The City of Paris has captured imaginations and inspired artists of all disciplines for generations. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier take audiences to this magical city during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics Weekend, “Bolero!” on March 17-19 at Heinz Hall.
With a program full of music originally composed for ballets, the weekend’s concerts include movements from Offenbach’s La Gaîté Parisienne, depicting a scene from a fashionable Parisian café in the mid-1800s, followed by Ravel’s pulsating Boléro, which premiered at the Paris Opera in November 1928. Tortelier also will lead the orchestra in a performance of Stravinsky’s Pétrushka, which tells the story of the loves and jealousies among three puppets. Maestro Tortelier has chosen to perform the 1947 version, which is the same year of his birth, in an early celebration of his 70th birthday on April 19!
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders, with Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco will occur on stage one hour before each concert. On Sunday, the Sharps and Flats cello ensemble will perform one hour before concert start time in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. Both pre-concert presentations are free and open to ticketholders. Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/Bolero and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
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/Bolero.
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-FM 89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
YAN PASCAL TORTELIER enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at 14, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire, making his soloist debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. This season, Yan Pascal Tortelier takes up the position of chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with whom he has built a very special relationship during his guest appearances with the orchestra in recent seasons. Former positions have included principal conductor and artistic director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992) and principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-2008). He was also principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2011. Following his outstanding work as chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a very successful tour of the United States to celebrate the orchestra’s 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of conductor emeritus and continues to work and record with the orchestra regularly. Tortelier also holds the position of principal guest conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Tortelier has collaborated with major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala Milan, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras. Further afield he has collaborated with the Sydney and the Melbourne Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Malaysian philharmonic orchestras.
Recent highlights have included appearances in North America and Canada with the Pittsburgh, Dallas, Montreal, San Francisco, St. Louis and Baltimore symphony orchestras.
Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic and Ulster orchestras, and including award-winning cycles of the orchestral music of Debussy, Ravel (featuring his own orchestration of Ravel’s Piano Trio), Franck, Roussel and Dutilleux. He has also conducted critically acclaimed discs of repertoire ranging from Hindemith and Kodaly to Lutoslawski, and Karlowicz. Recent releases for Chandos include the Ravel piano concertos coupled with Debussy’s Fantaisie, with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and a disc of works by Florent Schmitt with the Sao Paulo Symphony. In the 2013-2014 season, Tortelier added to this catalogue with the release of an entire disc of Stravinsky, once again collaborating with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
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, March 17, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, at 2:30 p.m.
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Bolero!
YAN PASCAL TORTELIER, conductor
Pétrushka (1947 revision)
Jacques Offenbach (orch. Rosenthal):
Selections from Gaîté Parisienne