The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Manfred Honeck return to the Scottish Rite Cathedral Series in New Castle on Thursday, February 25 with a program featuring impassioned, moving works by Tchaikovsky and Dvořák. Dazzling violinist Jennifer Koh makes her Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra debut at this concert.
The second concert in the 2015-2016 season of the Scottish Rite Cathedral series opens with double Dvořák — the rousing Carnival Overture followed by the Violin Concerto, featuring Koh as soloist. The Violin Concerto is one of Dvořák’s most popular and frequently performed works.
The concert ends with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique,” the composer’s powerful farewell to life, which he conducted for the first time only a week before his death in a concert that was coolly received. Twelve days following his death, it was performed again in a memorial concert with resounding success. The “Pathétique,” wafted by the winds of sorrow across the musical world, became — and remains — one of the most popular symphonies ever written, the quintessential expression of tragedy in music.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 25. Tickets to “Tchaikovsky and Dvořák” are on sale now and range from $16 to $59. Scottish Rite Cathedral Series concerts feature a buy-one-adult-ticket, get-one-child-ticket-free offer (phone or in person orders only), making them an affordable evening for the whole family. Tickets are available at the Heinz Hall box office, online at pittsburghsymphony.org/src or by phone at 412-392-4900.
The Scottish Rite Cathedral will offer a pre-concert buffet dinner before each Pittsburgh Symphony concert from 6 to 7 p.m. The cost is $22 per person and reservations are required. Call 724-654-6683 (option 3 then option 2) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations or more information.
Radio station WQED-FM 89.3 and WQEJ-FM 89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. Together with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Honeck’s widely celebrated performances and distinctive interpretations continue to receive international recognition. To great acclaim, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have also built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. Following a week-long residency in 2012, they will return once again for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016.
Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels. The first SACD released by Reference Records of Strauss tone poems, drew rave reviews. The second recording, of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček’s opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by Honeck himself, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 was released in February 2015 to critical acclaim, including a second Grammy nomination, and Beethoven 5 & 7 was released on November 13, 2015. Several recordings, among them Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.
As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome. In the United States, Honeck has conducted the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. In 2013, Honeck gave his successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, resulting in a CD recording of Dvořák together with Anne-Sophie Mutter for Deutsche Grammophon, which received an Echo Klassik award in 2014. The 2015-2016 season sees him return to Bamberg, Stuttgart, Rome, Stockholm and New York, as well as the Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among others.
Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and at the helm of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. Honeck began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Honeck was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig and in Oslo, he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season.
From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart where he conducted premieres including Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and, most recently, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Moreover, he has been artistic director of the “International Concerts Wolfegg” in Germany for more than 20 years.
Violinist JENNIFER KOH is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. With an impassioned musical curiosity, she is forging an artistic path of her own devising, choosing works that both inspire and challenge. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras from traditional to contemporary, believing that the past and present form a continuum.
The exploration of Bach’s music and its influence in today’s musical landscape has played an important role in Koh’s artistic journey. She is also passionate in her efforts to expand the violin repertoire and has established relationships with many of today’s composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works. In 2009 she debuted Bach and Beyond, a three-part recital series that explores the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas to works by modern-day composers and new commissions; in 2012, she launched Two x Four—a project that pairs Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with newly commissioned double concerti — with her former teacher from the Curtis Institute of Music, violinist Jaime Laredo; and she frequently performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in a single concert. Koh recently launched a video series on her YouTube channel called Off Stage On Record, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life and career of a concert artist. The series features a number of short documentary style videos that explore creativity, collaboration, the recording process, the instrument and body, juggling one’s schedule and more.
During the 2015-2016 season, Koh presents a recital series with pianist Shai Wosner, Bridge to Beethoven that pairs Beethoven’s violin sonatas with new works by Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer and Andrew Norman. The series explores the impact and significance Beethoven has had on a diverse group of composers and musicians. Orchestral highlights of the season include. Koh’s debut with Minnesota Orchestra, and engagements with Buffalo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony.
Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, and the Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, New World, Montreal and National symphonies. Abroad she has appeared with the BBC London and Scottish Symphonies, Czech Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Lahti Symphony, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil. A prolific recitalist, she frequently appears at major music centers and festivals.
Born in Chicago of Korean parents, Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. In a shift of disciplines, Koh earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College before studying at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir. Koh is on the string faculty of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Koh is the artistic director of MusicBridge, a nonprofit organization she founded in 2013 to foster and promote collaborations between artists of diverse disciplines and styles. MusicBridge provides leadership and support for innovative music and artistic commissions, educational initiatives and professional development of classical musicians.
The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, celebrating its 120th anniversary during the 2015-2016 season, 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, February 25, 8 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral, New Castle
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: TCHAIKOVSKY AND DVOŘÁK
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
JENNIFER KOH, violin
Carnival Overture, Opus 92
Concerto in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 53
I. Allegro ma non troppo–
II. Adagio, ma non troppo
III. Finale: Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Opus 74, “Pathétique”
I. Adagio – Allegro non troppo
II. Allegro con grazia
III. Allegro molto vivace
IV. Finale: Adagio lamentos