The PNC Pops series gives the Grammy-Award winning music of Simon and Garfunkel the orchestral treatment during an evening of nostalgic hits with the “Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel” on March 24-26 at Heinz Hall.
Guest conductor Michael Krajewski and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will present favorite tunes like “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Bridge over Troubled Water” and many more. Standing in for the eponymous duo are AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle. A native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, singer-songwriter Swearingen and vocalist Beedle have performed their tribute to the folk-rock duo to sell-out crowds with symphony orchestras across the country.
Showtimes are Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 26 at 2:30 p.m. Doors open one hour prior to concert start times. A Pops Talk will be held on stage following the Friday performance only. Pops Talks are free and open to ticketholders.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank PNC for its 2016-2017 title sponsorship of PNC Pops. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel 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
Known for his entertaining programs and clever humor, MICHAEL KRAJEWSKI is a much sought after conductor of symphonic pops. He is the principal pops conductor of the Houston Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – the first to hold such a title in Atlanta.
As a guest conductor Michael has performed with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; the Boston and Cincinnati Pops; the San Francisco, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis and National Symphonies, and numerous other orchestras across the United States. In Canada he has led Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Edmonton, Winnipeg and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies. Other international appearances include performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra in concerts in Belfast and Dublin.
Michael is the conductor of the video Silver Screen Serenade with violinist Jenny Oaks Baker that aired worldwide on BYU Broadcasting. On recording he has led the Houston Symphony on two holiday albums: Glad Tidings and Christmas Festival. In 2012/2013 Michael will be conducting his original Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel program all over North America featuring national touring artists AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle. Michael’s other collaborative programs have included such artists as flutist James Galway, mezzo Marilyn Horne, pianist Alicia de Larrocha, guitarist Angel Romero, and pop artists Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Kenny Loggins, Ben Folds, Doc Severinsen, Patti Austin, Sandi Patty, Ann Hampton Callaway, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Chieftains, Pink Martini, Rockapella, Cirque de la Symphonie, Classical Mystery Tour and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
With degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Michael furthered his training at the Pierre Monteux Domaine School for Conductors. He was a Dorati Fellowship Conductor with the Detroit Symphony and later served as that orchestra’s assistant conductor. He was resident conductor of the Florida Symphony and for eleven years served as music director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. Michael lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Darcy. When not conducting he enjoys travel, photography and solving crossword puzzles.
AJ SWEARINGEN has been writing, performing and producing his own style of acoustic music for well over a decade. His voice is rich and uniquely soulful and his contemporary songwriting clearly pays homage to the standout iconic folk artists of the past. In 2012, Swearingen merged with singer-songwriter Jayne Kelli to form the folk-pop duo, Swearingen & Kelli. They released a fresh collection of songs in 2014 including Swearingen’s “You’re Not Here with Me,” also recorded by folk icon Tom Rush. Swearingen’s musical journey started in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he honed his signature sound on vocals and guitar. Swearingen has shared the stage with recording artists including Kenny Rogers, Dave Mason and Livingston Taylor.
Vocalist JONATHAN BEEDLE has been a performing musician for more than 30 years. Harmony is Beedle’s forte. “I just gravitated toward harmony from the very beginning,” he says. “The parts just jumped out at me and those are the parts I would sing.” Collaborations with former partners and band mates seasoned Beedle as a performer and they came to rely on his innate musicianship. As a songwriter, his efforts early on won him a finalist spot in the 2003 Plowshares Songwriting contest. Other contestants were soloist Antje Duvekot and Girlymans’ Tylan Greenstein – good company indeed! In 2005, he released his first CD “A Long Day Gone.” A disc full of rich and heartfelt songs in the storytelling style Jonathan was raised on. His voice was heard in the Season 1 finale of the HBO series Big Love, singing the Civil War-era classic, “Lorena.” A partnership with Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, native AJ Swearingen resulted in the jointly produced CD, “Paper Walls.” Released in 2001, they created a national touring act that pays a heartfelt and loving tribute to the famed duo. Beedle has traveled all over the United States and has shared the stage with Steve Forbert, The Strawbs, Lucy Kaplansky and Jimmy Webb.
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.
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 hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.
Editors Please Note:
Friday, March 24, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 25, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 26, at 2:30 p.m.
PNC POPS: SOUNDS OF SIMON & GARFUNKEL
MICHAEL KRAJEWSKI, conductor
AJ SWEARINGEN, vocalist & musician
JONATHAN BEEDLE, vocalist & musician