Soloists are 17-year-old Pittsburgh-area pianist Michael Tsang, soprano Katy Shackleton Williams, Hilal String Quartet, Flute Academy

PITTSBURGH – Fiddlesticks, Heinz Hall’s resident musical ambassador to children, will appear with Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) for “The Creative Spark” at 11:15 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 22, at Heinz Hall.

Children will join Fiddlesticks in learning about what ignited the creative spark that inspired famous composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven and Johann Strauss. The audience will interact with Fiddlesticks while discovering the poems, stories, pictures, games, birdcalls and laughter that sparked the imagination of these great composers.

Tickets ($16 – $19) can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at

The concert features soprano Katy Shackleton Williams, 17-year-old Pittsburgh-area pianist Michael Tsang, the Hilal String Quartet and the Flute Academy.

From infancy on, children are exposed to the music of lullabies, sing-a-longs, folk tunes, and pop music, and the Fiddlesticks Family Concerts continue to explore various genres of music. Each of the performances is preceded by a pre-concert event called Discovery Time Adventures. These educational activities begin at 10 a.m. and allow young audiences and their parents to meet the PSO musicians, learn songs, and take part in various musical activities. The 45-minute concert begins at 11:15 a.m. and is filled with engaging music and interaction with everyone’s favorite friendly feline!

The Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series is proudly sponsored by Clearview Federal Credit Union, Macy’s Foundation, and Bobby Rahal Volvo. This series is endowed by Gerald and Audrey McGinnis, honoring the Center for Young Musicians.

Katy Shackleton Williams has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, River City Brass Band and Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. She was a featured soloist for several Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concert series and made her PSO BNY Mellon Grand Classics debut in September 2005 with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was a soloist in the Heinz Hall performance of The Lord of the Rings and has been the special guest vocalist for the PSO’s Fiddlesticks and Tiny Tots children’s concerts hosted by the PSO.

A senior at North Allegheny High School, 17-year-old Michael King-Hon Tsang has participated in piano competitions since he was 6..He won first place in the Bartók Kabelevsky Prokofiev International Young Artists Competition in 1999 and took second place in 2001. Michael received second place honors in the concerto division of the International Young Artists Competition in Washington D.C. in 2002 and again in 2004. He has won or placed second in other competitions, including the Duquesne Young Artists Competitions in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Concert Society Young Artist Competition and in the Junior Division of the International Ithaca Piano Competition in New York.

The Hilal String Quartet is made up of four siblings who share the bond of family and music. Salem, the cellist, is 17 and has played the cello for 13 years and the piano for 11. Jad, 16, the first violinist, started playing the violin at 4 and the piano at 11. Twins Leila and Olivia, 14, the second violinist and violist, have studied music for nine years. The quartet has been performing together for eight years, including shows with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh.

Now in its 10th year, the Flute Academy offers specialized instruction for flutists of all ages and levels: lessons, chamber music, classes in music theory and ear training, and best of all, flute choirs. Rehearsing on Saturdays, the Flute Loops (middle school), Flutations (high school), and the City Flutes (college age and up) prepare concerts for the community, outreach and education.


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