Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Wilkinsburg in Concert to Benefit District Music Programs

Concert scheduled for Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in Wilkinsburg High School Auditorium

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents the 12th Annual Community Engagement Concert for the community of Wilkinsburg on Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. at Wilkinsburg High School.

This concert, “Celebrate Wilkinsburg,” honors the diverse, rich history of the neighborhood — including its role as the birthplace of radio — with an evening of music, under the baton of Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh. The evening features music from John Phillip Sousa, Gioachino Rossini, Josef Strauss, Domenico Cimarosa and Franz Lehar, as well as a medley of Duke Ellington music, arranged for orchestra, and a spotlight on guitarist Joe Negri. The concert also will feature Sing-Out America, a medley of favorite American tunes during which the audience can sing with the orchestra. The evening will be hosted by Jim Cunningham of WQED-FM and Robert Mangino, co-host of the KDKA afternoon news.

Tickets are $5 for students K-12 and $10 for adults. A group of 10 adult tickets is available for a discounted price of $75. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Education & Community Engagement department at 412-392-8991, and will also be available at the door on the night of the concert.

All proceeds from tickets sales directly benefit the music programs in the Wilkinsburg School District. More than $63,000 has been raised in Wilkinsburg through the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Community Engagement concerts.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank the EQT Foundation, Dollar Bank Foundation, PPG Industries Foundation, and the Allegheny Regional Asset District for their support of this Community Engagement Concert.

The Wilkinsburg Community and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s close relationship with the Wilkinsburg community has a long fruitful history. Along with the April 23 concert, symphony musicians visit Wilkinsburg schools, and Wilkinsburg community representatives participate regularly with the symphony’s Community Engagement Committee. Through its Community Engagement programs, the Pittsburgh Symphony builds connections not only with Wilkinsburg, but with numerous other Pittsburgh communities.  The mission of the symphony’s Community Engagement programs is to embrace and build the connection between community residents and the symphony.

Resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and music director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Loh is an engaging conductor of impressive range and talent. Beginning in the 2015-16 season, Loh will become the first music director of Symphoria, based in Syracuse N.Y., founded by former members of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.  As resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Loh works closely with Music Director Manfred Honeck and conducts a wide range of concerts including classical, educational and pops. He is active in the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Community Engagement and Partnership Concerts, extending the symphony’s reach into other communities. He made his debut on the main classical series conducting Handel’s Messiah in December 2008. Loh led the enormously popular Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series where he played the part of host and conductor. In addition to his duties on the podium, he is an audience favorite in the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Concert Preludes lecture series, edits radio broadcasts and makes many public appearances. His association with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra began as assistant conductor in 2005. He was promoted to associate conductor in 2006 and to resident conductor in 2007.  Since his appointment as music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in 2005, the orchestra has made its mark as an ensemble of superb musicianship, performing electrifying performances year-round. Off the podium, Loh is very active in the region as an arts leader and music advocate, and is constantly in demand as a guest speaker and clinician.  Loh’s recent guest conducting engagements include the National Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra (SC), Greater Bridgeport Symphony and return engagements with the Dallas and El Paso Symphonies. Other recent guest conducting appearances include the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony and the San Angelo Symphony. He has conducted the symphony orchestras of Portland, Cedar Rapids, Colorado Springs, East Texas, Fort Collins, Fort Worth, Lubbock, Plano, Shreveport, Sioux City, Spokane and Tallahassee among others.  He has led Korea’s Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Yale Philharmonia, Omaha Area Youth Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra. His summer appearances include the festivals of Bravo Vail Valley, Breckenridge, Las Vegas and Hot Springs, the Kinhaven Music School (Vt.), the Performing Arts Institute (Pa.) and the Carnegie Mellon Summer Strings Camp. Loh held the positions of assistant and associate conductor of the Dallas Symphony from 2001 to 2005. He led the Dallas Symphony in a variety of classical subscription and educational programs throughout each season. He was brought to national attention in February 2004 when he stepped in to conduct on short notice for an ailing Charles Dutoit, conducting Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.  Prior to his Dallas appointment, Loh was appointed by Music Director Marin Alsop to be associate conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. From 1998 to 2001, he conducted more than 50 concerts annually, including classical subscription, pops, education, family and outreach programs. While in Denver, he was also music director of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, the premiere youth orchestra in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Region. Additionally, Loh served as the interim director of Orchestras and Head of the Orchestral Conducting Program at Denver University’s Lamont School of Music in 2000-2001.  In May 1998, Loh received his artist diploma in orchestral conducting from Yale University, also earning the Eleazar de Carvalho Prize, given to the most outstanding conductor in the Yale graduating class. During his years at Yale, he was selected to be the assistant conductor of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and apprentice conductor of the Hot Springs Music Festival. He received further training at the world-renowned Aspen Music Festival and School and has additional degrees from Indiana University and the University of Rochester. A dedicated teacher, Loh held the position of associate instructor in music theory at Indiana University and teaching assistant at Yale University in advanced hearing, conducting and orchestration. He was also the guest curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for “What Makes Music?” an interactive exhibit, offering the opportunity to explore the science of music and sound, as well as the role of music in culture.  Loh was born in southern California of Korean parentage and raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Jennifer have a son, Charlie, and a daughter, Hilary.

Rhian Kenny joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1990 as principal piccolo. She is active in the Pittsburgh Symphony’s education and outreach programs speaking often to groups throughout the Pittsburgh region. Kenny was born in Benghazi, Libya, and grew up in Calgary, Canada, which is where she began her flute studies at the age of 9.  She continued her studies with Timothy Hutchins at McGill University in Montréal where she received a bachelor’s degree in music.  Throughout her studies, she won many competitions, including the Concours de l’Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières (1989), Concours de l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (1988), and the Concours de l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec (1987). She teaches at Duquesne University and privately.

