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Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Announce the 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics Season

Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Announce the 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics Season

Today, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced the 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season, the orchestra's 119th year since its founding and its seventh season under the leadership of Music Director Manfred Honeck.

"There is so much to look forward to in the 2014-2015 season," says Honeck. "I am excited for the return of the innovative Mason Bates as Composer of the Year, as well as debuts by young, up-and-coming musicians and guest conductors, but I am especially thrilled to showcase the incredible depth of talent among our Pittsburgh Symphony musicians during the season."

Honeck conducts 10 of the 20-week BNY Mellon Grand Classics subscription concerts, including Bates' "Rusty Air in Carolina"; three BeethovenFest weekends; suites from Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet ballets; and a performance featuring his brother, violinist Rainer Honeck.

Several artists are slated to make their debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this season, including music/comedy duo Igudesman & Joo, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, violinist Rainer Honeck and Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.

The Pittsburgh Symphony is fortunate to be the home orchestra for many virtuoso musicians who are renowned throughout the world. This coming season, more than a dozen of the symphony's principals will have the opportunity to demonstrate their elite-level musicianship in front of the "home team," including Lorna McGhee, flute (Oct. 24-26, 2014); Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley (Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2015, March 6-8, 2015 and March 20-22, 2015); Randolph Kelly, viola (March 6-8, 2015); Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, oboe (March 20-22, 2015 and June 12-14, 2015); Jennifer Ross, violin (March 20-22, 2015); Anne Martindale Williams, cello (March 20-22, 2015 and May 15-17, 2015); David Premo, cello (March 20-22, 2015); Jeffrey Turner, double bass (March 20-22, 2015); John Moore, double bass (March 20-22, 2015); the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Horn Section (March 27-29, 2015); and Nancy E. Goeres, bassoon (May 29-31, 2015).

Additionally, audiences will have a special opportunity to enjoy two of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's principals playing pieces composed for them specifically. Anne Martindale Williams will perform a concerto by Jake Heggie for cello and voice called The Work at Hand: Symphonic Songs for Cello & Mezzo-Soprano. This emotionally charged piece is a setting of a poem by Linda Morefield, a friend of the composer who wrote it while fighting - and ultimately losing to - cancer. The season ends with the second Pittsburgh Symphony commission - a world premiere of the third in a series of concertos for Pittsburgh Symphony woodwind principals composed by Alan Fletcher. This symphony commission features Principal Oboe Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida in the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra.

"From favorites like Beethoven to groundbreaking new music like that of Mason Bates, this season has something for everyone," says James A. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony. "We are proud of the artistic balance of the 2014-2015 season because it allows our guest conductors and soloists, as well as our own orchestra members, to shine."

The Pittsburgh Symphony welcomes back BNY Mellon as title sponsor for the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel and Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Season tickets are available in packages of six, seven, 14 and 20 concerts and range in price from $114 to $1,720. Tickets for individual concerts will go on sale around Labor Day. Season tickets are available by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org.

Items of note in the 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics Season:

Composer of the Year

During the 2014-2015 Season, the Pittsburgh Symphony welcomes back Mason Bates as its Composer of the Year for the second time with four weekends featuring his work. Bates' music fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, jazz and pop harmonies and techno rhythms. Performed by orchestras large and small, his symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds. He also is a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces (such as the "Mercury Soul" project at Static nightclub performed by the symphony in the 2012-2013 season). A recipient of the Rome and Berlin Prizes as well as fellowships from Tanglewood and the Guggenheim Foundation, Bates was last Composer of the Year for the Pittsburgh Symphony in the 2012-2013 season.

Launched in 2001-2002, the Composer of the Year program provides audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to encounter music of living composers, and establish a relationship with the composers through the experience of hearing multiple works and learning about the works through pre-concert talks and chats with the composer. Past participants are Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, Michael Hersch, Krzysztof Penderecki, Rodion Shchedrin and Pittsburgh composers David Stock, Leonardo Balada, Nancy Galbraith, Patrick Burke, Bomi Jang, Mathew Rosenblum, Reza Vali and Amy Williams. The 2014-2015 BNY Mellon Grand Classics Season marks the 14th year of the Composer of the Year program.

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