As the culmination of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics’ two-week Vienna Festival, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Manfred Honeck will perform one of music’s greatest symphonies, Bruckner’s epic Eighth Symphony, in a one-concert-only performance on Sunday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m. at Heinz Hall.
Though a native of Austria, Joseph Anton Bruckner was a “country boy” transplanted to the bustling city of Vienna. It was an uneasy relationship, but one that slowly shaped Bruckner’s music over the years. His Eighth Symphony, especially, had a tumultuous birth — first sketched in 1884; first draft finished in August 1885, revised and orchestrated in 1887; and rejected by conductor Herman Levi, it was revised and cut again in 1890, this being the version that the Pittsburgh Symphony will perform.
The first symphony to last 80 minutes, Bruckner’s Eighth is a story that tells of the human struggle here on Earth and the reward that awaits in heaven; it’s a journey through every human emotion, according to Honeck.
“Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony is a symphonic journey that will remain with you for days, for months even,” explains Honeck. “The music will bring you to a completely different world. I cannot escape its power. It’s my favorite symphony.”
A pre-concert talk with Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco will occur on stage one hour before the concert, and a group of student string players will perform in the Grand Lobby at the same time. Both pre-concert presentations are free and open to ticketholders.
Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/MajesticBruckner and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert. Please note that this concert will not include an intermission.
The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, are available through by phone at 412-392-4900, online at pittsburghsymphony.org/MajesticBruckner or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office, 600 Penn Avenue, downtown Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2016-2017 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-FM 89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. He and the orchestra are consistently recognized for their performances and are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. To great acclaim, they 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 the Musikverein in Vienna. This successful collaboration has also been extensively documented on recordings. The SACDs released by Reference Recordings, most recently Strauss’ Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier suites, have received numerous rave reviews, as well as two Grammy Award nominations.
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 have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where earned the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to become music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of operas by Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Poulenc and Wagner. Other operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Royal Opera of Copenhagen and the Salzburg Festival.
As a guest conductor Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College, Carnegie Mellon University and the Catholic University of America. Most recently, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the Austrian federal president.
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:
Sunday, April 30, at 2:30 p.m.
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Bruckner Symphony No. 8
MANFRED HONECK, conductor
Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890 revised version)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo: Allegro moderato – Trio: Langsam
III. Adagio: Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
IV. Finale: Feierlich nicht schnell