Houston Symphony

A Tale Of A Forgotten Cello Concerto, Passionate Spanish Music And New Friends

A conversation with Maestro Kazuki Yamada about his Houston Symphony debut, and with cellist Brinton Averil Smith about a very special concerto that he’s performing.

“Say ‘Castelnuovo-Tedesco’!” – Brinton Averil Smith and Kazuki Yamada at Houston Public Media

When asked to describe in three words the long-lost Cello Concerto by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Houston Symphony Principal Cellist, Brinton Averil Smith, mischievously responds: “Really, really hard.”

But those words could also be replaced by “melodic, tuneful, beautiful,” which Smith also uses when talking about a concerto that has been his life-long dream to perform.

The Houston Symphony presents Brinton Averil Smith as the soloist in Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Cello Concerto – a work that has not been professionally performed since its 1935 World Premiere – on a program that also features two beloved Spanish-inspired pieces (Emmanuel Chabrier’s España and Manuel de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat)

Acclaimed Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada makes his Houston Symphony debut, marking only his second time to conduct a U.S. orchestra, an occasion he finds “very exciting.”

Stopping by for an interview earlier this week, Maestro Yamada talked about a special “telepathy” that the Houston Symphony musicians seem to have, and the chemistry he feels with the orchestra; and he and Brinton Averil Smith described their love for and personal connection with the pieces on this program.

The Houston Symphony presents the program, Falla & España, on Friday, April 14, 8pm and Saturday, April 15, 8pm at Jones Hall.

Watch excerpts of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Cello Concerto performed by Principal Cellist Brinton Averil Smith and his wife, pianist Evelyn Chen, courtesy of the Houston Symphony.