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HONECK CONTINUES POPULAR PSO THANKSGIVING TRADITION WITH STRAUSS FAMILY WALTZES, POLKAS

Baritone Gregg Baker and Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman solo

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director, Manfred Honeck, continues his Thanksgiving tradition with a series of fun-filled BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts featuring waltzes and polkas by the Johann Strauss family.

The concerts will begin at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. Tickets, ranging in price 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.

A baritone of imposing voice and stature, Gregg Baker joins the PSO for a water-themed program including, “Ol’ Man River’ from Showboat, “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The PSO will also perform Strauss’ waltz, “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” and other favorites. Baker last performed with the PSO in June.

Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman returns to perform Beethoven’s legendary Concerto No. 5, better known as the “Emperor” concerto. Widely regarded as one of the most talented virtuoso pianists performing today, Bronfman’s commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide, whether for his solo recitals, his prestigious orchestral engagements or his rapidly growing catalogue of recordings. Bronfman last performed at Heinz Hall in October 2010.

The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for their 2012-2013 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.
Gregg Baker continues to make an indelible mark on the world of Opera Theater.  Since his opera debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, he has performed leading roles at The Vienna Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Hamburg Opera, New Israeli Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Vancouver Opera, Baden-Baden Opera, Scottish National Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and the Berkshire Opera.

A successful veteran of Broadway and a Lawrence Oliver Award nominee, Baker discovered his gift for and love of opera while performing the role of Crown in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The Metropolitan Opera heard his performance in the Radio City Music Hall production and engaged him immediately for their production of the opera.

Renowned for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, Yefim Bronfman was awarded a Grammy Award in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His discography also includes the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas; all five of the Prokofiev Piano Concerti, nominated for both Grammy and Gramophone awards; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3. His most recent releases are Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, a recital disc, ‘Perspectives’, to complement Mr. Bronfman’s designation as a Carnegie Hall ‘Perspectives’ artist for the 2007-08 season, and recordings of all the Beethoven piano concerti as well as the Triple Concerto together with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tönhalle Orchestra Zürich under David Zinman for the Arte Nova/BMG label.

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. 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 takes 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. He is an accomplished violinist and violist, and spent more than 10 years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.

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