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Pittsburgh Symphony on Tour

PSO Tour Jim Cunningham reports daily at 8:30 am and 5:30 pm from the PSO's domestic and international tours.

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See a slideshow of the PSO's Spring 2007 West Coast Tour with Jim Cunningham.

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 |

2013

Last Day of the Tour in Bonn - 09/14/2013
Jim Cunningham visits the Beethovenhaus, the composer's birthplace in Bonn. He also get comments from the director of the Beethoven Festival, which has presented the PSO three times. You'll hear excerpts from a benefit concert in Cologne organized by PSO musicians including principal oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida for their "day off" on Friday. PSO Director of Artistic Planning Robert Moir talks about his work on this tour organizing return appearances for the orchestra with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in 2016.

From Bonn's Beethoven Festival with Martin Grubinger - 09/13/2013
Jim Cunningham meets the young Austrian percussion wizard Martin Grubinger, who talks about his chosen encores at the Lucerne and Beethoven Festivals, and about his work at age 6 with PSO maestro Manfred Honeck. By the Rhine river, with coal barges in the background, Jim gets comments from PSO violinist Laura Motchalov, and "extra" percussionist Mike McConnell.

With Rachel Stegeman and Dennis O'Boyle in Bonn - 09/13/2013
Jim Cunningham reports via Skype on Friday's activities during the orchestra's day off in Bonn. He is joined by PSO Assistant Principal Second Violinist Dennis O'Boyle and "extra" violinist Rachel Stegeman.

Farewell to Lucerne - 09/12/2013
Jim Cunningham reports on the PSO's second concert at the Lucerne Festival. Brass players Neal Berntsen and Alberto Suarez share their perspectives, as do music director Manfred Honeck and Lucerne Festival director Michael Haefliger. Jim also meets Angela Rosengart, a family friend of and occasional model for Pablo Picasso.

PSO Finds Its Rhythm - 09/12/2013
A percussion concerto, Ravel's precisely rhythmic Bolero and fiery Bolero made for great concerts at both the Lucerne and Beethoven Festivals. Jim Cunningham reports from Bonn with Mildred Myers, board member of both the Pittsburgh Symphony and WQED, who has witnessed several concerts on this tour. In excerpts from the Swiss Radio 2 broadcast, you'll hear a few seconds of Martin Grubinger's encore at the Lucerne Festival, and clips from Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole and Bolero.

With Anne-Sophie Mutter in Lucerne - 09/11/2013
Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter talks about the qualities of the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck that keep bringing her back to the orchestra on its European tours. She says that her new recording of the Dvorak concerto with Honeck and the Berlin Philharmonic is now available, and that she'll return to Pittsburgh to open the 2014-2015 season with a Bruch concerto. PSO Principal Cellist Anne-Martindale Williams praises the string section in Ein Heldenleben and ranks Lucerne's KKL among her favorite venues.

In Lucerne for Concert #2 - 09/11/2013
Percussionist Martin Grubinger rehearses John Corigliano's "Conjurer" concerto. Jim Cunningham catches violinist Ellen Chen Livingston and violist Marylene Gingras-Roy on a windy day for their thoughts on this tour. Violinist David Gillis praises Anne-Sophie Mutter for her Dvorak and Lutoslawski performances.

On the Streets of Lucerne - 09/10/2013
Jim Cunningham reports on musical activity at the Lucerne Festival and interviews Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, bassist John Moore and his wife, violinist Susanne Park, on the street in Lucerne, Switzerland on a rainy day before the first of two Pittsburgh Symphony concerts at the Festival.

Vive la Revolution in Lucerne - 09/10/2013
The Lucerne festival celebrates 75 years of embracing the new in classical music. Pittsburgh Symphony players make new memories on this tour and recall old ones -- cellist Mikhail Istomin who grew up in the Soviet Union and enjoyed his first visit to Bucharest last week to play Shostakovich, and principal harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen, who met two old friends in Bucharest while traveling with her husband, retired PSO oboist James Gorton, and their daughter, Toronto Symphony principal harpist Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton, who is performing with Mom on this tour.

Weekend wrapup - 09/09/2013
Paris, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. Jim Cunningham reports on three concerts of the Pittsburgh Symphony on tour with maestro Manfred Honeck. Co-principal clarinetist Thomas Thompson talks about changes in touring over four decades. You'll hear a section of Honeck's world-premiere suite from Janacek's "Jenufa." Yuja Wang  shares the highlights of this PSO tour. Percussionist Feza Zweifel - a tour 'extra' musician - shows how he maintains dexterity in a 5-star hotel lobby, and Jim encounters CMU grad and former PSO staffer Florian Wiegand, who now works for the Salzburg Festival.

PSO and a footrace in Frankfurt - 09/09/2013
Jim Cunningham found the PSO's venue, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, to be at the finish line of 10K race. US Consul in Frankfurt, Kevin Milas, talks about running the largest us consulate in the world. You'll hear excerpts of Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole, Faure's Pavane, Janacek's Jenufa, and Wagner's Lohengrin from Frankfurt, and part of a conversation with BNY Mellon's Thomas Brand,

Bon Voyage from Paris - 09/07/2013
Jim Cunningham captures audience reaction to the Pittsburgh Symphony with pianist Yuja Wang at the Salle Pleyel. PSO patrons traveling with the orchestra add their approval. Simeon and Teresa Honeck talk about watching their father Manfred conduct, and violinist Christopher Wu talks says what a pleasure it was to visit the Louvre with the Honeck children.

To Paris from Giverny - 09/06/2013
Jim Cunningham and orchestra members visited Giverny, where Claude Monet painted the water lillies in his garden including the large canvasses in the collection of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art. During the transfer from bus to train, Jim looks forward to a full rehearsal and concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.

Rehearsal at the Salle Pleyel - 09/06/2013
Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director Manfred Honeck tells Jim Cunningham about the rehearsal at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, including some pieces that will be heard later on tour. He also talks about plans for Jean Nouvel's Philharmonie de Paris concert hall, set to open in two or three years. Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar talks about the Salle Pleyel acoustics, his birthday plans, and more.

Lunch in Paris - 09/05/2013
Jim Cunningham reports from Paris with lunch companions Jayne Adair and Basil Cox, members of the Pittsburgh Symphony patrons group.

Paris with Craig Knox - 09/05/2013
PSO Principal Tubist Craig Knox joins Jim Cunningham in the orchestra's Paris hotel for a late-night update via Skype. Craig Knox reports on his meetings with tuba players at every tour stop so far, including a get-together in Bucharest to sample homemade plum brandy and talk about Soviet times in Romania.

Berlin's Digital Concert Hall - 09/04/2013
As the Pittsburgh Symphony gave the opening concert of the Musikfest Berlin, Jim Cunningham went behind the scenes of the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall, which offered the concert live on the Internet in high definition as a special free event. Jim talks with the founder and director of the Digital Concert Hall, Robert Zimmerman, and producer Christoph Franke.

Side-by-Side in Bucharest - 09/04/2013
Pittsburgh Symphony members sat in with musicians from the Camerata Regala – consisting of recent Romanian conservatory graduates – on Monday night at the smaller hall of the Sala Palatului. Jim Cunningham interviews Vlad Vizireanu, the young Romanian/American conductor for this Side-by-Side concert, South African piano soloist Ben Schoeman, and Mihai Hristu, who helped to organize the event.

Berlin to Bucharest with Joseph Rounds - 09/03/2013
Jim Cunningham reports on the Pittsburgh Symphony's opening concert of Musikfest Berlin 2013, Hornist Joseph Rounds shares his view of performing at the Berlin Philharmonie, and first impressions of Bucharest, where the orchestra is making its debut with a concert as part of the George Enescu Festival.

