The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents BEETHOVENFEST: THE REVOLUTIONARY, 12/5-7

The music of Ludwig Van Beethoven is so universally beloved today that it's hard to imagine that when it was written, his revolutionary approach agitated and excited those who heard his music. He changed the music world forever. In the first of three weekends devoted to Beethoven's life and works, Maestro Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra celebrate his revolutionary effect on music during "BeethovenFest: The Revolutionary" on December 5-7.

Part of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series, the weekend features two of Beethoven's most-loved symphonies-the profoundly philosophical Fifth is one of the most well-known musical testaments in the repertoire and the joyful, highly-charged Seventh bursts with optimism despite the composer's total deafness.

"Beethoven's music makes such an impression that you cannot shake it. His gestures shock the system with such an incredible drive and jolt of unbridled energy," says Music Director Honeck. "The 5th and 7th Symphonies then and now continue to be some of the most groundbreaking and revolutionary music ever composed. They transcend the beautiful and instead are bold, fearless and triumphant. It is no longer simply about melodies and their accompanying harmonies. Here, we have a complete integration of powerful, brilliant and indelible rhythm."

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 were created. This weekend, a pre-concert talk will occur on stage one hour prior to the concert start time. Also one hour before concert time, the Bouffard Wind Quintet from Carnegie Mellon University will perform in the Grand Lobby on December 6. The Pittsburgh Music Academy will do the same on December 7.

BeethovenFest continues with "BeethovenFest: The Hero," on February 20 & 22, featuring pianist Lars Vogt on Concerto No. 1 in C major, as well as Quartet, Opus 18 No. 4 (arranged by Maestro Honeck) and Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat major, Opus 55, "Eroica." The final weekend, "BeethovenFest: The Immortal," will be June 5-7, 2015 and features the moving Symphony No. 9, as well as Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $30.75 to $110.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org.

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2014-2015 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.

Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. After two extensions, his contract now runs until the end of the 2019-2020 season. To great acclaim, Honeck and his orchestra perform regularly for European audiences. Since 2010, annual tour performances have led them to numerous European music capitals and major music festivals, including Rheingau Musik Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Musikfest Berlin, Grafenegg Festival, Lucerne Festival and the BBC Proms. Several recordings, amongst them Mahler's Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are available on Japanese label Exton. 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. The second recording, of Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janacek's opera Jenufa, conceptualized by Honeck himself, followed in summer 2014 and was likewise enthusiastically received. Several additional recordings are completed and it is expected that two releases will be issued per year. 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 and at the helm of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor's Award in 1993. Other early stations of his career include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra and Oslo, where he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for several years. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, 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 leading international orchestras such as the 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 also is a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. In February 2013, he had his successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the direct result of which was a CD recording together with Anne-Sophie Mutter (works of Dvorak). The current season sees returns to Bamberg, Stuttgart, Rome and New York as well as to the Vienna Symphony (a CD of works by the Strauss family was released in summer 2013) and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He also will conduct Tonhalleorchester Zürich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst others. Honeck has received honorary doctorates from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and, most recently, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has been artistic director of the "International Concerts Wolfegg" in Germany for more than 15 years.

For more than 117 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been an essential part of Pittsburgh's cultural landscape. The Pittsburgh Symphony, known for its artistic excellence, 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. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras. The Pittsburgh Symphony has made 40 international tours, including 20 European tours, eight trips to the Far East, and two to South America. Under the baton of Gilbert Levine, the PSO was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican in January 2004 for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff's Silver Jubilee celebration. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast coast-to-coast, receiving increased national attention in 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International (PRI). The PRI series is produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh and is made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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.

Photo Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Symphony



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