A host of iconic artists join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for a full slate of summer concerts
PITTSBURGH—This summer, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents a new and diverse slate of concert experiences — Summer with the Symphony — that will put popular, experimental and classical spins on the musical summer in Pittsburgh. The sun will shine in to Heinz Hall with collaborations with some of the brightest stars in popular and classical music, including Smokey Robinson, Randy Newman, John Elefante, Joe Negri, Sean Jones, Johnny Mathis, Diana Krall and the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra — just to name a few.
From hot mash-ups to chill picnics in the park, from big names to small venues, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has something for every taste this summer. The Heinz Hall Summer Garden will be the heart of this year’s summer activity, featuring open air bars, food and pre- and post-concert entertainment on selected evenings. Summer with the Symphony is a fantastic way to experience great music and learn about the vast array of performances offered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
This summer, “Think outside the Bach” and make the symphony part of your plans with these exciting concerts:
Thursday Icons Series —Thursday, July 9, 16, 23 and 30, 7:30 p.m.
Save the date! Each Thursday in July is part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Thursday Icons series. These concerts bring some of the greatest voices of American popular music to Heinz Hall to join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in concert. The series includes Smokey Robinson on July 9, Johnny Mathis on July 16, Diana Krall on July 23 and Randy Newman on July 30. Experience the songs of these musical giants in a whole new way with the Thursday Icons series at Heinz Hall. Discounts are available for multiple Thursday Icons Series concert purchases (see below).
Building on the success of its past orchestral rock concerts, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents “A Night of Symphonic Rock” on July 25. Experience classic rock hits like you’ve never seen or heard before! The show features a “hit parade” of greatest hits like “Kashmir,” “Hotel California,” “More Than a Feeling,” “Barracuda,” “Cold as Ice,” “Dream On,” “All of My Love” and more with a full rock band raising the roof with the Pittsburgh Symphony. The show features special guest John Elefante, former lead singer of supergroup Kansas, performing great Kansas hits like “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry on My Wayward Son” and more.
The official symphony concert world-tour Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY arrives at Heinz Hall. This concert tour features the music of iconic video game FINAL FANTASY, including works by Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu. This concert also features Grammy Award-winner Arnie Roth as conductor, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh! A post-show meet and greet with Roth and FINAL FANTASY XII composer Hitoshi Sakimoto will be held at the hall. A multimedia experience, Distant Worlds combines stirring screen images to match the soaring emotions of the Pittsburgh Symphony performing music from SQUARE ENIX’S world-renowned video game series.
Classical BBQs — Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, August 2, 6:30 p.m. BBQ; 7:30 p.m. concert
A night for the whole family, the Pittsburgh Symphony is throwing a Classical BBQ on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, August 2 in the Heinz Hall Summer Garden. Two festive evenings of great music and food, each Classical BBQ is filled with favorite orchestral works in a fun-filled atmosphere, including pre- and post-concert entertainment and a chance to mingle with the Pittsburgh Symphony musicians. The July Classical BBQ will feature highlights from the upcoming 2015-2016 classical season and the August event, “Summer Spectacular!,” will celebrate the musical color and virtuosity of the Pittsburgh Symphony musicians. Each BBQ concert is about one hour long with an outdoor party in the garden before the concert and live jazz after. Experience Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at the July concert and Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man at the August concert, along with popular works by Beethoven, Bernstein and many more. All tickets are $30 and include general admission to the concert, food, happy hour drink prices, and pre- and post-concert entertainment. Discounts are available when buying tickets to both BBQs (see below).
Featuring multitalented composer, conductor, singer and songwriter Steve Hackman, FUSE@PSO features the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a mash-up of two masterpieces separated by more than 100 years—Brahms’ First Symphony and Radiohead’s OK Computer. Songs from the latter are intricately woven into the former, fusing together a never-before-heard “hybrid” sound that is at once classical and contemporary. The original orchestration of the Brahms is augmented by three vocalists, who carry the Radiohead melodies and sing in rich three-part harmony. Also on the program ‘are a mash-up of Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Radiohead’s “Street Spirit” (from The Bends) and a virtuosic orchestral fantasy based on Radiohead’s “Idioteque” (from Kid A). Attendees can enjoy pre- and post-concert beats, food and drinks in the Heinz Hall Summer Garden.
