Remaining concerts that were previously scheduled for 2020-2021 season are cancelled or postponed

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2021

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PITTSBURGH, PA—The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra today announced a new set of classical and Pops performances that will continue the Orchestra’s current journey of sharing great music through digital presentations, while it awaits the return of live audiences to Heinz Hall at a later date. The new performances will premiere in March and April of 2021 and will be available for purchase and streaming on Front Row: The PSO Virtual Experience, the Orchestra’s digital platform for its orchestral performances and enhanced content.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Manfred Honeck returned to the podium at Heinz Hall last week for the first time in a year to begin a month-long residency of recording digital performances. They will feature the largest ensembles of Pittsburgh Symphony musicians to gather on stage at Heinz Hall since the pandemic began, and also will include complete works. In addition, for the first time in a year, the orchestra will welcome world-renowned guest artists to the stage—pianist Inon Barnatan and violinist Simone Porter—each for one of the classical programs led by Manfred Honeck.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Manfred Honeck back to Pittsburgh for a long-anticipated homecoming and for great musicmaking with the musicians that will delight, inspire and uplift,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “We are all so eager to be together with our audiences at Heinz Hall, but as we wait for that time to come, we must unfortunately cancel or postpone our previously announced remaining concerts as we continue to follow public health and safety directives. We are deeply grateful to our entire community for joining us on Front Row, for supporting this great orchestra, and for continuing this musical journey with us from the comfort of home.”

The classical programs led by Music Director Manfred Honeck feature widely diverse composers and compelling works that make intriguing connections; they will continue the Pittsburgh Symphony traditions of presenting masterpieces and new discoveries, and bringing to the stage great talent from around the world. Of note:

  • Inon Barnatan, piano, is celebrated for his “poetic sensibility, musical intelligence and consummate artistry.”
  • Simone Porter, violin, has been recognized as an “emerging artist of impassioned energy, interpretive integrity, and vibrant communication.”
  • The featured composers have more than 300 years in separation in year of birth, from Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) to Anna Clyne (1980-present). Clyne’s work, Stride, just had its world premiere in December 2020. There are works included by three living composers.
  • Audiences will be treated to a “Musician Guide” for each program, who will act as host and share personal commentary about the program. These guides, in order of appearance by concert, are: Anne Martindale Williams, principal cello; Christopher Wu, violin; Marta Krechkovsky, violin; and Lorien Benet Hart, violin.
  • Programs will include two Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra premieres and one world premiere.
  • Each episode will include an “Interlude” featuring a solo wind or brass musician. In order of appearance by concert, the musicians are: William Caballero, principal horn; Ron Samuels, clarinet; Lorna McGhee, principal flute; and Victoria Luperi, principal Eb clarinet.

The next Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pops performance led by Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling continues his first season with the orchestra. Joined by a dynamic trio of musicians on piano/Hammond B3, bass and drum set, and percussion and an ensemble from the PSO string section, Byron Stripling has created an intimate program of early folk classics and popular ballads, and the blues and soul that followed. Of note:

  • GRAMMY® Award-winning bassist and arranger Larry Cook reinvented the childhood favorite, “Old MacDonald,” as a thrilling and upbeat feature for Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Jennifer Orchard.
  • Our guest trio steps aside to feature the entire PSO string section in a performance of American conductor, composer, arranger and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik’s innovative “Blues Suite for Strings,” with featured solos by Mark Huggins, associate concertmaster, and David Premo, associate principal cello.

About Front Row and How to Access Concerts

All new classical digital performances and Pops performances will be available for purchase on Front Row, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s digital home for orchestral presentations and additional content: www.psofrontrow.org.

About Front Row:

  • All performances that stream beginning on March 13 (“Manfred Honeck Returns”) are $15 and are available for seven days after the premiere.
  • Previously released Front Row episodes are still free, through the posted end date. The first series of episodes premiered in October 2020; each is available for six months after the premiere.
  • Performances and content are accessed through a Front Row account. Current PSO/Cultural District account holders may continue to use those existing accounts to access Front Row.
  • Front Row is available through your phone, laptop or computer, and can also be watched on television with an HDMI cord plug in, or Chromecast.
  • “Backstage Pass” has exclusive content, such as in-depth interviews with PSO musicians, conductors, and people in the Pittsburgh community. Each video is $1.25 or the entire bundle can be purchased for $25. All 2020-2021 subscribers (Classical, Pops and Fiddlesticks) and donors (Concerto Club level and above)  will have unlocked, free access to “Backstage Pass.”

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is deeply grateful to BNY Mellon for sponsoring the Pittsburgh Symphony classical digital performances and to PNC for sponsoring the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops performances.



Premiere: March 13, 2021; available through March 19, 2021
7:30 p.m. (EST)
Manfred Honeck, conductor
William Caballero, horn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Serenade No. 6 in D major for Orchestra, K. 239, “Serenata notturna” for Strings and Timpani
George Walker: Lyric for Strings
Olivier Messiaen: “Appel Interstellaire” (Interstellar Call”) for Solo Horn from From the Canyons to the Stars
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence for String Orchestra

Music Director Manfred Honeck returns to the stage to lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall, for the first time in more than a year. They kick off their reunion with the music of Honeck’s fellow Austrian countryman Mozart, with his inventive and charming “Serenata Notturna.” The lush and poetic lyricism of George Walker and the sunny romance of Tchaikovsky round out the program.

