Honeck, Rossini and Strauss

PITTSBURGH— Music Director Manfred Honeck will conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a concert weekend of Rossini, Haydn and Strauss.

The BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts open with Rossini’s exciting William Tell Overture, most famously used as the theme music for Love Ranger radio and television shows. Symphony No. 93 is the first of twelve “London symphonies” composed by Haydn and even showcase the composer’s humor.

Then, Music Director Manfred Honeck presents Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben, a musical story of “The Hero’s Life.” In this six-movement work, Strauss depicts the journey of a hero from the battle to finding peace.  

With this performance, Pittsburgh audiences will have the first opportunity to hear repertoire the PSO will play in its upcoming European Festivals Tour.

The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, 2013 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, 2013. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

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).

From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres including Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival.

He commenced his career as conductor of Vienna’s Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. In 1996, Honeck began a three-year stint as one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig and in 1997, he served as Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year. A highly successful tour of Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic marked the beginning of a close collaboration with this orchestra which consequently appointed him Principal Guest Conductor, a post he held for several years. From 2000 to 2006 he was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra Stockholm and served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2011, a position he will resume from 2013 to 2016.

As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with major orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic and in the US with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. Guest engagements of the season 2012-2013 include concerts at his earlier places of activity in Stockholm and Prague, as well as appearances with other prestigious orchestras including Bamberg Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome, the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra and his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2010, Honeck was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Apart from his numerous tasks as conductor, he has been Artistic Director of the “International Concerts Wolfegg” in Germany for more than 15 years.


Editors Please Note:

Friday, May 31 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall

Gioachino Rossini                       Overture to William Tell

Franz Joseph Haydn                  Symphony No. 93 in D major

I. Adagio – Allegro assai

II. Largo cantabile

III. Menuetto: Allegro

IV. Presto ma non troppo

Richard Strauss                           Ein Heldenleben, Opus 40


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