Smokey Robinson Kicks Off Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Thursday Night Icons Series

Robinson, Smokey_webPITTSBURGH – BNY Mellon presents Smokey Robinson with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the first installment of the symphony’s Summer with the Symphony: Thursday Night Icons series on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Heinz Hall.

During the course of his 50-year music career, Smokey Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit and continues to thrill sold-out audiences around the world with his high tenor voice, impeccable timing and profound sense of lyric. The iconic Robinson joins the Pittsburgh Symphony, led by Resident Conductor Fawzi Haimor, bringing his honey-coated voice to Heinz Hall for an evening of soulful music and timeless hits.

Tickets for Thursday Night Icons: BNY Mellon Presents Smokey Robinson with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra range in price from $39 to $139, and can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or by visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/icons.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Presents Smokey Robinson with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

The remaining Thursday Night Icons concerts include Johnny Mathis (July 16), Diana Krall (July 23) and Randy Newman (July 30). Those interested in attending more than one summer concert can craft their own series of concerts at a discounted rate. 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. Pittsburgh Symphony subscribers can receive a 15% subscriber discount by calling their patron services representative (PSR).

Once pronounced by Bob Dylan as America’s “greatest living poet,” acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson’s career spans more than four decades of hits. He has received numerous awards, including the Grammy Living Legend Award, NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, Honorary Doctorate (Howard University), Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts Award from the President of the United States. He has also been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Robinson founded The Miracles while still in high school. The group was Berry Gordy’s first vocal group, and it was at Robinson’s suggestion that Gordy started the Motown Record dynasty. Their single of Robinson’s “Shop Around” became Motown’s first #1 hit on the R&B singles chart. In the years following, Robinson continued to pen hits for the group including “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Going to a Go-Go,” “More Love,” “Tears of a Clown” (co-written with Stevie Wonder) and “I Second That Emotion.” The Miracles dominated the R&B scene throughout the 1960s and early 70s and Robinson became vice president of Motown Records serving as in-house producer, talent scout and songwriter. In addition to writing hits for the Miracles, Robinson wrote and produced hits for other Motown greats including The Temptations, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, Marvin Gaye and others. “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” “You Beat Me to the Punch,” “Don’t Mess with Bill,” “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “My Guy” are just a few of his songwriting triumphs during those years. John Lennon of The Beatles made countless remarks regarding Robinson’s influence on his music. The Beatles had recorded Robinson and The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” in 1963 and in 1982 another popular British group, The Rolling Stones covered the Robinson and the Miracles’ hit “Going To A Go-Go.” He later turned to a solo career where he continued his tradition of hitmaking with “Just to See Her,” “Quiet Storm,” “Cruisin’” and “Being with You,” among others. He remained vice president of Motown records until the sale of the company, shaping the label’s success with friend and mentor Berry Gordy. Following his tenure at Motown, he continued his impressive touring career and released several successful solo albums. During the course of his 50-year career in music, Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit and continues to thrill sold-out audiences around the world with his high tenor voice, impeccable timing, and profound sense of lyric. Never resting on his laurels, Smokey Robinson remains a beloved icon in our musical heritage.

Fawzi Haimor holds the position of resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he conducts a variety of concerts including classical, pops, education and outreach. While in Pittsburgh, he has served as a cover to esteemed conductors including Manfred Honeck, Leonard Slatkin, Gianandrea Noseda, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and Yan Pascal Tortelier. In his first European season, Haimor made an impressive debut with the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna with Bruckner’s Symphony No.4 and was re-invited after the first rehearsal. In the United Kingdom, he appeared with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester at the Cadogan Hall, London with a contemporary programme and with Sinfonia ViVA in a classical programme, including Schumann cello concerto with Leonard Elschenbroich and Beethoven Symphony No.1. The Derby Telegraph noted of the Beethoven, “A buoyant scherzo was followed by a runaway romp of a finale, the criss-crossing scale-patterns exhilarating in their precision and incisiveness.” Elsewhere, Haimor works with Jacksonville Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Erie Chamber Orchestra and Amman Symphony in the Middle East. Highlights for the 2014-2015 season include returning to the Orquesta Sinfonia di Porto and debuts with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi with Prokofiev’s 7th Symphony, Haydn Orchesta Bolzano, Qatar Philharmonic, Bursa State Orchestra, Turkey and education projects with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg with a staged production of Grieg’s Peer Gynt. Haimor was invited to attend rehearsals with the West Eastern Divan Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim this summer at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. His repertoire includes the late romantic Germanic works, 19th and 20th century Russian and American composers, plus he is a committed advocate of contemporary music and has performed works by composers such as Kevin Puts, Bela Fleck, Mohammed Fairouz and Avner Dorman. Passionate about the education of young musicians, Haimor was the first music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra and has subsequently been invited to guest conduct youth ensembles across the United States. An eloquent and compelling speaker from the podium, he was the founder of the Davis Summer Symphony which is geared towards the education and outreach of classical music in the community. Born in Chicago in 1983, Haimor was raised in the Middle East and the San Francisco Bay area. He completed his violin training at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University, where he studied under David Effron and Arthur Fagen. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both music and neurobiology, a master’s degree in conducting from the University of California-Davis, and second master’s in instrumental conducting at Indiana University.

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:

Thursday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
THURSDAY NIGHT ICONS: BNY MELLON PRESENTS SMOKEY ROBINSON WITH THE PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
SMOKEY ROBINSON, vocals
FAWZI HAIMOR, conductor

 



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