Premiere: March 20, 2021; available through March 26, 2021
7:30 p.m. (EDT)
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano
Ron Samuels, clarinet

Béla Bartók: Rumanian Folk Dances
Béla Kovács: Hommage a Zoltan Kodaly for Solo Clarinet
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No. 12 in A major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 414
Antonin Dvořák: Serenade in E major for String Orchestra, Opus 22

Praised as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), the gifted pianist Inon Barnatan joins the Pittsburgh Symphony for a stand- out Mozart piano concerto. The program is book-ended with two colorful folk-inspired works:  Bartók’s lively Rumanian Folk Dances and Dvořák’s achingly beautiful Serenade for Strings, a balm for our times.

Premiere: Saturday, April 10, 2021; available through April 16, 2021
7:30 p.m. (EDT)
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Simone Porter, violin
Lorna McGhee, flute

Antonin Dvořák (arr. Honeck & Ille): Seven Gypsy Songs, Opus 55, No. 4 for String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion    *World Premiere arrangement*
Fritz Kreisler (arr. Wood): Praeludium and Allegro for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
Arvo Pärt: Fratres for Solo Violin, String Orchestra and Percussion  *PSO Premiere*
Antonio Vivaldi: “Winter” from The Four Seasons for Violin and Orchestra, R. 297
Sigfrid Karg-Elert: Chaconne for Solo Flute, Opus 107, No. 30
Dmitri Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony (after String Quartet No. 8) in C minor, Opus 110A (arr. Barshai)

Virtuosity and the violin are front and center: the Pittsburgh Symphony welcomes the electric Simone Porter to the stage, as she and the orchestra perform brilliant works by Kreisler, Pärt and Vivaldi. And, it would not be a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra season without a world premiere: with composer Tomas Ille, Music Director Manfred Honeck has created a new arrangement of Antonin Dvořák’s Seven Gypsy Songs.

Premiere: April 24, 2021; available through April 30, 2021
7:30 p.m. (EDT)
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Victoria Luperi, clarinet

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Opus 18, No. 4 for String Orchestra (arr. Manfred Honeck)
Anna Clyne: Stride  *PSO Premiere*
Béla Kovács: Hommage a Manuel de Falla for Solo Clarinet
Rodion Shchedrin: Carmen Suite (after Georges Bizet) for Strings and Percussion

Three composers tied together by their constant search for new colors, new musical languages and for musical storytelling: Ludwig van Beethoven, Anna Clyne and Rodion Shchedrin. This program features new visions of stellar works: a new arrangement by Music Director Manfred Honeck of one of Beethoven’s most popular string quartets; the Pittsburgh Symphony premiere of Stride, Clyne’s reimagination of the stride baseline from Beethoven’s “Pathetique” (which just had its world premiere in December 2020); and Shchedrin’s new conception of the Carmen Suite, an enchanting recasting of Bizet’s alluring and memorable melodies in fresh instrumental colors.


Premiere: Saturday, April 3, 2021; available through April 9, 2021
7:30 p.m. (EDT)
Byron Stripling, conductor
Jim Rupp, drum set
Andy Woodson, bass
Bobby Floyd, piano/Hammond B3
Jennifer Orchard, violin
Mark Huggins, violin
David Premo, Cello

It’s the music that tells a story of our country and our lives. Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling has created an intimate program of early folk classics and popular ballads, and the blues and soul that followed. From “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” to “Blues Suite for String Quartet” to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” it’s a brand-new experience of popular music with Byron Stripling and the PSO.


Previously scheduled concerts that have been cancelled are:

April 9, 11   
    BNY Mellon GC: Haydn & Shostakovich
April 10                          
    Fiddlesticks Family Concerts: Sound All Around
April 16-18                            
    BNY Mellon GC: Words & Music – Honeck Conducts Mozart’s Requiem
April 23, 25  
    BNY Mellon GC: Honeck Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth
May 1, 2021                          
    Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Jazz Partnership
May 7-9, 2021               
    PNC Pops: Paul Simon Songbook
May 14-16        
    BNY Mellon GC: Beethoven Symphony No. 4
May 21, 23                    
    BNY Mellon GC: Mozart & More
June 4-6                     
    PNC Pops: To Marvin, with Love
June 11-13                           
    BNY Mellon GC: Tchaikovsky’s Fifth
June 18, 20                          
    BNY Mellon GC: Yefim Bronfman

All subscriptions for BNY Mellon Grand Classics and PNC Pops have been previously moved into the 2021-2022 season.

Previously scheduled special events and concerts that are postponed:

Residency with Yo-Yo Ma   - postponed

April 22, 2021                     
    Lecture at Heinz Hall
April 24, 2021                     
    Concert at Heinz Hall

An Evening with Honeck & Mutter & Williams   - postponed

June 9, 2021; 7:30 p.m.
    Heinz Hall

For ticket holders for either the residency with Yo-Yo Ma (April 22 and April 24, 2021) or "An Evening with Honeck & Mutter & Williams" (June 9, 2021): we are still actively looking to schedule all guest artists to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at a future date. However, we believe it is best to cancel these concerts until we can announce a new date for the event. Should we reschedule these appearances, those who held tickets to these concerts will be offered a priority presale opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the general public. At this time, ticketholders will receive a refund. The PSO will reach out to all with new information as it becomes available and appreciates your patience and understanding.

Media Contacts
Julie Goetz | Director of Communications
jgoetz@pittsburghsymphony.org | 412.392.4866 or 412.905.9058 (mobile)