Three cheers for horns: FOUR HORNS highlights Pittsburgh Symphony horn section


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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra welcomes guest conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada for his Heinz Hall debut in “Four Horns,” A BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert weekend, March 27-29.

Colombian-born Orozco-Estrada makes his debut with the “rock stars of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,” the members of the orchestra’s sensational horn section. The horn section, led by William Caballero and featuring Robert Lauver, Mark Houghton and Joseph Rounds, will be highlighted as soloists in Robert Schumann’s Konzertstück, a tour de force for four French horns and orchestra.  Orozco-Estrada, the newly appointed music director of the Houston Symphony, then leads Brahms’ First Symphony, a towering masterpiece 20 years in the making.  The program opens with Mason Bates’ The Rise of Exotic Computing, which was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony for the Mercury Soul event and will be receiving its Heinz Hall premiere during this concert.

Each BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert is part of the Explore & Engage program, which includes pre-concert talks, exhibits, display boards and interactive activities that illuminate the music, composers and the time in which they were created. A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Resident Conductor Fawzi Haimor, will occur on stage one hour prior to each concert.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $25.75 to $105.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2014-2015 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada, born in Colombia and trained in Vienna, is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation. At the start of the 2014-2015 season, he will took up the positions of music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Orozco-Estrada first came to international attention in 2004, when he took over a concert with the Tonkünstler Orchestra Niederösterreich at the Vienna Musikverein.  Numerous engagements with many international orchestras followed and since then Orozco-Estrada has developed a highly successful musical partnership with the Tonkünstler Orchestra, one of the most important institutions of traditional Austrian musical culture. Since the beginning of the 2009-2010 season, Orozco-Estrada has been the music director of the Tonkünstler Orchestra, a position that he will relinquish in summer 2015. Between 2009 and 2013, Orozco-Estrada was also principal conductor at the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi (Basque National Orchestra). He has made highly successful debuts with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Verbier Festival Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic and La Scala Philharmonic Orchestras. Following his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in autumn 2010, Orozco-Estrada was hailed “a brilliant stand-in” (Wiener Zeitung) for Esa-Pekka Salonen and celebrated as an “eminent talent” (Die Presse). In November 2012, Orozco-Estrada stepped in once again at short notice to replace Riccardo Muti with the Vienna Philharmonic in the Musikverein.  Highlights of the current and coming seasons include debuts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. Born in 1977 in Medellín, Colombia, Orozco-Estrada began his musical studies on the violin and had his first conducting lessons at the age of 15. In 1997, he moved to Vienna where he joined the conducting class of Uroš Lajovic, pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky, at the renowned Vienna Music Academy and completed his degree with distinction by conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein. The emphasis of his artistic work lies in the Romantic repertoire and Viennese classics. At the same time, Orozco-Estrada shows a keen interest in contemporary music and regularly performs premieres of Austrian composers as well as compositions of Spanish and South American origin. Orozco-Estrada currently lives in Vienna.

The 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra season is William Caballero’s 25th year as its principal horn. Before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony in May 1989, Caballero held principal horn positions with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and Hartford Symphony. He held third horn positions with the Montreal Symphony, Montreal Opera and acting third horn with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. He also performed as guest principal horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony. Born in New Mexico and reared in Wisconsin, Caballero’s early horn studies included working under Larry Simons, Barry Benjamin and Basil Tyler, as well as studying the piano and pipe organ. Caballero graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston where he studied with Richard Mackey and Thomas Newell of the Boston Symphony.  Caballero is the associate teaching professor of horn at Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Previously, he held teaching positions at Indiana University Bloomington, Rice University in Houston, Texas and Duquesne University and has presented master classes throughout the world. The past two summers, he joined the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival as performer and teacher, and for the previous seven summers, Caballero was on the faculty and performed at the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.  In 2012, Caballero began collaboration with the Internet music teaching company His teaching website was released in September 2012 as the only complete horn teaching curriculum available via the internet. Caballero is in demand as a chamber musician collaborating with musicians such as violinists Gil Shaham, Joseph Silverstein and Philip Setzer, and pianists André Previn, Christoph Eshenbach, Orli Shaham and Andre Watts. He is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass. Recent chamber music performances include performing Brahms’ Horn Trio in E-flat major with Gil and Orli Shaham in Zankel Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York and appearing several times live on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” This season is Caballero’s second appearance as soloist with Manfred Honeck. His first solo collaboration with Honeck was in September 2012 performing the Pittsburgh Symphony premiere of Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1. Previous solo performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony have included Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat with Lorin Maazel; Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat with Andre Previn; Mozart Concerto fragments with Pittsburgh Symphony Concertmaster Andrés Cardenes; Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and tenor Anthony Griffey; Schumann’s Konzertstück in F, for four horns and orchestra under the baton of Sir John Elliot Gardener; and the John Williams Horn Concerto with Leonard Slatkin.  Other recent solo appearances included performances in Montenegro with Ronald Zollman and with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.  In 1992, Caballero premiered Benjamin Lees’ Concerto for Horn and Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Lorin Maazel. Following the performances in Pittsburgh, he performed it in Spain, Germany and England with the Pittsburgh Symphony on tour. In 1996, Caballero recorded the concerto for New World Records. Caballero holds the Anonymous Foundation Principal Horn Chair.

