Powerful ‘Carmina Burana,’ Richard Strauss’ 150th birthday celebration bookend PSO’s 2013-2014 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season

Highlights include commissioned works by Pittsburgh composers, Oscar-winning film ‘West Side Story’ with orchestra, Richard Strauss’ ‘Also sprach Zarathustra,’ 3 world premieres, 6 Pittsburgh premieres, ‘The Planets’ with NASA footage, Mozart Festival, Mahler’s 9th Symphony, Renaissance vocal music ‘rock stars’ The Tallis Scholars

PITTSBURGH – Concerts featuring Carl Orff’s well-known and popular Carmina Burana begin the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) 2013-2014 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season, which includes a Mozart Festival, commissioned works by Pittsburgh composers, screening of West Side Story with orchestra, and Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, most famously used by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in the opening to his sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Proms CroppedThe season marks the PSO’s sixth under the leadership of Music Director Manfred Honeck, and the 118th since its founding. Honeck conducts 10 of the 21-week BNY Mellon Grand Classics subscription concerts, including performances of Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, highlights from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets, featuring awe-inspiring footage from NASA.

Victor de SabataGuest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda will lead the PSO in two subscription weekends. Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley and Principal Horn William Caballero will be featured soloists, with Bendix-Balgley playing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy (Oct. 25 & 27), and Caballero performing Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 1 (April 25-27, 2014).

Subscriptions, ranging from seven concerts ($117-$621.25) to the entire 21-concert season ($262.25-$1,695.75), are available by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

yoyoma (1)Honeck will lead the PSO in its first concert of 2013-2014 at Heinz Hall: The “Once Upon a Time” gala on Friday, Sept. 27, with Yo-Yo Ma, undoubtedly the most famous cellist in the world, performing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Andante Cantabile.

The PSO will celebrate the Year of the Pittsburgh Composers in 2013-2014, with the orchestra performing works by eight Pittsburgh composers, including two world premieres.

“We are eagerly looking forward to another brilliant season for Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,” PSO President and CEO James A. Wilkinson said. “I have no doubt our patrons will be thrilled not only by the varied and exciting repertoire, but also by the world-renowned and immensely talented guest artists who will be gracing the Heinz Hall.”

“I will be starting my sixth season with this wonderful orchestra,” Honeck said. “I love this orchestra, I love this beautiful city, and I cannot wait to give our loyal audiences many more unforgettable performances of Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, the Strauss Family, and many more great composers.”

In 2013-2014, the PSO will launch a new series called “Behind the Notes,” where the conductor and the PSO will spend the first half of the concert explaining and demonstrating the secrets behind the music. After intermission, the audience will hear the entire performance of the music with an enriched understanding of the piece. The two “Behind the Notes” concerts will be Saturday, Jan. 18, when Christoph König conducts Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Saturday, March 15, 2014, when Leonard Slatkin conducts four works by Maurice Ravel – Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Menuet antique and Boléro.

Eight conductors popular with Pittsburgh audiences – Leonard Slatkin, Donald Runnicles, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Juraj Valčuha, Christoph König, Nicholas McGegan, and Nikolaj Znaider – will return in 2013-2014.

Among the many highlights next season are the PSO debuts of 10 exciting guest soloists: pianists Yulianna Avdeeva, Daniil Trifonov, Till Fellner, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Michel Camilo and Robert Levin, violinist Ye-Eun Choi, soprano Lisette Oropesa, tenor Andrey Nemzer, and The Tallis Scholars, dubbed by The New York Times as “the rock stars of Renaissance vocal music.”

The first subscription weekend features Orff’s Carmina Burana, one of the most recognizable and popular pieces of classical music, and the world premiere of Stock’s Symphony No. 6. The concert will feature Oropesa, making her PSO debut, as well as Nemzer, baritone Hugh Russell, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, directed by Betsy Burleigh.

Among other guest artists gracing the Heinz Hall stage next season are world-famous violinist Joshua Bell, as well as other violinists, Arabella Steinbacher, and Stefan Jackiw, pianists Rudolf Buchbinder, Hélène Grimaud, Stephen Hough and soprano Hila Plitmann.

The 2013-2014 season will mark the fifth season in which Honeck and the PSO continue their journey through Beethoven’s impressive body of orchestral works. This season will feature his Piano Concerto No. 4, the Overture to Fidelio and Symphony No. 4. Also, Honeck and the PSO will continue celebrating the music by Gustav Mahler, performing his Symphony No. 9.

The Explore and Engage Program is the PSO’s commitment to enabling patrons to have a deeper, more meaningful and personally relevant connection to the PSO and its repertoire. Collaborations with local and area arts organizations and companies enhance the PSO’s musical offerings, giving insights to the music, artists, and programs through lobby displays, video and interactive installations, audience engagement workshops, pre-concert discussions, and more. These Explore and Engage activities are designed to further audience’s experiences by creating deeper understandings and relevant connections to the music in a variety of ways. The PSO also teams with WQED and the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh to present the PSO Book Club, as part of the Explore and Engageactivities.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will continue using its innovative Patron Services Representatives (PSR) for all BNY Mellon Grand Classics subscribers. This service grants each subscriber a PSR to assist with ticket exchanges, subscription renewals and Annual Fund contributions, as well as advance notice of upcoming specials and information about Explore and Engage activities surrounding the concerts.


