FUSE@PSO Returns to Heinz Hall with Beethoven + Coldplay

Steve Hackman_webFUSE@PSO, the new genre-bending early evening concert series presented by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, returns on Tuesday, October 6 to Heinz Hall.

Series Creative Director Steve Hackman and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will present a mash-up of Beethoven’s famous “Eroica” Symphony with music from the Coldplay catalog, from “A Rush of Blood to the Head” to “Mylo Xyloto.” Hackman expertly combines the two, culminating in a rousing rendition of Beethoven’s Finale — Allegro molto — carrying the Coldplay anthem “Viva la Vida.”

“My choice to combine Beethoven and Coldplay was based much more on gut feel than when I fused the Brahms and Radiohead last June. Both Beethoven and Coldplay deal with broad, humanistic themes with great emotional transparency; that, combined with their perfection of technique and form, leads the listener to believe that this is what music is supposed to sound like,” said Hackman. “This piece is very precious to me personally because of the artistic and technical strides I made by necessity in bringing it to fruition; from the very beginning it was clear that a new level of synthesis needed to be attained in order to make any sense of the combination. For a great majority of the work Beethoven and Coldplay are truly coexisting, so if you are a fan of either artist or better yet both, it will be a totally unique and exciting experience.”

At each FUSE concert, Hackman and the Pittsburgh Symphony perform a genre-bending piece that synthesizes a classical composer’s work with a modern artist’s. Contemporary music production techniques such as remixing and mashing-up are applied to classical masterpieces, resulting in a relevant yet never-before-heard “hybrid” sound. The 2015-2016 season of FUSE@PSO concerts includes performances on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 (Copland + Bon Iver) and Wednesday, March 9, 2016 (Tchaikovsky + Drake).

Along with a fresh take on the concert hall experience, FUSE@PSO provides attendees with a vibrant social atmosphere before the concert with pre-concert beats from local DJs, happy hour priced drinks, light snacks and socializing with musicians and fellow music-lovers.

FUSE@PSO: Beethoven + Coldplay begins at 5 p.m. with a happy hour; the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are on sale now online at pittsburghsymphony.org/fuse, via phone at 412-392-4900 or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office. Tickets are general admission and there is no intermission.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank NEXT Pittsburgh for its media sponsorship of FUSE@PSO.

About the Artists

Conductor, composer, arranger, producer and songwriter Steve Hackman is increasingly in demand as one the most compelling artists contributing to a new landscape in classical music. Fluent in both classical and popular repertoire, he crafts virtuosic, cross-genre works and performances that intrigue the established audience and engage an excited new one.

Active across the country as a guest conductor of major symphony orchestras, Hackman presents programs he architects which synthesize orchestral and pop masterworks. His Brahms V. Radiohead interweaves the Brahms’ 1st Symphony with Radiohead’s seminal album OK Computer. He has presented it with the Indianapolis Symphony, Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony and Colorado Music Festival orchestra.  His Beethoven V. Coldplay is a re-imagined Eroica symphony, transforming it into an oratorio using the themes of Coldplay.

In 2015, Hackman continues his role of music director of the Mash-Up series at the Colorado Music Festival. The summer season will include the world premiere of his newest creation Bartok V. Björk, a piece which fuses the former’s Concerto for Orchestra with the latter’s first three albums. Also being presented is a re-worked version of Hackman’s first ever large-scale mash-up Copland V. Bon Iver. Last season’s highlights included the premiere of his Beethoven V. Coldplay and collaborations with My Brightest Diamond, Aoife O’Donovan, Olga Bell (of Dirty Projectors) and San Fermin.

From 2009-2013, Hackman served as co-creative director of the Happy Hour at the Symphony Series with the Indianapolis Symphony, where, along with co-artistic directors Time For Three (TF3), he pioneered a new type of concert experience by producing, arranging/composing and conducting compelling presentations that blended classical with pop. He returns as guest conductor regularly, most recently in spring 2015 premiering a program commissioned by the ISO and Time for Three which combined symphonic movements of Mozart, Beethoven and Dvořák with five contemporary pop songs.

Hackman is the creative director of :STEREO HIDEOUT:, a music brand that represents the removal of barriers between classical and popular music and the skillful blending of the two. In 2014, he released the debut :STEREO HIDEOUT: album “The Radio Nouveau,” along with several music videos. The album was mixed in London by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode) and mastered in Brooklyn by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors). The follow-up album “Down with the Classics” is due in late 2015.

Hackman’s work as a composer and arranger has met with considerable success. The string trio Time for Three and choral ensemble Chanticleer present his works as their showpieces; TF3’s “Chaconne in Winter” highlights their recent release on Universal Records, and Chanticleer’s “Wait Fantasy” can be heard on their recent album “Someone New.” He enjoys a continuing relationship as an arranger for Time for Three, and most recently contributed five new mash-ups to their solo repertoire, two pieces to their holiday EP “Yuletime” (Universal) and arranged the music for their appearance on ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars.” Hackman’s orchestrations for artists like Time for Three, The Five Browns, Michael Cavanaugh, My Brightest Diamond, Arlo Guthrie, Aoife O’Donovan and Joshua Radin have been performed by nearly all the major orchestras in America. This season marked his first collaboration with the world-renowned Tallis Scholars.

Hackman was a four-year member, producer and musical director of the a capella group The Other Guys at the University of Illinois, a group that under his direction placed runner-up in the International Competition of Collegiate Acapella at Avery Fisher Hall. He is a prolific songwriter, having written hundreds of songs and releasing several albums of original music. His song “The Pendulum Song” was chosen among tens of thousands as a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and he has also received honorable mention in the Billboard songwriting competition. He has entertained as a dueling piano player at Howl at the Moon piano bar in Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville. In season 7 of American Idol, Hackman was one of 164 contestants chosen from more than 150,000 to attend Hollywood Week. He finished in the top 64.

Hackman studied conducting under Otto-Werner Mueller and counterpoint/composition under Dr. Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He subsequently studied conducting with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and received further instruction in orchestration from the prolific Broadway orchestrator and composer William Brohn (“Miss Saigon,” “Wicked,” “Ragtime” and countless others). He served as the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony for two seasons, where he led subscription, family, education, and New Year’s Eve programs.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004).  This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944 and John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series “Previn and the Pittsburgh.” The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900—including 36 international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Heinz Hall also hosts many other events that do not feature its world-renowned orchestra, including Broadway shows, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.

Editors please note:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 6:30 p.m. (Happy hour starts at 5 p.m.)
Heinz Hall
STEVE HACKMAN, conductor
MALIA CIVETZ, vocalist
BEN JONES, vocalist
WILL POST, vocalist
Carnegie Mellon Honors Quartet

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Excerpts from “Beethoven + Coldplay”

Beethoven + Coldplay: An Eroica-Oratorio using the lyrics and melodies of Coldplay

I. Allegro con brio
Every Tear Is a Waterfall

II. Marcia funebre
The Scientist
Princess in China

III. Scherzo

Intermezzo: Largo, con gran espressione (orchestra tacet)

IV. Finale
Viva La Vida
Fix You
Ms. Civetz
Mr. Jones
Mr. Post
Carnegie Mellon Honors Quartet


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