PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S 3-WEEK PARIS FESTIVAL CELEBRATES MUSIC, CULTURE, PEOPLE OF ‘CITY OF LIGHT’

Festival boasts concerts led by Music Director Manfred Honeck & guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda, live street music, free film screenings, lectures & performances by Lise de la Salle, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, PSO Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams, and famed organist Paul Jacobs

PITTSBURGH –  The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents a three-week-long celebration of the music, culture, people and works that transformed one of the most fascinating periods in French history.

Paris was the unrivaled musical capital of the world during the first quarter of the 20th century, and the PSO’s Paris Festival: The City of Light honors that time with a series of concerts, films, recitals, a panel discussion, lectures and other attractions April 27 – May 13.

The PSO, led by Victor de Sabata Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda, begins the Paris Festival with BNY Mellon Grand Classics performances at 8 p.m., Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 at Heinz Hall. The program features Respighi’s La Boutique fantasque, Debussy’s Ibéria, and suites from Manuel de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat. Pre-concert events include Jim Cunningham’s A Window into the City of Light lecture and excerpts from PBS TV special, Paris the Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern. Following the concert, vocalist Daphne Alderson performs L’amour, La Vie: Daphne sings Piaf in the Grand Lobby.

Music Director Manfred Honeck will lead the PSO in the remaining two weekends of the Paris Festival.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, audiences can revel in favorites by French composers Debussy (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), Boulanger (Psalm 130) and Ravel (Boléro). Young French pianist Lise de la Salle makes her PSO debut with Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G.

Honeck’s unique interpretation of Boléro includes artistic lighting design by Andrew Ostrowski to stimulate the senses with a stunning combination of light and sound.

A pre-concert food and wine tasting event, as well as Case Western Reserve University Professor of Musicology Mary E. Davis’ lecture, A Window into Parisian Salons, and the screening of La Passion Boléro will be held at Heinz Hall. Jazz legends Dave and Maureen Budway perform Fascinatin’ Rhythm: Gershwin Songs directly after in the Grand Lobby.

Organist Paul Jacobs performs at 3 p.m., Sunday May 6 at Heinz Chapel in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. A native of Washington, Pa., Jacobs is renowned as one of the best organists in the world.

Among his numerous accolades, he is the youngest faculty member ever appointed at the famed The Julliard School and a recent Grammy Award winner.

The following weekend, Honeck closes the Paris Festival with sheer vigor in Gershwin’s An American in Paris in two BNY Mellon Grand Classics performances starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 11 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. PSO’s Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams solos in Honegger’s Cello Concerto. The program also features Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka.
There will be two intermissions during these concerts. After the second intermission, PSO Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh will lead an ensemble of Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra musicians in Milhaud’s La Creation du Monde. The performance will feature a choreographed dance by Attack Theatre, commissioned by the PSO.
Pre-concert programs for the final weekend of the Paris Festival include Dr. Davis’s lecture, A Window Into the Exotic, and pianist Tom Roberts playing live accompaniment for silent short films by Charlie Chaplin.


On Friday, May 11 only, Consul General of France in Washington, Olivier Serot-Alméras, will be the guest of honor. He also will be attending a festival after-party that evening as Heinz Hall transforms into a night-club with Boilermaker Jazz Band and special guests in the Pittsburgh/Paris: The Roaring Twenties after-party.
Other festival highlights include a free film screening at the Harris Theater of the US premiere of La Passion Boléro at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. The film explores how Maurice Ravel’s Boléro – a work of such apparent simplicity – became the biggest hit in the classical repertory. Advance registration is required for this event. Call 412.392.4900.
The PSO also joins forces with the Carnegie Museum to present “The Art and Music of Avant-Garde Paris,” at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 12, at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

The event, which celebrates the opening of Carnegie Museum of Art’s exhibition, “Impressionism in a New Light: From Monet to Stieglitz,” includes a panel discussion featuring Music Director Honeck, PSO Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, CMA curators Amanda Zehnder and Linda Benedict-Jones, and moderator Dr. Davis, exploring the parallels of Impressionist art and music during this era of rebellion and innovation.

