Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck Present THE PLANETS, 2/7-9

From the far reaches of the solar system to the depths of Pittsburgh's rivers, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Music Director Manfred Honeck will take audiences for a wild ride during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics performance on February 7-9.

During this performance, Manfred Honeck leads the Pittsburgh Symphony in a world premiere of The Elements by five composers from several Pittsburgh universities-Patrick Burke of Duquesne University; Bomi Jang, Mathew Rosenblum and Amy Williams of the University of Pittsburgh; and Reza Vali of Carnegie Mellon University-who each contributed a movement this Pittsburgh Symphony commission. This collaboration celebrates the Pittsburgh region, with each section focusing on an element or set of elements - earth, fire, water, air and metal all make an appearance. In the second half, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the women of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh get celestial during Gustav Holst's The Planets. From bellicose Mars to mystical Neptune, Holst's iconic musical portrayal of the planets and their astrological significance has thrilled audiences with its richly-colored orchestration and memorable melodies and during this performance the audience can delight in HD footage of the planets from NASA.

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, Pittsburgh Symphony Assistant Conductor Fawzi Haimor will conduct a pre-concert talk one hour before each performance with two of the five composers of "The Elements" each evening.

The concerts will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging from $30.75 to $124.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900, or by visitingwww.pittsburghsymphony.org.

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.

More On: Patrick Burke, Amy Williams, Carnegie Mellon University, Gustav Mahler.

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by Peter Danish