this guy conducting them (and actually in that venue in this clip!) several summers ago and everybody was buzzing about him. I’m surprised he took this long to land a major post. A great coup for Houston (who are also a great orchestra) — Los Angeles should be worried!

  9. I don’t quite get if your comment about Orozco’s similarities with Dudamel are positive or negative. He also reminded me immediately of Dudamel but fir me that was a plus! I actually like it. In fact, for many years, I have been asking myself when the HSO would bring Dudamel as a guest conductor. I can also tell you that in my experience working with different conductors, we actually appreciate a conductor that is so dynamic. The energy and the passion that the conductor shows with his gestures is transmitted to the musicians and we tried to follow in that energy. So, I really do not see any negative on that. I guess the proof should be that the musicians love him already and if the musicians are happy, they will make good music. Audiences also enjoy a conductor like that!

    • Famous conductors in huge demand really pick and choose orchestras and venues they guest conduct. No, HSO is neither prestigious enough nor has a world class venue that would get likes of Dudamel, Rattle, Barenboim, and other top conductors to come guest conduct. Why would LA be worried? Because Jones Hall?

  10. Greg Von Notias says:

    Have you seen The HSO do a Mahler symphony Norman?

  11. Alexander Hall says:

    One of the less attractive aspects of the conducting “talent” that Il Sistema has brought to the fore is that all these twenty or thirty somethings are really little more than clones of the original role model Dudamel. They do indeed wave their arms about a lot, but one should never mistake physical energy for musical quality. I am just a little surprised that so many British orchestras have been signing up these hopefuls long before they have been tried and tested elsewhere. The chances that any of them will turn out to be the new Bernstein, Klemperer, Karajan or Muti are extremely remote and orchestral managements should know that. This outrush of Hispanics is not dissimilar to the production lines of Chinese pianists and Korean violinists that are now “flooding” the musical scene. Just wait another five to ten years – virtually all these new “stars” will by then have disappeared down black holes.

    • Steve de Mena says:

      What does Estrada have to do with Il Sistema? He’s from a different country and studied conducting in Vienna and seems to have worked mostly in Europe.

      I don’t think we know much about his conducting. A conductor’s work is done during rehearsal and how he moves around on the podium shouldn’t be how he is judged.

  12. Stephen Carpenter says:

    May I say that the video clip didn’t show me much of his conducting. I “heard” his conducting but was seeing a sunset. The little I did see was energetic and probably energizing but its hard to tell. What is exciting for me is that we have young and energetic conductors who know the music and are able to establish it in their own right with established orchestras. this is no small feat.
    As to dance steps and needless gestures- would that same observation be leveled at a young Leonard Bernstein? At issue- is the vision inside the conductor’s head, and how (s)he expresses it. Isn’t conducting kinetic and patterned? Like dance. Having been a chorister and having sung the same pieces with different conductors, I am always fascinated by how differently each approaches the same music (which we all know is never the same.)
    I would love to see some of these new conductors. Alas- all are many hours away and so forth.
    Thanks for sharing this, though, and best wishes to all in this new venture.

  13. While the Houston symphony does not possess the financial resources to hire the very biggest name guest conductors, an orchestra at this level in the US still has access to top tier musicians and many of our musicians have worked regularly with the very biggest conducting names in other orchestras. During the search we saw many of the best and most heralded up and coming conductors in the world, and saw many who could have filled the job with distinction. It is a tough group of musicians to please and Andres was the overwhelming choice of the orchestra. Is he, at 35 years of age, the perfect conductor? Who is? He has great talent and we discovered that his energy was coupled with real depth. He is already on a top level, and shows the humility, intelligence, dedication and intensity necessary for continued growth. I don’t pretend to read the future, but he certainly has the qualities that can make for greatness.
    He is also particularly dedicated to raising the profile and quality of the orchestra to ever higher levels, which is very important to us and seems to be a particularly nice guy to boot. So, while we’re grateful for the interest, I think I can speak for my colleagues when I say that we are very excited because of what we already know about Andres, not because of what others might think. Thanks for the thoughts and comments, some quite insightful

  14. I can’t see anything very special in his conducting on this evidence. Energetic, yes. But the ensemble isn’t that good and the music isn’t particularly strongly characterised. I have to assume there’s more to him than is on show here, otherwise Houston is just another orchestra placing a priority on youthful energy.

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