Houston Matters

How Classical Music Organizations Balance Traditional Music with Pops Performances

The Houston Sym phony’s season gets underway Saturday (Sept. 12, 2015) with a performance featuring violinist Joshua Bell. If you are a lover of classical music — specifically Houston Symphony’s classical music – you’re the type that prefers an evening of Shostakovich’s Symphony Number 10 to, say, the music of Star Wars. But the greater […]

The Houston Sym phony’s season gets underway Saturday (Sept. 12, 2015) with a performance featuring violinist Joshua Bell.

If you are a lover of classical music — specifically Houston Symphony’s classical music – you’re the type that prefers an evening of Shostakovich’s Symphony Number 10 to, say, the music of Star Wars. But the greater draw — most of the time – are the popular programs the symphony puts on, such as the scores to films like Star Wars and Back to the Future, or a night of British rock ‘n roll, or old standards from Benny Goodman’s music.

Those two arms might be on the same organizational body, but they couldn’t be more different. Paige Phelps sat down with Lesley Sabol, director for popular programming at the Houston Symphony, who discussed just how the pops and classical sides get along and what does a “popular programmer” actually do?

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