The PSO will celebrate the works of Pittsburgh composers David Stock, Leonardo Balada, Nancy Galbraith, Patrick Burke, Bomi Jang, Mathew Rosenblum, Reza Vali and Amy Williams. Stock, Burke and Jang are affiliated with Duquesne University, Balada, Galbraith and Vali are on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, and Rosenblum and Williams are faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh.

The world premieres will be PSO-commissioned works by Stock (Symphony No. 6), a collaborative piece by Burke, Jang, Rosenblum, Vali and Williams, and a legacy commission from Christopher Rouse, a former PSO Composer of the Year. The PSO premieres will be Balada’s Symphony No. 6 (which is also a US premiere), Galbraith’s Tormenta del Sur, former PSO Composer of the Year Richard Danielpour’s Darkness in the Ancient Valley (a PSO co-commission), Ravel’s Menuet antique, Michel Camilo’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Alfredo Casella’s Symphonic Fragments from La donna serpente.

Launched in 2001-2002, the PSO created the Composer of the Year program to provide audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to encounter music of living composers, and establish a relationship with the composers through the experience of hearing multiple works and learning about the works through pre-concert talks and chats with the composer. Past participants are Mason Bates, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, Richard Danielpour, John Adams, John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, Michael Hersch, Krzysztof Penderecki and Rodion Shchedrin.

  • The 13th year of the Composer of the Year program begins in the first subscription weekend (Oct 4-6) when it performs the world premiere of Stock’s Symphony No. 6. Also on the program is Carmina Burana.
  • Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads the PSO in a performance of Balada’s Symphony No. 6 (Nov. 8-10). The program also includes Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
  • In February 2014, Honeck conducts the world premiere of PSO commission by five Pittsburgh composers, Vali, Williams, Burke, Jang and Rosenblum (Feb. 7-9).These concerts also include Holst’s The Planets, featuring the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, with footage from NASA.
  • The following month, Donald Runnicles conducts the PSO premiere of Galbraith’s Tormenta del Sur (March 21-23, 2014). The program includes orchestral highlights from Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle, The Ring, and pianist Stephen Hough performing Mendelssohn’s nuanced Piano Concerto No. 1.


The PSO will celebrate the works of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart during a 10-day festival (April 25 – May 4) featuring performances at Heinz Hall and Carnegie Music Hall. At Heinz Hall, Honeck will lead the PSO in performances of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter Symphony”), “Coronation” Mass, Horn Concerto No. 1 (with PSO Principal Horn William Caballero as featured soloist), highlights from Mozart’s most famous operas, including The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Idomeneo, and distinguished Mozart scholar and pianist Robert Levin performing Piano Concerto No. 20 and offering improvisations à la Mozart on themes suggested by the audience.

At Carnegie Music Hall in the city’s Oakland neighborhood, the PSO and Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society will present a special event on April 29, 2014. Five PSO musicians – Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams, Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek, violinist Christopher Wu, and violist Meng Wang – and guest pianist Levin will perform in a program featuring three works by Mozart.

The 2013-2014 season marks the 13th anniversary of BNY Mellon’s sponsorship of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert series. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Delta Airlines is the official airline of the PSO.

The season introduces three world premieres and the first performance by the PSO of several works, including pieces by Ravel and Casella.

World Premieres Commissioned by the PSO
Stock – Symphony No. 6
Burke, Jang, Rosenblum, Vali & Williams – Title TBD
Christopher Rouse – Title TBD

PSO Premieres
Galbraith – Tormenta del Sur
Balada – Symphony No. 6 (US premiere)
Danielpour – Darkness in the Ancient Valley
Camilo – Piano Concerto No. 1, “Tenerife”
Casella – Symphonic Fragments from La donna serpente
Ravel – Menuet antique
Mozart – Chaconne from Idomeneo, Rè di Creta

* denotes PSO debut.

Manfred Honeck: Oct. 4-6; Oct. 11-13; Nov. 29 & Dec. 1; Dec. 6-8; Jan. 31 & Feb. 2; Feb. 7-9; April 25-27, 2014; May 2 & 4, 2014; June 6-8, 2014; June 13-15, 2014.
Gianandrea Noseda: Feb. 21 & 23; Feb. 28-March 2, 2014.
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos: Nov. 8-10.
Sarah Hicks: March 28-30, 2014.*
Christoph König: Jan. 17 & 19.
Nicholas McGegan: May 30-June 1, 2014.
Donald Runnicles: March 21-23, 2014.
Leonard Slatkin: March 14-16, 2014.
Yan Pascal Tortelier: Nov. 1-3.
Juraj Valčuha: April 4 & 5, 2014.
Nikolaj Znaider: Oct. 25 & 27.

