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Andrés Orozco-Estrada, the Colombian-born music director of the Houston Symphony, wonders — tongue-in-cheek — if Mahler might have been Latino. “The way he conducted was very energetic,” he said in a pre-concert talk Oct. 13 with the CSO Latino Alliance. “He was a very emotional person. … In a way, his life was almost like a telenovela.”

For his second guest-conducting appearance with the Chicago Symphony, Orozco-Estrada led the orchestra, the women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Anima-Young Singers of Greater Chicago and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, in concerts Oct. 11-14 at Orchestra Hall. Ahead of the Oct. 13 performance, the CSO Latino Alliance welcomed the conductor to its season-opening reception, held at Club 8 in Symphony Center.

Interviewed by Elbio Barilari, composer and host of “Fiesta” on WFMT-FM, Orozco-Estrada discussed his musical training, which led him to Vienna at the age of 19; it’s a place he considers his second home. “It’s a great privilege to live in a city like Vienna — it’s the center of everything.”

Vienna of course also was pivotal for Mahler, where he resided for a decade, and led the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera. Despite his success there, Orozco-Estrada said, “It was never enough for him. In terms of length, number of instruments [of his works]. He was a person who needed to show [his emotions] in a very exaggerated manner. I feel he has a Latino soul in way.”

To hear the full interview, click on the tab below.