Have I mentioned that I have a hopeless crush on our dashing concertmaster, Noah Bendix-Balgley? It’s completely embarrassingly and very sixth grade, but there you have it. In my own defense, my friend Michelle, who accompanied me on our adventurous symphonic girls’ night, understands and echoes my sentiments. I also follow his “Concertmaster Blog” on the PSO’s website because, unlike my blog, Balgley actually provides useful information to be learned.
This was the first concert that I had attended all season. Heinz Hall always has a warm feeling of homecoming for me, and Friday was no exception. Admittedly, I was slightly disappointed that Honeck would not be conducting…at least at first. I’ve missed my favorite silver-haired, baton-wielding Zeus. That said, the guest conductor, Nikolaj Znaider, was EPIC. Michelle and I were both highly impressed with his charisma and instinctive knowledge of the music. There was a point during which he didn’t use any sheet music as a guide, which was absolutely amazing to me. (Of course, it must be noted that I wouldn’t know the first thing about conducting, even with sheet music.) This man conducts music in same natural ease of a fish gliding through a stream or the smoothness of the martinis that I sip on girls’ night. It’s so endearingly intuitive and natural to watch him.
And then there’s Mr. Balgley’s performance. Lest we forget, our charming concertmaster is quite the accomplished violist. It was refreshing to watch Balgley stretch his legs, as it were, and to show us all, yet again, exactly why he’s the concertmaster. He proved, in no uncertain terms, that he has the talent and skill of a, for lack of a better word, master. (And he’s ours…aren’t you proud, Pittsburgh?) As a bonus, we were treated to Balgley’s solo performance.
I must mention another bonus that the evening had afforded to me. I was fortune enough to sit next to my fellow blogger and friend, Doug Bauman. Doug and I caught up on our respective European travels, about which I do hope that he has blogged. The word on the street is that he has some amazing photos of Liechtenstein.
Bring on the PSO’s 2013-2014 season…as well as many more glimpses of our fair concertmaster.