Yulianna Avdeeva, Oct. 11-13.*
Daniil Trifonov, Nov. 1-3.*
Till Fellner, Nov. 29 & Dec. 1.*
Hélène Grimaud, Jan. 31 & Feb. 2.
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Feb. 21 & 23, 2014.*
Michel Camilo, March 14-16, 2014.*
Stephen Hough, March 21-23, 2014.
Robert Levin, April 25-27, 2014.*
Rudolf Buchbinder, June 13-15, 2014.

Arabella Steinbacher, Nov. 8-10.
Joshua Bell, Feb. 28-March 2, 2014.
Stefan Jackiw, April 4 & 5, 2014.
Ye-Eun Choi, May 30-June 1, 2014.*

PSO Soloists
Noah Bendix-Balgley, Oct. 25 & 27.
William Caballero, April 25-27, 2014.

Vocal Soloists & Ensembles
Lisette Oropesa, soprano, Oct. 4-6.*
Andrey Nemzer, tenor, Oct. 4-6*.
Hugh Russell, baritone, Oct. 4-6.
The Tallis Scholars, Dec. 6-8.*
Hila Plitmann, soprano, Jan. 17 & 19.
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Oct. 4-6; Feb. 7-9; May 2 & 4, 2014.

2013-2014 SEASON

Sept. 27: Opening Night Gala, “Once Upon a Time.” Manfred Honeck, conductor; Yo-Yo Ma, cello. Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rocco Theme for Cello and Orchestra, Andante Cantabile and Dvořák’s Carnival Overture.

Oct. 4-6: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Lisette Oropesa, soprano; Andrey Nemzer, tenor; Hugh Russell, baritone; Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Stock: Symphony No. 6 (World Premiere/PSO Commission) and Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Oct. 11-13: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Yulianna Avdeeva, piano. Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, Opus 72, Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 467 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, Opus 88.

Oct. 25 & 27: Nikolaj Znaider, conductor; Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin. Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 46 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Opus 120.

Nov. 1-3: Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor; Daniil Trifonov, piano. Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 16 and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Opus 27.

Nov. 8-10: Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor; Arabella Steinbacher, violin. Balada’s Symphony No. 6, Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 19 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Opus 35.

Nov. 29 & Dec. 1: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Till Fellner, piano. Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 58 and Waltzes and Polkas by the Strauss family.

Dec. 6-8: Manfred Honeck, conductor; The Tallis Scholars, Renaissance vocal music ensemble. Victoria’s Dum complerentur, Surrexit pastor bonus, Ave Maria and Versa est in luctum, Bruckner’s Locus istem, Ave Maria and Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major “Romantic,” andAllegri’s Miserere.

Jan. 17-19: Christoph König, conductor; Hila Plitmann, soprano. Haydn’s Symphony No. 22 in E-flat major, “The Philosopher,” Danielpour’s Darkness in the Ancient Valley (PSO Co-Commission) and R. Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, Opus 30.

Jan. 31 & Feb. 2: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Hélène Grimaud, piano. Bach’s (orch. Stokowski) Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Opus 60 and Brahms’ Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15.

Feb. 7-9: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Burke, Jang, Rosenblum, Vali and Williams’ World Premiere and PSO Commission, and Holst’s The Planets.

Feb. 21 & 23: Gianandrea Noseda, conductor; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano. Casella’s Symphonic Fragments from La donna serpente, Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 5 in G major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 55 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 in C major, Opus 61.

Feb. 28-March 2: Gianandrea Noseda, conductor; Joshua Bell, violin. Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 21 and Liszt’s A Faust Symphony.

March 14-16: Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Michel Camilo, piano. Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Camilo’s Piano Concerto No. 2 “Tenerife,” and Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Menuet antique and Boléro.

March 21 & 23:Donald Runnicles, conductor; Stephen Hough, piano. Galbraith’s Tormenta del Sur, Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 25, and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Orchestra Highlights from Der Rings des Nibelungen.

March 28-30: Sarah Hicks, conductor. Bernstein’s West Side Story.

April 4 & 6: Juraj Valčuha, conductor; Stefan Jackiw, violin. Rouse’s World Premiere/PSO Commission, Korngold’s Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 35, Debussy’s La Mer: Three Symphonic Sketches and Ravel’s La Valse.

April 25-27: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Robert Levin, piano; William Caballero, horn. Mozart’s Concerto No. 20 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, K. 466, Concerto No. 1 in D major for Horn and Orchestra, K. 412 (K. 386b) and Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, “Jupiter.”

May 2 & 4: Manfred Honeck, conductor; TBD, vocal soloists; Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Mozart’s Mass in C major, K. 317, “Coronation,” and Highlights from The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Idomeneo.

May 30-June 1: Nicholas McGegan, conductor; Ye-Eun Choi, violin. Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 8, Nos. 1-4, Mozart’s Chaconne for Idomeneo, Rè di Creta, K. 366 and Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major, “Drumroll.”

June 6-8: Manfred Honeck, conductor. Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in D major.

June 13-15: Manfred Honeck, conductor; Rudolf Buchbinder, piano. R. Strauss’ (arr. Bok): Suite from Elektra, Burleske in D minor for Piano and Orchestra and Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Opus 59.

Programs, artists and dates subject to change.

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