The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents master works from Mussorgsky, Ravel and Paganini during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics weekend, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” March 31 and April 2 at Heinz Hall.
Originally a suite of 10 piano pieces, Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in grief-stricken tribute to his friend, artist Victor Hartmann, who died at only 39 years old. The piece walks the audience through the 10 pieces in an exhibition of Hartmann’s work that took place in spring 1874. Maurice Ravel’s 1922 orchestration is a model for technical genius, interpretation and respect for the composer, as well as a stunning display for the virtuosity of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Principal Viola Randolph Kelly will shine in Paganini’s Sonata per la Grand Viola, a showpiece that was given its Pittsburgh subscription premiere by Kelly in 1987. The program opens with another piece by Ravel, Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose), an exquisite ballet that was originally composed as a five-movement piano suite for children.
The weekend’s program will be led by debut guest conductor Lionel Bringuier, a young French conductor who frequently appears with top orchestras and was named chief conductor and music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2012 at age 26.
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders, with Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco will occur on stage one hour before each concert. On Friday, the Fairfield High School Choir 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/Exhibition 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/Exhibition.
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
French conductor LIONEL BRINGUIER’S artistic maturity, interpretive depth and distinct programming have quickly established him as one of the most engaging conductors of his generation. He appears frequently with top orchestras to great acclaim, all of which led to his being named chief conductor and music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2012 at age 26. Entering the sixth season since his momentous debut with the Tonhalle, Bringuier’s bold vision and boundless energy – both on and off the podium – are breathing new life and vitality into a historic ensemble.
During the 2017-2018 season, Bringuier will be making two appearances with Orchestre National de Lyon in November 2017 and May 2018. Bringuier’s 2017-2018 season also includes appearances with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Finnish & Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Malaysia Philharmonic among others. Bringuier has appeared as a guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Philharmonia Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic, to name just a few.
Following the landmark inauguration of the Creative Chair Initiative for the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in his first season as chief conductor and music director, this season Bringuier will collaborate with the composer Brett Dean as TOZ Artist in Residence. The first ever Creative Chair role in Zurich was held by Esa-Pekka Salonen, followed by Jörg Widmann in the 2015-2016 season and Peter Eötvös in the 2016-2017 season. Previous TOZ Artists in Residence, Yuja Wang, Lisa Batiashvili and Martin Grubinger remain close collaborators. At the start of the 2017 season, Bringuier and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich embark on their first season at the Maag Hall and open the season with Beethoven’s ninth Symphony and Brett Dean’s Viola Concerto with the composer also as soloist.
Bringuier has conducted numerous premieres, including the world premiere of Bernard Rands’s Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra with soloist Robert Walters and the Cleveland Orchestra, and the world premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Karawane with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. He has also led numerous regional premieres of works by John Corigliano, Marc-André Dalbavie, Magnus Lindberg, Bruno Mantovani, Gubaidulina and more. This season, Bringuier will lead the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and harpist Xavier Maistre in the premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s “Trans” for Harp and Orchestra. He frequently collaborates with renowned solo artists, including pianists Yuja Wang, Nelson Freire, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Lang Lang; violinists Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, Gil Shaham and Ray Chen; and cellist Gautier Capuçon.
His discography includes two Ravel compilations on Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being a complete survey of the composer’s orchestral works, with performances by Yuja Wang and Ray Chen. Lionel and Nelson Freire are featured on a Decca CD release of Chopin pieces, as well as a DVD capture of Bringuier’s debut at the BBC Proms. Additionally, Lionel, along with violinist Renaud Capuçon and cellist Gautier Capuçon, put forth an album of Saint-Saëns concerti on the Erato label.
Bringuier has received several awards recognizing his artistic achievements, including the “Médaille d’or à l’unanimité avec les félicitations du jury à l’Académie Prince Rainier III de Monaco” and the “Médaille d’or” from the city of Nice. He was also honored with prizes from the Schweizer Stiftung Langart and the Cziffra Foundation.
In 2007, after accepting an assistantship with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and an associateship with the Orchestre de Bretagne, he was chosen from nearly 150 applicants to serve under Esa-Pekka Salonen as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and became (at 21 years of age) the youngest to do so in the orchestra’s history, and the youngest person to ever conduct at Disney Hall. His extraordinary rapport with the orchestra, critical acclaim and instant connection to the audiences, led to his reappointment under Gustavo Dudamel and subsequent promotion to resident conductor in 2011. Bringuier embarked on a concurrent three-season tenure as music director of Spain’s Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León in 2009 where he returns regularly.
Bringuier studied cello with Philippe Muller and conducting with Zsolt Nagy at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. He received further career guidance via master classes from Péter Eötvös and Janos Fürst. Bringuier made his professional debut at the age of 14, conducting a live concert on French national television, followed by a triumph in Besançon at age 19 that launched his career.
RANDOLPH KELLY has enjoyed a distinguished and multifaceted career as principal violist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was signed by André Previn in 1976, and has since played under the direction of Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. Previn once wrote that Kelly “transformed his section into what I believe is the best viola section of any orchestra in America.”
One highlight of Kelly’s tenure with the Pittsburgh Symphony was performing the world premiere of a viola concerto written for him by Samuel Adler, which was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for its 2000-2001 season. In addition to his orchestral career, Kelly’s virtuosity as a soloist and chamber musician has been celebrated around the world. He has collaborated with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, André Previn, Pinchas Zukerman and Truls Mörk, among others. He has recorded and toured extensively with the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. In reviewing an LAPQ performance, the German Press Passaver Neve stated, “Randolph Kelly is in a class of his own. He has a richness of tone such as one seldom hears…” Additionally, Kelly has been invited to perform as a guest artist at chamber music festivals in Japan, Australia, Europe, China, Taiwan and Russia.
As a soloist, Kelly has appeared on some of the most prestigious concert stages in the world. He performed the New York premiere of Sir Michael Tippet’s Triple Concerto in Carnegie Hall. He made his European solo debut when Lorin Maazel invited him to play the Walton Concerto with the National Orchestra of France. James DePriest conducted the Oregon Symphony when Kelly played the Bartók Viola Concerto. The review in The Oregonian stated, “guest soloist Randolph Kelly provided the evening’s highlight… it was a breathtaking performance.” In addition to his rigorous performing schedule, Kelly has recorded a wide range of music for the Albany, Naxos and Music Masters labels. He also appeared on national TV, performing Don Quixote as part of a series entitled Previn and The Pittsburgh.
Kelly is a graduate of The Curtis Institute, where he worked closely with the esteemed violist Joseph DePasquale. He is committed to performing new music, and he generously volunteers his time to educational programs in an effort to bring a wide range of musical experiences to young audiences.
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 31, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 2, at 2:30 p.m.
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Pictures at an Exhibition
LIONEL BRINGUIER, conductor
RANDOLPH KELLY, viola
Ma Mère l’Oye [Mother Goose] (complete ballet)
II. Spinning-wheel Dance
III. Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty
IV. Tom Thumb
V. Conversations of Beauty and the Beast
VI. Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas
VII. The Enchanted Garden
Sonata for the Grand Viola
Modest Mussorgsky (Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel) :
Pictures at an Exhibition
II. Il vecchio castello
V. Ballet of Little Chicks in their Shells
VI. Two Polish Jews
VIII. Catacombae – Cum mortius in lingua mortua
IX. Baba-Yaga – The Hut on Hen’s Legs
X. The Great Gate of Kiev