For immediate release:
July 20, 2023
Contact: Julie Goetz, Director of Communications 
(412) 905-9058




Pittsburgh Premiere of Mason Bates’ Philharmonie Fantastique will be featured in Schooltime concerts in March 2024

Schooltime Digital Library Units to Be Released This Fall; On-line Schooltime returns for first time since 2022

PITTSBURGH—The 2023-2024 season of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s dynamic Schooltime concerts, announced today, will have four unique programs, including two Pittsburgh premieres, that inspire musical curiosity, skill-building and knowledge for PreK-12 learners in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Interactive performances that introduce elementary students to the orchestra and nurture a love of music, Schooltime concerts continue to be offered at no cost to all educators and their students.

For the first time, in the 2023-2024 season, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Schooltime concerts will also travel outside of Heinz Hall, to Fayette and Mercer counties, to bring this educational music experience to those who might not otherwise be able to attend. In the 2022-2023 season, there were nearly 18,000 Schooltime participants, encompassing 145 schools across 13 counties, plus home schools.

“Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Schooltime concerts are grounded in educational best practices, outstanding performance, and the joy of music—qualities that cultivate a love of music and imaginative learning in young people. Welcoming students to Heinz Hall is always a highlight of the year for the Pittsburgh Symphony and now we are thrilled to bring Schooltime concerts out to students in Fayette and Mercer counties, locations that are not in easy driving distance to Heinz Hall for a school concert. We hope that the new Schooltime season will bring lasting memories for all for years to come,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Later this summer, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is expected to announce the release date of the Schooltime digital library (concert videos and learning resources) planned for Fall 2023 that will be available free of charge for educators. The online Schooltime units expected to be released include two programs co-created with Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling (“What Makes Jazz,” and “Exploring Jazz with Byron,”) as well as “Meet the Orchestra” and “Origin Stories.” In addition, the Pittsburgh Symphony plans to capture two additional Schooltime units during the 2023-2024 season (“Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” and “The Courage to Stand”), to be released in Fall 2024. The Fall 2023 Schooltime digital library will mark the return of digital Schooltime for the first time since June of 2022.

Highlights of the four Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in person Schooltime units (each of which includes an interactive concert program of about 45 minutes as well as extensive resources) that will be offered in 2023-2024 are:

  • Philharmonia Fantastique: A co-commission of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra that will make its Pittsburgh premiere (delayed due to the pandemic) on March 6, 2024, Philharmonia Fantastique is a 25-minute concerto for orchestra and animated film that follows a magical Sprite on a musical journey through the instruments of the orchestra. By the film’s end, the families of the orchestra overcome their differences to demonstrate “unity from diversity” in a spectacular finale. Philharmonia Fantastique was written by GRAMMY Award-winning composer Mason Bates, and co-created with multi- Academy Award-winning Gary Rydstrom, and Academy Award-nominated animation director Jim Capobianco. Led by Associate Conductor Jacob Joyce, this piece will be the main feature of the “Schooltime: Sound Fusion” concerts, designed especially for students in grades 4-6. In 2018, the the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra opened its subscription season with the world premiere of Mason Bates’ “Resurrexit,” a 10-minute work commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony in honor of the 60th birthday of Music Director Manfred Honeck. 

  • A collaboration with Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Jazmine Olwalia, mezzo-soprano, will be part of “Schooltime: The Courage to Stand,” a new music education unit that explores the power of the arts to express one’s core convictions. Created by the Pittsburgh Symphony Learning & Engagement Team with Associate Conductor Moon Doh, who will lead the orchestra for this program, this multidisciplinary unit designed especially for students in grades 6-12 celebrates the legacies of musicians, dancers, poets, civil rights leaders, and others while encouraging students to express what matters most to them. 

  • A community concert version of “The Courage to Stand” with Jazmine Olwalia, mezzo-soprano, and led by conductor Moon Doh, will take place on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. The community performance is open to all ages and school groups are welcome. Tickets are required and can be reserved at 

  • Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky and GRAMMY Award-winning composer Lucas Richman will be featured in “Schooltime: Behold the Bold the Umbrellaphant,” a musical telling of whimsical poems that combine animal and objects to create new, fantastical creatures. Designed especially for students in grades K-2, the unit illustrates how music can bring characters to life while emphasizing early literacy and reading fundamentals. This program will be led by Associate Conductor Moon Doh with narration by vocalist Katy Williams. 

