Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to Appear in Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall in May 2014

PITTSBURGH—One of America’s finest orchestra’s will take the stage in one of its most fabled and historic halls when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs the final concert of the 2014 Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York on Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Spring for Music is a unique festival that is designed to allow chosen symphonies and orchestras to showcase their artistic philosophy through distinctive and creative programming in one of the world’s most competitive musical environments. The repertoire that the Pittsburgh Symphony, led by Music Director Manfred Honeck, is performing includes an a cappella choral work by Anton Bruckner (“Ave Maria”), the final scene from Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmélites,” the New York premiere of James MacMillan’s “Woman of the Apocalypse” and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart’s “Requiem” (“Mozart’s Death in Words and Music”). The Spring for Music festival will be the 82nd time the Pittsburgh Symphony has performed at Carnegie Hall.

Also appearing at the Spring for Music festival this year are the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony & May Festival Chorus.

This unique orchestral festival will run from May 5 to 10, 2014. Tickets are priced at $25 for any seat in the house with a discount for multiple performances (six concerts for $100). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at carnegiehall.org.

The broadcast will be streamed live on WQXR.

Spring for Music is an annual festival each May at Carnegie Hall showing and celebrating the quality and creativity of North American orchestras. Now in its fourth year, Spring for Music was categorized by the press after its debut season as “bold,” “gripping,” “vibrant,” inspired,” “virtuosic” and “brilliant.” Spring for Music was created by three music industry veterans who serve as the project’s directors: Thomas W. Morris, CEO and artistic director; David V. Foster, production director; and Mary Lou Falcone, public relations director. For more information, please visit the Spring for Music website at springformusic.com.

For more than 116 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The Pittsburgh Symphony, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which has been touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, continues to be acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. It has made 40 international tours, including 20 in Europe, eight to the Far East, and two to South America. In January 2004, under the baton of Gilbert Levine, the Pittsburgh Symphony was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration. Recordings and radio concerts are also an important part of the orchestra’s tradition. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast coast-to-coast, receiving increased national attention in 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International (PRI). The PRI series is produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh and is made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. For more information, visit pittsburghsymphony.org.

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. 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. He began his career as conductor of Vienna’s Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. In 2010, Honeck was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. Apart from his numerous tasks as conductor, he has been artistic director of the “International Concerts Wolfegg” in Germany for more than 15 years. Honeck served as principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2011, a position he has resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic and in the United States with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham has established a reputation for his powerful and sensitive work in the genre of spoken word with music. He has performed under the batons of some of the greatest conductors in America and Europe and made his New York Philharmonic debut in May 2005 as the Narrator in Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du soldat.” He returned in June 2006 to narrate Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” and again in December 2007 for a presentation of “Inside the Music” with Gerard McBurney featuring Shostakovich Symphony No. 4. He has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, and performed Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and James Levine. In May 2008, he performed the “Genesis Suite” with the Seattle Symphony and Gerard Schwartz. In October 2012, Abraham returned to his native Pittsburgh, reading letters from Mozart to his father in the Pittsburgh Symphony’s dramatic presentation of Mozart’s “Requiem,” led by Manfred Honeck. This year, he will make his solo singing debut with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra at the Prague Proms in Steven Mercurio’s “A Grateful Tail.” Abraham has appeared in more than 80 films, including “Amadeus,” for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor, as well as Golden Globe and L.A. Film Critics Awards. Abraham’s television appearances have most recently included the hit series “Homeland,” “The Good Wife” and “Louie.” A veteran of the theater stage, Abraham has appeared in more than 90 plays, among them Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” (for which he received an Obie Award), “Trumbo,” “Standup Shakespeare,” Susan Stroman’s “A Christmas Carol,” the title role in “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Angels in America” (both Millennium Approaches and Perestroika), “Waiting for Godot” and many more. He made his L.A. debut in Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and his N.Y. debut as a Macy’s Santa Claus. Soon thereafter he went to Broadway in “The Man in the Glass Booth,” directed by Harold Pinter. In 2005, Abraham penned “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Actors on Shakespeare,” a commentary chronicling his experience playing the character of Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on stage. In January 2013, Abraham was honored with The Moscow Art Theatre Award, also received by the distinguished director Peter Brook. He lives in New York and is a proud grandfather.

