For Immediate Release

April 8, 2013





Musical celebration concludes Music for the Spirit Festival.

PITTSBURGH–The inaugural Music for the Spirit Festival culminates in a special tribute to the good in mankind featuring PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and the PSO. Vocal soloists include soprano, Angela Meade; mezzo-soprano, Kelley O’Connor; tenor, Anthony Dean Griffey; and baritone, Alexander Vinogradov.

Christopher Theofanidis’ The Gift, commissioned by the PSO in honor of long-time Board Chair Richard P. Simmons, makes its premiere.

Beethoven’s final symphonic masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, is one of the most recognizable and well-loved pieces of all time. The text of its final movement is taken from Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Ode to Joy,” celebrating harmony and brotherhood among mankind.

The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, April 26, 2013, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $98, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at

Ticketholders are invited to participate in the following free pre-concert audience engagement activities prior to the weekend’s concerts: At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, a choral workshop on Beethoven’s Ninth will be led by Singing City Project Coordinator Christine Hestwood in the Regency Rooms (lower level, Heinz Hall). No prior choral experience required – all abilities and experience levels are welcome. At 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, join WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham and PSO percussionist Jeremy Branson in a Music for the Spirit Book Club discussion of Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book in the Grand Tier Lounge. To reserve a seat for either event, call 412.392.4876 or email  

The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2012-2013 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the PSO.

Manfred Honeck was born in Austria and studied music at the Academy of Music in Vienna. An accomplished violinist and violist, he spent more than ten years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. It is this experience that has heavily influenced his conducting and has helped give it a distinctive stamp.

Honeck was appointed the ninth Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in January 2007, and began his tenure at the start of the 2008-2009 season. After a first extension in 2009, his contract was extended for the second time in February 2012, now through the 2019-2020 season. Following their successful European Tour in 2010 and the European Festival Tour 2011 with appearances at the major music festivals, such as BBC Proms, Lucerne, Grafenegg, Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein or Musikfest Berlin, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra returned to Europe in October-November 2012. The tour took them to Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Luxembourg, and Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart in Germany. During a week-long residency at the Musikverein in Vienna, the orchestra performed four concerts. Honeck’s successful work in Pittsburgh is captured on CD by the Japanese label Exton. So far, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben have been released to critical acclaim. Their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 has won a 2012 International Classical Music Award (ICMA).

Christopher Theofanidis has had performances by many leading orchestras from around the world, including the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, the National, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit Symphonies, and many others. He also served as Composer of the Year for the Pittsburgh Symphony during their 2006-2007 Season, for which he wrote a violin concerto for Sarah Chang.

Mr. Theofanidis holds degrees from Yale, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Houston, and has been the recipient of the International Masterprize (hosted at the Barbican Centre in London), the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, six ASCAP Gould Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, a Tanglewood Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Charles Ives Fellowship. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for best composition for his chorus and orchestra work, The Here and Now, based on the poetry of Rumi. His orchestral concert work, Rainbow Body, has been one of the most performed new orchestral works of the last ten years, having been performed by over 100 orchestras internationally.

Mr. Theofanidis’ has recently written a ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, a work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as part of their ‘New Brandenburg’ series, and he currently has two opera commissions for the San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera companies. He has a long-standing relationship with the Atlanta Symphony, and has just had his first symphony premiered and recorded with that orchestra. He has served as a delegate to the US-Japan Foundation’s Leadership Program and is a former faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School. He currently teaches at Yale University.

Soprano Angela Meade is the winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. Less than five years after her professional debut, she has quickly become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. The New Yorker has stated, “Meade is astounding … She has exceptional dynamic control, able to move from floating pianissimos to sudden dramatic swells. The coloratura effects – rapid runs, trills, delicate turns, and so on – are handled with uncommon ease. She is a very musical singer, naturally and intelligently riding the phrase.” Angela Meade excels in the most demanding heroines of the nineteenth-century bel canto repertoire as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.

Angela Meade joined an elite group of history’s singers when she made her professional operatic debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as Verdi’s Elvira in Ernani substituting for an ill colleague in March 2008.  Ronald Blum of the Associated Press wrote of the debut, “she showed a vibrant voice with nice color and an assured technique and sang like an old pro from start to finish.” She had previously sung on the Met stage as one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a process that is documented in the film The Audition, released on DVD by Decca. The New York Times singled out Angela Meade as “an impressive soprano who powered out a ‘Casta diva’ from Bellini’s Norma that left everyone breathless.”

Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. During the 2012-13 season, the California native’s impressive calendar includes John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary in a world premiere staging by Peter Sellars performed in America and Europe with  the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel’s baton, and a role debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly in a new production by Lillian Groag at Boston Lyric Opera.

Concert appearances of the season include Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs both with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra and with Robert Spano and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue and the Duruflé Requiem with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony, and with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony, as well as Lieberson’s The World in Flower with Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  The artist is pleased both to return to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Edward Gardner conducting a program of Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Britten’s Spring Symphony and to debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra with Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary led by Markus Stenz.

Four-time Grammy Award Winning American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey has captured critical and popular acclaim on opera, concert and recital stages around the world. The combination of his beautiful and powerful lyric tenor voice, gift of dramatic interpretation and superb musicianship have earned him the highest praise from critics and audiences alike.

Operatic engagements for the 2012-13 season include a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Renee Fleming and a semi-staged version of the same work at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Mr. Griffey will sing the world premiere of Theofanidis’ The Gift with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck, where he will also perform in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Other symphonic highlights include Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink, Britten’s War Requiem with the Seattle Symphony conducted by Ludovic Morlot, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Nashville Symphony, Das Lied von der Erde with the Eastern Music Festival, North Carolina Symphony, and Columbus Symphony, Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac with the Chamber Music Society in both Chicago and New York, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Milwaukee Symphony conducted by Edo de Waart. Mr. Griffey will also appear in recital opposite Warren Jones at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Mr. Griffey in collaboration with classical guitarist, Joseph Pecoraro will be releasing a solo Christmas album entitled “This Little Light” in October.

Alexander Vinogradov made his debut at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow at the age of 21. Since then he has established a remarkable career and has won numerous prizes in international singing competitions.

Mr. Vinogradov is a regular guest at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and he has also performed with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Dresden Semperoper, Teatro Teresa Carreño, Caracas, Opera Bastille Paris, Palau de les Arts, Valencia, Teatro Real Madrid, Opera National de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, the City of London Festival, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Ravinia Festival, Baltimore Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, just to name a few.

This season’s concert highlights will include the Glagolitic Mass with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra in San Sebastian, Shostakovich 13th Symphony at Paris Opera with Philippe Yordan, Shostakovich 14th Symphony with Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Shostakovich’s ‘Song of the Forests’ with Fundacion Principe de Asturias. Operatic highlights will include Escamillo in Carmen at Royal Danish Opera and Opera de Toulon, Don Basilio at Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and Aalborg Kongres and Kultur Center, Gremin in Teatro Reggio di Torino. Alexander will also record songs by Rachmaninoff with pianist Iain Burnside at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall on the Delphian label.

Editors Please Note:

Friday, April 26 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m.
Heinz Hall


KELLEY O’CONNOR, mezzo-soprano
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh


Christopher Thofanidis                                  The Gift


Ludwig Van Beethoven                                                 Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125, “Choral”



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