MUSIC DIRECTOR MANFRED HONECK LEADS PSO IN FINAL 2010-2011 BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS CONCERTS

June 3, 4 concerts feature world premiere of Alan Fletcher concerto commissioned by PSO for principal bassoon Nancy Goeres

Guest pianist Emanuel Ax closes season with Beethoven, June 10-12

PITTSBURGH – Music Director Manfred Honeck will lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in the final two BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert weekends of the 2010-2011 season at Heinz Hall in June.

The highlight of the first weekend – Friday, June 3 & Saturday, June 4 – will be the world premiere of Alan Fletcher’s Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra commissioned by the PSO for principal bassoon Nancy Goeres. The concerts, which begin at 8 p.m. on both evenings, will also feature Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin, Bartók’s Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin and Ravel’s La Valse. Fletcher was formerly the head of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, Honeck presents the grand finale of the 2010-2011 classical season, featuring guest pianist Emanuel Ax.

The program will feature Braunfels’ Fantastic Appearances of a Theme by Hector Berlioz, Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Ax, who last played at Heinz Hall in May 2010, returns for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, regarded as one of the most sublime works for piano and orchestra.

Tickets to these concerts, ranging from $20 to $93, 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 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.

Manfred Honeck was appointed the ninth Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in January 2007, and began his tenure at the start of the 2008-2009 Season. Also beginning in September 2008, he became the Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague, and in 2007, assumed the post of Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart. An accomplished violinist and violist, he spent more than ten years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. It is this experience that has heavily influenced his conducting and has helped give it a distinctive stamp. After critically acclaimed concerts at Carnegie Hall and their European Tour in 2010, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will tour Europe again in August and September 2011.

Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1984.  Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Goeres held similar positions with Florida Orchestra, The Caracas Philharmonic, and the Cincinnati Symphony. With Lorin Maazel and the PSO, she premiered Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Bassoon Concerto, commissioned for her by the Pittsburgh Symphony Society. In addition to recording the Zwilich Concerto with the PSO and Lorin Maazel on the New World label, she has subsequently performed it with the Chamber Symphony of the Aspen Music Festival and at a conference of the International Double Reed Society. In 2004, she traveled to Cuba to conduct master classes and perform the concerto with the Havana Symphony. Other concerto performances with the PSO include Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante; John Williams’ bassoon concerto, The Five Sacred Trees; the Mozart Bassoon Concerto and the Rossini Bassoon Concerto.

Formerly the head of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music, Alan Fletcher studied composition with Edward T. Cone, Paul Lansky and Milton Babbitt at Princeton and Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School, and piano with Robert Helps and Jacob Lateiner. He earned his A.B. at Princeton, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, and his M.M. and D.M.A. at Juilliard as a Danforth graduate fellow, where he received the Irving Berlin Fellowship and the Alexandre Gretchaninoff Prize. He also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and has been a frequent fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Fletcher was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aspen Music Festival and School in December 2005. 

Emanuel Ax studied at The Juilliard School and Columbia University, capturing public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. Highlights of his current season include return visits to the orchestras of  Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Atlanta and Toronto as well as a number of recitals culminating in a series of three at Lincoln Center focused on the music of Schubert. Ax has won Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas and has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano.

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