Friends in Bucharest - 09/03/2013
PSO Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams made friends earlier this year with some musicians in Romania, who came to greet her after the PSO's concert in Bucharest seen by 4,000 in the hall, and many more on live TV. Jim Cunningham sets the scene in this former Soviet-bloc state.

Back on the Bus to Grafenegg - 08/30/2013
Jim Cunningham reports live on the bus from the PSO's hotel in Vienna to the Grafenegg Festival for the orchestra's second tour concert. Jim interviews trumpeter Chad Winkler, Music Director Manfred Honeck, and Grafenegg Festival founder and director, pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.

With James Rodgers at Grafenegg - 08/30/2013
On return from the PSO's second concert at the Grafenegg Festival, Jim Cunningham and Princpal Contrabassoon Jim Rodgers recap an outdoor concert that featured the dynamic Yuja Wang in Tchikovsky's Piano Concerto #1.

With Micah Howard at Grafenegg - 08/29/2013
The Pittsburgh Symphony has arrived at Austria's Grafenegg Festival for the first rehearsal and concert of the tour. Jim Cunningham speaks with bass player Micah Howard about tonight's program, and adjustments Micah is making to the extension on his instrument, which lets him produce extra-low notes. Tonight, the PSO plays Dvorak indoors with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Hopes run high that tomorrow they can play outdoors, which rain prevented at the PSO's 2011 Grafenegg debut.

After the Tour's First Concert - 08/29/2013
The manicured gardens, the mix of old and contemporary buildings, fashionable classical music fans, many in traditional formal Austrian green loden cloth, and the always elegant violin soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter made for a beautiful opening concert for the PSO's tour. Jim Cunningham reports via Skype, just moments after returning to the hotel in Vienna.

Heldenleben's Eight Horns - 08/28/2013
Pittsburgh Symphony Princpal Horn William Caballero tells Jim Cunningham about the tour repertoire which includes Richard Strauss's Ein Heledenleben, a showpiece for the orchestra's horn section. Four guest horns, all outstanding players who have a long history as PSO 'extras', contribute to the sound. Mr. Caballero notes the continuing demand for the PSO at Europe's top summer festivals.

At Vienna's St. Anna's Children's Hospital - 08/28/2013
Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony visited one of Europe's top pediatric cancer centers last fall, and returned with other, German-speaking players: Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley and Associate Principal Violist Tatjana Mead Chamis. They spoke about their instruments and played everything from Bach to Austrian Folksongs, to "If You're Happy and You Know It." Hospital staff talked about advances in pediatric cancer treatment.

Arrival in Vienna - 08/27/2013
After Delta's nonstop Pittsburgh-to-Paris flight, the first of three groups of Pittsburgh Symphony musicians has flown on to Vienna. QED's Jim Cunningham checks in with Anna Singer on arrival at the orchestra's hotel.

Planes and Bikes - 08/27/2013
Jim Cunningham recaps the sendoff Monday night for the Pittsburgh Symphony's 2013 European Festivals Tour at the airport in Pittsburgh. Delta Airlines' District Sales Manager Vaughan Campanella and PSO Principal Piccolo Rhian Kenny talked about making this tour a partnership with a long future. Principal Timpanist Ed Stephan told Jim about a new program in Pittsburgh to get instruments into the hands of more budding musicians, and his plans for riding his folding bike on the Continent.

2012

Stuttgart - 11/10/2012
Jim presents highlights from the concert at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany, where the PSO played Gershwin, Stucky and Tchaikovsky. Jim meets Thomas Brand, a BNY Mellon regional manager. Violinist Rui-Tong Wang and her husband Joe Block tell the story of their son's baptism last week in Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral, where Mozart was married and buried.

Farewell, Frankfurt - 11/09/2012
The PSO performed at one of Germany's largest concert halls, in Frankfurt. Jim Cunningham reports on the concert with Principal Bass Trombonist Murray Crewe, violin soloist Nikolaj Znaider who played the Sibelius concerto and then sat in the orchestra's violin section to play Dvorak's "New World" Symphony. Orchestra members hail Principal Hornist Bill Caballero with a hearty "Happy Birthday" in Frankfurt.

Taking Care of Business in Stuttgart - 11/09/2012
Jim Cunningham reports from Stuttgart where he talked with members of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, which is using the PSO's music to seed interest in international business involving companies based in the Pittsburgh region.

Cologne Concert - 11/08/2012
Jim Cunningham reports live on the concert at the Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany, and Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh gives his perspective.

Cologne Concert Highlights - 11/08/2012
In the shadow of Cologne's famous cathedral, the PSO played at the adjacenent Philharmonie. Jim Cunningham has highlights from Steven Stucky's Silent Spring (on the composer's birthday), Nikolaj Znaider's Bach encore, Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek's cadenza in Khatchaturian's Maskarade, and Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar's "Goin' Home" solo in Dvorak's New World Symphony. Jim talks backstage with Lanxess USA's CEO Flemming Bjornslev, and VP of Communications Terri Fitzpatrick.

From Frankfurt with Lawrence Loh - 11/08/2012
After a concert in Germany's financial capital, Jim Cunningham reports on the PSO's one day in Frankfurt. PSO Resident Conductor Lawernce Loh talks about his role on tour, assisting Manfred Honeck in last week's recording and playback sessions at the Musikverein in Vienna.

From the Train to Cologne - 11/07/2012
From a train speeding between Paris and Cologne, Jijm Cunningham reports on the orchestra's concert and day off in Paris. Clarinetist Jack Howell, a member of the Renaissance City Winds, is on this tour. Before a break in mobile phone coverage ends the call, he talks about the clarinet section's visit to the Selmer showroom in Paris.

Oboists Bending the Elbow with French Oboe Makers - 11/06/2012
After the concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, Jim Cunningham phones in as the PSO oboist section and Catherine Greenbank of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra meet with the family of artisans from the manufacturer F. Lorée who make their instruments. We hear from Principal Oboe Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, Principal Horn Bill Caballero, and the owner of the F. Lorée factory.

From the Salle Pleyel in Paris - 11/06/2012
Jim Cunningham captures audience reaction to the PSO's concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh is relaxed after recording Mahler's Symphony #2 in Vienna. Parisian concert presenter  Emmanuel Hondre gives his assessment of the Salle Pleyel concert, and is pleased to be bringing the PSO back next season. German concert presenter Burkhard Glashoff said the audience in Paris was more enthusiastic than he usually sees. Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley talks about taking Steven Stucky's Silent Spring to Europe and his solo moments in the Mahler in Vienna.

Free Day in Paris - 11/06/2012
Jim Cunningham reports on the PSO's final day off before the four final concerts in Germany and Luxembourg. In the hotel lobby, he catches maestro Manfred Honeck (who has caught a cold), and Princpal Harp Gretchen Van Hoesen.

Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna - 11/05/2012
Jim's final report from the PSO's residency in Vienna includes conversations with Dr. Otto Biba, head of the archives at the Musikverein, and Dr. Thomas Angyan, the Intendant of the Gesellschaft at the Musikverein. Jim witnesses a protest at St. Stephen's, and talks with PSO patrons Tom and Jamee Todd, as well as PSO Timpanist Ed Stephan and principal percussionist Christopher Allen.

Music for Body and Soul - 11/03/2012
Jim Cunningham interviews Johannes Prinz, the director of the Vienna Singverein, who has known Manfred Honeck since their student days. Jim also gets reaction to the PSO's Mahler "Resurrection" Symphony from Helge Wehmeier, an underwriter of QED's tour coverage. We hear the PSO's Adam Liu and Penny Brill bringing music therapy to St. Anna's pediatric hospital, PSO Board Chair Richard Simmons saluting orchestra members after last night's concert, and the backstage brass group featured in Mahler's Second at the Musikverein.

