Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Honors Service Men and Women in ‘American Celebration’

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Honors Service Men and Women in ‘American Celebration’

Assistant conductor Andrés Franco and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra present “An American Celebration: In Honor of Our Service Men and Women,” concert featuring American music that is part of the Summer with the Symphony series, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum on July 1 at 7 p.m.

The Symphony returns to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum for the second year to celebrate the United States and those who protect it. This family-friendly concert will feature American favorites such as “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and “America the Beautiful,” along with John Williams’ music for the movie “Lincoln,” music of Aaron Copland and other favorites. Special guests for this concert include Pittsburgh Symphony trombone James Nova and vocalists Katy Shackleton Williams, Eva Rainforth and Judy Jenkins. Also, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust President John F. McCabe will welcome attendees to this special event and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will give the opening remarks.

A beautiful evening of music and sing-alongs, “An American Celebration” will be a heartfelt tribute to all active duty and retired servicemen and women.

The concert is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. Registration can be completed online at pittsburghsymphony.org/veterans. Questions can be directed to 412-392-4841.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank The Fine Foundation and Trib Total Media for their generous support of this concert.​

About the Artists

Franco, Andres_webMusic director of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony at TCC and assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, ANDRÉS FRANCO has established himself as a conductor to watch. He is in his fifth season as principal conductor of the multimedia project Caminos del Inka and his third season as artistic director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Festival, “Concerts in the Garden.”

Franco’s 2014-2015 highlights included subscription debuts with the Columbus and Fort Worth symphony orchestras, as well as return engagements with the Houston and Saint Louis symphonies. In 2015-2016, he made subscription debuts with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and returned to conduct the Corpus Christi and Fort Worth symphony orchestras.

A frequent guest conductor in the U.S., Europe and South America, Franco has appeared with the Elgin, El Paso, Eugene, Lake Forest, Mississippi, Springfield and Stockton symphony orchestras, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León/Spain and the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, as well as with the National Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic, Medellin Philharmonic and EAFIT Symphony Orchestra in Colombia. Festival appearances include the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Oregon Bach Festival and the Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia. Franco formerly served as music director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City (2004-2010), associate and resident conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony (2009-2014), and Leonard Slatkin’s assistant conductor during the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (2013).

A native of Colombia, Franco is dedicated to preserving and performing the music of the Americas. As principal conductor of Caminos del Inka, he has led many performances of Latin American music by composers of our time, such as Jimmy López, Diego Luzuriaga and the popular Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. Born into a musical family, Franco began piano studies with his father, Jorge Franco. An accomplished pianist, he studied with Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jose Feghali and attended piano workshops with Rudolph Buchbinder in Switzerland and Lev Naumov in France.  He studied conducting with Marin Alsop, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Helmut Rilling, Gerard Schwarz and Leonard Slatkin.

Franco holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as Master of Music degrees in piano performance and conducting from Texas Christian University. Franco is married to Victoria Luperi, principal clarinetist in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Nova, James_RobDavidson_webIn fall 2009, JAMES NOVA joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as its second/utility trombone. Before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony, Nova served eight seasons as the assistant principal/second trombonist of the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Nova began playing the trombone at age nine in his home state of Connecticut. As a child he received his early musical exposure and training from his father, Anesti Nova. During high school, Nova studied with his first private trombone teacher, Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Hartford Symphony George Sanders.

After graduating high school Nova attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He received his bachelor’s degree there studying with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s then Principal Trombonist Glenn Dodson. Nova moved to Boston to pursue a master’s degree on a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with then Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist Norman Bolter. In addition to his college education, Nova attended the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and was also a member of the Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Orchestra for three summers. After finishing his master’s degree, he freelanced in Boston for several years, substituting on a regular basis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, making several recordings and television broadcasts with both groups as both principal and second trombone. In 2001, Nova moved to Salt Lake City to join the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

From 2003 to 2007, he enjoyed playing at the Grand Teton Music Festival and recently played and taught at the Brevard Music Center in summer 2013. He is also the former second trombonist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, California, former principal of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, former principal of the Vermont Symphony and former assistant principal of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Nova’s solo recording “Albanian Rhapsody” is a debut in both performance and composition for the father and son team, composer Anesti Nova and trombonist James Nova. All but one piece in this world premiere collection of compositions is for solo trombone and either string or chamber orchestra. The music is ethnically charged, deriving much influence and flavor from Jim and Anesti’s strong Albanian background. It is at times tragic, languid and yet uplifting as it chronicles (with the trombone as storyteller) the journey of the Nova family through hardships and eventual triumph over adversity.

In March 2012, Nova made his solo debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing the Henri Tomasi Trombone concerto as well as his own arrangement of the famous Tommy Dorsey jazz ballad, “I’m Getting’ Sentimental Over You,” on which Tomasi based his trombone concerto.

Since 2012, Nova has found a new passion using recording technology to explore multitrack recording, also known as “overdubbing” and created numerous stunning recordings of challenging new arrangements he’s done of a variety of exciting repertoire for trombone choir. These employ a number of trombones: contra bass, bass, tenor, small tenor, alto and even soprano trombones! Nova is an SE Shires Artist and performs on Greg Black Mouthpieces. For more: soundcloud.com/jimnova or jimnova.com.

