This blog is devoted to stories from community members about how the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has affected their lives, enriched their experiences or contributed to their community.

Community Stories: Jonah Hertzman

Jonah and Jim

Jonah Hertzman’s love affair with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra began very simply. It began with a clap. Hertzman remembers attending a Pittsburgh Symphony concert as a three year old; he doesn’t remember who the soloist was, but he does remember that the concert was excellent. [His mother, Monica, believes it probably was a Holiday Pops […]

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Mar 31

Community Stories Blog: Ann Donahue

Donahues_Cinema Serenade Gala

With eight children and 35 (and one more on the way!) grandchildren – plus a sprawling extended family with whom she is very close, Ann Donahue (pronounced Done-a-WHO) may not seem like someone who has much “spare time.” Indeed, Donahue cites faith and family as being at the center of her life. However, four years […]

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Feb 28

Community Stories Blog: Millie Ryan

Ryan with Music Director Manfred Honeck

Moments as magnificent as experiencing a symphony are not possible without people as magnificent as Millie Ryan. Ryan, current vice president of fund development and orchestra appreciation co-chair for the Pittsburgh Symphony Association (PSA), a volunteer organization committed to the support of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, has been a driving force for the Pittsburgh Symphony […]

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Jan 31

Community Stories: Marcel Walker

In June 2011, Marcel Walker attended a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert conducted by John Williams. He was enveloped by a sound that represented his own childhood and artistic journey, conducted by a personal hero. It was the accessibility of the orchestral sound of John Williams that drew Walker, comic book artist and winner of the […]

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Dec 31

Community Stories: David Katz


For the past 22 years, David Katz has taken his 12 grandchildren to Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series. The tradition began in 1994, two years after Fiddlesticks’ debut, when Katz’s eldest granddaughter was four. A lover of classical music and a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Katz saw an advertisement for the […]

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Nov 30

Community Stories: Jimmy Cunningham IV

With Andrew Wickesberg

Not many 17-year-olds can say they have toured Europe with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra; not many 17-year-olds frequently play in the lobby or on the stage of Heinz Hall; and not many 17-year-olds look to musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for career mentorship. Jim Cunningham IV, rising senior at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing […]

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Sep 30

Community Stories: Lois Clark

Nancy G. at Kelly2

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a new series of blog posts from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra highlighting members of the Pittsburgh community and why they value their relationship with the orchestra. We will post these stories once a month at  A month after the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra returned from performing at the Vatican, the […]

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Aug 31