Selected by a 10-member committee comprising musicians, board members, and staff, Valčuha will be the fifth music director to hold the orchestra's Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair, after Orozco-Estrada's 7-year tenure.
Valčuha currently serves as music director of the Teatro di San Carlo in Napes, Italy, and as the first guest conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. He has conducted several other prominent orchestras around the world.
“I’m honored to have been chosen as the new Music Director of the Houston Symphony,” Valčuha said. “These musicians are open-minded and versatile, and I feel that we are in perfect harmony. We share a dedication to high artistic qualities and music-making and I know we will create a unique and powerful musical experience for Symphony patrons.”
Valčuha's relationship with the Houston Symphony began in 2011 with an appearance as a guest conductor. Since then, he has twice returned for concert engagements, most recently in the 2020-2021 season.
John Mangum, Houston Symphony Executive Director and CEO, emphasized Valčuha's precise attention to detail, evident chemistry with Symphony musicians, and commitment to musical excellence.
Valčuha stood out in his history of community engagement and "desire to foster the connection between our musicians and the surrounding communities" — with much to add to the Houston Symphony's goal of becoming accessible to a wider audience, President of the Houston Symphony Board of Trustees John Rydman added.
Principal Timpanist Leonardo Soto added that "at the Houston Symphony, we are fortunate to work with so many fantastic conductors, but when you meet one that catches your eye, it’s hard to forget. During Juraj Valčuha’svisit in March 2021, his expressions stood out, even behind a mask."
Valčuha's next appearance with the Houston Symphony will be at the end of May 2022, for a program featuring Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.