Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents First BNY Mellon Grand Classics Concert of 2016 with Beethoven’s Pastoral
German conductor Christoph König leads the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and American violinist Tim Fain in a program featuring the Pittsburgh premiere of Philip Glass’s “The American Four Seasons,” during BNY Mellon Grand Classics: Beethoven’s Pastoral on January 15, 16 and 17 at Heinz Hall.
König will open the program with Respighi’s “Overture to Belfagor,” a lively piece based on themes from the comic opera.
Fain will make his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Glass’s second violin concerto, “The American Four Seasons,” a piece that is regarded as a modern equivalent to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Interestingly, Glass left no clues as to which season each movement is and welcomes audiences’ own interpretations.
To close, König will lead the Pittsburgh Symphony in one of Beethoven’s most cherished symphonies, Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral.” Evoking feelings of joy and wonderment, the five-movement composition conveys Beethoven’s love for nature.
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/fain_glass and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert. On Sunday, a pre-concert performance by the violin students of Galina Istomin will begin one hour before the concert time in the Grand Lobby.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/fain_glass.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2015-2016 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.
About the Artists
CHRISTOPH KÖNIG, a conductor of deep intelligence and musicality, has been inspiring audiences in North America since his first appearance here with the New Jersey Symphony in May 2010. His performances are marked by an energetic and serious approach to musical collaboration, as well as a commitment to thoughtful and stimulating programming. He currently holds positions as principal conductor and music director of the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg, and principal guest conductor of the Real Filharmonia de Galicia.
König has conducted the symphonies of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Pittsburgh, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and in Canada, the Calgary Philharmonic and the symphonies of Toronto and Vancouver — many of them multiple times.
In the current season, König will make debuts with the Adelaide Symphony, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saabrücken and the Malaysia Philharmonic, as well as return engagements with the Bournemouth Symphony, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In the United States, he returns to the Baltimore, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Oregon symphonies.
Equally at home in the theater, König’s reputation as an opera conductor rose swiftly after stepping in on short notice to direct the Zürich Opera’s 2003 production of Jonathan Miller’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He also has led the Zurich Opera in productions of Die Zauberflöte and Il Turco in Italia with Cecilia Bartoli and Ruggero Raimondi. Other operatic productions include Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Teatro Real/Madrid; Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper/Stuttgart; and Die Zauberflöte and Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. With the Malmö Symphony, he conducted concert performances of Madama Butterfly and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
For the Ao Vivo label, König has recorded works by Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Saariaho and Sibelius with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto (where he was principal conductor from 2009 to 2014). For Hyperion, he has recorded a highly acclaimed CD of music by Henryk Melcer, with pianist Jonathan Plowright and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. His recording of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the same orchestra was featured on the front cover of BBC Music Magazine in September 2009. Other noteworthy recordings include Beethoven symphonies with the Malmö Symphony (dB Productions), and Prokofiev and Mozart with the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg (SEL Classics).
Violinist TIM FAIN has emerged as a mesmerizing presence on the music scene with his adventuresome spirit and vast musical gifts. The “charismatic young violinist with a matinee idol profile, strong musical instincts, and first rate chops” (Boston Globe) is seen and heard in the film Black Swan, and gives “voice” to the violin of the lead actor in the hit film 12 Years a Slave, as he did with Richard Gere’s violin in Fox Searchlight’s feature film Bee Season.
Launching his career with Young Concert Artists and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, he went on to electrify audiences at debuts with the Baltimore Symphony with conductor Marin Alsop, at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Fain also has appeared with the Mexico City, Tucson, Oxford (UK) and Cincinnati Chamber Symphonies; Brooklyn, Buffalo and Hague Philharmonics; the National Orchestra of Spain; and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in a special performance at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. In addition, he was the featured soloist with the Philip Glass Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of Einstein on the Beach, which he performed again this season in South Korea, and he continues to tour the United States and Europe in a duo-recital program with Philip Glass.