Ronald Schneider meets Ronald Schneider - 11/02/2012
PSO hornist Ronald Schneider received an email from "Ron Schneider." Suspecting spam, he opened it anyway, and discovered that it was from a notable pianist in Vienna who shares his name. They finally met in person, and QED's Jim Cunningham was there.

Singing praises at the Musikverein - 11/02/2012
Manfred Honeck's moving musical event expanding on Mozart's Requiem elated performers and audience on All Souls Day in Vienna. QED's Jim Cunningham gets reactions from the US Ambassador to Austria, William Eacho; vocal soloists Liang Li, Sunghae Im, and Paul Appleby; PSO violinist Chris Wu, Pittsburgher Monique Mead, and Nikolaj Znaider, who played the world premiere of Herbert Willi's Violin Concerto "Sacrosanto," commissioned by the Musikfreunde for the PSO's visit.

With the Winklers at Winklers in Wien - 11/01/2012
The Pittsburgh Symphony's most musical family on this tour is the Winklers. Chad Winkler is a member of the PSO trumpet section, joined by his trumpet-playing father and brother as tour "extras" for Mahler's Symphony #2. Chad's sister-in-law Sonja Winkler is the PSO's Director of Orchestra Operations and Touring. Other members of the family have come to Vienna, and the Winklers all gathered at a Viennese restaurant named Winklers.

In Vienna with composer Herbert Willi - 11/01/2012
On All Saints' Day in Vienna, QED's Jim Cunningham meets Herbert Willi, composer of a violin concerto which has its world premiere tonight at the Musikverein with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist and the Pittsburgh Symphony led by Manfred Honeck. Honeck and Willi share a strong interest in spirituality. Willi talks about his approach to composition, his prior work with maestro Honeck, and the meaning behind his composition "Abba-Ma" which the PSO is also performing on its European Residency Tour.

At rehearsal with Peter Schreiber - 10/31/2012
At Vienna's Musikverein, QED's Jim Cunningham interviews Vienna Symphony oboist Peter Schreiber about his impression of the PSO's rehearsal, which included music by Herbert Willi, who is well known in Austria. Manfred Honeck and the PSO will give the world premiere of Willi's Violin Concerto "Sacrosonto" on Thursday with soloist Nikolaj Znaider.

Rehearsing Mahler in Vienna - 10/31/2012
At the Musikverein, Jim Cunningham interviews Pittsburgh Opera favorite Laura Claycomb, who joined the tour and Mahler 2nd Symphony recording sessions on short notice, as did noted bassoonist Milan Turkovic, who lends a hand for the recording. Jim also visits a restaurant where Beethoven ate (and lived), and attends a Honeck family gathering where daughter Anna Maria sang a song by the late PSO Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch.

Stucky and Gershwin in Vienna - 10/30/2012
The Pittsburgh Symphony's first concert in Vienna's Musikverein coincides with a modern music festival. The PSO offered the Vienna premiere of "Silent Spring" by American composer Steven Stucky, who talked with QED's Jim Cunningham. Jim also speaks with Manfred Honeck's son Joachim, and mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger who is featured on this tour with the PSO in Mahler's Symphony #2 "Resurrection."

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder - 10/30/2012
QED's Jim Cunningham talks with retired PSO oboist James Gorton, who was drafted to play on short notice. Jim also interviews Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, a noted Beethoven specialist who heads the prestigious summertime Grafenegg Festival, which featured the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestar last year. He's become a champion of Gershwin's Concerto in F, which he performed with the PSO at the Musikverein on Monday night.

Adios, Madrid - 10/29/2012
After the Pittsburgh Symphony's second concert in Madrid, Jim Cunningham reports on the concerts there. He interviews Pittsburghers following the orchestra from Barcelona to Madrid, concert presenter Alfonso Aijon, choral director Josep Vila i Casanas, organist Larry Allen and PSO oboist Scott Bell.

Live from the Receiving Line at the Musikverein - 10/29/2012
Austrian pianist and director of the Grafenegg Festival joined the PSO in the first concert of the orchestra's week-long residency at the famed Musikverein. Backstage after the concert QED's Jim Cunningham conducts live interviews with Ulrike Niehoff, Artistic Administrator at Grafenegg, and puts Ted Sohier on the phone with PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck and his son Joachim.

Late Night from Madrid - 10/27/2012
The first of two concerts in Madrid ran well past midnight. Jim Cunningham shares performance highlights and talks in the wee hours of the morning with PSO Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams, and security consultant Jim Dolan.

Buenos Noches, Barcelona - 10/26/2012
Jim Cunningham reports on the first concert of the PSO's 2012 European Residency Tour featuring Mahler's Symphony #2 in Barcelona. He also interviews Peter Rubins, a horn player from the San Antonio Symphony to perform in the Mahler.

Arrival in Madrid - 10/26/2012
In the hotel lobby, Jim Cunningham chats with bassist Don Evans, cellist Hampton Mallory and his cousin-in-law, Assistant Concertmaster Hue-Sheng Kao who recounts a pickpocket encounter, and Lynn Dunbar. Tonight in Madrid, the PSO plays a late concert of Stucky's "Silent Spring," Sibelius Violin Concerto with Nikolaj Znaider, and Dvorak's "New World" symphony.

Practicing at the Palau de la Musica - 10/25/2012
Jim Cunningham calls from backstage at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, where the PSO is having its first rehearsal of the tour for this evening's concert of Mahler's Symphony #2. Principal piccolo Rhian Kenny talks about her part in the Mahler and describes the hall. Cellists Bronwyn Branerdt shares her impressions of Barcelona and Mahler, and Adam Liu explains why he's travelling with a practice cello that looks like something you might find at IKEA.

First Concert - 10/25/2012
After the first concert of the PSO's 2012 European Residency Tour, Jim Cunningham files a live report including a recorded conversation with Principal Tuba Craig Knox.

Hola! from Barcelona - 10/24/2012
Jim Cunningham files his first report of the tour from sunny Barcelona, where the orchestra has arrived by various flights and will adjust to the six-hour time change at the ultra-modern beachside Hotel Arts Barcelona. Violist Marylene Gingras-Roy talks about meeting up with relatives for sighteesing, and the concerts she's looking forward to on this tour. Jim assesses Spain's TV morning shows, and looks forward to concerts in Spain with a new organ and Spanish choir.

Practice, Practice - 10/24/2012
Jim Cunningham is joined by Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Alison Fujito in Barcelona on the night of a big soccer tournament. Like other PSO players, she's glad to be reunited with her instrument from the orchestra's instrument trunks and talks about rehearsing on the road and preparing for the concerts and recording session. Jim describes Adam Liu's collapsible practice cello, which looks like something IKEA might make.

Mir, Mir on the Wall - 10/24/2012
At the Miró Museum in Barcelona, not one of a handful of PSO players could single out the fairest work by Spanish modernist Joan Miró. String players Paul Silver, Michael Lipman, David Premo, Carolyn Edwards, and Aron Zelkowicz are on their way to a castle. We get a construction update on Gaudi's Segrada Familia, and a rave for Spanish hot chocolate. Jim paints a verbal picture of the hill known as Montjuïc, and Paul Silver wraps up last night's Barcelona vs. Celtic soccer match.

James Rodgers and Friend - 10/24/2012
PSO Contrabassonist James Rodgers joins QED's Jim Cunningham, who describes his visit to Barcelona's Picasso Museum in and the joys of tapas. Rodgers has been touring the city with a college roommate, experiencing things off the tourist maps. They met at a music store, where Rodgers wound up buying an unusual double-reed instrument. Rodgers tested his heavy contrabassoon as soon as it finally became accessible. He talks about the colorful exterior of the Palau de Musica, where the orchestra will perform with the Orfeo Catala, which locals say is an impressive choir.

