Girls’ Night at the Symphony

The preview concert was a bit like partaking in food samples at the grocery store. My girlfriends and I got all dolled up and tried a bite of everything that the PSO was offering from the 2010-2011 season. We turned it into a fantastic girls’ night out, starting out at Six Penn, then heading to Heinz Hall. I *heart* the Cultural District! Fellow PSO blogger Doug Bauman made a cameo appearance and bravely joined me and my audacious friends for post-concert cocktails at Olive or Twist. And he somehow managed to survive the girl talk and martinis.

KDKA radio fave Larry Richert took a break from helping John Shumway calculate the heat index just long enough to emcee. Thomas Hong (aka “Brad Pitt”…you had to be there) expertly conducted and gave us all a taste of what was to come.

Here’s the lowdown for the 2010-2011 season:

The Beethoven Project continues: Beethoven’s Fifth kicks off the season! I didn’t think that I’d ever heard Beethoven’s Fifth, but it was one of those famous pieces that I know…I just didn’t know that I knew. You know? Seriously, it’s one of the most recognizable pieces of all time, and is one of those “you’ve gotta hear it live” performances. It’s awesome.

The PSO is going green next year with its “Inspired by Nature” theme. And who better to set an outdoorsy ambiance than a little Aaron Copland? His Appalachian Spring is guaranteed to conjure images of majestic mountains and American Bald Eagles. Also scheduled is a performance of Bernstein’s score from On the Waterfront. It’ll be like camping in the Great Outdoors…minus the annoying bugs.

The girls and I absolutely loved The Firebird! Despite our diverse musical tastes, we all were ecstatically enthusiastic about the piece; so much, in fact, that we’ve planned another girls’ night for March to watch Yan Pascal Tortelier conduct. Stravinsky + girls’ night = fabulousness.

Storybook Favorites: I can’t believe that I’ll have to wait until May for this! I have a freakish love for all things Alice and was thrilled to see Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Del Tredici’s Final Alice on the program. This is something cool, too: Heinz Hall will feature fantasy exhibits and storytelling. Can I bring my white rabbit for this?

Mozart: Like Beethoven’s Fifth, I’d heard Mozart’s No. 40 before, but didn’t realize it. Of course, there’s no love lost with me and Mozart, but I do kinda like No. 40. And I never get tired of hearing familiar works being played…what’s the word I’m looking for… well. (No cheap imitations here!)

Tchaikovsky Festival: Because everyone needs a little Tchai in their lives. I’ve heard very little Tchaikovsky, and I was pleasantly surprised by Symphony No. 5. Like most things Russian, I had expected it to be dark and heavy. Only a few parts journeyed into a darker, brooding feel, while the rest of it was like a good coffee—full-bodied, lively and rich in flavor. I’m also looking forward to hearing Romeo & Juliet during the opening weekend of the Tchaikovsky Festival in February.

Sarah Chang plays Bruch: Ms. Chang will perform with the PSO in October, but this evening, we were treated to the talents of Ms. Laura Motchalov (who adorned a beautiful blue gown—the girls and I loved it!) Bruch’s music was really lively and fun. It’s the kind of music you’d want to play in your car if you were for work.

Check out the website for the full schedule. Not that I’m wishing the summer away (I still get nightmares about last winter!), but I am eagerly anticipating the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. And if you’ve never experienced a girls’ night at the symphony, it’s a spectacular time!

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