MANFRED HONECK LEADS PSO IN PERFORMANCES OF MASON BATES’ IMAGINATIVE ‘MOTHERSHIP,’ TCHAIKOVSKY’S SYMPHONY NO. 4

PSO Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek is featured soloist, performs Mozart’s Concerto in A major for Clarinet and Orchestra

PITTSBURGH – Music Director Manfred Honeck introduces the music of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Composer of the Year Mason Bates and revisits classics from Tchaikovsky and Mozart in a weekend of BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts at Heinz Hall.

The concerts will begin at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. Tickets, ranging from $20 to $93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or at www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

The program begins with Bates’ Mothership, commissioned and premiered by the YouTube Symphony at the Sydney Opera House. Bates says this “fast-paced opener imagines the orchestra as the mothership that is ‘docked’ by several virtuosic soloists.”

PSO Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek will be the featured soloist, performing Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. Rusinek was last featured as a soloist in November 2010. Rusinek will perform the concerto on the basset clarinet, an instrument championed by Mozart’s contemporary, virtuoso clarinetist Anton Stadler. The concerto was composed for the basset clarinet, which has seen a revival since the 1950s. This performance marks the first time the concerto is heard on the original instrument it was composed for in Pittsburgh.

The program’s second half features Honeck leading the PSO in Tchaikovsky’s vibrant Symphony No. 4.

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.

Bates is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the PSO. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.

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 took 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 performed 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 10 years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.

The music of Mason Bates fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno. Frequently performed by orchestras large and small, his symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds, and it is championed by leading conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, and John Adams. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony, or through his classical/DJ project Mercury Soul, which has transformed spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people.

Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1998 as Principal Clarinet. Born in Toronto, Canada, his early studies were with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He later attended The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he was appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich to the post of Assistant Principal Clarinet with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition to his position in the Pittsburgh Symphony, he has performed as guest Principal Clarinet with the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, the St Louis Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Rusinek has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and as a recitalist across Canada, on CBC Radio, and throughout the United States and Israel, including appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestra, National Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Symphony Orchestra of The Curtis Institute of Music.

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Nov 21