Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh Present Concert in Memory of Robert Page

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Robert Page, director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, passed away in August 2016, leaving a hole in the musical fabric of Pittsburgh. On May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Heinz Hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh will join together with Page’s family in a free musical celebration of his life and work.

Robert Page led the Mendelssohn Choir for 26 years. He was a legendary choral conductor, arranger and musician, who transformed the choral field.

“Robert Page’s musical legacy is incredibly far-reaching, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra family was so fortunate to experience his greatness and his passion in countless ways through the years,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will include pieces written and arranged by or just loved by Page, including Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” selections from Porgy & Bess and “There’s a City Called Heaven.” It will be hosted by WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham and feature Pittsburgh Symphony Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, Mendelssohn Choir Director Matthew Mehaffey, Junior Mendelssohn Choir Director Christine Jordanoff, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Student Chorale Director Christine Hestwood, former Mendelssohn Choir Directors Maria Sensi Sellner and Andrew Clark, Broadway actor and tenor (and Bob Page’s grandson) Alexander Gemignani, pianists Mark Carver and Joy Crummie, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

The concert is free, but reservations are required. Tickets can be reserved by phone at 412-392-4900, online at pittsburghsymphony.org (a small service fee will apply) or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office at 600 Penn Ave., downtown.

About the Artists

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.

Hailed as one of the finest choruses in the country, the MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH (MCP) is proud of its long artistic partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and looks forward to another exciting season at Heinz Hall. Primarily a volunteer chorus, the Mendelssohn Choir is composed of more than 100+ singers whose passion and commitment enables them to perform alongside the world’s greatest musicians. In addition to its performances with the PSO, the Mendelssohn Choir produces its own community concerts and provides professional choral instruction to talented young people through the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

MCP is committed to offering a mix of traditional and innovative choral performances to maintain the vitality and relevance of the choral art. Under its new music director, Matthew Mehaffey — MCP’s seventh music director in its 109-year history, MCP looks forward to bringing Pittsburgh audiences more concert experiences such as “The Music of Downton Abbey” (October 2016) and the Pittsburgh premiere of Annelies, a choral work based on the Diary of Anne Frank, (February 2017). Last summer, MCP partnered with composer/conductor Steven Hackman to perform “Defying Gravity,” a concert of Hackman’s arrangements and choral mash-ups at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The concert was Hackman’s premiere performance at the Arts Festival and was MCP’s first appearance on the Festival’s mainstage after a 40-year hiatus. MCP and Hackman later performed the “Defying Gravity” concert at Oglebay, West Virginia.

As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s “chorus of choice,” the Mendelssohn Choir has performed with some of the world’s foremost conductors including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Manfred Honeck. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI.

Committed to fostering the choral art form, the Mendelssohn Choir has numerous recordings, commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. The Choir’s most recent recording released in fall 2011 is Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh with Manfred Honeck conducting. For more information on the Mendelssohn and Junior Mendelssohn Choirs and upcoming performances go to themendelssohn.org.

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:

Sunday, May 7, 7:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall
Love That’s Here to Stay: A Tribute to Robert Page
ANDRES FRANCO, conductor
MATTHEW MEHAFFEY, conductor
CHRISTINE JORDANOFF, conductor
CHRISTINE HESTWOOD, conductor
MARIA SENSI SELLNER, conductor
ANDREW CLARK, conductor
ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI, conductor
THE MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH (Matthew Mehaffey, director)
JUNIOR MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH (Christine Jordanoff, director)
MARK CARVER, piano
JOY CRUMMIE, piano
JIM CUNNINGHAM, host

Carl Orff:

“O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana
Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Mr. Franco, conductor

Felix Mendelssohn:

“He, Watching Over Israel” from Elijah, Opus 70
Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Mr. Mehaffey, conductor

Robert Page:

There’s a City Called Heaven
Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Ms. Jordanoff, conductor

Stephen Sondheim (arranged by Page):

“Old Friends” from Merrily We Roll Along
Ms. Hestwood, conductor
Mr. Carver, piano

Irving Berlin(arranged by Page):

What’ll I do?
Ms. Sensi Sellner, conductor

Cole Porter (arranged by Page):

“It’s De-lovely” from Red, Hot and Blue
Mr. Clark, conductor
Ms. Crummie, piano

George Gershwin (arranged by Bennett):

Selections from Porgy and Bess
Mr. Franco, conductor

George Gershwin  (arranged by Page; orchestrated by Gedris):

Love Is Here To Stay
Mr. Gemignani, conductor

Leonard Bernstein (choral arranged by Page):

“Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide
Mr. Mehaffey, conductor

Marvin Hamlisch (choral arranged by Page):

The Way We Were
Mr. Franco, conductor

Ludwig Van Beethoven:

“Ode to Joy,” Finale from Symphony No. 9
Mr. Franco, conductor

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May 1