Described by critics as “thoroughly delightful, with remarkable tone in every register,” Jennifer Steele enjoys a dynamic career as both an orchestral musician for the Pittsburgh Symphony and as a chamber player for several ensembles including the acclaimed Pittsburgh Chamber Music Project at the Andy Warhol Museum. Previous to her appointment as second flute by former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Lorin Maazel, Steele performed for five seasons as principal flute with the Charleston Symphony in South Carolina. While working towards her bachelor’s degree at the Juilliard School, Steele was afforded the luxury of studying with world-renowned flutists Jeanne Baxtresser and Julius Baker. Steele has performed numerous recitals in both the United States and Asia and in 1987, was awarded first prize in the first annual Flute Talk magazine competition. Steele has made several appearances as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Outside of performing, Steele continues to show her dedication to training the next generation of flutists through her past and present associations with Carnegie Mellon, Indiana (Bloomington) and Duquesne universities, as an adjudicator for the National Flute Association, and as a contributing author for Flute Talk magazine.

Katy Shackleton Williams has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, River City Brass Band and Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. She was a featured soloist for several Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concert series and made her BNY Mellon Grand Classics debut in September 2005 with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was a soloist in the Heinz Hall performance of The Lord of the Rings and has been the special guest vocalist for many of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Fiddlesticks and Tiny Tots children’s concerts.

Joe Negri is one of the most recognized names in Pittsburgh music circles and is quite possibly one of the finest jazz guitarists in the country. He was a musical prodigy at age four and was touring nationally by the age of 16. He has performed with such diverse performers as Johnny Mathis; Tony Bennett; Andy Williams; Eartha Kitt; Johnny Costa; Wynton, Branford and Ellis Marsalis; and Yo-Yo Ma. His career has spanned several decades, and he has performed in every aspect of the music business. He has appeared frequently as a guest with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and is featured on the symphony’s “Cinema Serenade” recording with Itzhak Perlman and John Williams. For more than 20 years, Negri served as “musical director” at WTAE, the ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh. While at WTAE, he produced and performed on several award-winning television programs, and he received nationwide television exposure through his frequent appearances as Handyman Negri on PBS’ “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Negri has also distinguished himself as a composer. His composition “The Crossing” was premiered by The River City Brass Band, and his jazz choral work “Mass of Hope” has received critical and artistic acclaim. Negri has several CDs to his credit, including “Mass of Hope” and a Brazilian jazz CD titled “Afternoon in Rio.” In 2007, he added a holiday CD, “Guitars for Christmas,” and his latest studio venture, “Uptown Elegance,” is available both locally and nationally. He also shares his knowledge and experience of jazz guitar through his teaching at the University of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University; and his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. Over the years, Negri has received numerous awards and honors, including “Established Artist of the Year” (1999) by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Mellon Jazz Community Award (2000) and the coveted “Elsie Award” (2004). Duquesne University presented Negri with an honorary doctorate in music.

WQED-FM’s artistic director, Jim Cunningham hosts the WQED-FM Morning Show weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m., and the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra broadcasts which air Sundays at 8 p.m. Cunningham served as station manager of WQED-FM for 15 years. As manager Cunningham led the team that established WQEJ Johnstown; began 24-hour classical broadcasts; expanded live broadcasts in annual series from Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University, Chautauqua New York, Heinz Hall and Heinz Chapel; initiated new programs including Symphony Weekend with Mariss Jansons; national distribution of concerts from the River City Brass Band and numerous holiday specials distributed nationally. Cunningham served as the classical music critic for Pittsburgh magazine where he contributed a monthly column for 15 years. He has produced and hosted more than 30 features for WQED-TV’s nightly OnQ magazine. He’s a regular pledge host for Channel 13. In 2002, Cunningham became the host of the Pittsburgh Speakers Series at Heinz Hall where he interviews and introduces 90-minute lectures. Cunningham has traveled as a correspondent with the Pittsburgh Symphony on 20 world tours to Europe, Japan, South America, Australia and the Orient. As an active member of the community, Cunningham regularly appears as a guest speaker, narrator or host at various cultural events, including Pittsburgh Chamber Music pre-concert lectures. He is a frequent host at classical music events, introducing concerts at the Mellon Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins for Andre Rieu; Hartwood Acres, South Park and the Bach Beethoven and Brunch series for Pittsburgh; Citiparks at Mellon Park; and he’s hosted the Three Rivers Community Band Festival for 10 years. He also served on the boards of the City of Pittsburgh Arts Commission, Chatham Baroque, Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania and Eastern Public Radio. Currently, he is a board member of the Friends of the Carnegie Library, the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society Executive Committee and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Steinway Society and the Pittsburgh Concert Society.

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.

Editors Please Note:

Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Community Concert: Celebrate Wilkinsburg!
LAWRENCE LOH, conductor
JOE NEGRI, special guest

John Phillip Sousa:

Washington Post

Gioachino Rossini

Overture to Guillaume Tell

Domenico Cimarosa:

Concerto in G major for Two Flutes and Orchestra
1. Allegro vivo
Ms. Kenny
Ms. Steele

Josef Strauss:

Sport Polka, Opus 170

Franz Lehar:

“Vilja” from The Merry Widow
Ms. Williams

 Franz Lehar:

“Ballsirenen Walzer” from The Merry Widow

Drum Feature

Wilkinsburg Student Drum Ensemble

Duke Ellington (Calvin Custer):

Duke Ellington! A Medley for Orchestra

Richard Hayman:

Sing Out, America! (Audience sing-along)
Ms. Williams


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