Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents Musical Storytelling at its Best During BNY Mellon Grand Classics Weekend

PITTSBURGH – Let your mind dance and your heart swell with symphonic suites from two of the world’s most famous ballet scores during BNY Mellon Grand Classics: Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev on February 27 through March 1 at Heinz Hall.

Music director Manfred Honeck weaves tales of love and loss, triumph and defeat with suites distilled from the scores of Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. Today, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is universally celebrated as a triumph of the form, but the composer died believing it was a failure. Presented later as a tribute to Tchaikovsky after his death, it finally received the recognition it deserved, becoming an instantly recognizable to music and dance lovers everywhere. Prokofiev’s magnificent Romeo and Juliet was five years in the creation, but the final product is the musical equal of Shakespeare’s literary masterpiece.

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama students Nicholas Sacks and Carolina Pluta will join Honeck and the orchestra on stage, presenting a staged reading and illustrating the towering emotions behind these famous works.

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 were created. A pre-concert talk led by Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh will occur on stage at 6:30 p.m. each evening. Saturday is Catholic Schools Night at the Symphony and Bishop Canevin High School Concert Choir will perform in the Grand Lobby one hour before the concert start. On Sunday, the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra will perform in the Grand Lobby, one hour before concert start.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday 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.

Manfred HoneckManfred 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 Janaček’s opera Jenüfa, 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.

Caroline Pluta is currently a junior studying acting at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. Recent roles have included Adriana in Comedy of Errors and Madame in CMU’s production of The Maids. She is looking forward to a career in the arts upon graduation.

Born and Raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Nicholas Sacks is currently a third-year musical theatre student at Carnegie Mellon University. He was most recently seen in CMU’s production of Fool for Love in fall 2014 and will be seen in their upcoming Festival of New Works.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 119 years, 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. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series Previn and the Pittsburgh. The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900—including 36 international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

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, February 27, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 28, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 1, 2:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
NICHOLAS SACKS, actor
CAROLINA PLUTA, actor

Sergei Prokofiev:

Suite from Romeo and Juliet, Opus 64

The Duke’s Command
Dance of the Knights
Juliet’s Room
The Young Girl Juliet
Dance
The Street Awakens
Morning Dance
The Duel: Tybalt and Mercutio Fight
The Death of Mercutio
Romeo Decides to Avenge Mercutio
Act II Finale
Aubade (Morning Serenade)
The Duke’s Command
Juliet’s Funeral
The Death of Juliet

Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky:

Suite from Swan Lake, Opus 20

Dance with Goblets
Scene
Entrance and Waltz of the Special Guests
Scene
Pas de deux
Waltz
Pas de six
Neapolitan Dance
Hungarian Dance: Csárdás
Dances of the Swans
Spanish Dance
Finale

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Feb 12