PITTSBURGH – Multiple Grammy Award-winner Gil Shaham returns to Heinz Hall to perform Mozart’s Fifth Violin Concerto in a weekend of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts led by guest conductor Arild Remmereit.
The concerts will begin at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16. Tickets, ranging from $20 to $93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
The program also features Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Dreams” Symphony, and Pulitzer Prize-winner George Walker’s “Strands,” co-commissioned by the PSO and three other orchestras. In 1996, Walker became the first black composer to receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize in music for his work, Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra. His works have been performed by virtually every major orchestra in the U.S. and many in England and other countries. He has won numerous awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and two Rockefeller Fellowships.
Shaham last performed at Heinz Hall in January 2010. Mozart’s Fifth Violin Concerto begins with a sweet melody and ends with hints of military-Turkish music, earning its nickname, “the Turkish March.” Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Dreams” is one of the Russian composer’s earliest and masterful works.
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.
Over a five-month period in 2005, conductor Arild Remmereit made five dramatic debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Milan’s Filarmonica della Scala, Munich Philharmonic, and Vienna Symphony, quickly establishing himself as a major talent on the international scene. The New York Times called his Pittsburgh debut “a breathtakingly dynamic reading of the Schumann [Symphony No. 4]… The only thing listeners seemed to want to talk about afterward was Mr. Remmereit. ‘Sensational’ was the word heard most frequently.” Remmereit was immediately re-engaged in Pittsburgh, Vienna, Milan and Baltimore and has since conducted many other prominent orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony, where he appears frequently, England’s Hallé Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale in Florence, National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Dallas Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, and Seoul Philharmonic. The 2012-13 season includes return engagements with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and NACO, which he conducts in subscription and on tour, and debuts with the Naples Philharmonic and Orchestre Symphonique de Québec.
One of the foremost violinists of our time, Gil Shaham’s combination of flawless technique with inimitable warmth and a generosity of spirit has solidified his legacy as an American master. In the 2012-13 season, Shaham continues his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” a project beginning in 2010 and comprising performances at some of the most well-established concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras. “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” including the Barber, Berg, Stravinsky and Britten Violin Concertos, as well as the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2 and the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, will be performed with the Orchestras of Baltimore, Boston, New York, Chicago, Montreal, San Francisco and Kansas City and abroad with the Orchestre de Paris and the NHK Symphony.
Born in June 1922 in Washington, D.C., of West Indian-American heritage, George Theophilus Walker’s first piano lessons began at age 5 under the supervision of his mother, Rosa King. Before graduating from Dunbar High School at age 14, Walker was presented in his first public recital at 14 at Howard University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. In 1937, he was admitted as a scholarship student to Oberlin College, where he studied piano with David Moyer and organ with Arthur Poister. Graduating at 18 from Oberlin College with the highest honors in his Conservatory class, he was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music to study piano with Rudolf Serkin, chamber music with William Primrose and Gregor Piatigorsky, and composition with Rosario Scalero, teacher of Samuel Barber. He graduated from the Curtis Institute with Artist Diplomas in piano and composition in 1945, becoming the first black graduate of this renowned music school. Walker has published more than 90 works for orchestra, chamber orchestra, piano, strings, voice, organ, clarinet, guitar, brass, woodwinds, and chorus. His awards include the Harvey Gaul Prize, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and Bennington Composer Conference Fellowships, two Guggenheim Fellowships, two Rockefeller Fellowships, a Fromm Foundation commission, two Koussevitsky Awards, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, a Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust Award, the Mason Gross Memorial Award, numerous grants from the Research Councils of Smith College, The University of Colorado, Rutgers University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Walker has received important commissions from many ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic (Cello Concerto), Cleveland Orchestra (Dialogus for Cello and Orchestra), Boston Symphony (Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra), Eastman School of Music (An Eastman Overture) , Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Violin and Piano Sonata No. 2), David Ensemble (Five Fancies for Clarinet and Piano Four Hands), Affiliate Artists and Xerox (Guido’s Hand), Pew Charitable Trust (Piano Sonata No. 4), The Boys Choir of Harlem (Cantata), The Cleveland Chamber Symphony (Orpheus), New Jersey Symphony (Pageant and Proclamation), Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (Modus), New Jersey Chamber Music Society (Wind Set), Maryland International Piano Competition (Bauble), Columbus Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra (Tangents), New Jersey Youth Symphony (Icarus In Orbit), and Network for New Music (Abu).