PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will present its eighth Community Engagement Concert in the Wilkinsburg community on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Wilkinsburg High School Auditorium.

PSO Assistant Conductor Thomas Hong leads the Orchestra in a program featuring violinist Gareth Johnson and that includes the works of Johannes Brahms, Pablo De Sarasate, Jules Massenet, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Bedrich Smetana.

Johnson is the senior division winner of the 2010 Sphinx Competition, which offers young African American and Latino classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in a competition setting.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students K-12. Tickets are $5 for each individual in groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased by calling 412.871.2125 and will also be available at the door on the night of the concert.

The PSO’s Community Engagement Concerts in Wilkinsburg have raised more than $53,000 since their inception. All ticket proceeds from the concert in Wilkinsburg will continue to benefit the Wilkinsburg School District’s music programs.

The Nov. 16 concert is one element of the PSO’s larger Community Engagement relationship with the Wilkinsburg area. The PSO’s interaction with Wilkinsburg includes the presence of PSO musicians at neighborhood schools and regular meetings with a Community Engagement Committee, which includes Wilkinsburg students, business leaders, faith-based representatives, music teachers, and other community representatives from the area.

Through Community Engagement Programs, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra builds connections between the PSO and Pittsburgh communities via ongoing and multi-leveled relationships. These successful programs help to educate the PSO about its audiences and their home communities. PSO Community Engagement Programs are specifically designed to build relevance between community residents and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Thomas Hong is presently the assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he was assistant conductor of the Seattle Symphony, the Orchestre National de France and also associate conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. As an educator, he was on the faculty of The Shepherd School Pre-College at Rice University, teaching piano to young students. He was also a part of the Just for U Music Program (JUMP!) at the university, dialoging and interacting with children as well as performing for them.

Now in his mid- twenties, Gareth Johnson is an award-winning violinist and a devoted composer and arranger of contemporary classical, New Age and Hip-Hop music. He works frequently as artist-in-residence, master instructor, and consultant to various universities, communities, and school districts throughout the world. He has won numerous competitions and prizes throughout the United States and Europe. Gareth holds a master’s degree from the Lynn Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton Florida.

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