For Immediate Release

April 25, 2013





 Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts Mediterranean favorites

PITTSBURGH— Ukrainian-born pianist and YouTube phenomenon Valentina Lisitsa performs Edvard Grieg’s much-loved Piano Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO).

Music Web International says, “Valentina Lisitsa combines an imperious sweep with aristocratic poise and sensitivity.”

Former principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Tortelier returns to Heinz Hall and conducts Osvaldo Golijov’s Sidereus, a PSO co-commissioned work.  

The second half of the program features a musical trip to the Mediterranean.  One of Maurice Ravel’s first works for orchestra, Rapsodie espagnole, was inspired by the Spanish folk tunes sung by his mother when Ravel was a child.  Alassio is a town on the Italian Riviera where Edward Elgar and his family vacationed and is the inspiration for In the South.  Elgar depicts the awe-inspiring landscape in this concert overture.

The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, May 17, 2013, and 8 p.m., Saturday, May 18, at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 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


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.


With her multi-faceted playing described as “dazzling,”  Valentina Lisitsa is at ease in a vast repertoire ranging from Bach and Mozart to Shostakovich and Bernstein.  Her orchestral repertoire alone includes more than forty concerti.  She admits to having a special affinity for the music of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and continues to add to her vast repertoire each season.


Valentina Lisitsa was born in Kiev, Ukraine and began playing the piano at the age of three, performing her first solo recital a year later. She gained a place at the Lysenko Music School for Gifted Children and later studied at the Kiev Conservatory under Ludmilla Tsvierko. In 1991, she won the first prize in The Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition together with Alexei Kuznetsoff. She now resides in the USA.


With more than 30 million YouTube channel views, Valentina Lisitsa is one of the most watched classical musicians on the Web, using digital innovation to champion classical music and performance. She has performed in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Musikverein. In May 2010, Valentina Lisitsa performed the Dutch premiere of Rachmaninoff’s “New 5th” Concerto in her debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and in August 2011 made her debut with the Orchestra Sinfonica Brasileira under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel.


Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as a guest with the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and at fourteen won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire and also made his debut as a soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and from 1974 to 1983 he was Associate Conductor of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Further positions have included Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-2008). He was Principal Conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, from 2009-2011, and currently holds the position of Guest Conductor of Honour, in which capacity he returns to the orchestra a number of times each season. Following his outstanding work as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a very successful tour of the US to celebrate the orchestra’s 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of Conductor Emeritus and continues to work with the orchestra regularly. He also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.


Yan Pascal Tortelier has collaborated with major orchestras, including the London Symphony and London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras, Czech Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala Milan, and in North America, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras. Further afield he has collaborated with the Melbourne Symphony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and the Hong Kong and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras.


Recent highlights have included return visits to the Minnesota Orchestra and Royal Flemish Philharmonic, UK concerts and a tour of China with the London Philharmonic, and tours of South America and Europe with the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, visiting a number of prestigious venues including the Vienna Musikverein, Salzburg Festspielhaus, the Frankfurt Alte Oper and the Cologne Philharmonie.

Editors Please Note:

Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Heinz Hall



Osvaldo Golijov                                Sidereus

Edvard Grieg                                      Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 16

Maurice Ravel                                   Rapsodie espagnole

Edward Elgar                                      In the South, Opus 50, “Alassio”




Contact: James Barthen, Vice President of Public Affairs
Phone: 412.392.4835 | email:

Contact: Louise Cavanaugh Sciannameo, Associate Vice President of Public Affairs
Phone: 412.392.4866 | email:

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