Violin superstar Midori first captured hearts and minds of audiences 30 years ago as an 11-year-old virtuoso. She returns to Heinz Hall for the first time since 2004 to perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics on February 3 & 5 at Heinz Hall.
During the weekend’s performances, Midori will dazzle audiences with Mendelssohn’s poetic and lyrical Violin Concerto. Music Director Manfred Honeck opens the program with Mozart’s ingenious “Haffner” Symphony. Originally designed as party music for the prominent Haffner family of Salzburg, this work was later transformed into a symphony for the great musical center of Vienna. This concert weekend also features Brahms’ triumphant Symphony No. 1. This work, nearly 14 years in the making, announced the composer’s arrival as a symphonist in dramatic style.
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders and led by Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. The CMU Young Artist Orchestra will perform in the Grand Lobby one hour before the concert start on Friday, February 3. Both of these pre-concert activities are free for ticketholders.
Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/Midori and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday 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/Midori.
Midori will also perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony during the Scottish Rite Cathedral Series in New Castle on February 4 and at the Canady Symphony Series at West Virginia University on February 6.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2016-2017 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. Radio station WQED-FM 89.3 and WQEJ-FM89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. He and the orchestra are consistently recognized for their performances and are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. To great acclaim, they 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 the Musikverein in Vienna. This successful collaboration has also been extensively documented on recordings. The SACDs released by Reference Records, most recently Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, have received numerous rave reviews, as well as two Grammy Award nominations.
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 have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where earned the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to become music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of operas by Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Poulenc and Wagner. Other operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Royal Opera of Copenhagen and the Salzburg Festival.
As a guest conductor Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College, Carnegie Mellon University and the Catholic University of America. Most recently, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the Austrian federal president.
MIDORI is one of the most legendary violinists of this generation. In addition to performing at the highest levels internationally, she has also been recognized by the United Nations and the World Economic Forum for her exceptional commitment to education and community engagement throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the developing world. More recently, Midori has been making a sustained commitment to the violin repertoire of the future, commissioning several new concerto and recital works.
In the last few seasons, Midori has added several new recordings to her extensive catalogue of discs – a recording of Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas and a forthcoming release of the violin concerto DoReMi written for her by Peter Eötvös and recorded with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In 2014, a recording featuring Midori’s performance of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto with NDR Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium.
Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, a devoted and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist. In 1992 she founded Midori & Friends, a nonprofit organization in New York which brings music education programs to underserved New York City schoolchildren in every borough each year. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the United States, also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Her commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realized in her Orchestra Residences Program. In 2007, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Midori was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. Zubin Mehta first heard Midori play in 1982 and it was he who invited her to make her now legendary debut – at the age of 11 – at the New York Philharmonic’s traditional New Year’s Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career. Today, Midori lives in Los Angeles, where, in addition to her many commitments, she continues her position as Distinguished Professor of Violin and Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Midori’s violin is the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù “ex-Huberman.” She uses three bows – two by Dominique Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.
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), André 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. Its “Pittsburgh Live!” series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Award nominations in 2015 and 2016. 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 hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.
Editors Please Note:
Friday, February 3, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 5, at 2:30 p.m.
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Midori
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385, “Haffner”
I. Allegro con spirito
Concerto in E minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 64
I. Allegro molto appassionato
III. Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 68
I. Un poco sostenuto – Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio – Più andante – Allegro non troppo, ma con brio