Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents the BNY Mellon Grand Classics MOZART FESTIVAL, Now thru 5/4
Each of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart's vast number of compositions is considered a musical gem. Join Music Director Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as they celebrate Mozart's extensive catalog of masterpieces during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics Mozart Festival, a two-week exploration of the five pillars of Mozart's music - symphony, concerto, chamber music, opera and sacred music.
The opening weekend of the festival, today, April 25-27, features celebrated Mozart scholar and pianist Robert Levin, who will join the Pittsburgh Symphony in performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20, a favorite concerto of Beethoven's. Attendees are in for a special treat, as Levin performs improvisations (á là Mozart) on themes suggested by the audience and the symphony performs Mozart's famous "Eine kleine Nachtmusik." Principal Horn William Caballero gives the first performance of Levin's new edition of Mozart's stunning Concerto No. 1 in D major for Horn and Orchestra. The program closes with Honeck leading the popular Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter." As a special treat, a quartet of Pittsburgh Symphony musicians - Christopher Wu, Susanne Park, Meng Wang and Anne Martindale Williams- will give a post-concert recital of one of Mozart's chamber works in preparation for the next event in the festival.
Next, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra partners with Chamber Music Pittsburgh to present an evening of Mozart's chamber music, "Music of Mozart," at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Tuesday, April 29 as part of the Mozart Festival. This intimate evening of music features musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony - Michael Rusinek, clarinet; Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin; Christopher Wu, violin; Meng Wang, viola; and Anne Martindale Williams, cello - with Levin in a program of Mozart's smaller works.
The close of the Mozart Festival on May 2 & 4, "Mad About Mozart," takes a lighter tone and is hosted by creative force Don Marinelli portraying a variety of figures from Mozart's life and works. Also joining the Pittsburgh Symphony and Maestro Honeck on stage are the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and soloists Lucas Meachem (baritone) and Sunhae Im (soprano) in a variety of selections from Mozart's sacred works and most famous operas, such as "The Magic Flute" and "Don Giovanni."
Opening weekend concert times are 8 p.m. on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. Music of Mozart at the Carnegie Music Hall is at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29. The Mozart Festival finale weekend features concerts at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 4. Tickets for the opening and closing weekends, 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 pittsburghsymphony.org. Tickets, $15-$35, for Music of Mozart can be purchased at pittsburghchambermusic.org or 412-624-4129.
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.
Noah Bendix-Balgley is a laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and also won third prize and a special prize for creativity at the 2008 Long-Thibaud International Competition in Paris. Bendix-Balgley won the first prize at the 2011 Vibrarte International Music Competition in Paris and was awarded first Prize and a special prize for best Bach interpretation at the 14th International Violin Competition "Andrea Postacchini" in Fermo, Italy. As a soloist, he has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de Belgique, I Pomeriggi Musicale of Milan, Orchestre Royal Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), the Binghamton Philharmonic and the Asheville Symphony (USA). In 2011, Bendix-Balgley was appointed concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the "Best Classical Concert of 2012" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bendix-Balgley has also performed his own version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for solo violin in front of 39,000 fans at the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park. He is a passionate and experienced chamber musician and has performed on North American tour with the Miro String Quartet. From 2008 to 2011, he was the 1st violinist of the Munich-based Athlos String Quartet, which won a special prize at the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in Berlin, and performed throughout Europe. Bendix-Balgley has appeared at numerous festivals in Europe and North America, including the Verbier Festival, Sarasota Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, Brevard Music Center, and Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, Germany. Bendix-Balgley graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Munich Hochschule. He is a part of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University School of Music as an artist lecturer and coaches several student string quartets.
William Caballero has been principal horn for the Pittsburgh Symphony for 25 years. Before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony in May 1989, Caballero previously held principal horn positions with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and Hartford Symphony. He held third horn positions with the Montreal Symphony, Montreal Opera and acting third horn with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. He has also performed as guest principal horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony. Born in New Mexico and reared in Wisconsin, Caballero's early horn studies included working under Larry Simons, Barry Benjamin and Basil Tyler, as well as studying the piano and pipe organ. Caballero graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston where he studied with Richard Mackey and Thomas Newell, both former members of the Boston Symphony. Currently, Caballero is the associate teaching professor of horn at Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Previously, he held teaching positions at Indiana University Bloomington, Rice University in Houston, Texas and Duquesne University. He has been invited and presented master classes throughout the world including Northwestern University, Colburn School of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Indiana Bloomington, Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New World Symphony and the Beijing and Shanghai Conservatories. The past two summers he joined the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival as performer and teacher. For the previous seven summers, Caballero was on the faculty and performed at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
In January 2012, Caballero began collaboration with the Internet music teaching company ArtistWorks.com based in Napa, California. He holds the Pittsburgh Symphony's Anonymous Foundation Principal Horn Chair.
Manfred Honeck was appointed the ninth music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in January 2007, and began his tenure at the start of the 2008-2009 season. After a first extension in 2009, his contract was extended for the second time in February 2012, now through the 2019-2020 season. Honeck was born in Austria and studied music at the Academy of Music in Vienna. An accomplished violinist and violist, he spent more than 10 years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. He began his career as conductor of Vienna's Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. In 2010, Honeck was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. Apart from his numerous tasks as conductor, he has been artistic director of the "International Concerts Wolfegg" in Germany for more than 15 years. Honeck served as principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2011, a position he has resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic and in the United States with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Manfred Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is now captured by Reference Recordings. The first SACD - of Strauss tone poems - was released in fall 2013 and received rave reviews. Several additional recordings are completed and it is expected that two releases will be issued per year.
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, soprano Sunhae Im was seen as Dorinda in a new staging of Handel's "Orlando" in Rennes, Brest, Versailles and at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. Further engagements took her to Amsterdam and Rotterdam (Brahms: "Requiem"); to France (Mozart: "Requiem" under Laurence Equilbey); to Paris, Brussels, Madrid and Crakow (Handel: "La Resurrezione"); to the Kölner Philharmonie and the Salle Pleyel in Paris (Handel: "Orlando"); and to the Wiener Musikverein and the Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels (Bach: "Weihnachtsoratorium"). In Berlin, she did a Christmas program with the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra. Since her European stage debut in 2000, South Korean Im-who studied at the Seoul National University under the guidance of Lokyung Pak and at the University of Karlsruhe under Roland Hermann-has proven her artistic versatility in a multitude of international productions. She has been a guest at the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Oper Frankfurt, the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opéra National de Paris (Euridice in Gluck's "Orfeo" under Thomas Hengelbrock), the Staatstheater Stuttgart (Ilia in "Idomeneo," Susanna in "Le Nozze di Figaro" and Constance in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites" under Manfred Honeck), the Korean National Opera (Adina in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore" and Ilia under Myung-Whun Chung), the Budapest Palace of Arts (Zerlina in "Don Giovanni" under Iván Fischer), and the Theater an der Wien ("La Finta Giardiniera" and "L'Orfeo"). Im has been invited to renowned festivals such as the Edinburgh International Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Salzburg Festival and Haydn International Festival and has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. She has worked with conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, William Christie, Fabio Biondi, Thomas Hengelbrock, Herbert Blomstedt, Frans Brüggen, Giovanni Antonini, Iván Fischer, Kent Nagano, Riccardo Chailly, Lothar Zagrosek, Sylvain Cambreling, Ton Koopman, Marek Janowski and René Jacobs. She also has close ties to the ensembles of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (AKAMUS), as well as the Freiburger Barockorchester. Her repertoire includes works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Gluck, Rameau, Charpentier, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Mahler and Mendelssohn.