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PITTSBURGH, PA—Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Chair of the Board Tony Bucci and President and CEO Melia Tourangeau today announced the six-year extension of Manfred Honeck’s contract as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, running through the 2027-2028 season.  Honeck was named the Pittsburgh Symphony’s ninth Music Director in 2008 and his position is endowed by the Vira I. Heinz Endowment.

“Now in his fourteenth season, the extraordinary Manfred Honeck has led a revitalization of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Along with his great musical gifts, Manfred brings a deep sense of humanity, with keen sensitivity to the emotional connection between music and people. He is a true artistic partner whose relationship with the musicians brings out the very best in each other. There is no better artistic and music leader than Manfred Honeck, and the orchestra’s future is very bright in his stellar hands,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

“I am honored and thrilled to continue as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, my beloved Pittsburgh musical family. We share a deep and passionate commitment to prepare and to perform fantastic music and these outstanding musicians play from their hearts with tremendous power and soul each and every time they take the stage. We have so much to look forward to with the return to live concerts, new recordings that continue to share the unique Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra sound with the world, and deep and meaningful engagement with our own community.  It is exhilarating for me to know that our musical partnership will continue well into the future,” said Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Manfred Honeck is admired around the world for his distinctive interpretations and is a much-admired presence in the Pittsburgh community. Under the extended contract, Honeck will continue to lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 10 weeks of programs at Heinz Hall, special projects, recordings and tours. The announcement came on the day of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s first concert inside Heinz Hall for subscription audiences since March of 2020.

“The Pittsburgh Symphony has long been recognized as one of the world’s great orchestras and Manfred Honeck is one of the most compelling music directors in the world. His continuation with the orchestra is a demonstration of the commitment of this community to the secure future of this orchestra’s excellence,” said Tony Bucci, Board Chair of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

“What a joyous occasion for our city, community and orchestra to know that the longevity and musical health of this amazing orchestra will continue with Manfred.  Every musician knows the exceptional musical leadership that Manfred brings and with this extension he will continue to make Pittsburgh a musical destination.  This city, and all of our supporters, have the greatest affection and admiration for Manfred and the orchestra, and are thrilled about what we can continue to achieve together,” said William Caballero, principal horn, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Manfred Honeck has firmly established himself as one of the world’s leading conductors, whose unmistakable, distinctive and revelatory interpretations receive great international acclaim. He is currently in his 14th season as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Celebrated both at home and abroad, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, one of the most frequently toured North American orchestras, serve as cultural ambassadors for the city of Pittsburgh. Regular guest appearances for Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony include Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the major venues of Europe (such as the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and the Musikverein in Vienna), and festivals such as the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, and Beethovenfest Bonn.  

As a guest conductor, Manfred Honeck has been at the podium of all leading international orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, 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 all major US orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He has also been Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than twenty-five years.

Manfred Honeck's successful work in Pittsburgh is extensively documented by recordings on the Reference Recordings label. All SACDs, these recordings feature works by Strauss, Beethoven, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and others, and have received a multitude of outstanding reviews and awards, including a number of GRAMMY® nominations. The recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Barber's Adagio won the GRAMMY® for "Best Orchestral Performance" in 2018. In 2021, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony have released  two albums, both recorded live at Heinz Hall: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 released in March in celebration of the orchestra's 125th anniversary season, and the just released Brahms Symphony No.4/MacMillan Larghetto for Orchestra.

In the 2021-2022 season, over nine of his 10 subscription weekends, Manfred Honeck leads five world premieres, with five commissions by the Pittsburgh Symphony (in order of appearance): Reza Vali’s “The Girl from Shiraz” from Persian Folk Songs, Michael Daugherty’s Fifteen: Symphony Fantasy on the Art of Andy Warhol, David Ludwig’s Concerto for Two Clarinets and Two Bassoons, Gloria Isabel Ramos Triano’s why?, and Puccini (arr. Honeck/Ille): Symphonic Suite from Turandot. Honeck also conducts six Pittsburgh Symphony premieres, including Wynton Marsalis’ Fanfare, a co-commission.

Also during this season, Manfred Honeck will conduct concerts in which six soloists will make their Pittsburgh Symphony debuts (in order of appearance): María Dueñas, violin; Kian Soltani, cello, Lauren Snouffer, soprano, and Dashon Burton, bass-baritone, as well as two Pittsburgh Symphony musicians making their debuts on the subscription series: Ron Samuels, clarinet, and Philip Pandolfi, bassoon.

Next spring, for the first time in Pittsburgh history, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Manfred Honeck, will present all nine Beethoven Symphonies in one week, beginning April 26, 2022. The extraordinary festival will culminate with a performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 9, with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (soloists to be announced at a later date) at Heinz Hall, on April 30.