PSO & BNY Mellon Grand Classics Series Runs Now thru 3/2 at Heinz Hall

PSO & BNY Mellon Grand Classics Series Runs Now thru 3/2 at Heinz HallThe Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra joins with one of the world's most celebrated violinists, Joshua Bell, and Victor de Sabata Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda for a BNY Mellon Grand Classics program inspired by dramatic tales and far off lands tonight, February 28 to March 2 at Heinz Hall.

During this performance, Noseda leads the Pittsburgh Symphony in a daring presentation of two alluring and fascinating pieces. The performance begins with Joshua Bell's performance of Edouard Lalo's challenging "Symphonie espagnole." Although composed at the beginning of the French fascination with Spanish-themed music, this piece took many years to gain the fame it truly deserved. In the second half, the audience is taken through the rarely preformed tale of "A Faust Symphony." Composer Franz Liszt, inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's drama "Faust," dramatically portrays the three main characters- the fallen scholar, Faust, his innocent love, Gretchen, and the demon, Mephistopheles-in one beautiful movement after another.

Each BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert is part of the Explore & Engage program, which includes pre-concert talks, exhibits, display boards and interactive activities that illuminate the music, composers and the time in which they created. This weekend, Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh will conduct a pre-concert talk one hour before each performance. Also, on Sunday, March 2, the PSO Book Club with WQED-FM's Jim Cunningham will meet at 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Tier Lounge to discuss "The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop" by John Marchese. The book club session is free to all ticket holders to the Sunday afternoon performance, but availability is limited; advance registration is required. To register, call 412.392.4876 or email

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $25.75 to $105.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or by visiting

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2013-2014 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.

Joshua Bell is one of the world's most celebrated violinists. Recently named the music director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bell is the first person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. Equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and orchestra leader, Bell's 2013 highlights included performances with the Israeli Philharmonic and at Eastern, Brevard, Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart festivals. In 2014, Bell reunites with his beloved Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, directing Beethoven's 3rd and 5th Symphonies and recording the violin concertos of Bach. He will also perform the Brahms concerto with the legendary Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Paavo Järvi, and the Sibelius with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Growing up with his two sisters in Bloomington, Ind., Bell was an avid computer game player and placed fourth in a national tennis tournament at age 10, and still keeps his racquet close by. At age four, he received his first violin after his parents, both mental health professionals, noticed him plucking tunes with rubber bands he had stretched around his dresser drawer handles. By 12, he was serious about the instrument, thanks in large part to the inspiration Josef Gingold, his beloved teacher and mentor. Two years later, Bell came to national attention in debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. His Carnegie Hall debut, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a notable recording contract further confirmed his presence. In 1989, Bell received an Artist Diploma in Violin Performance from Indiana University where he currently serves as a senior lecturer at the Jacobs School of Music. His alma mater honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award, he has been named an "Indiana Living Legend" and is the recipient of the Indiana Governor's Arts Award. Bell has received many accolades: In 2013 he was honored by the New York Chapter, The Recording Academy; in 2012, by the National YoungArts Foundation, in 2011, the Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons and the Huberman Award from Moment Magazine. Bell was named "Instrumentalist of the Year, 2010" by Musical America and received the Humanitarian Award from Seton Hall University. In 2009, he was honored by Education through Music and received the Academy of Achievement Award in 2008. In 2007, he was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize and recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005. Bell serves on the artist committee of the Kennedy Center Honors and the Board of Directors of the New York Philharmonic. He has twice performed before President Obama and returned to the Capital to perform for Vice President Biden and President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping. Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by Francois Tourte.