At Avery Fisher Hall - 02/27/2012
The PSO returns to Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, where guest violinist Hilary Hahn explains the "guinea pig" effect in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto #1. Jim Cunningham gathers comments from NY Philharmonic President Zarin Mehta, PSO Composer of the Year Steven Stucky, violinist Christopher Wu, PSO VP of Artistic Planning Bob Moir, and Music Director Manfred Honeck.

Tilles Center. Long Island University - 02/26/2012
At the Tilles Center, Jim Cunningham talks with Noel Zahler, former head of the Carnegie Mellon School of Music, now dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. He also meets the longtime director of the Tilles Center, George Lindsay, and PSO principal players Jeffrey Turner, bass, and George Vosburgh, trumpet.

At Carnegie Hall - 02/25/2012
Jim Cunningham visits Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, who has invited the PSO back in 2014, and has the Berlin Philharmonic on stage this weekend. Jim Also meets Berlin violinist Stanley Dodd. PSO tour guest violinist Hilary Hahn talks about her connection to Prokofiev's Concerto #1, and about rehearsing at WQED's TV Studio A.

First Post from New York - 02/24/2012
Jim Cunningham checks in from midtown Manhattan as the Pittsburgh Symphony packs up from rehearsals at WQED's Studio A to fly to Lincoln Center. Manfred Honeck lloks forward to bringing Steven Stucky's "Silent Spring" to the Big Apple, PSO President & CEO Jim Wilkinson talks about the importance of touring, and we hear from Sarah Willis, a member of the Berlin Philharmonic horn section, about conductor Simon Rattle, who leads a Bruckner symphony in Saturday's Berlin Philharmonic concert at Carnegie Hall.

2011

Tour finale on 9/11 in Berlin - 09/12/2011
Jim Cunningham reports on ceremonies at the town hall in Berlin to commemorate the 10th anniverary of the 9/11 attacks with music from Pittsburgh Symphony musicians, and the final concert of the PSO's 2011 European Festivals tour at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Jim talks with composer Wolfgang Rihm, Berlin Philharmonic hornist Sarah Willis, and PSO Vice President of Artistic Planning, Robert Moir.

Beethoven's Second - 09/10/2011
Jim Cunningham's second report from the Beethovenfest in Bonn includes an interview with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter; Stephan Braunfels, the son of composer Walter Braunfels, PSO violist Joen Vasquez, and retiring PSO violist Isaias Zelkowicz.

Beethoven's First - 09/09/2011
The Pittsburgh Symphony played the opening concert of the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. There were speeches, dignitaries, TV cameras, and QED's Jim Cunningham. Former PSO Board President Tom Todd compares the performances he's witnessed on this tour, and describes some of tonight's events.

From the train to Bonn - 09/09/2011
On the train from Paris, Jim phones in a report about the PSO musicians' activities on their day off after a concert the Salle Pleyel. Principal Oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida talks with QED's Anna Singer about buying a new instrument, and ... (cell phone loses signal). We hear a replay from yesterday Jim's day roaming about Paris.

Pittsburghers in Paris - 09/08/2011
The PSO returned to the Salle Pleyel in Paris with pianist Helene Grimaud. Jim Cunningham talks with Laurent Bayle, who manages the Salle Pleyel, PSO supporters Helge, Erika, and Julia Wehmeier, board member Frances DeBroff, European BNY Mellon European Chairman Michael Cole-Fontayn, and recent Pittsburgh Opera guest conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud.

Hlne Grimaud in Paris - 09/08/2011
Jim talks with Pittsburgh Symphony tour guest pianst Helene Grimaud, whose extramusical interests include wolf conservation and writing books. Jim also gives a glimpse of his exploration of the Left Bank in Paris. Check the PSO Tour Blog for details.

Cheers from the Royal Albert Hall - 09/07/2011
Cheering and stomping from the Albert Hall audience brought the PSO's second BBC Proms concert to a close, after Mahler's 5th Symphony and two encores. Jim Cunningham talks with PSO violinist Jeremy Black, BBC Proms director Roger Wright, PSO supporters Tom and Donna Hotopp, PSO Board Chair Richard P. Simmons, English music critic Peter Brown, and former PSO principal guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier.

Live at the BBC Proms - 09/06/2011
Jim Cunningham interviewed Suzy Klein, the presenter for the first of two live concerts from the Royal Albert Hall featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony, and wound up co-hosting the broadcast with her. Until Sep 12, you can hear the complete concert at bbc.co.uk/radio3/proms

At the Proms and the Soane Museum - 09/06/2011
After the PSO's first of two Proms concerts, Jim Cunningham meets a dedicated "Prommer," Christiane Honeck, and some high-powered Pittsburghers travelling with the orchestra - for pleasure, or to attract businesses to expand in Pittsburgh. And Jim explores the Sir John Soane Museum.

Concertgebouw Orchestra's Joel Fried - 09/05/2011
At the Lucerne Festival, Jim Cunningham went to hear the Concertgebouw Orchestra's concert. That orchestra's manager Joel Klein is a former Pittsburgher who was chorus master and music adminstrator for the Pittsburgh Opera. Jim asked about former PSO music director Mariss Jansons, now Chief Conductor of the Concertgebouw.

Rudolf Buchbinder at Grafenegg - 09/03/2011
Jim Cunningham talks with pianist and Grafenegg Festival director Rudolf Buchbinder, who praises the Pittsburgh Symphony's Grafenegg debut, and looks forward to playing Rhapsody in Blue with the PSO and Honeck at Heinz Hall in three weeks. Jim also interviews a Bavarian Radio producer who found the PSO's Mahler "incredible." You'll hear clips of Beethoven 4 with Helene Grimaud, and the opening of the Mahler 5.

Mahler and Schubert - 09/02/2011
Jim Cunningham phones in from Grinzing, on the outskirts of Vienna, site of Schubert's birthplace and Mahler's grave. Jim summarizes some reviews of the PSO's tour concerts. PSO Assistant Conductor Thomas Hong takes the phone to talk about staff conductors' duties on tour, and describes the outdoor venue for the orchestra's second concert at the Grafenegg Festival.

At Mahler's grave, and Grafenegg in the rain - 09/02/2011
Light rain forced the PSO indoors for its second concert at the Grafenegg Festival. Jim reports on the concert and on just-announced PSO plans for a 9/11 commemoration in Berlin. Jim also visits Mahler's grave with trombonist James Nova, who decided on a career in music upon hearing Mahler's Fifth Symphony in his native Hartford, CT. And as the PSO heads for the BBC Proms, Jim brings news of a pro-Palestinian protest that forced an early end to today's Israel Philharmonic Proms broadcast.

Greetings from Grafenegg - 09/01/2011
Jim Cunningham arrives in Grafenegg with the PSO, and puts Ulrike Niehoff, the Grafenegg Festival's Director of Artistic Administration, on the phone with QED's Anna Singer to talkabout the festival's history and roster of artists.

Dirndls and Loden cloth jackets - 09/01/2011
Grafenegg came out in modern and traditional Austrian finery for the Pittsburgh Symphony's debut at the Grafenegg Festival. Jim reports on the concert with Anne-Sophie Mutter and is joined by Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar, who welcomes a new family member with the PSO on this tour.

Meet Principal Timpanist Edward Stephan - 08/31/2011
Jim Cunningham meets the PSO's new Principal Timpanist, Edward Stephan, a Pittsburgh-area native who is living his dream by perfoming with the orchestra he's admired since childhood. Traveling with a folding bicycle, Ed talks about his past involvement in competitive cycling.

