PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will honor its former music director, Lorin Maazel, who passed away on July 13, 2014, during the first subscription weekend of its BNY Mellon Grand Classics season on Sept. 19-21 at Heinz Hall.
“Two Trips” features current Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director Manfred Honeck and welcomes pianist Valentina Lisitsa as guest artist. All three concerts of the weekend will feature the orchestra performing Suite No. 3: Air by Johann Sebastian Bach in Maazel’s honor. There also will be an archival display of photos, audio, video and other mementos of Maazel’s time with the Pittsburgh Symphony in the Grand Tier Lobby. The archival exhibit will remain on display through the third subscription weekend of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics season.
“There can be no doubt that Maestro Lorin Maazel had a significant impact on the musical life of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the music world as a whole. I, myself, played many times under his baton and was struck by his prodigious talent and quest for perfection,” said Maestro Honeck. “He left behind a core of musical leaders that still define the Pittsburgh Symphony today and an incredible standard of playing. As one of his successors, I am deeply indebted to him for creating the ideal culture of musicians and the music-making exemplified in this orchestra.”
Maazel was a world-renowned conductor, as well as a composer, mentor, father and husband, who devoted more than 75 years of his life to music-making. He took the baton of the Pittsburgh Symphony during a critical time in its history, following the departure of Andre Previn, and led the organization from 1984 to 1996. The symphony developed an unrivaled international following under his leadership, gathering future stature as he led tours of Europe, Asia and the Americas, added first-rank players to vital positions and programmed season-long retrospectives that appealed to audiences and critics alike.
Single tickets to Two Trips, ranging in price from $25 to $105 go on sale on August 25 through the symphony’s website, pittsburghsymphony.org, or box office, 412-392-4900. Season tickets to the 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season are on sale now.
Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. After two extensions, his contract now runs until the end of the 2019-2020 season. To great acclaim, Honeck and his orchestra perform regularly for European audiences. Since 2010, annual tour performances have led them to numerous European music capitals and major music festivals, including Rheingau Musik Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Musikfest Berlin, Grafenegg Festival, Lucerne Festival and the BBC Proms. Several recordings, amongst them Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are available on Japanese label Exton. Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is now captured by Reference Recordings. The first SACD — of Strauss tone poems — was released in fall 2013 and received rave reviews. The second recording, of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janacek’s opera Jenufa, conceptualized by Honeck himself, followed in summer 2014 and was likewise enthusiastically received. Several additional recordings are completed and it is expected that two releases will be issued per year. Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and at the helm of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early stations of his career include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra and Oslo, where he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for several years. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, 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 leading international orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He also is a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. In February 2013, he had his successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the direct result of which was a CD recording together with Anne-Sophie Mutter (works of Dvorak). The current season sees returns to Bamberg, Stuttgart, Rome and New York as well as to the Vienna Symphony (a CD of works by the Strauss family was released in summer 2013) and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He also will conduct Tonhalleorchester Zürich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst others. Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and, most recently, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has been artistic director of the “International Concerts Wolfegg” in Germany for more than 15 years.
For more than 117 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. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras. The Pittsburgh Symphony has made 40 international tours, including 20 European tours, eight trips to the Far East, and two to South America. Under the baton of Gilbert Levine, the PSO was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican in January 2004 for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration. The PSO has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the PSO 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.