It will be followed by a performance by PSO musicians, cocktail party reception and exhibition preview.

Tickets to the Heinz Hall concerts range from $20 to $93. Prices are subject to change. Admission to Paul Jacobs’ recital at Heinz Chapel in Oakland will be $40. Tickets for all events can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org. Tickets for all the recitals also can be purchased at the venues prior to each event.

Tickets for the May 12 event at the Carnegie Museum are $10 for Carnegie Museum members and PSO subscribers and $20 for others.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 412.622.3288 or at members.carnegiemuseums.org/artandmusic.

Please note doors open at Heinz Hall earlier than usual.
Doors open 90 minutes before all Paris Festival performances at Heinz Hall. All pre- and post-concert events, including the after-party on May 11, are free to ticket holders. Concert Preludes and Cinematheque film screenings begin at 6:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 1:15 p.m. on Sundays.

Paris Festival is made possible, in part, by the Jack Buncher Foundation, The Fine Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Gailliot. The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for their 2011-2012 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the PSO. Bobby Rahal Automotive Group is the official automotive group of the PSO.

A native of Austria, Manfred Honeck was appointed its ninth Music Director and began his tenure at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In February, he agreed to extend his contract through the 2019-2020 season. After performances at Carnegie Hall and a much-celebrated tour of European musical capitals in 2010, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra returned to Europe again in August and September 2011 for appearances at major music festivals, such as the Rheingau Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Grafenegg Festival, Musikfest Berlin, Beethovenfest Bonn, Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and concerts in Paris and Vilnius, Lithuania. In October and November of this year, Honeck will again lead the PSO on a tour of Europe, including a four-concert residency at the prestigious Musikverein in Vienna. Honeck’s successful work in Pittsburgh is captured on CD by the audiophile Japanese label Exton. So far, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben have been released to critical acclaim.

Gianandrea Noseda is considered among the most sought-after conductors of our time, serving as Music Director of the Teatro Regio Torino, Chief Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, Victor De Sabata Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Laureate Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester. Since 2001, he has been Artistic Director of the Stresa Festival, one of the legendary Italian Music festivals. Noseda became the first foreign Principal Guest Conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1997 and has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI. Gianandrea Noseda holds the honour of “Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.”

In just a few years, through her international concert appearances and her award-winning Naive recordings, 22 year-old Lise de la Salle has established a presence as one of today’s most exciting young artists and a musician of uncommon sensibility and maturity.  Her playing inspired a Washington Post critic to write, “For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe…the exhilaration didn’t let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard.” She was similarly recognized in 2008 for her Naive recording of first concertos of Liszt, Prokofiev and Shostakovich – a remarkable feat for someone only 20 years old.  This season brings the release of Ms. de la Salle’s fifth CD – a Chopin disc including a live recording of the Piano Concerto 2, opus 2 with Fabio Luisi conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden as well as the Four Ballades.

A native of Washington, Pa., Paul Jacobs made musical history at 23 when, on the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach, in 2000, he played the composer’s complete organ music in an 18-hour non-stop marathon in Pittsburgh.  Jacobs, hailed for his solid musicianship, prodigious technique, and vivid interpretive imagination in performances throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, is widely acknowledged for reinvigorating the American organ scene with a fresh performance style and “an unbridled joy of music-making” (Baltimore Sun). In 2003, Jacobs was invited to join the faculty of The Juilliard School and, the following year, he was named chairman of the organ department, one of the youngest faculty appointments in Juilliard’s history.

Anne Martindale Williams has enjoyed a successful career as Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1979. Throughout her tenure, she has often been featured as soloist both in Pittsburgh and on tour in New York at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. She was soloist with the PSO in the Pittsburgh premiere of The Giving Tree conducted by the composer, Lorin Maazel. She also collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances. She made her London debut performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, with Previn conducting. Her solo in The Swan on the PSO’s recording of Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns was described by Gramophone critic Edward Greenfield as “…the most memorable performance of all.”