Haydn in Eisenstadt - 08/31/2011
Jim Cunningham joins PSO Principal Oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, the orchestra's new Principal Flute, Lorna McGhee, and Vienna Symphony oboist Peter Schreiber for a trip to Eisenstadt, the winter palace of Prince Esterhazy, where Haydn composed and performed many symphonies for the court. Hear about Haydn's home, his wig, and how Haydn lost his head. And get to know Scottish-born Lorna McGhee.

Farewell from Vilnius - 08/30/2011
After the PSO's Lithuanian debut in Vilnius, Jim Cunningham talks with Lituanian National Opera and Ballet Theater translator Laura Karnaviciute about working with great artists, and her memories of the 1991 Soviet takeover in Vilnius. Jim also learns basic Lithiuanian phrases. Anne Hall, from the US embassy, talks about the strong US-Baltic ties.We also hear excerpts of Rihm's Lichtes Spiel, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5.

Romantic Vienna - 08/30/2011
Jim Cunningham catches up with lovebirds Andrew Reamer, percussion, and his wife, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ruth Ann Baker. Andy talks about what it's like to be part of the percussion section on this tour, and reveals some special touches in Honeck's Mahler 5. Ruth Ann looks forward to seeing Vienna's tourist sights, ideally in a new pair of shoes.

Exploring Vilnius - 08/29/2011
The Pittsburgh Symphony makes its debut in Lithuania, where basketball fever is in the air. On Sunday, PSO Principal Harp Gretchen Van Hoesen and Co-Principal Oboe James Gorton joined Jim Cunningham to explore historic sites and sample traditional potato-centric cuisine. Monday, the orchestra rehearses repertoire for upcoming tour stops and plays a concert at the opera and ballet venue in Vilnius.

Rhythmic Applause in Vilnius - 08/29/2011
The PSO's Lithuanian debut was enthusiastically received with lightning-fast Mendelssohn played by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and a rousing Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 led by Manfred Honeck. Jim Cunningham talks with a new PSO fan, US Deputy Ambassador Anne Hall, and an old Honeck fan, Gintautas Kevisas, manager of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet and artistic director of the Vilnius Festival.

Wiesbaden Wrap-Up - 08/27/2011
After the opening concert of this tour, Jim Cunningham shares audio clips from encores and Tchaikosvky's Fifth Symphony. Orchestra CEO Larry Tamburri is glad that the concerts have begun, eager to take the orchestra to Lithuania, and satisfied that costs are fully covered. And Jim visits a record store (surprise!) to browse some of the world's rarest and most valuable discs.

Rehearsal at the Kurhaus - 08/26/2011
Jim Cunningham talks with percussionist Brandon Schantz after the first rehearsal of the tour, plays a snippet with Anne-Sophie Mutter rehearsing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, and chats with Michael Hermann, founder of the Rheingau Musik Festival. You'll also hear a clip of the young French orchestra, Les Siecles, playing Liszt's Dante Symphony from last night at the Kurhaus.

First concert of the tour - 08/26/2011
Jim Cunningham reports on the first performance of the PSO's 2011 European Festivals Tour at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, Germany. Principal Contrabassoon James Rodgers drops by after a visit to the top-secret Heckel bassoon factory. Ted Sohier in Pittsburgh tries to pry loose tricks of the trade anyway but like a great bassoonist, Rodgers is tight-lipped.

A Day of Rest - 08/25/2011
The musicians' instruments have arrived and the players have a leisurely day to banish jet lag. Jim Cunningham checks in with PSO members Anne Martindale Williams, Isaias Zelkowicz, and Mikhail Istomin who encountered an old friend, conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev, in the hotel elevator. Fedoseyev conducted the Tchaikovsky Orchestra of Moscow at the Rheingau Musik Festival, which features the PSO on Friday.

With Rhian Kenny and Chris Wu - 08/25/2011
Jim Cunningham talks with Principal Piccolo Rhian Kenny and violinist Christopher Wu about their journeys to Wiesbaden. Rhian stopped to visit friends in Frankfurt, Chris came through Washington, DC where the airport was briefly closed due to the earthquake. Ted Sohier asks Jim about his record shopping and pastry hunting during the orchestra's day off in Germany.

Guten Tag! - 08/24/2011
Jim Cunningham and the Pittsburgh Symphony arrive sleep-deprived and jet-lagged in Wiesbaden, Germany, to begin a 3-week European Festivals Tour. Jim shares some PSO news items gleaned on the long overnight trip.

Wilkommen aus Wiesbaden - 08/24/2011
On the first night in Europe of the PSO's tour, Jim Cunningham reports on a concert in the hall in Weisbaden, Germany where the orchestra will play on Friday night. He's joined by Kathleen and Bill Caballero: she, a cellist with the Pittsburgh Opera helping to fill out the orchestra for the Mahler 5; he, the PSO's great Principal Horn, who considers compares the challenges of the Tchaikovsky and Mahler Fifths.

2010

Tour Postscript - 05/31/2010
Back home in Pittsburgh, Jim Cunningham looks back on the PSO 2010 European Tour, with comments recorded in Ljubljana with PSO musicians and board members, and Music Director Manfred Honeck. He also gives a taste of Ljubljana, Slovenia, including a meeting with the grandson of mid-century PSO Music Director Fritz Reiner.

Of Brahms and Bartok in Budapest - 05/29/2010
In Budapest, QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham continues a conversation with violin superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter, visits the Bartok House Museum, meets harpsichordist and former Pittsburgher Geoffrey Thomas, and collects comments from Pittsburgh Symphony CEO Larry Tamburri and board member Basil Cox with his wife Jayne Adair.

"Vielen Dank," Vienna! - 05/28/2010
After the PSO's second concert at Vienna's Musikverein, QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham gathers comments from Manfred Honeck's brother, Vienna Philharmonic Concertmaster Rainer Honeck, violinist Nikolaj Znaider, PSO Principal Bass Jeffrey Turner, and former Metropolitan Opera star Mildred Miller Posvar.

Backstage in Budapest - 05/28/2010
Anne-Sophie Mutter praises the PSO after her seventh and final performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto on their 2010 European Tour. Also, a few vignettes from Vienna: the city's incinerator decorated by artist Hundertwasser; Joan Koerner, widow of Vienna-born Pittsburgh painter Henry Koerner; and a waiter at the Hotel Imperial on the merits of the Imperial Cake versus the more famous Sacher Torte.

Musikverein - 05/27/2010
QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham talks with Peter Kisslinger, one of at least 14 music critics in attendance at the first of two PSO concerts at the Musikverein; Wolfgang Racher, producer for the ORF Austrian radio broadcast of the concert; US Ambassador to Austria William Eacho, Pittsburghers Dr. Martin Earle and wife Lisa, and Manfred Honeck's brother-in-law, Florian Partl.

More Musikverein - 05/27/2010
QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham reports on the PSO's second concert at the Musikverein, with comments from Principal Piccolo Rhian Kenny, and Emanuel Ax after his Wednesday concert with the PSO.

Vienna: City of My Dreams - 05/26/2010
Before the first of two concerts at Vienna's legendary Musikverein, QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham asks PSO Concertmaster about his memories of this famous hall, and his future after vacating the concertmaster's chair this summer. Vienna Philharmonic bass trombonist Hans Stoerker talks about the VPO's guest conductors and concerts, including its first ever "Star Wars" concert, and its annual New Year's Day concerts.

