Press Room

Houston Symphony Names Yue Bao Ting Tsung And Wei Fong Chao Foundation Assistant Conductor

HOUSTON, TX (Nov. 1, 2021) — The Houston Symphony has announced that Yue Bao has been promoted to the position of Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Assistant Conductor.

The Shanghai-born conductor joined the Houston Symphony in Fall 2019 in the newly created position of conducting fellow. She made her Houston Symphony debut in May 2019, conducting Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila and the offstage ensemble in the finale to Ives’ Symphony No. 4 as part of the Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells” program. She played a key role in enabling the Symphony to lead the vanguard of
American orchestras by performing its way through the pandemic: Bao conducted several concerts in the 2020–21 Season including the Summer Chamber Series which featured concerts available for livestream throughout the world, Opening Night, and two appearances on the subscription series, leading Kelley O’Conner and Houston Symphony musicians in Ethyl Smythe’s Songs for Mezzo-Soprano with Instrumental Accompaniment, and conducting Scott Joplin’s Overture to Treemonisha at the invitation of guest conductor David Robertson. In the 2021–2022 Season she made her debut at the Symphony’s summer home, Miller Outdoor Theatre leading programs of works for winds and strings, as well as education concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Plans going forward include more education concerts at Jones Hall, a return to the podium at Miller Outdoor Theatre, and continued support conducting Classical Series concerts.

Yue Bao is an exciting presence on the podium,” said Houston Symphony Executive Director, CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair John Mangum. “We’re grateful that she was here in Houston to help us make the 2020–2021 Season happen when few American orchestras were able to do so, and we’re so happy and pleased to have an Assistant Conductor whose career is so clearly on the rise.”

Having recently made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut at the Ravinia Festival in Summer 2021, Yue Bao maintains a busy guest conducting schedule. Her conducting calendar includes engagements leading the Detroit Symphony, her debut with the San Antonio Symphony, and an opera gala with Spain’s Filarmonía Oviedo. She was recently featured in a New York Times profile where she discussed here role with the Houston Symphony during the 2020–21 season.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2021–22 Season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its final season under Andrés Orozco-Estrada as Music Director and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring, and recording activities. One of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, the Symphony held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an operating budget of $28.8 million (FY22), the full-time ensemble of professional musicians presents nearly 170 (FY19) concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s two Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 1,000 (FY19) community-based performances each year at various schools, community centers, hospitals, and churches reaching more than 200,000 (FY19) people in Greater Houston annually, prior to COVID-19.

After suspending concert activities in March 2020 and cancelling the remainder of 2019–20 events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Symphony resumed activities in May 2020, opening the 2020–21 Season on schedule in September 2020 with small audiences of 150, which the Symphony gradually increased to 450 audience members per performance. Due to the financial impact of the canceled 2019–20 Season events, plus the reduction of sales capacity due to audience social distancing in 2020–21, the Symphony cut expenses, reducing planned spending from $36.2 million in 2019–20 to $22.7 million in 2020–21. The Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement team continued to fulfill its mission through creative and virtual means throughout this period. The Symphony successfully completed a full season with in-person audiences and weekly livestreams of each performance, making it one of the only orchestras in the world to do so.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Koch International Classics, Naxos, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, Virgin Classics, and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Eric Skelly: 713.337.8560, eric.skelly@houstonsymphony.org

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