Heinz Hall Memories

Share your Heinz Hall memories and be a part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Heinz Hall with Teresa Heinz!

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Heinz Hall, tell us about your favorite memories of Heinz Hall from the past 40 years! You may share your memories of a visit to Heinz Hall by creating a written post online, and you may even upload photos (click “Choose File” and select the photo you would like to upload).  On Friday, June 15, the PSO is honored to welcome Teresa Heinz, who will make a few remarks and attend the PSO BNY Mellon Grand Classics 2011/2012 season finale concert featuring Music Director Manfred Honeck.  Teresa Heinz will be welcomed by Henry Hillman who also spoke at the opening of Heinz Hall in 1971 and its 20th anniversary.  The PSO will present a special gift of your memories to Teresa Heinz to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Heinz Hall.  Please share your Heinz Hall memories and photos by Sunday, June 10.

Leave a reply below with your favorite Heinz Hall memory.


  • Riccardo Schulz
    Posted May 30, 2012

    I was present at the Grand Opening of Heinz Hall, on September 10, 1971.

    I was a guest of the Hillman family, and I will never forget their kindness in inviting me to be part of this momentous event–one of the most important in the history of classical music in Pittsburgh, and indeed, the country.

    For me, this was a dream come true!

    I remember seeing–up close–Samuel Barber, Charlton Heston, and Gregory Peck.

    The concert opened with Beethoven’s ‘Consecration of the House’ overture; this was followed by a newly-commissioned piece by Samuel Barber. (I was underwhelmed by the Barber piece.)

    Mahler’s ‘Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection)’ was split by intermission. I had heard Steinberg conduct this piece before, at the Syria Mosque. The mezzo-soprano was Joanna Simon, a favorite of Steinberg, who had appeared many times with the PSO.

    In the Mahler, a shocking thing happened. The baton slipped out of the maestro’s hand and fell to the floor. Joanna Simon retrieved it and handed it back to the maestro.

    For me, Heinz Hall and the Pittsburgh Symphony are together the most cogent and thrilling reasons to live in Pittsburgh. The orchestra, under Maestro Honeck, sounds better than ever, and the most recent renovations at Heinz Hall places it among the top concert halls in the world.

    We are so fortunate to have a world-class orchestra and a world-class concert hall, and this feeling is renewed with every concert I hear at the fabulous Heinz Hall.

  • Franklin Chen
    Posted June 8, 2012

    I have a vivid memory of an evening in Heinz Hall for the Pittsburgh Symphony sometime in around 2000, when a friend and I experienced Prokofiev’s second piano concerto for the first time. I wish I remembered exactly when this concert was, and who was performing: I believe it was Yefim Bronfman with Mariss Jansons, but I cannot be sure. (I tried to search online to jog my memory but failed.)

    What I remember is my jaw dropping as the pianist played the first movement of the Prokofiev concerto, which I had never heard before (I had listened to the first, third, and fifth concertos many times before on cassette tape as well as CD). This was really dark and virtuosic music with violent dissonances and runs, quite unlike the more widely known concertos. When the solo cadenza began, I got restless and astounded as the cadenza kept going and going, as though taking up half of the entire first movement. This seemed outrageously long, and the music just got wilder and I thought the piano was taking a real beating, but I was truly fascinated them.

    When the whole concert ended, I walked out in a daze. I don’t remember what else was on the program, but I remember that visceral experience with the Prokofiev concerto, and every time I hear it now, I can imagine myself back in Heinz Hall experiencing it for the first time.

  • Franklin Chen
    Posted June 8, 2012

    I would like to edit my comment. I did some searching of my email archives and see that the date of the concert was Friday, January 21, 2000, and the pianist was apparently Mikhail Rudy.

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