Tenor Benjamin Bruns began his singing career as an alto soloist with the boys’ choir in his home city of Hanover. After four years of private singing lessons, he studied at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Hamburg under the Kammersängerin Renate Behle. While still a student, he was offered a permanent contract by the Theater Bremen, a position which allowed him to build up a broadly based repertoire at an early age. It was followed by a similar contract with the opera house in Cologne. His professional journey then took him via the Dresden State Opera to the Vienna State Opera, where he can be heard in the great lyrical roles, such as Tamino, Don Ottavio, Ferrando, Belmonte and Conte Almaviva. He has performed as a guest at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich, the Staatstheater in Nuremberg, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. At the heart of his extensive concert repertoire are some of the great sacred works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. He has sung with renowned ensembles such as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Czech Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Cappella Istropolitana, the chorus and orchestra of Netherlands Radio, the Tölzer Knabenchor, the Dresden Baroque Orchestra, the Bremen Philharmonic, the London Symphony Chorus, the orchestra of the Bach Academy in Stuttgart, and the Gächinger Kantorei conducted by Helmuth Rilling. In the 2013-2014 season, Bruns will perform at the Vienna State Opera as Tamino in the new production of Mozart`s The Magic Flute under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach. He also will sing in Richard Strauss` Arabella at the Salzburg Easter Festival under Christian Thielemann. Also this season, in Bach`s Christmas Oratorio, he will perform with the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig under Georg Christoph Biller as well as with the Windsbacher Knabenchor under Martin Lehmann and also with Enoch zu Guttenberg and the Chorgemeinschaft Neubeuern. He will sing Mozart’s Requiem in Pittsburgh and New York with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck and also Haydn`s The Seasons under Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Vienna. Bruns is an awardee of the Bundeswettbewerb Gesang (Federal Singing Competition) in Berlin, the Mozart Competition in Hamburg and the international singing competition of the Schloss Rheinsberg Chamber Opera. The special honors accorded to him include the 2008 Kurt Hübner Prize, awarded by the Theater Bremen, and the 2009 Young Musicians’ Prize awarded by the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong has earned high praise in both North America and Europe for her “well-cultivated and “big, bright and pleasing voice.” In the current season, DeShong returns to Lyric Opera Chicago where she will be heard as Hänsel in “Hänsel und Gretel,” a role she performed to great success at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2010. She makes her company debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as Rosina in “Il barbiere di Siviglia,” and will be heard with The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Peter Lieberson’s “Neruda Songs” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. She opened the previous season as Maffio Orsini in “Lucrezia Borgia” for San Francisco Opera and returned to the Metropolitan Opera where she was heard as Hermia in the new production of “The Enchanted Island.” Additional performances included Suzuki in “Madama Butterfly” with Veroza Company in Japan and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Akron Symphony. DeShong is a graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she has been heard in several productions including “The Barber of Seville” (Rosina), “Salome” (Page), “Carmen” (Mercédès) and “Falstaff” (Meg Page). Her debut season at The Metropolitan Opera included productions “La Rondine” and “Rusalka.” DeShong also has been a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra in “Parsifal” (conducted by Pierre Boulez), Debussy’s “La damoiselle élue” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Blossom Music Festival). She has been heard at Wolf Trap Opera as Komponist and as Ruggiero in “Alcina.” DeShong was awarded first prize by the American Opera Society of Chicago and has also received the Union League Competition’s Rose Ann Grundman Award (2006), the Musicians Club of Women’s Edith Newfield Scholarship (2006), the Sullivan Foundation Award (2006), and the 2007 Musicians Club of Women’s Lynne Harvey Scholarship. In 2001, she was Grand Prize Winner of the Tennessee-based Orpheus National Music Competition. She also holds awards from the Dayton Opera Guild, National Association of Teachers of Singing and Opera Columbus. DeShong is an alumna of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.

