“The conductor used subito pianos to great effect, creating drastic changes in the soundscape that played well with the humorous intent of the piece. The overall effect was one of a chamber work that allowed for dialogue between musicians and an appreciation for the timbral effects that are possible when musicians are well attuned to each other and the conductor.”
Fort Worth Weekly
Patrick Summers is the Artistic & Music Director of the Houston Grand Opera (HGO), having been first appointed Music Director in 1998, with the position of Artistic Director added to his responsibilities in 2011. Summers was named Co-Artistic Director of Aspen Music School’s redesigned opera program, Aspen Opera Theater and Vocal Arts, alongside Renée Fleming in 2019, after years of appearing at the festival in symphonic concert settings as well as opera.
Highlights of his work with the HGO include conducting the company’s first-ever complete cycle of Wagner’s Der Ringdes Nibelungen and collaborating on more than a dozen world premieres, including Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, André Previn’s Brief Encounter, Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, The End of the Affair, and Three Decembers, and Tod Machover’s Resurrection. This season he conducts a new production of Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers – the first ever full-scale production of this rare masterpiece from a major American opera company – as well as Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
Summers served as Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Opera from 2009-2016 and was honored in 2015 with the San Francisco Opera Medal. This season, he will take part in the company’s centennial celebration concert.
A leading proponent of contemporary American opera and music generally, Summers has fostered and given more than twenty world premieres, collaborating with many of today’s most prominent and performed composers, among them Carlisle Floyd, Christopher Theofanidis, and Philip Glass. Summers conducts a wide range of repertoire from Baroque to bel canto to German Romantic, and he has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Rome Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Welsh National Opera, Norwegian Opera, the Bregenz Festival, Israeli Opera, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra national du Rhin, and Opera Australia.
A gifted writer, Summers’ latest book, The Spirit of This Place, was published by the University of Chicago Press. His articles in HGO programs on a wide range of issues and topics in the arts and education have become collectibles.