‘Singing City’ choral concert showcasing 2,300 singers opens PSO’s inaugural Music for the Spirit Festival in April

Tickets available for April 20-28 festival events, including Singing City concert at Petersen Events Center, world premieres, lectures, recitals, concerts, book discussions and much more

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will hold its first Music for the Spirit Festival in April, with an extraordinary series of special concerts, recitals, discussions and other events throughout the city of Pittsburgh.

Through Music for the Spirit, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra demonstrates its deep commitment to the community, using the power of music to promote and spread a spiritual and universal message in churches, synagogues, mosques and community centers. As part of Music for the Spirit, the PSO held free concerts at St. Paul Cathedral in 2011, and at Rodef Shalom Congregation earlier this year.

The festival opens with the Singing City choral concert, presented by Trib Total Media, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at the Petersen Events Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and concludes with a weekend of BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts of one of the most recognizable musical pieces of all time, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and the world premiere of the PSO-commissioned work, The Gift, by Christopher Theofanidis, April 26-28 at Heinz Hall.

The Singing City concert, led by Music Director Manfred Honeck, will feature about 2,300 singers from about 70 professional and amateur choirs, university choirs, high school choirs, members of religious-affiliated choirs from the greater Pittsburgh region. They will perform several choral pieces, including the world premiere of a newly commissioned piece for a cappella choir by Pittsburgh native Jonny Priano, and the final movement of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony. Priano’s work, “Sing as One,” invites everyone to join in song and celebrate the power that music has to bring people together.

Tickets for the Singing City concert are $20 for the general public, $10 for students with valid I.D., and $5 for children 12 and under. For tickets or more information, visit www.pittsburghsymphony.org/singingcity.

The PSO also will be partnering with the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival and Robert Morris University’s Pittsburgh Speakers Series to present events at Heinz Hall and elsewhere during the Music for the Spirit Festival.

One of the festival’s many highlights will be a recital by acclaimed organist Paul Jacobs, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 21, at Heinz Chapel, in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. A native of Washington, Pa., Jacobs is renowned as one of the best organists in the world. Among his numerous accolades, he is the youngest faculty member ever appointed at the famed The Juilliard School, and a recent Grammy Award winner.

Nando Parrado, who was a member of the Uruguayan rugby team that survived for 72 days after their plane crashed in the Andes mountains in October 1972 and whose story was captured in the 1993 film, Alive, will speak at 8 p.m., Monday, April 22, at Heinz Hall as part of the Pittsburgh Speakers Series.

Tickets for all Music for the Spirit events at Heinz Hall are available by calling the box office at 412.392.4900, or visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

The PSO would like to thank and recognize Trib Total Media for its sponsorship of the Singing City concert, and BNY Mellon for its 2012-2013 season sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts. The PSO’s Music for the Spirit program is also made possible, in part, by support from Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Donahue, Roy and Susan Dorrance, and Catharine M. Ryan and John T. Ryan III. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO.

Music for the Spirit Festival events:

Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m., Petersen Events Center, University of Pittsburgh
Singing City concert, with Manfred Honeck and the PSO

Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m.
Pittsburgh Opera Brown Bag Concert

2425 Liberty Ave., in the Strip District

Free and open to the public, these one-hour long concerts feature the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters. Audience members are encouraged to bring their friends and bring a lunch.

Sunday, April 21, 7:30 p.m., Heinz Chapel, Oakland
“Lucis – Music of Light,” organ recital, featuring Paul Jacobs

Very few instruments are as closely identified with religious music as the organ, and Jacobs explores a program expressing humanity’s connection to the divine amidst the stunning 23 windows of Heinz Chapel.

Monday, April 22, 8 p.m., Heinz Hall
Robert Morris University Pittsburgh Speakers Series
Nando Parrado, speaker, miracle survivor of the plane crash in the Andes Mountains in 1972.

Parrado recounts the extraordinary tale of how he and 15 of his teammates survived for 72 grueling days after their plane crashed into the frozen Andes Mountains. He emerged a hero after he and teammate Roberto Canessa walked for 10 days to find their salvation. Soon after the rescue of the 16 survivors, Parrado worked with Piers Paul Read, the author chosen by the survivors, to pen the best-selling book, Alive, and served as technical advisor on the 1993 film, which starred Ethan Hawke as Parrado. The film’s success prompted requests for Parrado to speak around the world about the “Miracle in the Andes.”

Tuesday, April 23, 7:30 p.m.,  Heinz Hall
“Celebrating the Next Generation” concert
Manfred Honeck, Jeffrey Turner, Christine Jordanoff, Robert Page, Daniel Meyer, Duquesne Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne University “Voices of Spirit” Choir, Duquesne University Pappert Chorale, Carnegie Mellon University Concert Choir, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra

This concert celebrates the city’s young people by uniting the Duquesne University Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra with the choirs of Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University on stage at Heinz Hall. Each ensemble will perform a work on their own led by their respective directors before joining together on stage for the finale of the program, led by Honeck.

Wednesday, April 24, community venue TBD, & Sunday, April 28, 1:30 p.m., Heinz Hall Grand Tier Lounge
Music for the Spirit Book Club

Book Club event at Heinz Hall is free and open to all ticket holders. Advance Registration is required. Call 412.392.4876, or email explore@pittsburghsymphony.org to register.

Thursday, April 25 & Sunday, April 28, 7:30 p.m., New Hazlett Theater
Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival

The classic tale of love and mystical possession, The Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds is a multimedia chamber opera in three acts, composed by Ofer Ben-Amots and inspired by S. Ansky’s timeless Yiddish play of the same name. This brand new production features singers, a choir, and brand new choreography performed by Texture Contemporary Ballet. The Dybbuk is sung in Hebrew with English supertitles.

Composer: Ofer Ben-Amots; stage direction: Aron Zelkowicz; choreography: Joan Wagman; video art: Sheri Wills; lighting design: J. R. Shaw. Featuring: Yahli Toren, soprano, Gilad Harel, clarinet, Guenko Guechev, baritone, Leon S. Zionts, actor, Texture Contemporary Ballet (Alan Obuzor, Artistic Director, Dancer, and Resident Choreographer, Kelsey Bartman, Associate Artistic Director, Dancer, and Resident Choreographer), Pappert Women’s Chorale, Children’s Festival Chorus (Christine Jordanoff, Music Director).

This marks the 10th anniversary production of the highly successful Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival, an annual concert series devoted to improving cultural life for Pittsburgh’s Jewish and artistic communities at large.

Tickets for The Dybbuk are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Visit www.pjmf.net for more information.

Friday, April 26 & Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m., Sunday, April 28, 2:30 p.m., Heinz Hall
BNY Mellon Grand Classics
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
Soloists:  Angela Meade, soprano/ Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano / Anthony Griffey, tenor / Alexander Vinogradov, bass

The Music for the Spirit Festival concludes in a special tribute to the good in mankind featuring Honeck, the PSO and Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. The program also features the world premiere of Theofanidis’ The Gift, commissioned by the PSO in honor of long-time Board Chairman Richard P. Simmons.

Tickets range from $20–$93.

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