His multimedia evening Portals premiered to sold-out audiences in New York, Los Angeles, at its mid-western debut at Omaha’s KANEKO and at Australia’s Melbourne Festival and Le Lieu Unique in France, with continued interest and success world-wide. The centerpiece of the evening is Partita for Solo Violin, a new work written especially for him by Philip Glass; the production also features collaborations with Benjamin Millepied, Leonard Cohen and filmmaker Kate Hackett, with radio personality Fred Child appearing on screen.
Highlights of the 2015-2016 season include solo performances for Pro Musica in Mexico, the Pittsburgh and Tallahassee Symphonies, and the Portland Chamber Orchestra. He also appears with pianist Timo Andres at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, where he’ll premiere a new multimedia work by Randall Woolf and filmmakers Mary Harron (American Psycho) and John C. Walsh on the Composers Concordance Eclectic Virtuosi Series. Other appearances include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for Paola Prestini’s Labyrinth Installation Concertos project, and with the PostClassical Ensemble and pianist Michael Boriskin in a concert of works by Lou Harrison at the Indonesian Embassy in D.C. Recent engagements include the Cabrillo, Chautauqua and McCall Music Festivals; the Buffalo Philharmonic; and a reprise of his soloist role with the National Orchestra of Spain conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
Fain’s recitals have included the Ravinia Festival, Amsterdam’s venerable Concertgebouw, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Kennedy Center, Mexico’s Festival de Musica de Camara in San Miguel de Allende, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, California’s Carmel Mozart Society, Boston’s Ives Festival, The Broad Stage, Ringling International Festival in Sarasota, the San Diego Art Institute, the University of California at Davis, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd St Y and elsewhere world-wide. A sought-after chamber musician, he has performed at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York’s Bargemusic, Chamber Music Northwest, and at the Spoleto (Italy), Bridgehampton, Santa Fe, Caramoor, Bard, Lucerne (Switzerland), “Bravo” Vail Valley, Moab and Martha’s Vineyard Festivals, and has toured nationally with Musicians from Marlboro.
A dynamic and compelling performer of traditional works, he is also a fervent champion of 20th- and 21st-century composers, with a repertoire ranging widely from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Aaron Jay Kernis and John Corigliano; as the Los Angeles Times recently noted, his career “is based, in part, on new music and new ways of thinking about classical music.” Fain’s discography features River of Light (Naxos), which showcases modern virtuosic short works for violin and piano by living American composers; Arches, which combines old and new solo works and reflects Fain’s inquisitive passion and intellect; The Concerto Project IV with the Hague Philharmonic featuring Philip Glass’s Double Concerto for violin and cellist Wendy Sutter, and Tim Fain Plays Phillip Glass (both on Orange Mountain Music); and most recently First Loves (VIA Records), a collection of quintessential violin masterpieces which first inspired him to be a violinist.
Fain has collaborated with such luminaries as Pinchas Zukerman, Richard Goode, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss, and has appeared with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Seán Curran Company and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In addition, he performed onstage with the New York City Ballet alongside the dancers in the acclaimed premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s “Double Aria.” Never limited by genre, Fain also has worked with jazz pianists Billy Childs and Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus), Joanna Newsom, Bryce Dessner (The National), guitarist Rich Robinson (Black Crowes), Matchbox 20 singer-songwriter Rob Thomas (in an appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center), James Blake and rappers Das Racist and Rahzel.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Fain is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Victor Danchenko; and The Juilliard School, where he worked with Robert Mann. He performs on a violin made by Francesco Gobetti, Venice 1717, the “Moller,” on extended loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
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.
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, January 15 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 16 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 17 at 2:30 p.m.
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: BEETHOVEN’S PASTORAL
CHRISTOPH KÖNIG, conductor
TIM FAIN, violin
Overture to Belfagor
Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra, “The American Four Seasons”
(Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra premiere)
Ludwig Van Beethoven:
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Opus 68, “Pastoral”