Celebrated Finnish Pianist Juho Pohjonen Replaces Igor Levit in PSO Debut Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycle no. 4 (June 8 & 10)

For Immediate Release
July 4, 2018

"Pohjonen has both impeccable technique and a cleareyed approach to music... Complete confidence, a superb performance."
The Washington Post

"Everything about his recital was formidable…He gave breathtaking performances of both works.”
The New York Times

"At the Hollywood Bowl, Juho Pohjonen became the first pianist after Bronfman to tackle the concerto…knocked off this incredibly difficult solo part with calm, almost cavalier confidence. His fingers flew and occasionally his long hair flapped. But otherwise he remained unflappable, displaying little expression other than determination. He was deadly accurate."
The Los Angeles Times

PITTSBURGH, PA— The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is announcing that the widely celebrated pianist Juho Pohjonen will replace Igor Levit as soloist in this weekend’s (June 8 & 10) concerts at Heinz Hall, conducted by PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck. Levit was required to regrettably step down, for health reasons. Under the direction of Maestro Honeck, Pohjonen will perform Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, his PSO debut. States Pohjonen; “I've been hearing amazing things about the Pittsburgh Symphony, and I'm so excited to suddenly make my debut with the orchestra! My colleagues have been singing the praises of the orchestra's distinguished sound and refined phrasing, so I'm very much looking forward to working with all these fantastic musicians as well as with Maestro Honeck.”

About the Artist

Yujo Pohjonen

Celebrated as one of Finland's most outstanding pianists, Juho Pohjonen has received widespread acclaim for his profound musicianship and distinctive interpretations of a broad range of repertoire from Bach to Salonen. His interpretations are known for their intensity, thoughtfulness, and fearless musical conviction.

In Summer 2018, Mr. Pohjonen debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony and appears at the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society and Tannery Pond Concerts for a series of recitals and chamber music concerts. Highlights of his 2018-2019 season include concerto appearances with the Nashville, Bay Atlantic and Pacific Symphonies, performing Mozart's Concerto No. 23, K 488, and with Duluth-Superior Symphony orchestra in Brahms's Concerto No. 2, Op. 83. In recital, he makes his 92nd Street Y debut in New York and appears at the Lane Series of the University of Vermont and Music Toronto. He continues his close association with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall, and performs on tour in Chicago, Madison, NJ and Vienna, VA, collaborating with violinist Angelo Xiang Yu as well as the Calidore and Escher String Quartets.

In North America, Mr. Pohjonen has performed with major orchestras including the Los Angeles and Buffalo Philharmonics, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta, Baltimore and Vancouver Symphonies, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and National Arts Center Orchestra. He has collaborated with many of the world's foremost conductors including Marin Alsop, Lionel Bringuier, Marek Janowski, Kirill Karabits, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, Markus Stenz, Pinchas Zukerman, and many others.

Program Notes

Friday, June 8
Sunday, June 10

Heinz Hall
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Beethoven Concerto Cycle: No. 4
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Juho Pohjonen, piano (Debut)

Mozart: Symphony No. 33
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Liszt: Les Préludes
Reza Vali: Isfahan (Calligraphy No. 16) World Premiere and Commission in honor of Manfred Honeck 10th Anniversary)
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Prelude to Act 1

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office at 600 Penn Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh, by phone at 412.392.4900 or online at pittsburghsymphony.org

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

About the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The 2018 GRAMMY Award-winning PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its "Pittsburgh Live!" series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Nominations in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series "Previn and the Pittsburgh." The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/09 season. The 2017/18 season marked 10 years of this acclaimed partnership, highlighted by special commissions to commemorate this decade of successful music-making. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad, and regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals.

Manfred Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is extensively documented on recordings by the Reference Recordings label. All albums released by Reference Recordings — amongst them Strauss tone poems and suites, Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5 and 7, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 — have received numerous rave reviews and honors. Honeck and the orchestra received two Grammy nominations for Dvořák's Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček's opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by the artist himself, as well as for Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. In January 2018, they were honored with the Grammy Award for "Best Orchestral Performance" for their recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Barber's Adagio for Strings.

As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world's leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome, and the Vienna Philharmonic. In the United States, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. He also has served as Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than twenty years.

Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the viola section in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado, and as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. He received the prestigious European Conductor's Award in 1993 at the Zurich Opera House, and has served as Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera, Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, and most recently as Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Manfred Honeck has received honorary doctorates from several North American universities. Most recently, he was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Austrian Federal President. The expert jury of the International Classical Music Awards selected him as "Artist of the Year" 2018.

About the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts

HEINZ HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Heinz Hall hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.


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