Night in Vienna - 05/26/2010
From the after-party for the Pittsburgh Symphony's first of two concerts at the Musikverein, Young harpist Heidi Gorton tells QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham how it's possible that she's been touring with the orchestra all her life, and gives her impressions of the audience. Jim notes 14 critics present at the concert, which will be broadcast in Austria in June. In the background, a celebration with many members of Music Direcotd Manfred Honeck's family.

A Grand Tour of Vienna - 05/25/2010
QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham goes on a Vienna tour bus to a wine restaurant filled with a accordion music and gemütlichkeit. Percussionist Michael Pape visits the #1 place for Wiener Schnitzel. Violinist Laura Motchalov tries out an iPad, and talks about the tour audiences.

Day Off on the Danube - 05/25/2010
Bassoonist James Rodgers visits the zoo and the refurbished St. Stephen's Cathedral (Staphansdom), QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham meets a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, and PSO Concertmaster Andres Cardenes taks about making his final tour with the orchestra.

Delightful Prague - 05/24/2010
The Pittsburgh Symphony played at Smetana Hall in Prague, in the Czech Republic. Beforehand, Principal Oboe Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida and Principal Bass Trombone Murray Crewe marveled at the old town square, which seems to combine the delights of many European capitals. Jim encounters Dan Dennehy from the Katz Graduate School at Pitt; Jack Allen, President & CEO of all-classical KPBS in Portland, Oregon; and PSO Friends Gail and Greg Harbaugh.

Dresden's Semperoper - 05/24/2010
The Pittsburgh Symphony played for a live audience and delayed radio broadcasts at Dresden's Semperoper. QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham brings us the sounds of street music, cellist Jan Vogler in rehearsal with the PSO, and orchestra violinist Louis Lev meeting an idol, chess grandmaster Wolfgang Uhlmann. Hornist Joseph Rounds gets a sense of the Semperoper Orchestra just by looking at their backstage stuff, and Jim meets Deutschland Radio's Isobel Roth.

Battle of the Bulge - 05/22/2010
At the halfway point of the PSO's campaign through Europe, QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham hears from percussionist John Soroka about his visit to one of WWII's most important battlefields. Matthias Naske, Director General of the Philharmonie Luxembourg, assesses the PSO's two concerts in Luxembourg.

At the Philharmonie Luxembourg - 05/21/2010
At the Philharmonie Luxembourg, Jim Cunningham meets Eric Osch, Treasury Controller for Ikano Group, and his wife Renee. Co-Principal Bassoonist David Sogg describes his ride through the countryside on his folding bike. Tom Castelyn, Managing Director of BNY Mellon Benelux and France, talks about Luxembourg's concentration of financial services and the outlook for the troubled Euro.

Manfred Honeck in Luxembourg - 05/21/2010
PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck sits down with QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham to talkabout the rehearsal schedule on tour, and his anticipation for his return to Vienna's Musikverein, where he was a violist in the Vienna Philharmonic. Jim chats with Ted Sohier about the second of two concerts at the Philharmonie Luxembourg.

On to Luxembourg - 05/20/2010
Now in the wealthy duchy of Luxembourg, Jim Cunningham chats with QED 89.3's Anna Singer about the latest stop on the Pittsburgh Symphony tour. Trumpeter Neal Berntsen recaps some day off activities yesterday in Frankfurt.

Luxurious Luxembourg - 05/20/2010
After the first of two concerts at the Duchy's striking new Philharmonie, Jim chats with Ted Sohier, and we hear PSO cellist Hampton Mallory and Lauren Scott Mallory in a husband-and-wife debate over the sound quality of the hall.

Free Day in Frankfurt - 05/19/2010
Jim Cunningham brings us accordion music from the U-Bahn, PSO Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh's memories of re-opening Frankfurt's Altes Oper in 1981 with the Chicago Symphony. BNY Mellon's Thomas Brand talks about the bank's growing presence in Germany. Pittsburgh Symphony CEO Larry Tamburri notes BNY Mellon's long sponsorship of the orchestra, and gives an update on tour ticket sales.

Frankfurt, city of Goethe - 05/19/2010
Jim visits the house of Johann Goethe, asks pianist Rodrigo Ojeda about playing a Pleyel piano in Paris and the celeste during quiet moments of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony. Jim also gets impressions of the tour from PSO cellist Mikhail Istomin.

At the Salle Pleyel in Paris - 05/18/2010
Jim Cunningham interviews the director of the Salle Pleyel after the PSO earned rhythmic applause and played three encores to a sold-out house. Jim also talks with Pittsburghers living in Paris, Jerry and Jane Voros.

Frankfurt - 05/18/2010
Jim interviews PSO violist Stephanie Tretick and trumpeter Chad Winkler after the concert at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, where pianist Emanuel Ax gave his first performance of this tour, playing Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, which Manfred Honeck paired with the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony, plus encores.

Dazzled in Basel - 05/17/2010
From Stuttgart, Germany, Jim Cunningham reports on the tour's first concert at the Stadtcasino in Basel, Switzerland with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist in the Brahms Violin Concerto. He meets expatriate Pittsburghers Jim and Luanne Shock after the concert, and gets a comment from PSO violinist Christopher Wu.

Stuttgart - 05/17/2010
The PSO played at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany's motor city, home to Mercedes Benz and Porsche. Violist Paul Silver gives his impressions of the hall and audience after another performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter, and a delayed response at the end of Mahler's Symphony #1.

Arrival in Basel - 05/14/2010
Jim Cunnningham files his first report from the Pittsburgh Symphony's 2010 European Tour.

Exploring Basel - 05/14/2010
Horn players Zachary Smith and Robert Rydell recount their arrival day activities and look ahead to the horns' high points on this European tour which begins with a concert in Basel on Saturday, May 15.

Edward Tarr at the Trumpet Museum - 05/14/2010
Classical QED 89.3's Jim Cunningham and PSO brass players visit the Trumpet Museum in Bad Säckingen, Germany. Founder and trumpeter Edward Tarr was a pioneer in the revival of Renaissance brass music. Housed in a castle, the museum features historic instruments, and Tarr himself provides some trumpet history and lore.

Carnegie Hall Kudos - 02/10/2010
Backstage after the PSO's Brahms/Mahler concert, Jim gets comments from CBS News' Bob Simon, legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, concert pianist Byron Janis, and others.

After the Concert - 02/10/2010
More reactions to the PSO at Carnegie Hall: Mary Persin of the Biava Quartet and her husband, former PSO Resident Conductor Daniel Meyer; PSO VP of Artistic Planning Bob Moir, Connie and Benno Bernt, Music Director Manfred Honeck and his wife Christiane.

PSO Tour Extra: Snowed In - 02/10/2010
Stranded with the PSO in NYC by the snow, Jim brings us an interview with noted culture critic John Simon, a word from composer Alan Fletcher, and a bit of Mahler from the orchestra's Tuesday night concert at Carnegie Hall.

The Met and the Guggenheim - 02/09/2010
Jim Cunningham heads for two NYC cultural landmarks before the PSO's Tuesday rehearsal and concert at Carnegie Hall. He meets Richard Armstrong, now director of the Guggenheim, and takes in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met.

Weather Woes - 02/09/2010
Having escaped "Snowmageddon" in Pittsburgh, which forced a rare concert cancellation at Heinz Hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony may be stranded in New York after tonight's Carnegie Hall concert as another storm blankets the East. Jim talks with Zachary and Eli Smith.

New York, New York - 02/08/2010
On arrival with the PSO for a Carnegie Hall concert, Jim Cunningham reports on his visit to the Guggenheim, and talks with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter about the legendary hall where the PSO makes its first appearance with Honeck as Music Director.

