Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to Celebrate 10 Years of Manfred Honeck as Music Director

The 2017-2018 season marks Maestro Manfred Honeck’s 10th Anniversary with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the season, there will be many opportunities to celebrate this milestone. Please visit pittsburghsymphony.org/Manfred for more information on these programs and events.

In January 2007, Manfred Honeck was appointed as the Pittsburgh Symphony’s ninth music director, and began this position at the start of the 2008-2009 season. Throughout his tenure, Honeck and the Orchestra have recorded 13 CDs, have been nominated for two Grammy Awards, have toured in 14 countries on three continents, have premiered 15 new works, have launched multiple new concert formats and collaborated with some of the world’s greatest artists, all while growing and cultivating partnerships to reach more audiences in Pittsburgh and around the world.

“These 10 years of music- making with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have truly been a gift to my life,” says Honeck. “I am so excited to celebrate an amazing decade in Pittsburgh with this incredible orchestra and our wonderful patrons and subscribers. I am especially looking forward to presenting to Pittsburgh new pieces commissioned to celebrate this milestone year and introducing 15 new talented guest artists to Pittsburgh.”

“We are so excited to dedicate this season to celebrating Manfred,” says PSO president and CEO Melia Tourangeau. “During his time at the helm, we have recorded award-winning albums, represented Pittsburgh around the world, and performed exquisite music that has touched the lives of many. Under his baton, we continue to establish our place among the great American orchestras.”

Three Pieces Commissioned to Celebrate this Milestone Year
Throughout Manfred Honeck’s 10 years with the Orchestra, one project that has touched him significantly is Music for the Spirit. In 2004, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican. The concert honored the pope’s lifelong commitment to interfaith understanding and reconciliation of the Christians, Jews and Muslims. From that beginning, a partnership developed between the PSO and the faith communities in Pittsburgh to continue to perform concerts that celebrate the spiritual and universal message of music.

This season, three programs will include a special commission in honor of Honeck’s anniversary, and will have themes that use the power of music to promote and spread a spiritual and universal message. Israeli composer Boris Pigovat’s…therefore choose life…” (September 22-24, 2017) is inspired by the well-known passage in Deuteronomy (30:19), which contrasts “life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life.” James MacMillan’s Larghetto for Orchestra (October 27-29, 2017) is the orchestrated version of his choral work, Miserere, a setting of 17th Century composer Gregorio Allegri’s Psalm 51: 3-21. And Iranian composer Reza Vali’s Isfahan Calligraphy No. 16 (June 8-10, 2017), uses Persian-influenced musical technique known as “Isfahan,” named after the Persian city where it was developed. The ancient city of Isfahan also served as an intersection of many of the world’s religions.
15 Guest Artists to Perform in Pittsburgh for the First Time
This season, Manfred Honeck will continue his tradition of introducing new talent to the City of Pittsburgh. Throughout the season, 15 guest artists will make their debuts with the Orchestra:

Honeck to Conduct at Least One New Piece on Every Program He Conducts Throughout Season
Nearly every program led by Honeck will feature at least one piece that he will conduct with the Pittsburgh Symphony for the first time. Those pieces are:

John Adams    Lollapalooza (September 22-24, 2017)
Pigovat            …therefore choose life… (September 22-24, 2017)
SaintSaëns      Organ Symphony (September 22-24, 2017)
MacMillan        Larghetto for Orchestra (October 27-29, 2017)
Schumann       Cello Concerto (October 27-29, 2017)
Chausson        Poeme (November 24 & 26, 2017)
Ravel               Tzigane (November 24 & 26, 2017)
Haydn              Creation (December 1-3, 2017)
Prokofiev         Symphony No. 5  (March 2 & 4, 2018)
Beethoven        Piano Concerto No. 2 (March 2 & 4, 2018)
Janáček            Sinfonietta (March 2 & 4, 2018)
Vali                  Isfahan (Calligraphy No. 16) (June 8 &10, 2017)
Liszt                 Les Preludes (June 8 &10, 2017)
Wagner            Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (June 8 &10, 2017)
Berlioz                         Te Deum, Opus 22 (June 15-17, 2018)

Lobby Display
From September 22 – December 14, 2017, an archival display featuring photographs, programs, and important memorabilia of Honeck’s 10 seasons with the Orchestra will be on display on the Grand Tier of Heinz Hall.

