John Williams – “Air and Simple Gifts” this weekend at the PSO – Doug Bauman

Anyone going to the inauguration today? I wrote my senators and congressman, and requested a ticket. They wrote back that unfortunately there were too many people requesting, and that I would not be afforded a free ticket (free tickets for constituents are a custom if they are available).

Well here is a chance for anyone in Pittsburgh, or traveling to our lucky city this weekend, to ‘feel’ like you are at the inauguration.  Attend a concert at Heinz Hall this weekend, sit back, listen to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and our guest artist perform the new work composed by John Williams specifically for the inauguration, close your eyes, and pretend you are at the inauguration. Or, better yet, pretend you are at warm and cozy Heinz Hall, because that’s a lot more comfortable than the National Mall at 30 degrees Fahrenheit today.  I’ll be at Heinz Hall this weekend, I’ve had my ticket since last August, and now I hear the pleasant surprise. These are the details that were just sent to me:

On to this weekend’s performances featuring Gabriela Montero performing “Rhapsody in Blue”. The concerts will be conducted by our own Concertmaster Andrés Cárdenes, and also feature Barber’s Symphony No. 1 and Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony. After the performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”, Miss Montero will also do some improvisation based on suggestions from the audience.

One very interesting addition to the concerts this weekend: tomorrow, Gabriela Montero will be playing as part of a brief musical performance between the swearings-in of the Vice President and the President. The piece is a new, short work for violin, cello, clarinet, and piano composed specially for the occasion by John Williams and is called “Air and Simple Gifts”. The other performers at the inauguration will be Itzhak Perlman (violin), Yo Yo Ma (cello), and Anthony McGill (clarinet). Shortly after the event, Miss Montero will get on a flight for Pittsburgh.

Here’s the exciting part: John Williams has granted us permission to perform the piece with Miss Montero and our players during our concerts this weekend. So we will be adding “Air and Simple Gifts” to the program this weekend. The performers with Miss Montero will be Concertmaster Andrés Cárdenes, Associate Principal Cello David Premo, and Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek.

1 thought on “John Williams – “Air and Simple Gifts” this weekend at the PSO – Doug Bauman”

  • that is very cool; I loved the piece
    I was actually wondering if there is a way to get the music for the piece for i am doing an English project and would like to use the piece. I am not sure if it will be available for publication any time soon, if at all.

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