2009

2009 European Tour Postscript - 09/22/2009
From Lucerne, reflection on the tour with soprano Christine Schaefer, Friend of the PSO Linda Shooer, PSO physician Dr. Ted Osial, Principal Violist Randoph Kelly, and Music Director Manfred Honeck.

Lucerne Festival Finale - 09/19/2009
Minutes before the closing concert, Jim Cunningham checks in from Lucerne with comments from Viktoria Mullova, a baseball analogy from PSO President & CEO Larry Tamburri, and reactions from PSO Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres and Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek.

Lake Lucerne, and Concert Review - 09/18/2009
The first concert review of the tour is in. Manfred Honeck's manager Lothar Schacke translates. Violinist Viktoria Mullova talks about her period instrument approach to Beethoven's concerto and her fashion sense. Principal Bass trombonist Murray Crewe talks about cruising Lake Lucerne, and Swiss cows.

Lucerne Festival Loves the PSO - 09/18/2009
Lucerne Festival Director Michael Haefliger has invited the orchestra back for 2011 on first hearing. Jim talks with Haefliger after the concert, and with the grandson of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Co-principal bassoon David Sogg talks about sightseeing and Principal Horn William Caballero about his section's "rounder" sound.

Beethoven in Bonn - 09/17/2009
The Pittsburgh Symphony plays Beethoven's Violin Concerto in the composer's native city with Viktoria Mullova. Manfred Honeck speaks at the house where Beethoven was born, Mullova plays a Bach encore, and Jim interviews two members of the PSO patrons' tour including the son of Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Last Stop, Lucerne - 09/17/2009
The orchestra arrives to close the Lucerne Festival after performing in historic Bonn. In Beethoven's birth house, Manfred Honeck speaks about violinist Viktoria Mullova, then Jim Cuninningham visits the sanitarium where Schumann died, and clarinetist Richard Page recalls the pleasures of Lucerne.

Essen Concert - 09/16/2009
Soprano Christine Schäfer and the PSO lead by Manfred Honeck gave an exquisite performance of Strauss's Four Last Songs at the Philharmonie in Essen. The audience at the recently-built concert hall had an odd moment at the end of Bruckner's fourth symphony. Jim Cunningham reports.

Essen Encore (mp4 video, 8 MB) - 09/16/2009
An MP4 video clip of Manfred Honeck leading the Pittsburgh Symphony in the Hungarian Dance #5 by Brahms at the Philharmonie in Essen, Germany on September 15, 2009.

Back from the Concert in Bonn - 09/16/2009
QED's Jim Cunningham and PSO Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh recount Wednesday's concert at the Beethoven Festival in the composer's native city, with audio excerpts from the live broadcast on WDR 3 Radio.

Pittsburghers in Cologne - 09/15/2009
On Monday, Contrabassoonist James Rodgers talks about his day at the zoo, and PSO staffer Sonja Winkler talks about her relatives in the orchestra, and the new musicians making their first PSO tour.

Opening concert in Essen - 09/15/2009
Manfred Honeck begins his first PSO European tour in Essen with a program featuring Bruckner's Fourth Symphony and Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs. Jim's post-concert report from the Autobahn is interrupted by a tunnel, but resumes back at the hotel as Concertmaster Andres Cardenes comments on the beautiful violin part in the Strauss.

Cologne, Germany - 09/14/2009
Jim Cuninngham and the PSO arrive in Cologne, home base for concerts in Essen and Bonn. Violist Penny Brill demonstrates how she entertained herself during the long trip. Jim includes a brief sample of a string sextet from the smaller of two concert halls in Westdeutsche Rundfunk's broadcast facility.

Guten Tag aus Kln! - 09/14/2009
The orchestra had Monday off in Cologne to recover from jet lag before its first tour concert. Former Cologne resident and Assistant Concertmaster Mark Huggins visited his old apartment, the Cologne Cathedral, and archaeological dig at the Rathaus with QED's Jim Cunningham. Audio of the Rathaus bells, or "glocken."

Kaohsiung Fireworks and Farewell - 05/21/2009
Jim Cunningham reports on the final Asian tour concert, which opened the 2009 World Games Stadium with the 1812 Overture and Beethoven's Ode to Joy. We hear from Martin Schebesta, director of the Vienna State Opera Chorus, bass-baritone Greg Baker, and PSO bass trombone Murray Crewe.

Manfred Honeck interview in Kaohsiung - 05/20/2009
On Tuesday, the PSO rehearsed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" for the dedication of Kaohsiung's new stadium, built to host the 2009 World Games. Wednesday's performance concludes the orchestra's week-long Asian Tour. Jim Cunningham sat down with Music Director Manfred Honeck to look reflect on tour highlights.

Kaohsiung rehearsal with fireworks - 05/19/2009
The Pittsburgh Symphony prepares to inaugurate the main stadium for the 2009 World Games for a sellout crowd of 37,000. Trumpeter Chad Winkler and percussionist Andrew Reamer describe the rehearsal, and Chinese-born cellist Adam Liu fulfills a dream with his first Taiwan visit.

Good Morning, Kaohsiung - 05/19/2009
Co-Principal Clarinet Thomas Thompson recalls touring Japan with the PSO under William Steinberg, Principal Horn William Caballero comments on Kaohsiung's steamy climate, and Principal Viola Randolf Kelly is amazed at Shanghai's skyward growth.

Encore, Encore, ... Encore in Shanghai - 05/18/2009
The PSO delivered in Shanghai, as the audience was on its feet demanding a rare and unexpected third encore. Jim Cunningham sets the scene, and pianist Orion Weiss reflects on his two Beethoven "Emperor" concerto performances in China with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Concert and Shopping in Shanghai - 05/18/2009
The PSO impresses at the Oriental Arts Center. Jim Cunningham brings highlights of the concert. Bass Jeff Grubbs finds his favorite Shanghai tea shop, musicians take a Short Ride in a 270 MPH Maglev train, and ponder the appeal of Hello Kitty®.

Farewell to Beijing - 05/16/2009
An impression of the PSO's concert from one of China's few full-time music critics, and comments from Heidi Gorton, who returned to Beijing to perform with her PSO parents Gretchen Van Hoesen and James Gorton; PSO violinist and China Central Conservatory professor Hong-Guang Jia; and Concertmaster Andres Cardenes.

Fanfare and Encores in Shanghai - 05/16/2009
Manfred Honeck led the PSO Saturday night in the sprawling and completely sold-out Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. Jim Cunningham caught up with principal cellist Anne Martindale Williams, violinist Christopher Wu, and bassist David Premo after a concert which literally began with great fanfare.

Pittsburgh Expats in Beijing - 05/15/2009
After the first concert, Jim Cunningham shares conversations with Principal Bassonist Nancy Goeres, who speaks a little Mandarin; US Vice Consul and former Pittsburgher Mike Quigley with his wife Tetsuko; and US chargé d'affaires Daniel Piccuta from New Castle, PA.

Flowers for Cardenes, Honeck & PSO - 05/15/2009
PSO Concertmaster Andres Cardenes talks about the audience at the orchestra's second concert in "The Egg." They clapped along with Brahms, long after some confusion at the start of the concert. Violist Meng Wang reunited with friends in his native China.

Rehearsal at The Egg - 05/14/2009
The first rehearsal on its Asian tour took place at China's National Concert Hall in Beijing. Jim Cunningham met tour organizer Doug Sheldon of Columbia Artists, and got an inside view of rehearsal from Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh.

Concert debut at the Egg - 05/14/2009
Manfred Honeck and the PSO made their debut at "The Egg" in Beijing. Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres recounts her visit to Chairman Mao's tomb. The concert drew executives from Westinghouse, now building nuclear plants in China; and Bayer, which enjoys a strong position in China and provides significant earthquake relief.

