Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Returns to Wilkinsburg for Annual Community Concert to Benefit School Music Program

Concert scheduled for Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. in Wilkinsburg High School Auditorium

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents the 13th Annual Community Engagement Concert for the community of Wilkinsburg on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. at Wilkinsburg High School.

A fun, family-oriented evening of music, led by Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, this concert features music that tells a story, including selections from Porgy & Bess, Carmen and La bohème. Returning vocalist Katy Shackleton Williams will perform with the orchestra in several selections along with a new vocalist Hannah Fairman.

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 in advance at Nancy’s East End Diner (616 South Ave, Pittsburgh) or at the door the night of the concert.

All proceeds from tickets sales directly benefit the music programs in the Wilkinsburg School District. More than $66,000 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. In addition to the October 22 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.

American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has worked with orchestras around the world including engagements with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. With the start of the 2015-2016 season, he begins his new position as assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra after serving four years as associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). He will return to the MSO throughout the season for several guest engagements and will make his opera debut with the Florentine Opera. He also will continue as associate conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival.

Lecce-Chong has earned a growing reputation and critical acclaim for dynamic, forceful performances, garnering national distinction, including the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award and The Presser Foundation Music Award. He has also been featured in master classes with Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, David Robertson and Christopher Seaman, while working with the St. Louis Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich.

As a trained pianist and composer, Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers and supports arts education. While working with the MSO, he curated and presented the works of both active and lesser-known composers, including two works commissioned by the orchestra, as well as two U.S. premieres. He also helped create the first MSO Composer Institute, providing performance opportunities for young American composers. Lecce-Chong has complemented his programming with a strong commitment to arts education for all ages. In Milwaukee, he provided artistic leadership for the MSO’s nationally lauded Arts in Community Education program — one of the largest arts integration programs in the country — and he continues to be a frequent guest speaker for arts organizations around the country.

Lecce-Chong is a native of Boulder, Colorado, where he began conducting at the age of 16. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors in piano and orchestral conducting. Lecce-Chong also holds a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller. He has been mentored by many world-renowned conductors, including Edo de Waart and Donald Runnicles, with whom he continues to maintain a close working relationship.

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.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 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, October 22, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Community Concert

Georges Bizet:

Suite No. 1 from Carmen
I. Prélude
V. Les Toréadors

Edvard Grieg:

Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt, Opus 46
I. Morning Mood
III. Anitra’s Dance
IV. In the Hall of the Mountain King

Johann Strauss Jr.:

“Mein Herr Marquis” (Laughing Song) from Die Fledermaus, Opus 362
Ms. Williams

Giacomo Puccini:

“Quando me’n vo” (Musetta’s Waltz) from La bohème
Ms. Williams

Gioachino Rossini:

Duetto buffo di due gatti (Cat Duet)
Ms. Williams

George Gershwin:

Selections from Porgy and Bess

Jacques Offenbach:

Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld

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