Gala Live Broadcast – Peter Greer

For those of us in the Hall on September 10,
2005 – PSO Gala Night, we were swept away by the excitement of the
concert featuring Yo Yo Ma and Sir Andrew Davis, the PSO, and all of
those popping balloons. Then, I saw most of the live broadcast when it
was repeated at noon last Saturday (9/17) on KDKA TV.  I was swept away
again, this time by things that I had not been able to experience
during the actual performance.

Compliments are due to the KDKA and PSO folks who produced this
marvelous document of the PSO in performance.  The production values
easily met or exceeded all of the televised PBS symphony broadcasts I
have seen in recent years.  Sir Andrew was in top form both musically
and in his remarks to the audience.  And Ma’s performance of the Dvorak
Cello Concerto was, if anything, more exciting for me to watch on
television than it was in the Hall that night.  The close up shots
captured the tension and eye contact that Ma established with Davis and
members of the orchestra more vividly than I had been able to witness
from my balcony seat, excellent though it was.
The intermission features were informative without being preachy
as the broadcast stepped outside the Hall to present examples of the
PSO’s  presence within the community.  We could see for ourselves the
smiles of joy on curious faces when Paul Silver and Zach Smith
demonstrated their respective instruments (viola and horn) in a show
and tell session for preschoolers.
These broadcasts are frightfully expensive to produce, especially
in this era when there is little or no commercial market for classical
music on television.  This video document of the Pittsburgh Symphony in
performance in Heinz Hall in 2005 will serve as a powerful legacy for
future generations of classical music lovers, not just those who reside
in Pittsburgh. If only we had been able to produce similar documents in
the Maazel and Jansons years.   I hope we can find more underwriters
whose generosity will match UPMC’s so that we can continue to preserve
an occasional live performance of the PSO featuring its notable music
directors and guest artists. 
In the meantime, let us encourage repeat broadcasts of this concert whenever the opportunities arise. 

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