The Houston Symphony was awarded the prestigious ECHO KLASSIK 2017 award in the category of Best Opera Recording (20th/21st Century Opera) for the recording of Alan Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The winners were announced by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie in recognition of outstanding achievements in the music industry. Recorded in March 1, 2013, the highly-anticipated two-disc album is a significant addition to the successful Houston Symphony recordings conducted by Graf during his tenure as music director. Hans made his Naxos debut in 2009 with the Houston Symphony’s recording of Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Berg’s Three Pieces. Based on real events and playwright Georg Büchner’s starkly vehement text, Alban Berg’s tragic opera Wozzeck is an epoch-making work, in stark contrast to the previous high romantic ideals of the genre.Immensely powerful and heartbreakingly moving as a drama, Wozzeck explores the victimization, despair and madness of a central character who has no place in society, its deeply humane message and sublimely innovative score firmly establishing it as a 20th-century masterpiece. “Büchner’s timeless, daring message of empathy and understanding along with Berg’s incredible music, emotional and precise, yielded perhaps the greatest opera of the 20th century,” said Graf. “The Houston Symphony’s performances show how it can be done in concert, staged lightly with great care and love – and with great impact.” Recent Houston Symphony recordings include the critically-acclaimed recordings of the last four Dvořák’s Symphonies released on the Dutch label Pentatone. Future recording projects under the 2 direction of current Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada include Haydn’s The Creation and a Music of the Americas disc featuring Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Revueltas’ Sensemayá, Piazzolla’s Tangazo and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The ECHO KLASSIK trophies will be handed out on Sunday, October 29, during a gala event in the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg. The German public TV channel ZDF will broadcast the ceremony that evening starting at 10 pm.