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a chorus of 120 which includes a 20-voice professional core, is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. Founded in 1908, the MCP holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. The Choir, in its 104th season and sixth under the direction of Betsy Burleigh, is known for its mastery of the great choral classics. In 2009, the chorus sang a critically acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s a cappella masterwork, the Vespers at St. Paul Cathedral. Most recently, they sang the Bach’s majestic Mass in B Minor to a sold out audience at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. In 2008, the Choir performed the epic oratorio Elijah under the baton of its Director Emeritus and Grammy Award-winning Robert Page.

Under the artistic direction of Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza, Attack Theatre has toured throughout the US, Europe and Asia, choreographing and performing works for the Avignon Festival (France), Indonesia Arts Festival, Monaco Danses Forum, Spoleto Festival USA, 7th Next Wave Dance Festival (Japan) and the Broadway production of Squonk. Attack Theatre seamlessly blends dance, multi-media, and live music, creating “wickedly entertaining stage productions” (Pittsburgh City Paper). Known for their interdisciplinary collaborations, Peter and Michele have worked with Pittsburgh Opera and PSO since 1998, choreographing more than two-dozen operas and symphonies. Attack Theatre has collaborated with The Andy Warhol Museum, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Quantum Theatre, August Wilson Center, among others, and has produced over 150 original works worldwide.

Founded in 1945, the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest youth orchestra programs in the country, providing educational opportunities and the finest orchestral training for young musicians in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It is an independent youth orchestra in all governing, administrative and financial matters although it has enjoyed a mutually beneficial working relationship with the PSO since 1962.  It was one of a small number of youth orchestras chosen through competitive auditions to attend the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Youth Orchestra Festivals in 1998 and 2002. PYSO has participated in music festivals in Canada, Scotland and Switzerland, frequently winning first place awards for outstanding performances.  

PARIS FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Friday, April 27

5:30 p.m.               Wine Tasting at Elements Contemporary Cuisine
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into the City of Light with Jim Cunningham, on stage
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CINEMATHEQUE: Paris: The Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern Excerpts, PBS Special
                                Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
8 p.m.                     CONCERT: The Magic of Paris
                                Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
Respighi: La Boutique fantasque
Debussy: Ibéria
Falla: Three-Cornered Hat Suites Nos. 1 & 2

Post-concert         L’Amour, La Vie: Daphne Sings Piaf with vocalist Daphne Alderson, Grand Lobby

Saturday, April 28

6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into the City of Light with Jim Cunningham, on stage
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CINEMATHEQUE: Paris: The Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern Excerpts, PBS Special
                                Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
8 p.m.                     CONCERT: The Magic of Paris
                                Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
Respighi: La Boutique fantasque
Debussy: Ibéria
Falla: Three-Cornered Hat Suites Nos. 1 & 2

Post-concert         L’Amour, La Vie: Daphne Sings Piaf with vocalist Daphne Alderson, Grand Lobby

Sunday, April 29

1:15 – 2 p.m.        CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into the City of Light with Jim Cunningham, on stage
1:15 – 2 p.m.        CINEMATHEQUE: Paris: The Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern Excerpts, PBS Special
                                Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
2:30 p.m.                               CONCERT: The Magic of Paris
                                Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
Respighi: La Boutique fantasque
Debussy: Ibéria
Falla: Three-Cornered Hat Suites Nos. 1 & 2

Post-concert         L’Amour, La Vie: Daphne Sings Piaf with vocalist Daphne Alderson, Grand Lobby


Thursday, May 3

6 p.m.                     FREE Film Screening: La Passion Boléro (U.S. Premiere), 59 mins., Harris Theater, downtown

Friday, May 4

5:30 p.m.               Wine Tasting at Elements Contemporary Cuisine
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into Parisian Salons with Mary E. Davis, on stage
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CINEMATHEQUE: La Passion Boléro (Dir. Michel Follin, France – 2007, 59 min.)
Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
8 p.m.                     CONCERT: Debussy & Ravel’s Boléro
                                Manfred Honeck, conductor
Lise de la Salle, piano
Stephanie Lauricella, mezzo-soprano
Juan José de Léon, tenor
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Boulanger: Psalm 130
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Ravel: Boléro

