Concert scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. in Wilkinsburg High School Auditorium

1617_Wilkinsburg_FB_EventThe Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents the 14th Annual Community Engagement Concert for the community of Wilkinsburg, “Spring Into Music,” on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Wilkinsburg High School.

A family-friendly evening of music, led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, this concert features upbeat, popular classical favorites with an emphasis on spring, such as “Spring” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, “the Swan” from Carnival of the Animals and more!

Wilkinsburg mayor John Thompson will welcome concert attendees and the concert will feature the Wilkinsburg Elementary Drum Ensemble, under the direction of music educators Lois Clark and Shawn Van Mastrigt, in a performance of “Spring, Spring, Spring.” The group will perform in front of the stage on African drums.
“The Wilkinsburg Community concert is one of our favorite concerts of the year,” says Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “Now, more than ever, it is important to keep the arts and music alive in the community. Our commitment to the community and access to music for children is unwavering.”

Tickets are $5 for students K-12 and $10 for adults. A group of 10 adult tickets is available for a discounted price of $75. Tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the concert (cash or check only).

All proceeds from the tickets sales directly benefit the music programs in the Wilkinsburg School District. To date, the Pittsburgh Symphony’s community concerts have raised more than $75,000 for the district’s music programs.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank the EQT Foundation, Dollar Bank Foundation and the Allegheny Regional Asset District for their support of this Community Engagement Concert.

The Wilkinsburg Community and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s close relationship with the Wilkinsburg community has a long, fruitful history. In addition to the March 23 concert, symphony musicians visit Wilkinsburg schools, and Wilkinsburg community representatives participate regularly with the symphony’s Learning, Community and Inclusion advisory committees. Through its Learning & Community Engagement programs, the Pittsburgh Symphony builds connections not only with Wilkinsburg, but with numerous other Pittsburgh communities. The mission of the symphony’s Learning & Community Engagement programs is to engage individuals in experiences of the highest artistic and educational quality to create informed, enduring and evolving connections to music and to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

About the Artists

Franco, Andres_webHaving completed highly successful first seasons as music director of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony at TCC, as well as assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, ANDRÉS FRANCO has established himself as a conductor to watch.

While maintaining his roles as principal conductor of the multimedia project Caminos del Inka, and artistic director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s summer festival “Concerts in the Garden,” he continues to delight audiences with his imaginative programming and energetic style. During the 2016-2017 season, Franco will make debuts with the Boise Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Texas Music Festival, and will return to conduct the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

A frequent guest conductor in the United States, Europe and South America, Franco has appeared with the Columbus, Elgin, El Paso, Eugene, Fort Worth, Houston, Lake Forest, Mississippi, Saginaw Bay, Springfield, St. Louis and Stockton symphony orchestras; the Chicago Sinfonietta; Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León/Spain; the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, as well as with the National Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic, Medellin Philharmonic and EAFIT Symphony Orchestra in Colombia.  Festival appearances include the Cabrillo, Grant Park, OK Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals.

Franco formerly served as music director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City, as associate and resident conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony, and as Leonard Slatkin’s assistant conductor during the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

A native of Colombia, Franco is dedicated to preserving and performing the music of the Americas. As principal conductor of Caminos del Inka, he has led many performances of works by Latin American composers, such as Jimmy López, Diego Luzuriaga and the famous Argentine composer Ástor Piazzolla. Born into a musical family, Franco began piano studies with his father, Jorge Franco. An accomplished pianist, he studied with Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jose Feghali, and attended piano workshops with Rudolph Buchbinder in Switzerland, and Lev Naumov in France.  He studied conducting with Marin Alsop, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Helmut Rilling, Gerard Schwarz and Leonard Slatkin.

Franco holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as master of music degrees in piano performance and conducting from Texas Christian University. Franco is married to Victoria Luperi, associate principal clarinetist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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), André 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. Its “Pittsburgh Live!” series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Award nominations in 2015 and 2016. 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.

Editors Please Note:

Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Community Concert
Wilkinsburg High School, 747 Wallace Ave, Pittsburgh
ANDRÉS FRANCO, conductor

Johann Strauss Jr.:

Overture to Die Fledermaus (The Bat)

Aaron Copland:

Variations on a Shaker Melody from Appalachian Spring

Antonio Vivaldi:

“La primavera,” No. 1 from The Four Seasons for Violin and Orchestra

Astor Piazzolla:

Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires)
Primavera Porteña

Camille Saint-Saëns:

“The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals for Cello and Harp

Johann Strauss Jr.:

Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring), Waltzes

Johann Strauss Sr.:



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