Williams, Katy ShackletonKATY SHACKLETON WILLIAMS has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with prestigious organizations such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, the Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, River City Brass Band and Pittsburgh Concert Chorale.

Williams was a featured soloist for several Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concert series and made her PSO 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 the Fiddlesticks (which she loves) and Tiny Tots children’s concerts hosted by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has many times toured with the River City Brass Band as a featured soloist and has recently performed in the chorus for CLO’s production of The Student Prince.

She has enjoyed solo performing with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in Scranton, as well as Undercroft Opera, Edgewood Symphony, Pittsburgh Philharmonic, St. Vincent College Singers and Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. She also had the honor of singing at the dedication of the Fred Rogers building at St. Vincent’s College with acclaimed songwriter/pianist Michael Moricz.

Operatic roles include Adina in Elixir of Love, Adele in Die Fledermaus, First Mother in Dead Man Walking, Love in Orfeo and Eurydice and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro. Notable solo engagements include Theofanidis’ The Here and Now, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Barber’s Prayers of Kirkegaard and Honegger’s King David. She has sung under the baton of Manfred Honeck, Sir Andrew Davis, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Robert Page, Marvin Hamlisch, Lawrence Loh and Daniel Meyer.

Williams was praised in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Best Classical Performances of 2009 for her singing in Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She has recorded Leonardo Balada’s Encenas Borracones with New World Records and his La Muerte de Colon under the Naxos label.

Currently, she is a member of the professional core for the Mendelssohn Choir, chorister in Pittsburgh Opera and is adjunct music staff at Washington & Jefferson College. She is the soprano soloist at Rodef Shalom, Oakland, and the vocal artist in residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon. Williams is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance.

Rainforth, Eva_An American CelebrationOriginally from Sayville, Long Island, EVA RAINFORTH is no stranger to Pittsburgh audiences, having sung with the Mendelssohn Choir, The River City Brass Band, the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale and the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus. In 2004, she sang with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in The Lord of the Rings concert and is delighted to return to the Pittsburgh Symphony to sing another concert of Howard Shore’s music.

She has sung leading roles with The New England Lyric Opera, Opera Northeast, the American Light Opera (co-founder), Opera Ignite and The Florida Studio Theatre. She can be seen in the PBS broadcast of Showboat, produced by The Papermill Playhouse, and has sung the role of Pitti-Sing at City Center in NYC.

Rainforth has a vocal performance degree from State University of New York (Fredonia) and has the highest certification in Somatic Voicework™, the LoVetri Method. She currently teaches voice in the conservatory at Point Park University.

Rainforth started her musical studies in composition, and has recently been accepted into the The Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh’s (MTAP) incubator program to further develop her one woman musical Me, Myself, and Others.

Praised by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “blessed…with a rich, hypnotic voice that is notable for its beauty and control,” JUDITH JENKINS has been featured in recent years as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Mendelssohn Choir, the River City Brass Band, the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale and the Renaissance City Winds. She has  performed the soprano solos in Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, the Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion and many cantatas of Bach, the Requiems of Faure and Brahms, Poulenc’s Gloria, Masses of Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven, among others. Jenkins has performed Lieder recitals in Europe and Asia, including a series of concerts in the Philippines sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. In 2005, she created the roles of Queen Isabella in the world premiere of Leonardo Balada’s opera The Death of Columbus, and recorded the same for the Naxos label. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts in opera from Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently instructor of voice with the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University, and is a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus.

The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, celebrating 120 years of music in 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 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.

SOLDIERS & SAILORS is the nation’s only memorial and museum dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service and in all capacities (Active, Reserve, Guard). Operated and maintained by a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, the historic memorial was designed by renowned architect Henry Hornbostel and opened in 1910.  The museum within the memorial offers a unique look into American history by telling the stories of the individuals that served our country through exhibits covering all of America’s conflicts from the Civil War through Afghanistan. Through educational and veteran outreach programs, museum displays and special events, we share and promote the significance of the facility to the community as a living memorial, an educational asset and a cultural treasure.

Editors please note:

Friday, July 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum
ANDRÉS FRANCO, conductor
JAMES NOVA, trombone

John Stafford Smith:

The Star-Spangled Banner (audience sing-along)
Ms. Williams

Aaron Copland:

Fanfare for the Common Man

Aaron Copland:

Letter from Home

George Bassman (arranged by Nova):

“I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”
Mr. Nova

Don Raye (arranged by Prince):

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
Ms. Williams
Ms. Rainforth
Ms. Jenkins

Duke Ellington (arranged by Custer):

A Medley for Orchestra

Bob Lowden (arranged by Lowden)

Armed Forces Salute
Army Song
Coast Guard Song
Marines Song
Air Force Song
Navy Song
Ms. Williams

Leonard Bernstein (adapted by Peress):

Overture to West Side Story

John Williams:

Music from Lincoln
The People’s House

Samuel Ward (arranged by Hayman):

America the Beautiful (audience sing-along)
Ms. Williams

John Phillip Sousa:

Stars and Stripes Forever

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