Post-concert         Fascinatin’ Rhythm: Gershwin Songs with Pittsburgh jazz legends, Dave & Maureen Budway, Grand Lobby

Saturday, May 5

2 p.m.                     CONCERT: Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, Heinz Hall
Lawrence Loh, conductor
Inori Sakai, violin (Winner of PYSO’s Concerto Competition)

Milhaud: La Creation du Monde (with Attack Theatre)
Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into Parisian Salons with Mary E. Davis, on stage
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CINEMATHEQUE: La Passion Boléro (Dir. Michel Follin, France – 2007, 59 min.)
Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
8 p.m.                     CONCERT: Debussy & Ravel’s Boléro
                                Manfred Honeck, conductor
Lise de la Salle, piano
Stephanie Lauricella, mezzo-soprano
Juan José de Léon, tenor
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Andrew Ostrowski, lighting designer

Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Boulanger: Psalm 130
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Ravel: Boléro

Post-concert         Fascinatin’ Rhythm: Gershwin Songs with Pittsburgh jazz legends, Dave & Maureen Budway, Grand Lobby

Sunday, May 6

3 p.m.                     CONCERT: Organist Paul Jacobs in Recital, Heinz Chapel, Oakland

Duruflé:  Suite, Op. 5
Prélude
Sicilienne
Toccata

Vierne: “Berceuse” from 24 Pieces in Free Style, Op. 32
Vierne:   “Final” from Symphony No. 1, Op. 14
Messiaen: “Le Dieu caché” from Livre du Saint-Sacrement
Messiaen: “Dieu parmi nous” from La Nativité du Seigneur
Boulanger: Trois Pièces
Prélude
Petit Canon
Improvisation
Demessieux: Transcendental Études, Op.5
Pointes
Accords alternés
Octaves

Friday, May 11

5:30 p.m.               Wine Tasting at Elements Contemporary Cuisine

6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into the Exotic with Mary E. Davis, on stage

6:45 – 7:30 p.m.  CINEMATHEQUE: Charlie Chaplin, Silent Shorts with live accompaniment, Regency Rooms (Lower Level) One A.M (1916) and The Rink (1916)
Tom Roberts, piano

8 p.m.                     CONCERT: An American in Paris
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Anne Martindale Williams, cello
Attack Theatre

Stravinsky: Pétrouchka
Honegger: Cello Concerto
Intermission
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Intermission
Milhaud: La Creation du Monde*

*Featuring Attack Theatre and an ensemble of Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra musicians conducted by Lawrence Loh

Post-concert         After-party| Pittsburgh/Paris: The Roaring Twenties with the Boilermaker Jazz Band, Grand Lobby
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

Saturday, May 12

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  “The Art and Music of Avant-Garde Paris” (Panel discussion & performance)
Opening Event for Impressionism in a New Light: From Monet to Stieglitz
Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland

Panelists: Manfred Honeck, PSO Music Director, Noah Bendix-Balgley, PSO Concertmaster, Linda Benedict-Jones, Curator, CMoA, Amanda Zehnder, Curator, CMoA, Moderator: Mary E. Davis, Professor of Musicology, Case Western Reserve University

Debussy: Dances for Harp and Strings
Gretchen van Hoesen, harp
Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
Shanshan Yao, violin
Meng Wang, viola
David Premo, cello
Aaron White, bass

Following the performance, there will be a cocktail reception and exhibition preview. Galleries remain open until 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 13

1 p.m.                     Heinz Hall doors open

1:15 – 2 p.m.        CONCERT PRELUDE: A Window into the Exotic with Mary E. Davis, on stage

1:15 – 2 p.m.        CINEMATHEQUE: Charlie Chaplin, Silent Shorts with live accompaniment, Regency Rooms (Lower Level)
One A.M (1916) and The Rink (1916)
Tom Roberts, piano

2:30 p.m.               CONCERT: An American in Paris
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Anne Martindale Williams, cello
Attack Theatre

Stravinsky: Pétrouchka
Honegger: Cello Concerto
Intermission
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Intermission
Milhaud: La Creation du Monde*

*Featuring Attack Theatre and an ensemble of Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra musicians conducted by Lawrence Loh.

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Apr 18