PITTSBURGH – On St. Patrick’s weekend, revel in the impressive musical heritage of Ireland when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents its PNC Pops concerts, A St. Patrick’s Pops, with renowned fiddler Natalie MacMaster.

Having recently won a Grammy for her recording collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, MacMaster also has worked with the likes of Paul Simon, Faith Hill, Eileen Ivers, Allison Krauss, Carlos Santana and more. This is MacMaster’s debut with the PSO.

Under the direction of PSO Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh, the PSO and MacMaster will have audiences doing a little jig along to Irish music favorites, including Blue Bonnets, David’s Jig and O’Carolan’s Concerto.

The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 15; 8 p.m., Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 18. Tickets, ranging from $20 to $95, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or visiting the PSO at www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

The PSO would like to recognize and thank PNC for their 2011-2012 title sponsorship of PNC Pops. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Bobby Rahal Automotive Group is the official automotive group of the PSO.

Wife, mother and virtuoso Cape Breton fiddler, Natalie MacMaster is an electrifying performer whose passionate proficiency on the beloved four-string amplifies the traditional East Coast sound for contemporary times. It’s a signature sound that has resonated with world audiences through 10 albums, multiple gold sales figures and 27 years; numerous Juno and East Coast Music Awards; two honorary degrees (from Niagara University, NY, and Trent University) and an honorary doctorate (St. Thomas University); the Order Of Canada – and a reputation as one of Canada’s most captivating performers. She also has the respect and admiration of the crème de la crème of top-notch musicians: master violinist Mark O’Connor, whose camp MacMaster frequents as a guest instructor; legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma – who recently invited her to prominently participate as a guest performer on his 2008 holiday-themed album Songs Of Joy & Peace; banjo prodigy Béla Fleck; fellow fiddling marvel Alison Krauss; spiritually electrifying superstar guitarist Carlos Santana – the list goes on. MacMaster has forged her own sound, debuting her fiddling prowess at the age of nine-and-a-half years at a Glencoe Mills, N.S. square dance.  She delivered her first album, Four On The Floor, at the age of 16. Her majesty with the bow and her intricate technique in making the fiddle sing and championing the Cape Breton tradition floors her admirers for over 100 shows per year. She has thrilled audiences throughout Europe and North America, especially in her native Canada, enabling MacMaster to passionately perform and promote the universal language of her Cape Breton sound.

Resident Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Loh is one of the most exciting young talents on the classical music scene today.  He was brought to national attention in February 2004 when he substituted last minute for an ailing Charles Dutoit with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  Conducting Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Loh received enthusiastic acclaim from orchestra players, audience members and critics, alike. Since his appointment as Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in 2005, the orchestra has flourished artistically, defining its reputation as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country. His leadership has attracted such artists as André Watts, Anne Akiko Meyers, Jon Nakamatsu, Zuill Bailey and Sharon Isbin. A champion of early childhood exposure to music, Loh created a family concert series that is dedicated to the youngest of audiences. He is very active in the region as an arts leader and music advocate, and is constantly in demand as a guest speaker and clinician.

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