PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR LEONARD SLATKIN LEADS PSO IN TWISTED STORYBOOK FAVORITES ‘PETER AND THE WOLF,’ ‘FINAL ALICE’
Pittsburgh-born TV, film actor David Conrad will be narrator, Hila Plitmann is soprano soloist. Other events include pre- and post-concert chats with composer, conductor, exhibition & auction of original ‘Alice’ artwork, exhibition of Alice figurines & collectibles, live mural performance, Theremin demonstration
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) Principal Guest Conductor Leonard Slatkin returns to lead the PSO in BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts featuring the twisted storybook favorites, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and David Del Tredici’s Final Alice at Heinz Hall.
The concerts will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 6 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 8. Tickets range from $20 to $88 and 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 concerts will feature film and TV actor and Pittsburgh native David Conrad as narrator in Peter and the Wolf, and soprano Hila Plitmann, who performed most recently with PSO in January 2009, in Final Alice.
Audience favorite Peter and the Wolf usually tells the story of a young boy, his animal friends and an evil wolf, with the instruments of the orchestra portraying different characters. However, in this Pittsburgh-focused, tongue-in-cheek adaptation written by former Post-Gazette columnist Peter Leo, the classic story is changed to reflect modern times in our city.
Final Alice is based on the last two chapters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This program includes a mature perspective on the Alice story and may not be appropriate for young children.
The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for their 2010-2011 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Bobby Rahal Automotive Group is the Official Automotive Group of the PSO. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the Official Hotel of the PSO.
Prior to, during and following these concerts, many richly engaging and informative events will be offered at Heinz Hall.
On Friday, May 6 and Sunday, May 8, a Concert Prelude with Del Tredici and Marah Gubar, director of children’s literature program and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, moderated by WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham will take place on stage one hour prior to the concert. This free event is open to all ticket holders. Following Friday’s concert, there will be a Post-Concert Artist Chat with Slatkin and Plitmann.
In Heinz Hall’s Grand Tier lobby, concert-goers can attend Termen-ology, a lecture demonstration by Dr. Albert Glinsky, author of Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage. The demonstration will be repeated every 15 minutes from 7:05 to 7:50 p.m. The Theremin, the ‘grandfather’ of electronic instruments, makes a guest appearance in Del Tredici’s Final Alice.
Also, prior to the concerts and during intermission in the Grand Lobby, there will be a live mural performance, where illustrators will create a live mural inspired by themes from Peter and the Wolf and Final Alice. Concert-goers are encouraged to stop by after the concerts to see the final work.
An exhibition and silent auction of artwork by local illustrators on themes from Final Alice will take place as well. Both the live mural performance and silent auction are collaborative efforts between the PSO and Toonseum, Pittsburgh’s cartoon museum located in the Cultural District.
The Heinz Hall lobby will feature board displays with the classic Sir John Tenniel illustrations for the ‘Alice’ books, Alice adaptations in popular culture and photography by Lewis Carroll, including the real-life Alice Liddell and an exhibit of Alice figurines and collectibles from Alice Berkey, a member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. There also will be a special program insert with riddles, puzzles and logic games by Lewis Carroll.
On stage lighting and media design for Final Alice is provided by a team of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama students led by Abigail Holmes, Associate Professor of Lighting Design.
An internationally acclaimed American conductor, Leonard Slatkin began his appointment as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in September 2008. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the fall of 2008. He was recently named Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL), France, beginning with the 2011-2012 season. Slatkin began serving as the PSO’s Principal Guest Conductor in the fall of 2008. Since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974, Slatkin has led virtually all of the major orchestras in the United States, including those of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland and Philadelphia. He is a regular guest at major summer festivals such as Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Saratoga and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Slatkin’s more than 100 recordings have been recognized with seven Grammy awards and 64 nominations. His performances throughout North America, Europe and the Far East have been distinguished by imaginative programming and highly praised interpretations of both the standard and contemporary symphonic repertoire. Additionally, Slatkin is well-known for his arts advocacy work on behalf of music education.
Grammy award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann has quickly become a glittering jewel on the international music scene, known worldwide for her astonishing musicianship and gossamer voice. She regularly premieres works by today’s leading composers while maintaining a vibrant and extraordinarily diverse professional life in film music, musical theatre, and songwriting. The Los Angeles Times calls her a performer with “tremendous vocal and physical grace,” while Entertainment Today raves, “Plitmann has a vocal instrument that is simply unreal in its beauty.”
Generally recognized as the father of the Neo-Romantic movement in music, David Del Tredici has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and has been commissioned and performed by nearly every major American and European orchestral ensemble. “Del Tredici,” said Aaron Copland, “is that rare find among composers — a creator with a truly original gift. I venture to say that his music is certain to make a lasting impression on the American musical scene. I know of no other composer of his generation who composes music of greater freshness and daring, or with more personality.”
A graduate of Brown University and Julliard, Pittsburgh native David Conrad is perhaps best known for his work on the hit CBS TV series, Ghost Whisperer. He also appeared in the TV series, CSI: Miami and House M.D., and in films such as Wedding Crashers, Men of Honor and Return to Paradise.
Peter Leo may be familiar to seasoned readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a long-time humor columnist. Although he retired in 2007, he still writes an occasional column. He has taught journalism at the University of Pittsburgh and given writing seminars at Pitt and around the country, drawing on his days as the Post-Gazette’s writing coach.