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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Grand Classics Opening with Manfred Honeck’s 60th Birthday, Bernstein in Pittsburgh and Release of New CD

For Immediate Release
September 17, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA—The world-renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will kick off the 2018/2019 season by celebrating their very own Music Director Manfred Honeck’s 60th birthday with a concert of epic works performed on Friday, September 28 and Sunday, September 30. Then on Friday, October 5 and Sunday, October 7, Maestro Honeck and the PSO mark the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with works Bernstein himself conducted with the Pittsburgh Symphony early in his career. In addition, the PSO follows up its recording of Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5,” winner of two GRAMMY® Awards for “Best Orchestral Performance” and “Best Engineered Classical Album,” with a new album featuring Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 Eroica” and Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 1” with soloist William Caballero on horn. The CD will be available for purchase on September 21, just a week ahead of the PSO Grand Classics opening weekend.

The very special concert will feature a world premiere and PSO commission in honor of Maestro Honeck’s 60th birthday. Titled “Resurrexit,” the piece was composed by Mason Bates, a long-time friend of the PSO who was recently named the most-performed composer of his generation and the 2018 Musical America Composer of the Year. An ode to Maestro Honeck’s shepherding of orchestras and audiences through a unique journey into the spirituality of music over the years, “Resurrexit” evokes the Resurrection of Christ: beginning in a dark and mysterious space, 're-animating' into a propulsive middle section and climaxing in a sparkling, supernatural finale.

Other works being performed include Bruch’s “Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 26” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 73.” The PSO will also welcome a special guest and one of today’s most versatile musicians with a career spanning over five decades, Pinchas Zukerman, to the stage on violin.

“Manfred Honeck has a long list of distinguished credentials and has dazzled audiences throughout the world with his distinctive interpretations. We – and the Pittsburgh region – are lucky to have such a world-renowned symphony leader as our music director,” said President and CEO Melia Tourangeau. “It is only fitting that we celebrate our beloved Maestro Honeck with a newly commissioned work. This year’s Grand Classics opening weekend is one to not be missed!”

Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the PSO since the 2008/2009 season. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad, with Maestro Honeck being named the 2018 Artist of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards. Maestro Honeck was born in Austria and has enjoyed an illustrious career, having worked with some of the preeminent classical music organizations around the world including as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra; conductor for Zurich Opera House and MDR Symphony Orchestra and Oslo; music director for Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Staatsoper Stuttgart; and guest conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic.

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating a milestone birthday with the PSO and our wonderful supporters and friends. I look forward to debuting ‘Resurrexit’ and taking the audience on a brand-new musical journey coupled with two works by revered composers,” added Music Director Manfred Honeck.

The PSO follows its Grand Classics opening weekend with Bernstein in Pittsburgh on Friday, October 5 and Sunday, October 7. This special concert event marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, with Maestro Honeck conducting works that Bernstein himself conducted in Pittsburgh, including Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No. 3,” Haydn’s “Symphony No. 88” and Stravinsky’s “Suite from The Firebird (1919).” The PSO will also perform Bernstein’s own “Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah),” which the PSO premiered in 1944. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano joins the PSO as the featured vocalist for the performance.

On September 21, the PSO will release its new album featuring Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 Eroica” and Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 1.” Maestro Honeck describes the former as a “dance symphony with dramatic inventiveness, full of new elements that had never been heard before,” while the latter features PSO Principal Horn William Caballero as soloist on this thrilling and masterful performance of a youthful Strauss work.

Early reviews are very strong. Adrian Quanjer from HRAudio.net said, “I must admit that it gave me every now and then the shivers. And I can hardly think of any other orchestra being able to follow Honeck so sublimely and so punctually than the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, right now probably the best of the Big Five in the United States.”

The two iconic works are presented as definitive interpretations recorded in historic Heinz Hall, home of the PSO. This new release follows 2017’s recording of Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5,” which won GRAMMY® Awards for “Best Orchestral Performance” and “Best Engineered Classical Album” in January 2018.

Manfred’s 60th with Zukerman, Bernstein in Pittsburgh and the release of the recordings of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 Eroica” and Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 1” kick off a stellar season featuring high profile commissions, an array of coveted soloists, energized programming and the world-class musicians of the PSO.

Season tickets for the classical series, available in packages of six to 20 concerts, are $102-$1,470, with discounts for students and seniors. Subscription packages can be purchased in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office at 600 Penn Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh, by phone at 412.392.4900zysuffsdstzbayfrddczctexyytvrd or online at pittsburghsymphony.org/subscribe.

Individual tickets are available for Manfred’s 60th with Zukerman at https://pittsburghsymphony.org/production/55680/manfreds-60th-with-zukerman.

Individual tickets are available for Bernstein in Pittsburgh at https://pittsburghsymphony.org/production/55681/bernstein-in-pittsburgh.  

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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.

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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Aleta King | Vice President of Marketing & Sales
aking@pittsburghsymphony.org | 412.392.4833