Pittsburgh Symphony to Complete Trilogy of NASA Films with Dvorak's New World
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra boldly goes into the farthest reaches of space during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics weekend on October 14-16 at Heinz Hall.
This weekend completes the innovative film and music trilogy, featuring HD footage from NASA, which began with "The Planets" and "The Earth." Led by Music Director Manfred Honeck, "The Cosmos" features Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," which was first taken to outer space by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11, paired with stunning footage of far distant galaxies, nebulae and other astronomical wonders from cutting-edge instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope.
The weekend also features the U.S. premiere of Sir James MacMillan's Symphony No. 4, a Pittsburgh Symphony co-commission that made its world premiere in August 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Pittsburgh Symphony's 2016-2017 Composer of the Year, MacMillan dedicated the piece to conductor and fellow Scotsman Donald Runnicles in honor of his 60th birthday. One evocative movement, this symphony is full of striking musical and philosophical ideas, plaintive melodies and vigorous counterpoints. The program opens with Beethoven's triumphant Egmont Overture.
A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders and led by Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/NewWorld and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/NewWorld.
The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2016-2017 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony (http://www.fairmont.com/pittsburgh/ ). Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Radio station WQED-FM 89.3 and WQEJ-FM89.7 is the official voice of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
About the Artists
Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, MANFRED HONECK has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. He and the orchestra are consistently recognized for their performances and are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. To great acclaim, they regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna. This successful collaboration has also been extensively documented on recordings. The SACDs released by Reference Records, most recently Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, have received numerous rave reviews, as well as two Grammy Award nominations.
Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where earned the prestigious European Conductor's Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to become music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of operas by Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Poulenc and Wagner. Other operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Royal Opera of Copenhagen and the Salzburg Festival.
As a guest conductor Honeck has worked with the world's leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College, Carnegie Mellon University and the Catholic University of America. Most recently, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the Austrian federal president.
The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), André Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its "Pittsburgh Live!" series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Award nominations in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series "Previn and the Pittsburgh." The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 - including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America-the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.
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 hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.