Many people know about Houston’s thriving theater scene, but fewer know about the classical music scene that is just as vibrant and active. All classical music lovers can find something to listen to, whether it be small ensembles, soloists, quartets or large orchestras. These groups play a wide array of music from across many different time periods. One can hear a world premiere of a brand new symphony and then hear some old favorites from Bach, Brahms or Shostakovich. If you love listening to great music, then don’t miss out on any of these five fantastic groups and their performances.

“Best of Brahms” performed by the Houston Symphony
Jones Hall

615 Louisiana St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 224-7575

Dates: September 14-16

As a part of Maestro Hans Graf’s final season with the Houston Symphony, the group is performing some of his favorite pieces including the September-long “Best of Brahms” concert series. During the first weekend, Garrick Ohlsson on piano, Frank Huang on violin and Brinton Averil Smith on cello will play alongside the Houston Symphony. Together, this group will play some of Brahms’s best: Piano Concerto No. 1, Symphony No. 1, “Variations on a Theme by Haydn,” Concerto for violin and cello and Symphony No. 4. The repertoire changes between Friday and Saturday evenings, so if you want to hear all of Brahms’s best, make sure you make it to both performances. The Sunday matinee will be a reprise of Friday evening’s program.

“It Takes Two” performed by Ars Lyrica
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Zilkha Hall
800 Bagby St
Houston, TX 77002 
(713) 315-2525

Date: September 21

Ars Lyrica’s “It Takes Two” program features multiple works for two or more soloists. The musicians will collaborate in playing Bach’s 4th “Brandenburg” Concerto, Haydn’s Concerto in F Major for violin and harpsichord and other related pieces. Featured soloists include Kathryn Montoya on Baroque oboe and recorder, Canadian virtuoso Marc Destrube on violin, Dutch master Paul Leenhouts on recorder and Matthew Dirst on harpsichord.

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WHAM Benefit Concert
First Methodist Church Houston – Westchase Campus
3663 Westcenter Drive
Houston, TX 77042
(281) 586-2100

Dates: October 5

The Houston Civic Symphony begins its 2012-2013 season with a benefit concert for the West Houston Assistance Ministries. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward helping those in need in west Houston. The audition-only ensemble, formed by the most talented amateur musicians Houston has to offer, will play many popular pieces including Williams’s “The Cowboys Overture,” Ravel’s “Bolero” and Roza’s “Quo Vadis Suite.” Many more pieces will be announced as the performance date draws closer, so make sure to keep an eye on this one.

Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 348-8000

Dates: October 11-14

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University is one of the most acclaimed in the country and features talented students from across the United States and the world. Its first public performance of the 2012-2013 school year includes a world premiere of Bolcom’s “Ninth Symphony.” The program will also include Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Opus 43,” with faculty member Jon Kimura Parker as soloist, and Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 43.” Make sure you don’t miss out on this great performance of never-before-heard music from some of our country’s best up-and-coming musicians.

Da Camera
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-7601

Dates: October 15-16

Da Camera presents the world-acclaimed Jerusalem String Quartet in the lovely backdrop of the Menil Collection this October. During its first appearance in Houston, the Jerusalem String Quartet, comprised of Alexander Pavlovsky, Sergei Brester, Ori Kam and Kyril Zlotnikov, will perform the first six of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets that he composed throughout his lifetime. You won’t want to miss out on this chance to see this outstanding group for the first time in your hometown.

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Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at