Mozart Symphonies, Pianist Till Fellner Highlight First Weekend of BNY Mellon Grand Classics’ Spectacular Viennese Celebration
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Manfred Honeck are giving audiences the unique opportunity to “choose their Mozart” during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics “Mozart: The Last Three Symphonies” concerts on April 21-23 at Heinz Hall.
These concerts mark the start of a two-week festival celebrating the musically rich history of Vienna. Late 18th and early 19th-century Vienna was the greenhouse in which Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert all creatively blossomed, composing some of their most delightful and best-loved orchestral works. Over three concerts, Honeck combines the music of these masters into three distinct concerts, each of which features one of Mozart’s last three symphonies. Those symphonies, No. 39, 40 and 41, “Jupiter,” were written in a creative burst during summer 1788 and reveal the stunning culmination of Mozart’s symphonic genius. Across the weekend, fellow Austrian Till Fellner joins the orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
A pre-concert talk with Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will occur on stage before each concert. Also before each concert this weekend, the Steinway Young Artists will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. Both pre-concert presentations begin one hour before the concert start time and are free and open to ticketholders.
Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/VienneseCelebration 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, are available through the Heinz Hall Box Office by phone at 412-392-4900 or online at pittsburghsymphony.org/VienneseCelebration.
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
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 Recordings, most recently Strauss’ Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier suites, 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.
Pianist TILL FELLNER plays with scrupulous musicianship, purity of style and sparkling keyboard command – qualities that have earned him acclaim throughout Europe, the United States and Japan. His readings of the works of Bach and Beethoven in particular have placed him among the elect in this repertoire, and the inspired ingenuity of his performances of such 20th century masters as György Kurtág and Elliott Carter have earned him many accolades.
This season, Fellner returns to the Montreal Symphony for performances of Beethoven Concerto No. 4 with Ken Nagano – a work they have previously recorded together on the ECM label; and to the Pittsburgh Symphony for performances of Beethoven Concerto No. 3 with frequent partner, Manfred Honeck. He collaborates again this season with Maestro Magano in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy at the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and returns to Berlin to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Ivan Fischer and the Konzerthausorchester.
Last (2015-2016) season, Fellner made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic (Mozart with Bernard Haitink) and appeared with the NHK and Chicago Symphonies, the Osaka Philharmonic, Le Concert Olympique and with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner, and at the Paris Philharmonie with Herbert Blomstedt. He continued his partnership with tenor Mark Padmore, performing lieder recitals in Germany and in Vienna, Tokyo and Seoul; and with the Belcea Quartet for performances of the Brahms Piano Quintet in Budapest, London, Bilbao, Florence and Vienna. He was heard in solo recitals in Lyon, Boston, Amsterdam, at the Wigmore Hall in London, Monte Carlo and at the Gilmore Festival in Michigan, among other places.
In North America, Fellner has appeared recently with the San Francisco Symphony and Semyon Bychkov performing Mozart, the Pittsburgh Symphony with Manfred Honeck for Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4, the Boston Symphony with Bernard Haitink, and the Chicago Symphony with Honeck. Fellner has appeared regularly with the Montreal Symphony and Kent Nagano and has played recitals at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Performances, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and at the Washington Performing Arts Society.
In recent seasons, Fellner completed his critically acclaimed complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle, which he performed over three seasons in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; at the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Wigmore Hall in London, the Salle Gaveau in Paris and Toppan Hall in Tokyo. In addition to performing Schubert’s Winterreise on tour with Mark Padmore, he appeared at the Orford Festival International de Musique with Kent Nagano and the Montréal Symphony; with the Orchestre National de France, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London and with the Munich Philharmonic. He was artist-in-residence with the Bamberg Symphony where he played numerous programs, including concerts with Herbert Blomstedt and Honeck. He has appeared in recital throughout Europe and America, and in Russia, Japan and Malaysia.
In 1993, Fellner came to world attention by winning First Prize at the important Clara Haskil International Piano Competition at Vevey, Switzerland. Since that time, Fellner has appeared as guest soloist with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, working with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin and Franz Welser-Möst, among many others. He has also performed as partner to cellist Heinrich Schiff and violinist Viviane Hagner, as well as with Padmore, Lisa Batiashvili and Adrian Brendel.
Fellner has an impressive discography to his credit on the EMI, Claves, Erato, Philips and ECM labels, the most recent release being a CD of Harrison Birtwistle’s Chamber Music with Lisa Batiashvili, Adrian Brendel, et al. His 2010 ECM recording of the Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, with Nagano and the Montreal Symphony, was singled out for its clarity and impeccable beauty. Fellner appears on an ECM album of new works by Thomas Larcher, and his recording of Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions and French Suite No. V, has received widespread critical praise, in keeping with his acclaimed ECM recording of the first book of Bach’s monumental Well-Tempered Clavier.
Fellner has also recorded Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 19, 22 and 25; Beethoven’s Concertos Nos. 2 and 3; a selection of Beethoven piano sonatas; Beethoven’s works for cello and piano (with Heinrich Schiff), Schubert’s Sonata in A minor D.784 plus 6 Moments musicaux, 4 Impromptus and 12 waltzes; Schumann’s “Kreisleriana,” Op. 16 and Schönberg’s Suite for Piano, Op. 25.
Fellner was a student of Helene Sedo-Stadler and has studied privately with Alfred Brendel, Meira Farkas, Oleg Maisenberg and Claus-Christian Schuster.
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, April 21, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m.
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Mozart: The Last Three Symphonies
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
TILL FELLNER, piano
Franz Joseph Haydn:
FRIDAY: Overture to Armida
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
SATURDAY: Overture to La clemenza di Tito, K. 621
SUNDAY: Overture to Rosamunde, D. 644
SUNDAY: Ballet Music from the Incidental Music to Rosamunde
Ludwig Van Beethoven:
Concerto No. 3 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 37
I. Allegro con brio
III. Rondo: Allegro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
FRIDAY: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major, K. 543
I. Adagio – Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
SATURDAY: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 [revised version]
I. Molto allegro
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
IV. Allegro assai
SUNDAY: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, “Jupiter”
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante cantabile
IV. Molto allegro