Side-By-Side Concert
On April 23, 2018 at 7pm, Manfred Honeck will conduct a special concert celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the EQT Student Side-By-Side program, featuring the student musicians of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Launch of PSO360
In honor of Manfred Honeck’s 10th Anniversary, the PSO will launch a new concert format called PSO360. Featuring 200 seats in-the-round on the Heinz Hall stage, the concerts offer listeners an intimate experience with Pittsburgh Symphony musicians and special guest artists, two of which are performing with the PSO for the first time. Upcoming concerts include:

  • Ray Chen performing music from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” on an historic “Joachim” Stradivarius violin

(October 14, 2017)

  • Pianist Kirill Gerstein performing the original jazz band version of Rhapsody in Blue and other solo piano works

(January 27, 2018)

  • Grammy award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich performing works by Niccolo Paganini and others

(May 19, 2017)

City of Asylum
Also new this season, in honor of Manfred Honeck’s 10th Anniversary, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will partner with the City of Asylum (COA) to create a series of five events in the 2017-18 season that will explore the intersections of creativity, expression, and community. The musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, like the artists at City of Asylum, come to Pittsburgh from across the globe. They have varied experiences and backgrounds, but they have a common drive to be part of a larger artistic community. The series of performances and conversations will be presented in the new Alphabet City space on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Tickets are free, but registration is required. More info is available at pittsburghsymphony.org.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, Alphabet City @ 8pm
“Suppression, Creativity and Artistic Resilience; focusing on Russia and the Holocaust,” featuring The Clarion Ensemble

Monday, November 27, 2017, Alphabet City @ 8pm
“Reimagining Creation” featuring Director Sam Helfrich and Manfred Honeck

Thursday, January 25, 2018, Alphabet City @ 8pm
“Venezuela: Turmoil and Artistic Vitality” featuring Rafael Payare, Conductor

Thursday, March 15, 2018, Alphabet City @ 8pm
“Inspiration and Tenacity,” featuring works by female composers

Thursday, June 7, 2018, Alphabet City @ 8pm
“From Persia to Pittsburgh” featuring Composer Reza Vali

Reception Honoring Manfred Honeck
On April 19, 2018, the Third Annual Maestro’s Wine Dinner at the Duquesne Club will honor Manfred Honeck’s 10th Anniversary.  It is an evening of wine and music featuring a chamber group comprised of PSO Musicians.  Tickets range from $500 to $10,000 and it is open to the public. Tickets and more information will be available beginning October 15.

Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. The 2017-2018 season will mark ten years of this acclaimed partnership and in honor of the occasion in Pittsburgh, three of the programs throughout the year will feature a special commission to commemorate this decade of successful music-making. Consistently recognized for their performances, Honeck and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad and 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 returned for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016.  Their most recent tour lead them to Europe’s most prestigious music festivals, including the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival.

Manfred Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels.  All SACDs released by Reference Recordings, amongst them Strauss tone poems and suites, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and, most recently, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, have received numerous rave reviews and honors. The recording of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček’s opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by the artist himself, was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was Bruckner’s Fourth. Several recordings, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.

Born in Austria, Manfred 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 as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed 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 assumed the post of Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for several years. From 2000 to 2006 he was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2013 to 2016, Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2007 to 2011, Manfred 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. Moreover, he has been Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than twenty years.

As a guest conductor, Manfred Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic 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, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. In the 2017-2018 season, he will conduct the New Year’s Concert of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, return to the Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony and also continue his regular collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony and Accademia di Santa Cecilia.

Manfred Honeck has received honorary doctorates from several North American universities. In 2016, 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), 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. Its “Pittsburgh Live!” series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Awards 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.

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