FUSE@PSO, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s genre-bending early evening concert series, returns for its second season with three concerts featuring the music of Tchaikovsky, Bartók, Björk and Drake, and a performance by guest artists Time for Three. The 2016-2017 season goes on sale June 1.
Crafted by Creative Director and Conductor Steve Hackman, each FUSE@PSO concert features a work that synthesizes a classical composer’s work with the music of a modern artist’s, creating something that is at once familiar and brand-new. The concerts in the 2016-2017 season include:
- Bartók + Björk: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 — a colorful, evocative combination of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and 11 songs from Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk’s first three albums — “Debut,” “Post” and “Homogenic.” Three vocalists will join the Pittsburgh Symphony and Hackman in this one-of-a-kind performance.
- Tchaikovsky + Drake: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — a world premiere, this concert features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in its original form with a dozen Drake songs weaved throughout the work, including “We’re Going Home” and “Hotline Bling.”
- Mash-Up Mix-Down: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 — a classically trained string trio known for their exploration of a variety of musical genres, Time for Three, joins Hackman and the Pittsburgh Symphony for a concert that hits the shuffle button, offering the audience a playlist of classical-pop mash-ups.
Each FUSE@PSO experience begins at 5 p.m. with a happy hour, featuring a variety of happy hour-priced drinks, activities and sponsors. The concert follows at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Series season packages are available as well. Tickets are general admission and there is no intermission. Drinks are allowed in the concert hall at these performances.
Single tickets and series subscriptions go on sale on June 1 online at pittsburghsymphony.org/FUSE, by calling 412-392-4900 or in person at the Heinz Hall box office at 600 Penn Ave.
About the Artists
Conductor, composer, arranger, producer and songwriter STEVE HACKMAN is increasingly in demand as one the most compelling artists contributing to a new landscape in classical music. Fluent in both classical and popular repertoire, he crafts virtuosic, cross-genre works and performances that intrigue the established audience and engage an excited new one.
Active across the country as a guest conductor of major symphony orchestras, Hackman presents programs he architects that synthesize orchestral and pop masterworks. He has performed his pieces such as Brahms + Radiohead, Beethoven + Coldplay, Copland + Bon Iver and Bartok + Björk with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Columbus Symphony and Colorado Music Festival orchestra. Hackman’s work as an artistic entrepreneur was most recently recognized by an invitation to speak at the TedX Conference.
In 2016, Hackman continues in his second season as creative director and conductor of FUSE at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, an innovative new concert series aimed at engaging a new young audience. The season will include the premiere of Tchaikovsky + Drake, a symphonic mash-up of the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony and the music of Drake, as well as Bartok + Björk, a piece that fuses the former’s Concerto for Orchestra with the latter’s first three albums. For the final FUSE@PSO concert of 2015-2016, Hackman composed Firebird: Remix | Response, an original concept-album/remix of Stravinsky’s Firebird, for full orchestra, chorus, singer, rapper, drummer, synthesizer and electronics.
From 2013 to 2015, Hackman was music director of the “Mash-Up” series at the Colorado Music Festival. CMF commissioned three premieres in this time — Bartok V. Björk, Copland V. Bon Iver and Beethoven V. Coldplay. Other highlight programs included collaborations with My Brightest Diamond, Aoife O’Donovan, Olga Bell (of Dirty Projectors) and San Fermin.
From 2009 to 2013, Hackman served as co-creative director of the Happy Hour at the Symphony Series with the Indianapolis Symphony, where, along with co-artistic directors Time For Three (TF3), he pioneered a new type of concert experience by producing, arranging/composing and conducting compelling presentations that blended classical with pop. He returns as guest conductor regularly, most recently in spring 2016 premiering a program commissioned by the ISO and Time for Three that combined symphonic movements of Dvořák with songs by Dave Matthews Band.
Hackman is the creative director of :STEREO HIDEOUT:, a music brand that represents the removal of barriers between classical and popular music and the skillful blending of the two. In 2014, he released the debut :STEREO HIDEOUT: album The Radio Nouveau, along with several music videos. The album was mixed in London by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode) and mastered in Brooklyn by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors).
Hackman’s work as a composer and arranger has met with considerable success. The string trio Time for Three and choral ensemble Chanticleer present his works as their showpieces; TF3’s Chaconne in Winter highlights their recent release on Universal Records, and Chanticleer’s Wait Fantasy can be heard on their recent album Someone New. He enjoys a continuing relationship as an arranger for Time for Three, and most recently contributed the arrangement for their appearance on From The Top, two pieces to their holiday EP Yuletime (Universal) and the music for their appearance on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. Hackman’s orchestrations for artists like Time for Three, The Five Browns, Michael Cavanaugh, My Brightest Diamond, Arlo Guthrie, Aoife O’Donovan and Joshua Radin have been performed by nearly all the major orchestras in America. This season marked his first collaboration with the world-renowned Tallis Scholars.
Hackman was a four-year member, producer and musical director of the a capella group The Other Guys at the University of Illinois, a group that under his direction placed runner-up in the International Competition of Collegiate Acapella at Avery Fisher Hall. He is a prolific songwriter, having written hundreds of songs and releasing several albums of original music. His song “The Pendulum Song” was chosen among tens of thousands as a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and he has also received honorable mention in the Billboard songwriting competition. He has entertained as a dueling piano player at Howl at the Moon piano bar in Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville. In season seven of American Idol, Hackman was one of 164 contestants chosen from more than 150,000 to attend Hollywood Week. He finished in the top 64.
Hackman studied conducting under Otto-Werner Mueller and counterpoint/composition under Dr. Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He subsequently studied conducting with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and received further instruction in orchestration from the prolific Broadway orchestrator and composer William Brohn (Miss Saigon, Wicked, Ragtime and countless others). He served as the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony for two seasons, where he led subscription, family, education and New Year’s Eve programs.
TIME FOR THREE — violinist Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violinist Nikki Chooi and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer — is a group that defies any traditional genre classification, happily and infectiously. With an uncommon mix of virtuosity and showmanship, the American trio performs music from Bach to Brahms and beyond, giving world-premieres by Pulitzer Prize-winners William Bolcom and Jennifer Higdon as well as playing originals and their own arrangements of everything from bluegrass and folk tunes to ingenious mash-ups of hits by the Beatles, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and more. Time for Three, or Tf3 for short, has performed from Carnegie Hall and the famed jazz club Yoshi’s in San Francisco to European festivals, NFL games and the Indy 500. The group’s hit YouTube bullying-prevention video, “Stronger,” has inspired students across the globe, eliciting features on CNN and the Huffington Post. Since 2009, Tf3 has held a hugely successful residency with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, helping to expand the orchestra’s audience with innovative outreach. The latest milestone for Tf3 was June 24, 2014, with the release of their debut on UMC, Time for Three. The new album, with tracks co-produced by Bon Iver’s Rob Moose, showcases not only the trio’s melody-rich string weave but also its uncommon flair for collaboration, with the group teaming with pop singer-songwriter Joshua Radin, jazz saxophone icon Branford Marsalis, Decca cello star Alisa Weilerstein and ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro, among others. For more, visit tf3.com.
The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, celebrating 120 years of music in 2016, 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 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.