At the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, soprano Sunhae Im was seen as Dorinda in a new staging of Handel’s “Orlando” in Rennes, Brest, Versailles and at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. Further engagements took her to Amsterdam and Rotterdam (Brahms: “Requiem”); to France (Mozart: “Requiem” under Laurence Equilbey); to Paris, Brussels, Madrid and Crakow (Handel: “La Resurrezione”); to the Kölner Philharmonie and the Salle Pleyel in Paris (Handel: “Orlando”); and to the Wiener Musikverein and the Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels (Bach: “Weihnachtsoratorium”). In Berlin, she did a Christmas program with the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra. Since her European stage debut in 2000, South Korean Im—who studied at the Seoul National University under the guidance of Lokyung Pak and at the University of Karlsruhe under Roland Hermann—has proven her artistic versatility in a multitude of international productions. She has been a guest at the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Oper Frankfurt, the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opéra National de Paris (Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo under Thomas Hengelbrock), the Staatstheater Stuttgart (Ilia in “Idomeneo,” Susanna in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and Constance in Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmélites” under Manfred Honeck), the Korean National Opera (Adina in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” and Ilia under Myung-Whun Chung), the Budapest Palace of Arts (Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” under Iván Fischer), and the Theater an der Wien (“La Finta Giardiniera” and “L’Orfeo”). Im has been invited to renowned festivals such as the Edinburgh International Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Salzburg Festival and Haydn International Festival and has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. She has worked with conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, William Christie, Fabio Biondi, Thomas Hengelbrock, Herbert Blomstedt, Frans Brüggen, Giovanni Antonini, Iván Fischer, Kent Nagano, Riccardo Chailly, Lothar Zagrosek, Sylvain Cambreling, Ton Koopman, Marek Janowski and René Jacobs. She also has close ties to the ensembles of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (AKAMUS), as well as the Freiburger Barockorchester. Her repertoire includes works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Gluck, Rameau, Charpentier, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Mahler and Mendelssohn.

After his debut in Europe at Teatro San Carlo in Napoli as Fasolt/“Das Rheingold“ in 1998, bass Liang Li has become a highly acclaimed opera and concert singer with performances at all important international companies and festivals. A highlight of his 2012-13 season was his huge success as Zaccaria in a new production of “Nabucco” aside Placido Domingo at the Opera Festival Beijing (NCPA). The season also included performances of “Parsifal”/Gurnemanz at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Donald Runnicles), a new production of “La Juive”/Cardinal de Brogny at the Sächsische Staatsoper (Tomas Netopil) and a new production of “Nabucco”/Zaccaria at the Staatstheater Suttgart, as well as various concerts such as Schumann “Faust Scenes.” In the last season, Li had his highly acclaimed debut at Palau de les Arts under Zubin Mehta with two productions: “Il Trovatore”/Ferrando and “Tristan and Isolde”/Marke, his house-debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as König Marke/”Tristan and Isolde,” as well as his house-debut at the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden in the same role. Since 2006-2007, Li has been a member of the ensemble at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he sings all main roles of his Fach. Guest engagements have been leading Li as Arkel to the Wiener Festwochen and the Edinburgh Festival, as König Marke to Montpellier, as Bartolo/”Le Nozze di Figaro” and Colline/”La Bohème” to the New National Theatre in Tokyo, and as Sarastro to the Hallenstadion in Zurich. Future projects include concert performances as Hunding/”Die Walküre” (Ingo Metzmacher) with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo, a new production of “Macbeth”/Banco at the Aalto Theater in Essen (Tomas Netopil), concerts of Verdi-Requiem at that Palaus de les Arts in Valencia (Riccardo Chailly), his return to Pittsburgh Symphony with various concerts in New York’s Carnegie Hall, a production of “Don Giovanni”/Commendatore at the Opéra de Paris, Bastille and a new production of “Manon Lescaut” /Geronte under Sir Simon Rattle at the Festival Baden-Baden and at the Berliner Philharmonie. Li was born in China and studied voice in Tianjin and in Peking. He won numerous prizes at International Voice Competitions, including the International ARD Music Competition in Munich, “Neue Stimmen” of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the International Opera-Competition in Shizuoka in Japan.

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a chorus of 120 that includes a 20-voice professional core, is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. Founded in 1908, the MCP holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. The choir, in its 104th season and sixth under the direction of Betsy Burleigh, is known for its mastery of the great choral classics. The MCP is a Steinway Artist, the only chorus holding that designation.

The Schola Cantorum is the professional choir of the Church of Saint Agnes in Manhattan. The choir sings at the 11:00 a.m. Tridentine Latin High Mass and the 12:30 p.m. Novus Ordo (English) Mass every Sunday, as well as at the 5:10 p.m. Mass on weekday feasts during its season which runs from September through Corpus Christi.

Editors Please Note:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

SPRING FOR MUSIC FESTIVAL
CARNEGIE HALL, NEW YORK, NY
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
SUNHAE IM, soprano
ELIZABETH DESHONG, mezzo soprano
BENJAMIN BRUNS, tenor
LIANG LI, bass
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM, speaker
MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH, vocals (Betsy Burleigh, director)
SCHOLA CANTORUM, ST. AGNES CHURCH

Anton Bruckner: Ave Maria (a cappella)
Francis Poulenc: Final scene from Dialogues des Carmelites
James MacMillan: Woman of the Apocalypse (NY premiere)
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart: Requiem, K. 626: Mozart’s Death in Words and Music

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