By the end of September, I will be off somewhere in another city, studying, socializing, and living the life of a freshman. My mind will no doubt be on many important things, but if there is anything that can make me want to stay here in Pittsburgh and give up going away to college, it is the program for next season at the PSO.
As the line-up for next year was unveiled, I felt incredibly lucky to be given a peek into not only the fabulous agenda the PSO has planned, but also into the people behind the glint and glamour of Heinz Hall, who keep it running. The people sitting next to me and behind me loved music—not just loved it, but adored it, and venerated it so much that they were willing to sacrifice their time and money to keep this orchestra running. And yet, if it’s possible, the PSO is doing a wonderful job of paying them back.
I listened in rapture to the clips of music played for us as examples of just a few of the pieces the orchestra will be playing next year. From Respighi’s ‘Burlesque,’ which is anything but, to Sibelius’ ‘The Oceanides,’ I longed with all my heart to live close enough to Pittsburgh that I might hear these wonderful pieces of music. Could it be possible that I would miss Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ or miss out on Brahms’s ‘Hungarian Dances?’ Having heard Joshua Bell play this year, my heart kindled in envy when I saw his name listed on the program. These people who loved music and so deserved to hear such great musicians play would be enjoying ‘The Red Violin,’ while I would not.
My one consolation is that perhaps, when I am home on break, I can
still see a few pieces by the incredible Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
‘Burlesque’ will be performed over Thanksgiving break, and I know I
will be looking forward to it with all my heart. Perhaps—just perhaps—I
thought, my spring break will fall over Debussy’s ‘Jeux,’ and I will be
able to indulge in another wonderful night of music. This year has
spoiled me so much that I can hardly recall what it was like to live
without soul-stirring music played for me. What will I do when I am
Yet even in my envy, I cannot help being happy for the patrons and
music-lovers here. They will enjoy an incredibly diverse and exciting
season next year, at the end of which time the PSO will take another
great step forward: Manfred Honeck will begin conducting our beloved
As I listened to a part of Berio’s ‘Folk Songs’ and Strauss’ ‘Ein
Heldenleben,’ I felt twinges of jealousy and regret, but I also
realized that this year was a great boon that I should cherish.
Classical music has the power to lift the soul out of the depths, cast
the heart into a quandary of confusion and questioning, and sooth even
the heaviest heartache. While I have that gift at my fingertips, I am
going to revel in it. When I don’t, I will look forward to the rare,
sparkling moments of great music, performed by a world-class orchestra.