  • Six performances of “Schooltime: Meet the Orchestra” will introduce students in grades 2-4 to instrument families, sound production, and the role of the conductor. New this season will be two runout performances of “Meet the Orchestra” to Mercer County in northwest Pennsylvania, and Fayette County, in southwest Pennsylvania, in May 2024, that will be led by Associate Conductor Moon Doh. 


  • Schooltime is supported in part by the Jack Buncher Foundation, the Henry C. Frick Educational Fund of The Buhl Foundation, and S&T Bank. 
  • The commission of Mason Bates’ Philharmonie Fantastique is made possible by generous support from the Emma Clyde Hodge Memorial Fund. 
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Learning & Engagement Programs are supported in part by Diehl Automotive Group, Dollar Bank, Baird, Williams Coulson Johnson Lloyd Parker & Tedesco LLC, PPG Foundation, P.J. Dick, Trumbull & Lindy Paving, and NexTier Bank, with additional support from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
  • Diehl Automotive Group is the official auto dealer of the Pittsburgh Symphony. 
  • Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony. 
  • Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony. 
  • Radio station WQED-FM 89.3/WQEJ-FM 89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 

All Schooltime concerts are free for schools and educators, but registration is required; please visit Registration is open now; see details on each individual Schooltime concert for registration deadlines.

Schooltime: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant
Heinz Hall
Suggested for grades K-2
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 11:30 a.m.
Moon Doh, conductor
Katy Williams, narrator
Registration Deadline: Monday, October 16, 2023

How does music bring characters to life? Join the Pittsburgh Symphony for a performance of Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by best-selling poet and author, Jack Prelutsky, with music by Lucas Richman. Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant is a collection of whimsical poems combining animals and objects to create new, fantastical characters. Associate Conductor Moon Doh leads the orchestra as vocalist Katy Williams narrates each poem alongside beautiful illustrations of each creature. Students are sure to love this musical mash-up as they meet Shoehornets, Alarmadillos, and of course, the Umbrellaphant.

Schooltime: The Courage to Stand
Heinz Hall
Suggested for grades 6-12
Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Moon Doh, conductor
Jazmine Olwalia, mezzo-soprano
Registration Deadline: Monday, December 18, 2023

What do YOU stand for? What does it mean to stand for something? How does one do so? Join Associate Conductor Moon Doh for a dynamic exploration of musicians, dancers, poets, and other leaders who have used the power of the arts to express their core convictions. Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Jazmine Olwalia joins the PSO for this special Schooltime event.

Community Concert: The Courage to Stand
Heinz Hall
Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.
Moon Doh, conductor
Jazmine Olwalia, mezzo-soprano

The Courage to Stand community concert is derived from the Schooltime: The Courage to Stand unit. This program explores what it means to stand for something and how one does so. Associate Conductor Moon Doh, joined by Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Jazmine Olwalia, leads a dynamic exploration of artist and other leaders who have used the power of arts to express their core convictions. The community performance is open to all ages and school groups are welcome. Tickets are required and can be reserved at

Schooltime: Sound Fusion
Heinz Hall
Suggested for grades 4-6
Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, March 7, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Friday, March 8, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Jacob Joyce, conductor
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, February 6, 2024

How can disparate elements create something new? Associate Conductor Jacob Joyce leads the Pittsburgh premiere of Mason Bates’ multi-media concerto Philharmonia Fantastique, fusing the creative vision of one of America’s leading composers with the technological brilliance of Skywalker Ranch film and sound professionals. The result is an incredible journey across mediums and into the heart of the orchestra.

Schooltime: Meet the Orchestra
Heinz Hall
Suggested for grades 2-4
Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, May 2, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
*Friday, May 3, 2024, 10:30 a.m. *Please note that this date is reserved only for PPS Schools.
Monday, May 6, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 10:30 a.m.
Moon Doh, conductor
Registration Deadline: Monday, April 1, 2024

Concerts outside Heinz Hall
Mercer County; May 9, 2024; venue to be announced
Fayette County; May 14, 2024; venue to be announced

How do instruments make sound? Explore how sound is created with Associate Conductor Moon Doh and the Pittsburgh Symphony! Together we will learn how each instrument family creates its unique sound, how those sounds work together in an orchestra, and what role the conductor plays in bringing orchestral music to life.