Guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier returns to lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in excerpts from Grieg’s “Peer Gynt,” written for Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play of the same name. It recounts the downfall and subsequent redemption of a Norwegian peasant anti-hero. McGhee will shine in Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, which was last heard by Pittsburgh Symphony audiences in 1987. Sibelius’ romantic Symphony No. 5, which was the composer’s response to popular musical modernism of the time, closes the program.
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, Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh will lead a pre-concert talk from the stage one hour prior to the concert start time with Tortelier. This weekend also is the final chance to explore the multimedia archival exhibit about former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Lorin Maazel. The Pittsburgh Flute Academy will perform in the Grand Lobby at 1:30 p.m. before Sunday’s performance.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $25.75 to $105.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2014-2015 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.
Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at 14, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire, making his soloist debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and from 1974 to 1983 he was associate conductor of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Further positions since then have included principal conductor and artistic director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992) and principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-2008). He was also principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2011, and currently holds the position of guest conductor of honour, in which capacity he returns to the orchestra a number of times each season. Following his outstanding work as chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a very successful tour of the United States to celebrate the orchestra’s 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of conductor emeritus and continues to work with the orchestra regularly. He also holds the position of principal guest conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Tortelier has collaborated with major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala Milan, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston, Chicago, and Montreal symphony orchestras. Further afield he has collaborated with the Melbourne Symphony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and the Hong Kong and Malaysian philharmonic orchestras. Highlights of the 2014-2015 season and beyond include returns to the United States to conduct the orchestras in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Montreal, San Francisco, Minnesota and Baltimore; European performances with the Iceland, Royal Flemish, Lyon National, Bournemouth symphony orchestras, and the Royal Liverpool and BBC philharmonic orchestra; and his return to Australia to conduct the Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney symphony orchestras. Tortelier also will perform with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Montreal Symphony. Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic and Ulster orchestras, and including award-winning cycles of the orchestral music of Debussy, Ravel (featuring his own orchestration of Ravel’s Piano Trio), Franck, Roussel, and Dutilleux. He also has conducted critically acclaimed discs of repertoire ranging from Hindemith and Kodaly to Lutoslawski, and Karlowicz. Recent releases for Chandos include the Ravel piano concertos coupled with Debussy’s Fantaisie, with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and a disc of works by Florent Schmitt with the Sao Paulo Symphony. In the 2013-2014 season, Tortelier added to this catalogue with the release of an entire disc of Stravinsky, once again collaborating with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
Scottish-born Lorna McGhee is principal flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and has performed as guest principal with Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Before emigrating to North America in 1998, McGhee was co-principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in England. As a soloist, she has given concerto performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the UK; Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia and Victoria Symphony in Canada; and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra in the United States. A career highlight was a performance of Penderecki’s flute concerto with the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra under the baton of the composer in 2004. As a chamber musician and recitalist, she has performed throughout Europe and North America in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Barge Music in New York, the Louvre, Paris and the Schubertsaal of Vienna’s Konzerthaus. McGhee is often featured in chamber music festivals in Canada, the United States and Australia. Her performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio in Canada, BBC Radio, NPR (USA), Netherlands Radio and ABC (Australia). She has made chamber music recordings for EMI, Decca ASV, Naxos and Meridian. Along with Duo partner Heidi Krutzen, McGhee has released two CDs on Skylark Music: Taheke, 20th century Masterpieces for flute and harp and Canada, New Works for flute and harp. As a member of Trio Verlaine (with Heidi Krutzen, harp and David Harding, viola) McGhee has most recently recorded Fin de Siècle, a CD of music by Debussy and Ravel for Skylark Music. Both the Trio and Duo are committed to broadening the repertoire and have contributed six new commissions to date. Having taught at the University of Michigan and the University of British Columbia, McGhee has given master classes at universities and conservatoires in the UK, United States and Canada, including the Julliard School, the Royal Academy of Music and the Banff International Centre for the Arts. She is now an honorary “Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.”
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.
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Heinz Hall also hosts many other events that do not feature its world-renowned orchestra, including Broadway shows, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.
Editors Please Note:
Friday, October 24, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS
YAN PASCAL TORTELIER, conductor
LORNA McGHEE, principal flute
Suite from Peer Gynt, Opus 23
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Peer Gynt’s Homecoming
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
I. Allegro moderato
Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Opus 82
I. Tempo molto moderato – Allegro moderato – Presto
II. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto
III. Allegro molto – Misterioso