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PSO, MUSICAL AMBASSADOR FIDDLESTICKS JOIN TO PUT MUSIC IN THE HANDS OF CHILDREN WITH ‘YOU ARE THE COMPOSER!’

Soloists: Pittsburgh-area sopranos Katy Shackleton Williams, Taia Pandolfi, 13-year-old local pianist Sasha Voinov, North Star Kids, Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble

PITTSBURGH – Fiddlesticks, Heinz Hall’s resident musical ambassador to children, will appear with Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) for “You Are The Composer!” at 11:15 a.m., on Saturday, March 19, at Heinz Hall.

Who can create, play and  write music? Everyone! Journey with Lawrence Loh, Fiddlesticks and the PSO through an adventure in composition where you will help compose the music. Also, hear one of the most famous pieces of music of all time – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Tickets ($16 – $19) can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

The concert features soprano Katy Shackleton Williams, 16-year-old Pittsburgh-area soprano Taia Pandolfi, 13-year-old local pianist Sasha Voinov, the Pittsburgh-based performance troupe the North Star Kids and the Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Devin Flynt.

From infancy on, children are exposed to the music of lullabies, sing-a-longs, folk tunes, and pop music, and the Fiddlesticks Family Concerts continue to explore various genres of music. Each of the performances is preceded by a pre-concert event called Discovery Time Adventures. These educational activities begin at 10 a.m. and allow young audiences and their parents to meet the PSO musicians, learn songs, and take part in various musical activities. The 45-minute concert begins at 11:15 a.m. and is filled with engaging music and interaction with everyone’s favorite friendly feline!

The Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series is proudly sponsored by Clearview Federal Credit Union, Macy’s Foundation, and Bobby Rahal Volvo. This series is endowed by Gerald and Audrey McGinnis, honoring the Center for Young Musicians.

Katy Shackleton Williams has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, River City Brass Band and Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. She was a featured soloist for several Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concert series and made her PSO BNY Mellon Grand Classics debut in September 2005 with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was a soloist in the Heinz Hall performance of The Lord of the Rings and has been the special guest vocalist for the PSO’s Fiddlesticks and Tiny Tots children’s concerts hosted by the PSO.

Soprano Taia Pandolfi, 16, is a junior at Mt. Lebanon High School, where she sings in the Concert Choir and the Triple Trio, and plays violin in the Orchestra. She is an editor of the Devil’s Advocate, the school newspaper; participates in student government; and has won awards at Model United Nations conferences locally and in the Mid-Atlantic region. After four years in the Children’s Festival Chorus, Pandolfi became a member of the Junior Mendelssohn Choir this past fall. This is her second appearance with the PSO; she performed with Marvin Hamlisch on the POPS series in 2008. She is a student of Katy Williams.

A winner of multiple local, regional and national piano and composition competitions, by the age of 12, Sasha Voinov had his debut with a professional orchestra, composed two dozen original compositions and songs, including his first Piano Concerto for piano and Symphony orchestra, performed in live radio broadcasts, and in various public concerts, including solo performances. Voinov is currently in eighth grade at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and has been living in Pittsburgh since the age of two.

The North Star Kids, under the direction of Annie Snyder, have been singing and dancing throughout Pittsburgh and the Tri-State Area for the past two decades. Performers range in age from 8 to 14 years old and have been featured live on stage with Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Kelly Clarkson, PSO, John Lithgow, Disney’s Orlando Touring Company, and the New York Broadway Touring Company. The North Star Kids have also performed for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins.

The Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Devin Flynt, performs on the Duquesne University campus each semester, frequently with well-known guest soloists. Works performed are selected from traditional, contemporary, pops, and jazz styles and include world and regional premieres.

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