Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents the BNY Mellon Grand Classics MOZART FESTIVAL, 4/25-5/4
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, 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.
Pianist and conductor Robert Levin has been heard throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. His solo engagements include the orchestras of Atlanta, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, Utah and Vienna on the Steinway with such conductors as Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Bernard Haitink, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. On period pianos, he has appeared with the Academy of Ancient Music, English Baroque Soloists, Handel & Haydn Society, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Renowned for his improvised embellishments and cadenzas in Classical period repertoire, Levin has recorded a Mozart concerto cycle for Decca; a Beethoven concerto cycle for DG Archiv (including the world premiere recording of Beethoven's arrangement of the Fourth Concerto for piano and string quintet); and the complete Bach harpsichord concertos with Helmuth Rilling. A passionate advocate of new music, Levin has commissioned and premiered a large number of works. He is a renowned chamber musician and a noted theorist and musicologist. His completions of Mozart fragments are published by Bärenreiter, Breitkopf & Härtel, Carus, Peters and Wiener Urtext Edition, and recorded and performed throughout the world.
Donald Marinelli retired from Carnegie Mellon University in April 2012, concluding 31 years of service to the university in a variety of capacities. Together with the late computer science professor Randy Pausch, Marinelli co-founded the world-renowned Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center. Marinelli also was a tenured professor of drama and arts management at CMU. Marinelli was integral in the creation of the Carnegie Mellon University's Master of Arts Management program, the Master of Fine Arts in Acting degree program with the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia, and the Master of Entertainment Technology degree program within the ETC. He is currently executive vice president of Vissman Management, a merger, acquisition and venture capital firm based in Pittsburgh. He is an adjunct professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Marinelli completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He received a M.A. in clinical psychology, specializing in existential-phenomenological psychology from Duquesne University. Marinelli subsequently attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received his Ph.D. in theatre history, literature and criticism in 1987.
Baritone Lucas Meachem has established himself as an internationally sought-after performer whose compelling lyric baritone voice and dramatic interpretations have led him to some of the world's most important operatic stages. He has performed around the world with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Cincinnati Opera, St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Opera and many others. He has performed in a variety of programs, including "La Boheme," "Il Barbiere di Siviglia," "Le Nozze di Figaro" and many others. Meachem has been a winner in many competitions across the United States including the Mario Lanza Competition, Jessie Kneisel Competition, West Palm Beach Opera Competition, Opera Index Competition, George London Competition and the Bel Canto Competition. He has also been a winner in the Metropolitan National Council Competition in Charlotte, N.C. and in New Haven, Conn. and was the recipient of an Encouragement award at the Regional Metropolitan National Council Competition in Atlanta, Ga.
Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in fall 1998 as principal clarinet. Born in Toronto, Canada, his early studies were with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He later attended The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he was appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich to the post of assistant principal clarinet with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition to his position in the Pittsburgh Symphony, he has performed as guest principal clarinet with the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, the St. Louis Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Rusinek has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and as a recitalist across Canada, on CBC Radio, and throughout the United States and Israel, including appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestra, National Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Symphony Orchestra of The Curtis Institute of Music. Dedicated to teaching, he has led master classes at some of the leading institutions around the country, including The Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music and the New World Symphony. He served on the faculty of the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Canton, China, for its inaugural season, and returns often to play and teach in Tianjin and Beijing. He also has served on the faculty of Instrumenta Verano in Mexico. He is currently on faculty at the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University.
Violist Meng Wang has established himself as a soloist, an avid chamber musician and a prominent orchestral musician. Born in Sheng-Yang, China, he began his violin studies at age five with Ze Jin, the concertmaster of Liaoning Symphony Orchestra. At age 12, he was accepted by Central Conservatory in Beijing. In 1997, Wang attended Walnut Hill School in Boston as a full scholarship student. He won the top prize in The Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was accepted by the Curtis Institute of Music. Deeply committed to chamber music, Wang has performed with distinguished artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sharon Robinson, Chao-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein, Pinkas Zukerman, Barbara Westphal and Bono. Wang joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section in December 2007. Previously he has performed with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and The New York Philharmonic. From 2004 to 2006 Mr. Wang served as principal viola at The Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. He had also been the associate principal viola at the Haddonfield Symphony, the principal viola at the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, a member of The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra and The Curtis Symphony Orchestra.
Anne Martindale Williams has enjoyed a successful career as principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since 1979. Throughout her tenure with the orchestra, she has often been featured as soloist both in Pittsburgh and on tour in New York at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. She has collaborated with guest artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, André Previn, the Emerson Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman in numerous chamber music performances. She made her London debut performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, Andre Previn conducting. Williams divides her time between the orchestra, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and solo and chamber music performances in America, Europe and the Far East. Mrs. Williams is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Orlando Cole. Her Tecchler cello was made in Rome in 1701.
Violinist Christopher Wu enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral and chamber musician, teacher and soloist. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Wu joined the first violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1988. He has previously served as concertmaster of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Riverside Orchestra and has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, and the Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonics. An active chamber musician, Wu has played with a wide range of artists including Nancy Wilson, Joshua Bell and the Muir String Quartet. He is a founding member of the innovative chamber music group Innuendo. Wu has appeared in numerous festivals in recent seasons including Aspen, Brevard, Heidelberg, Savannah, Masterwork, Stockbridge and St. Bart's Music Festival. He is currently on the faculties of Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University and Geneva College. He has taught classes at the University of Texas, Youngstown State University, Ottawa University, Boston University Tanglewood Institute and has served as associate professor of violin at the University of Oklahoma. Chris' violin was made in 1727 by Nicolo Gagliano.
The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP), a chorus of 120 which includes a 20-voice professional core, is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. Founded in 1908, the MCP holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh's oldest continuously performing arts organization. The choir, in its 104th season and sixth under the direction of Betsy Burleigh, is known for its mastery of the great choral classics. The MCP is a Steinway Artist, the only chorus holding that designation.
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 also hosts many other events that do not feature its world-renowned orchestra, including Broadway shows, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.