I have not been in Pittsburgh all that long, three years as of last month. And it amazes me how much it has become home to me, and how it is changing. Before the concert I had stopped with my date at a coffee shop on Liberty for coffee and a snack. Waiting in the Heinz Hall lobby, Naomi expressed surprise that they were open Sunday afternoon as she remembers when it was not. We traded tales of trying to find places to go eat before or after concerts, and how much easier it is now than even two years ago.
This Sunday was another blogfest, and we were joined by some other bloggers from the Pittsburgh area. In a bit of a treat, we took a tour of the backstage along with Christopher Theofanidis, PSO Composer of the Year and composer of the first piece. Where the piano Yefim Bronfman would be using was waiting in the wings. We could see the bells that Christopher wrote into Rainbow Body as the PSO and conductor Peter Oundjian rehearsed this past week. Musicians and stagehands going to and fro. A space in the back for the distant trumpets for Mahler’s symphony. The cold brick passage to the front of house.
After the concert a small group went up and we chatted with several of
the PSO staff and Peter Oundjian joined us and chatted briefly about
the piece. While listening to him, and the various conversations I was
having during the post-concert chat, I was thinking about something
I’ve told other friends here.
For people of my age here, one of the questions is "where are you
from?" And learning that this was one of the larger cities of the
U.S., the next is "why are you here?" And close behind that is "how
long are you here?" In my first months in Pittsburgh, hearing that
last question caught me by surprise, and as I stayed longer, I’ve begun
to learn about how people feel about this city, as many left and are
thinking of leaving. And they ask me what I think about being here.
And I tell them that I love it here. In addition to my job, which I
think is incredible, I also like this city. It is big enough that it
has what I want, and attracts authors, musicians, artists to visit.
But small enough that I don’t get lost. So I get to meet and talk to
authors, musicians and artists. Not only in large sessions, but up
close. And we can talk about what we love, lament what we don’t,
discuss the things that allow us to be creative, the mundane, the
things that make us human. In my home town, it would be overwhelming,
and impossible for an outsider to get that access (unless he had lots
of money). Here, it has become a part of life for me, and I enjoy it