Led by Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh, “Celebrate Pittsburgh” on Saturday, June 27 is designed for audiences of all ages with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities and other disabilities to enjoy an orchestra performance in a welcoming and inclusive environment. It is one of the first orchestra shows of its kind in the United States! Along with the concert itself, monitors will provide open captioning throughout the concert, and quiet rooms, headphones and fidgets will be available so audience members can control their sensory stimulation.
Pre-visit materials will be available online to prepare for the trip to Heinz Hall, and pre-concert activities will begin at 1:15 p.m. on the day of the concert and include a sound Exploratorium, dancing and musician meet-and-greets. Special guests for the concert include cartoonist Joe Wos, guitarist Joe Negri, vocalist Katy Shackleton Williams, current Juilliard student and former Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra violinist Inori Sakai, the Pittsburgh CLO Academy Tap Dancers and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra soloist Jeffrey Grubbs (bass).
Music for the Spirit — Wednesday, July 1, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s celebration of the relationship between music and faith returns for two special summertime concerts. Led by Resident Conductor Fawzi Haimor, Music for the Spirit will be held at the Kresge Theatre on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus and will highlight a variety of music from the major world faith traditions. Admission to Music for the Spirit is free, but reservations are required.
Concerts in the Parks — Friday, July 3, 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 5, 8:15 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Symphony presents its annual summer county parks concerts — two free concerts bookending the Fourth of July holiday that take the symphony out of Heinz Hall and into the great outdoors! This year’s concerts are offered at South Park on July 3 and at Hartwood Acres on July 5 and are led by Resident Conductor Fawzi Haimor. These concerts are offered as part of the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series.
Pittsburgh Jazz Celebration — Tuesday, June 16, 6 p.m. Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Gala; 8 p.m. concert
MCG Jazz, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in collaboration with the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival and WQED present The Pittsburgh Jazz Celebration, an evening of music hosted by Gloria Reuben and featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Jeff Tyzik, pianist Ramsey Lewis, vocalist Kurt Elling and trumpeter Sean Jones, among other guests who will appear throughout the evening. Concert goers will enjoy a preview of the upcoming WQED documentary celebrating the legacy of jazz in Pittsburgh. The concert program features music either composed by a legendary Pittsburgh jazz musician or songs made famous by a Pittsburgher. Tickets to the gala and concert are $250 and can be purchased by calling 412-322-0800 or visiting mcgjazz.org. Concert tickets range in price from $24.75 to $79.75 and can be purchased by phone at 412-392-4900 or online at pittsburghsymphony.org.
Neighborhood Week — Monday, August 31 through Friday, September 4
An exciting new initiative from Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Neighborhood Week features a series of events — some large with the entire orchestra and some with smaller ensembles, some free and some with small admission fees — in venues around Pittsburgh, including Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Schenley Plaza in Oakland, the Rex Theatre in the South Side, the Hill House Association in the Hill District, Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild on the North Side. Experience the symphony out of Heinz Hall and in your neighborhood! A complete schedule will be released in the coming months.
Make Your Own Series
Those interested in attending more than one concert can craft their own series of concerts at a discounted price! Buy tickets to two concerts and receive 10% off the ticket price; three concerts receive 20% off the ticket price; and four or more concerts receive 30% off the ticket price! These discounts are only available via phone or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office. Please note that this package includes all July and early August concerts. Those who have already purchased tickets to Thursday Icons: Diana Krall will receive the next-highest discount tier for any additional concert ticket purchases. Pittsburgh Symphony subscribers can receive a 15% subscriber discount by calling their patron services representative (PSR).
Tickets for the majority of the summer line-up go on sale March 9. Tickets may be purchased by calling 412-392-4900, visiting pittsburghsymphony.org or at the Heinz Hall Box Office at 600 Penn Avenue, downtown.
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 and John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” in 1986. 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.