PSO at the Great Wall - 05/13/2009
The orchestra had Wednesday off to overcome jet lag and see the sights. Jim Cunningham went to the Great Wall, with Principal Bass Clarinet Richard Page, and Peggy McLean, Manager of Visitor Services at the Frick Art & Historical Center.

Temple of Heaven and Great Wall - 05/13/2009
A trip to Beijing's Temple of Heaven with traditional Chinese music, passing Tiananmen Square, and more trekkers on the Great Wall including the PSO's Michael Lipman, Jeremy Branson, and Richard Page. Jim Cunningham tries to speak Mandarin.

Arrival in Beijing - 05/12/2009
The orchestra begins its first visit to China since 1987. Jim Cunningham asked PSO Assistant Principal Hornist Zachary Smith about the 14-hour nonstop flight from Chicago to Beijing, first impressions of the Chinese capital, and Smith's plans for Wednesday after some long-overdue sleep.

2008

Zagreb, Croatia 05 Feb 08 PM - 02/06/2008
The PSO ends its 2008 European tour in Zagreb, Croatia. Jim reports on newspaper reviews, orchestra's health and mood, this tour's impact, future touring plans. Audio of Robert Radtke, Nikolai Lugansky, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Budapest, Hungary 04 Feb 08 PM - 02/05/2008
From Budapest, after rhythmic applause for the PSO's debut in Bartok Hall at the city's new Palace of the Arts. Audio of Richard and Virginia Simmons, Larry Tamburri, Michael Langley.

Zagreb, Croatia 05 Feb 08 AM - 02/05/2008
On the bus to Zagreb, Jim reports on the Budpest concert with pianist Nikolai Lugansky. Audio of Brahms, Beethoven, Marek Janowski, Paul Silver, Gyorgy Lendval, rhythmic applause.

Hanover, Germany 01 Feb 08 PM - 02/04/2008
Jim describes the cultural scene in Hanover, Germany where Leonidas Kavakos and the PSO gave their final concert together on this tour. PSO health update. Anticipation for Vienna. Audio of Brahms, violin encore.

Vienna, Austria 02 Feb 08 AM - 02/04/2008
From PSO Music Director Designate Manfred Honeck's house in Vienna, Jim reports on a day of OnQ production and some private celebrations.

Budapest, Hungary 04 Feb 08 AM - 02/04/2008
From Budapest, a report on the performance at Vienna's Konzerthaus. Audio of Brahms, Manfred Honeck, Larry Tamburri, Andres Cardenes, and his former pupil Jan Fiser.

Cologne, Germany 31 Jan 08 PM - 02/01/2008
After the Wuppertal concert, Jim describes the beautifully-restored hall in Janowski's home region, violinist Julia Fischer's stage presence, and more Cologne Carnival atmosphere. Audio of Brahms 4th, Leonidas Kavakos, and Andrew Reamer.

Hanover, Germany 01 Feb 08 AM - 02/01/2008
Fresh on arrival in Hanover, Jim recaps the concert in Wupperta, with a spectacular encore by violinist Julia Fischer, rhythmic applause, and a PSO friend visiting from Dortmund. Audio of Florian Wiegand, Brahms, Wuppertal's mayor, and Fischer's Hindemith.

Cologne, Germany 30 Jan 08 PM - 01/31/2008
Carnival atmosphere in Cologne. Violinist Leonidas Kavakos impresses PSO and audience. PSO's new Brahms CD is released in Europe. Audio of Brahms, Kavakos.

Cologne, Germany 31 Jan 08 AM - 01/31/2008
Cologne goes wild before Lent, where Jim reports on the PSO conducted by Janowski. Audio of violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who plays Brahms and Bach, reveler Ute Becker, and percussionist Andrew Reamer.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 29 Jan 08 PM - 01/30/2008
Jim recaps the PSO's concert at Amsterdam's busy Concertgebouw, Jansons' whereabouts, the city's oldest house, Pittsburgh expatriate Albert Manders. Audio of Brahms.

Cologne, Germany 30 Jan 08 AM - 01/30/2008
Pre-Lenten traditions in Cologne, Germany. Amsterdam concert recap. Jansons' plea for funding. Audio of Kavakos in Brahms and Bach, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 28 Jan 08 PM - 01/29/2008
From Amsterdam, Jim reports on Pro Cycling Tour, Warhol exhibitions,and a Pittsburgh raffle. Audio of Jose Maria Pratt, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Luke Ravenstahl, Dan Onorato.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 29 Jan 08 AM - 01/29/2008
In Amsterdam, Jim reports on the Van Gogh Museum, a PSO trio, promoting Pittsburgh, Anne Frank's tree. Audio of Warhol Museum Director Tom Sokolowski, Gimenez.

Madrid, Spain 25 Jan 08 PM - 01/28/2008
Red wine brings high spirits after the Madrid concert. The PSO's day off plans. Kennywood and Warhol connections. PSO brass news. Audio of Dan Onorato, Gimenez and Wagner.

Madrid, Spain 26 Jan 08 AM - 01/28/2008
Jim reports on the PSO concert at El Escorial, Spain, and visits Madrid's cafes and Prado museum. Interviews with Principal Oboe Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida and concert presenter Victor Medem. Audio of Beethoven.

Valencia, Spain 28 Jan 08 AM - 01/28/2008
From Valencia, Spain, Jim interviews conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and Jose Maria Pratt, director of Spanish concert presenter Ibercamera.

Barcelona, Spain 24 Jan 08 AM - 01/25/2008
Jim reports on Barcelona's culture and Pittsburgh civic leaders' arrival to make economic connections. Audio of Brahms and PSO prinicpals Andres Cardenes, James Gorton and Gretchen van Hoesen.

Madrid, Spain 25 Jan 08 AM - 01/25/2008
From Madrid. Jim talks with Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and about Gaudi's famous cathedral in Barcelona. Audio of Wagner's Meistersinger Overture.

Barcelona, Spain 24 Jan 08 AM - 01/24/2008
From Barcelona, Jim Cunningham reports on efforts to promote Pittsburgh in Europe, last night's concert, and first impressions of Barcelona. Comments by the PSO's Harold Smoliar, and audio of Brahms.

Castellon, Spain 23 Jan 08 PM - 01/24/2008
From Castellon, Spain, Jim Cunningham reports on the new concert hall there and a rapturous reception for the PSO and its Spanish encores.

Vitoria, Spain 22 Jan 08 PM - 01/23/2008
Jim Cunningham reports on the concert in Vitoria, Spain wth audio excerpts of Beethoven and Granados, and comments from PSO musicians Lorien Benet Hart and Scott Bell.

Castellon, Spain 23 Jan 08 AM - 01/23/2008
Anna turns orange with envy as Jim phones from sunny Castellon, Spain, (near Valencia ) home region of Pittsburgh Symphony tour conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Audio excerpts of Brahms and Gimenez from last  night in Vitoria.

Pamplona, Spain 21 Jan 08 PM - 01/22/2008
Jim Cunningham tells QED's Ted Sohier about the first concert of the Pittsburgh Symphony's 2008 European Tour at the Baluarte in Pamplona Spain, with additional comments from PSO cellist Michael Lipman.

Vitoria, Spain 22 Jan 08 AM - 01/22/2008
Jim Cunningham arrives with the PSO in Vitoria, Spain, and tells Anna Singer about the history of Vitoria, capital the Basque region. Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh talks about the concert in Pamplona.

Pamplona, Spain 21 Jan 08 AM - 01/21/2008
Jim Cunningham checks in live at lunchtime from a cafe in Pamplona, Spain, before the orchestra's first tour concert.

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