Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Shines Spotlight on a Pittsburgh Composer of the Year

German violinist Arabella Steinbacher returns to BNY Mellon Grand Classics with Prokofiev concerto

PITTSBURGH—Venerable guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos returns to lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a diverse BNY Mellon Grand Classics program on Nov. 8-10.

This emotional concert opens with the American premiere of “Symphony of Sorrows” by Leonardo Balada, one of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Pittsburgh Composers of the Year. In this piece, Balada tries to picture musically two aspects of war in its psychological perspective, and in so doing, the music brings desperate tensions as well as desolated intimate moments. Violinist Arabella Steinbacher returns with artistry of “immense beauty, light agility and secure intonation” (The Bruckner Journal) in Prokofiev’s delicate and airy first violin concerto. The performance closes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, the musical portrayal of a story from One Thousand and One Nights in which the Persian queen Scheherazade saves her own life through cunning story-telling.

Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos, who just turned 80, first debuted with the Pittsburgh Symphony in February 1972, making this his 22nd subscription weekend in Pittsburgh (that’s 62 concerts)! He also led the symphony on tours of Spain and Mexico.

The concerts will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $25.75 to $109.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900, or by visiting

Each BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert is part of the Explore & Engage program, which includes pre-concert talks, exhibits, display boards and interactive activities that illuminate the music, composers and the time in which they created. This weekend, Pittsburgh Symphony Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh and composer Leonardo Balada will conduct a pre-concert talk one hour before each performance.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2013-2014 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Maestro Fruhbeck de Burgos
Maestro Fruhbeck de Burgos

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, a regular guest with North America’s top orchestras, will conduct the New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, National, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, New World and Seattle Symphony Orchestras in the 2013-14 season.  In addition, he appears annually at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Born in Burgos, Spain, de Burgos studied violin, piano, music theory and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize. From 2004 to 2011, he was chief conductor and artistic director of the Dresden Philharmonic, and in the 2012-13 season began his post as chief conductor of the Danish National Orchestra. Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, other numerous honors and distinctions he has been awarded include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreutz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain’s most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain. In 1998, Frühbeck de Burgos received the appointment of “emeritus conductor” by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain and since 1975, he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. 

Arabella Steinbacher
Arabella Steinbacher

German violinist Arabella Steinbacher has firmly established herself as one of today’s leading violinists on the international concert scene, performing with the world’s major orchestras. Steinbacher’s career was launched in 2004 with an extraordinary and unexpected debut in Paris, when she stepped in on short notice for an ailing colleague and performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Her diverse and deep repertoire includes more than 30 concertos for violin. This season, Steinbacher is appearing with the leading international orchestras including the Boston Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, WDR Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonie and the Cleveland Orchestra. Born in Munich in 1981 to a German father and a Japanese mother, Steinbacher began studying the violin at the age of three. At nine, she became the youngest violin student of Ana Chumachenko at the Munich Academy of Music. In 2001, Steinbacher won the sponsorship prize of the Free State of Bavaria and in the same year she was awarded a scholarship by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. She currently plays the “Booth” Stradivari (1716) generously provided by the Nippon Music Foundation.

A native of Barcelona, Spain, Leonardo Balada graduated from the “Conservatorio del Liceu” of that city and the Juilliard School in 1960. He studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and Aaron Copland and studied conducting with Igor Markevitch. Since 1970, he has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is professor of composition. Some of his best known works were written in a dramatic avant-garde style in the sixties (“Guernica,” “María Sabina,” “Steel Symphony” and “No-res”). He is credited with pioneering a blending of ethnic music with those avant-garde techniques later on, creating a very personal style starting with “Sinfonía en Negro-Homage to Martin Luther King” (1968) and “Homage to Casals and Sarasate”(1975). Balada has received several international awards. He also received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters that “honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice.”

 Editors Please Note:

Friday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall

Leonardo Balada            Symphony No. 6, “Symphony of Sorrows” (American Premiere)

Sergei Prokofiev             Concerto No. 1 in D major for Violin & Orchestra, Opus 19

I.          Andantino
II.        Scherzo: Vivacissimo
III.      Moderato

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov   Scheherazade, Opus 35

I.        Largo e maestoso – Allegro non troppo
II.        Lento – Allegro molto
III.      Andantino quasi allegretto
IV.       Allegro molto

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