Fabien Gabel has many reasons why he enjoys coming back to Houston – an affection for Mexican food, a chance to see an old high school friend, and another opportunity to collaborate with the Houston Symphony.

This week marks the Paris-based maestro’s third time to conduct the orchestra, featuring a program of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and his Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Ingrid Fliter, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.”

Maestro Gabel sat down with me to talk about Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece and to share several fun facts about himself in a speed-round of questions!

The Houston Symphony presents Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique on Saturday, March 11, 8pm and Sunday, March 12, 2:30pm at Jones Hall.