PSO MUSIC DIRECTOR HONECK OPENS 2012-2013 SEASON WITH ‘YEAR OF THE DRAGON’ GALA

International piano sensation Lang Lang is soloist at Sept. 15 concert

PITTSBURGH – Internationally acclaimed and award-winning pianist Lang Lang will join Music Director Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to kick off the 2012-2013 season at a “Year of the Dragon” gala concert at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, at Heinz Hall.

With 2012 being the Chinese “Year of the Dragon,” Lang Lang performs selections from his album of Chinese music, Dragon Songs, as well as Liszt’s passionate Piano Concerto No. 1. The concert also will feature music by Verdi, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Stravinsky and Liszt.

Tickets, ranging from $30 to $150, for the PSO concert only can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org. Ticket prices are subject to change.

Traditional gala packages, which include valet parking, a pre-concert cocktail hour, preferred concert seating, and a post-concert formal dinner catered by the Duquesne Club, followed by a dessert reception with Honeck, are $750 per person. For sponsor table information, please call Shannon Capellupo at 412.392.6070.

The Year of the Dragon Gala is chaired by The Walton Family, along with Honorary Chairs Susie and Roy Dorrance, and Ginny and Dick Simmons.  The Gala Silent Auction Chair is Carrington North.

The Year of the Dragon Soirée includes valet parking, pre-concert cocktail hour, preferred seating for the concert, and a post-concert celebration with PSO Musicians at the Fairmont, including hors d’oeuvres, open bar, live music and more. Tickets are $175 to $225 per person. The Year of the Dragon Soirée is chaired by Margaret and Todd Izzo, along with Honorary Chairs Gerald L. Morosco and Paul Ford. The Soirée Silent Auction Chair is Jensina Chutz.

Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times and the “world’s ambassador of the keyboard” by the New Yorker, Lang Lang has played sold out concerts in every major city in the world. His success has catapulted him into the world spotlight. In 2008, Lang Lang was featured in concert with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, and was a featured performer at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2009, Lang Lang appeared in the Time’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Most recently, Lang Lang has been chosen as an official worldwide ambassador for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Lang Lang is seen as a symbol of the youth and future of China, and is an inspiration to the 40 million classical piano students there. Therefore, Lang Lang has made it his mission to broaden the reach of classical music around the world, with a focus on children. In 2008, he established the Lang Lang International Music Foundation with the goal of expanding young audiences and inspiring the next generation of musicians through outreach programs. His biography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, published by Random House in eleven languages, was released to critical acclaim. As part of his commitment to the education of children, he released a version of his autobiography specifically for younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys.

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. After a first extension in 2009, his contract was extended for the second time in February 2012, now through the 2019-2020 season. Following their successful European Tour in 2010 and the European Festival Tour 2011 with appearances at the major music festivals, such as BBC Proms, Lucerne, Grafenegg, Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein or Musikfest Berlin, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will return to Europe in October-November 2012. This year’s tour will take them to Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Luxembourg, and Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart in Germany. During a week-long residency at the Musikverein in Vienna, the orchestra will perform four concerts. Honeck’s successful work in Pittsburgh is captured on CD by the Japanese label Exton. So far, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben have been released to critical acclaim. Their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 won a 2012 International Classical Music Award (ICMA).  Honeck was born in Austria and studied music at the Academy of Music in Vienna. 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.

YEAR OF THE DRAGON GALA

Heinz Hall
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
LANG LANG, piano

Giuseppe Verdi              Overture to La forza del destino
Felix Mendelssohn       Scherzo from Four Pieces from A Midsummernight’s Dream, Opus 61
Felix Mendelssohn       Nocturne from Four Pieces from A Midsummernight’s Dream, Opus 61
Felix Mendelssohn       “Wedding March” from Four Pieces from A Midsummernight’s Dream, Opus 61
Richard Wagner            Overture to Tannhäuser
Igor Stravinsky            “Danse infernal du roi Katschei” from the Suite from The Firebird (1919 revision)
Lu Wencheng                 Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake
Franz Liszt                      Concerto No. 1 in e-flat major for Piano and Orchestra
i. Allegro maestoso
ii. Quasi adagio – Allegretto vivace
iii. Allegro marziale animato

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