Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra close the 2015-2016 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season with one of Gustav Mahler’s most well-known symphonies and a performance by former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley on June 17-19 at Heinz Hall.
For the first half of this program, Bendix-Balgley thrills with performances of Mozart’s Rondo in C Major and a new concerto for violin and orchestra in the style of Klezmer music, an exciting concept conceived and created by Bendix-Balgley himself. Mahler, whose music holds a special appeal to Maestro Honeck, wrote his fifth symphony while courting his future wife, Alma. This purely instrumental symphony reflects the change in the composer’s life, moving from tragedy to triumph during its five movements. Its beautiful fourth movement, Adagietto, which is frequently performed separate from the other movements, is a clear love letter to his wife.
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/Honeck_mahler and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
During the weekend, beginning one hour before each concert’s start time, student musicians from Steinway Young Artists program will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. These performances are free to ticketholders.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/Honeck_mahler.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2015-2016 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Radio station WQED-FM 89.3 and WQEJ-FM89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. Together with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Honeck’s widely celebrated performances and distinctive interpretations continue to receive international recognition. To great acclaim, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have also built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. Following a week-long residency in 2012, they will return once again for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016.
Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels. The first SACD released by Reference Records of Strauss tone poems, drew rave reviews. The second recording, of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček’s opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by Honeck himself, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 was released in February 2015 to critical acclaim, including a second Grammy nomination, and Beethoven 5 & 7 was released in November 2015. A new recording, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and a suite of Dvořák’s Rusalka, was released on May 13. Several recordings, among them Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.
As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome. In the United States, Honeck has conducted the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. In 2013, Honeck gave his successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, resulting in a CD recording of Dvořák together with Anne-Sophie Mutter for Deutsche Grammophon, which received an Echo Klassik award in 2014. The 2015-2016 season sees him return to Bamberg, Stuttgart, Rome, Stockholm and New York, as well as the Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among others.
Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and at the helm of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. Honeck began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Honeck was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig and in Oslo, he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season.
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.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.. Moreover, he has been artistic director of the “International Concerts Wolfegg” in Germany for more than 20 years.
First concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, NOAH BENDIX-BALGLEY has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his performances. Since becoming a laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and gathering acclaim at further international competitions, Bendix-Balgley has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de Belgique, I Pomeriggi Musicali of Milan and the Orchestre Royal Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), among others. Recent and forthcoming highlights include recitals throughout Europe and the United States, and performances with the Adelaide and Auckland symphony orchestras, the Utah Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic with Thierry Fischer, the China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony with Long Yu, Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Tomas Netopil at the Aspen Music Festival, and the premiere of Bendix-Balgley’s own klezmer concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck.
From 2011 to 2015, Bendix-Balgley was concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the “Best Classical Concert of 2012” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bendix-Balgley’s performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, featuring his own original cadenzas, was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Bendix-Balgley also performed his own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for solo violin in front of 39,000 fans at the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park.
Bendix-Balgley is a passionate and experienced chamber musician. He has performed on a North American tour with the Miro String Quartet. From 2008 to 2011, he was the first violinist of the Munich-based Athlos String Quartet, which won a special prize at the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in Berlin, and performed throughout Europe. He has performed with artists including Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Gary Hoffman, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt and percussionist Colin Currie. Bendix-Balgley has appeared at numerous festivals in Europe and North America, including the Verbier Festival, the Sarasota Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, the Nevada Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, Germany.
Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Bendix-Balgley began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. Bendix-Balgley graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Munich Hochschule. His principal teachers were Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Poppen and Ana Chumachenco. In his spare time, he enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and in the United States. Bendix-Balgley performs on a Cremonese violin made in 1732 by Carlo Bergonzi.
The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, celebrating 120 years of music in 2016, 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 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:
Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 18 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 19 at 2:30 p.m.
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Honeck Conducts Mahler
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
NOAH BENDIX-BALGLEY, violin
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Rondo in C major for Violin and Orchestra, K. 373
Noah Bendix-Balgley (Orchestrated by Samuel Adler):
Fidl-Fantazye: A Klezmer Concerto
Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor
2. Stürmisch bewegt, mit grösster Vehemeng
3. Scherzo: Kräftig, night zu schnell
4. Adagietto, sehr langsam
5. Rondo – Finale: Allegro