Grammy Award-Winning Rapper Common Performs with Pittsburgh Symphony
A Night of Symphonic Hip-Hop returns to Heinz Hall on Thursday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Heinz Hall.
Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe–winning Chicago rapper, actor, film producer, activist and poet Common joins the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, for a one-night-only concert of music from his latest album, “Black America Again,” as well as some of his biggest hits. Common won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song “Glory” from the 2014 film Selma, in which he portrays Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
This concert is produced by TCG Entertainment and Live Nation Urban.
About the Artists
Having 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.
COMMON is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, film producer and poet from Chicago, Illinois. Common debuted in 1992 with the album “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. In 2011, Common launched Think Common Entertainment, his own record label imprint, and, in the past, has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others.
Common’s first major-label album, “Like Water for Chocolate,” received widespread critical acclaim and tremendous commercial success. His first Grammy Award was in 2003, winning Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life,” with Erykah Badu. Its popularity was matched by May 2005’s “Be,” which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for “Southside” (featuring Kanye West), from his July 2007 album “Finding Forever.” His best-of album, “Thisisme Then: The Best of Common,” was released on November 27, 2007.
Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song “Glory” from the 2014 film “Selma,” in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel. Common’s acting career also includes starring significant roles in the films “Smokin’ Aces,” “Street Kings,” “American Gangster,” “Wanted,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Date Night,” “Just Wright,” “Happy Feet Two,” “New Year’s Eve” and “Run All Night.” He also narrated the award-winning documentary “Bouncing Cats,” about one man’s efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture. He starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series “Hell on Wheels.”
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:
Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
A NIGHT OF SYMPHONIC HIP HOP FEATURING COMMON
ANDRÉS FRANCO, conductor