Robert Lauver joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra horn section in the 2000-01 season. Previously he was a member of the horn section of the Saint Louis Symphony since 1992, as well as the St. Louis Symphony Brass Quintet. The Columbus Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Austin Symphony, Chicago Chamber Brass and Baltimore Symphony are among the orchestras with whom Lauver has played. He attended Northwestern and Western Michigan universities.

Mark Tennyson Houghton was awarded the position of 3rd horn with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in June 2014. Previously, he was principal horn of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony and, most recently, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Houghton was born in Long Beach, Calif., and raised in Keller, Texas. After some basic piano training, he began playing horn at age 12. His parents — who are professional horn players and teachers — were his first instructors. Advanced studies yielded a Bachelor of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as a student of W. Peter Kurau. Other notable teachers and mentors include Gregory Hustis and William VerMeulen. Houghton has appeared with the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Arizona Musicfest, Basically Beethoven Festival, The Hall Ensemble, Eastman Virtuosi and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He has toured domestically with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and abroad with the Eastman Horn Choir. In addition to his previous full-time principal horn positions, Houghton has performed as principal horn with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Dallas Wind Symphony. He has been a featured soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and will perform Schumann’s Konzertstuck in F for Four Horns and Orchestra, Opus 86, in March 2015 with the Pittsburgh Symphony and its internationally acclaimed horn section. Houghton was a prizewinner in the American Horn Competition and the International Horn Society’s John Hawkins Memorial Solo Competition. Houghton is part owner of Houghton Horns, a family business that specializes in high-quality instruments, services and accessories for horn players.

Horn player Joseph Rounds grew up in a musical family in a small town in Missouri where his father taught trumpet at Northwest Missouri State University and his mother taught piano. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, his mother’s alma mater, where he studied horn with Verne Reynolds.  Studies continued with James Decker at the University of Southern California. Since 1987 Mr. Rounds has been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra serving as Assistant Principal, second and fourth horn.  Previously, he held positions with the Sacramento Symphony and the Sacramento Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Rounds currently holds a third degree black belt from the Young Brothers Tae Kwon Do Institute under the guidance of Grand Master Young Bo Kong.

A native of Berkeley, California, violinist Nathan Olson is co-concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a position he assumed in 2011. In 2013, he was appointed adjunct faculty at the University of North Texas College of Music. Prior to his appointment with the DSO, Olson held the position of concertmaster with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and CityMusic Cleveland. Currently concertmaster of the Breckenridge Music Festival, he has participated in the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Bravo Vail Music Festival and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Olson is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s prestigious Concertmaster Academy, where he studied with William Preucil and Paul Kantor. He has soloed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Olson served on faculty at the Innsbrook Music Festival and won the silver medal at the 2005 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition. As a member of the Baumer String Quartet, he is on faculty with the Monterey Chamber Music Workshop and the Crowden Chamber Music Workshop. In recent seasons, Olson has appeared as guest concertmaster with the Symphony Orchestras of Toronto, Omaha and Tucson, and as principal second violin with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Four Horns performs

Friday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 29, 2:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall







NATHAN OLSON, guest concertmaster

            Mason Bates                              The Rise of Exotic Computing for Sinfonietta & Electronica

            Robert Schumann                       Konzertstück in F for Four Horns and Orchestra, Opus 86

                                                                        I. Lebhaft

                                                                        II. Romanze: Ziemlich langsam

                                                                        III. Sehr lebhaft

                                                                        Mr. Caballero

                                                                        Mr. Lauver

                                                                        Mr. Houghton

                                                                        Mr. Rounds


Johannes Brahms            Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 86

                                                            I. Un poco sostenuto – Allegro

                                                            II. Andante sostenuto

                                                            III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso

                                                            IV. Adagio – Piu andante – Allegro non troppo, ma con brio


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