8 p.m., Monday, March 19

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) continues its celebration of performances at the Scottish Rite Cathedral with a special seasonal tradition: a concert of impressive musical heritage from Ireland.

A St. Patrick’s Pops Concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 19. The concert is part of the 2011-2012 Columbia Gas Symphony Series at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle.

PSO Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh will lead the orchestra in a program that features world-renowned violinist Natalie MacMaster as guest soloist. Having recently won a Grammy for her recording collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma, MacMaster will enthrall the audience with Irish music favorites, including Blue Bonnets, David’s Jig and O’Carolan’s Concerto.

Dancers from Burke’s School of Irish Dance, of Youngstown, Ohio, will perform in the lobby, starting at 7:15 p.m.

Tickets, ranging from $16-$59, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office toll-free at 1.800.743.8560, or by visiting the PSO at Group tickets also are available. Call 412.392.4819 for more information.

As part of the Education Program developed for the community, a special package for families with children up to high-school age is available. Children may get free tickets if accompanied by a parent when the parent purchases a $17 ticket. Both the free ticket and tickets for the parents will be available by calling  412.392.4819. Also, pre-concert dinners at the Scottish Rite Cathedral begin at 6 p.m. before each concert. Call 724.654.6683 for reservations.

The PSO would like to recognize and thank Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania for its title sponsorship of this series.

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.

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