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A Memorial Concert for the Late Pope John Paul II
60 minute television special to air on WQED and
public television stations across the country

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PITTSBURGH, PA - “Crossing the Bridge of Faiths: Music in Memoriam” is a tribute concert to Pope John Paul II. This one-hour television special premieres Sunday, October 16 at 3 p.m. on WQED tv13. It features performances of Henryk Gorecki: Totus Tuus, by the Pope's favorite contemporary composer, as well as the Brahms: Requiem, one of the most beloved and most well known works of spiritual music.

The program, presented by WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh and distributed by PBS Plus, was created and written by world-renowned Conductor Sir Gilbert Levine and produced by Peter Rosen Productions. Maestro Levine, Rosen, WQED and PBS previously collaborated on “A Celebration of Faiths: The Papal Concert of Reconciliation.”

The musical forces behind this concert are the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the world's oldest and one its finest orchestras, the much-recorded Munchener Bachchor, and world-class soloists Christane Oelze, soprano and Wolfgang Holzmair, bass-baritone, all under the musical direction of Conductor Sir Gilbert Levine. The concert took place in Saints Peter and Paul Church in Krakow, Poland - the church where His Holiness received his ordination as Bishop.

As with "A Celebration of Faiths: The Papal Concert of Reconciliation," Conductor Sir Gilbert Levine narrates this tribute, using his close 17 year-relationship with His Holiness to draw the viewer into a more intimate view of the Pope and his profound legacy for all Americans. The narration is illustrated by both video and still pictures of religious art as well as images from the Pope's Pontificate: including his visits to America and Conductor Levine’s relationship making music for him throughout the world.

“Pope John Paul II visited America more often than any Pope in history,” said
Levine. “He cared deeply about us. Our religious and ethnic diversity and our generosity of spirit were deeply moving to him. I have tried in this program to pay tribute “In Memoriam” to a man who was greatly admired even by those who did not follow his own religious devotion, as well as those who did. I hope, by sharing my unique experiences with His Holiness, PBS audiences nationwide will find a moving vision of their own multi-cultural uniqueness, as reflected in “Crossing the Bridge of Faiths.”

Although “Crossing the Bridge of Faiths” was made available to public television stations across the country in August 2005, the producer strongly suggests the program be aired on or around the following days that were of great importance and relevance to Pope John Paul II: October 16, when He was elected Pope and October 22, when He was installed as Pope.

“Crossing the Bridge of Faiths” is underwritten by a generous grant from the Knights of Columbus, whose continuing support of Maestro Gilbert Levine's concerts of music and spirit on WQED includes the highly acclaimed special "A Celebration of Faiths," as well as the next program in this series, a performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis from magnificent Cologne Cathedral.

WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh provides educational, cultural and informational programming, products and services for local and national audiences. WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh is Telling America's Stories with the American Classics, Rick Sebak’s All-American Specials, American Soundtrack and America's Home Cooking series. It is the parent company of WQED tv13, WQEX –your America’s Store channel, WQED fm89.3, WQEJ fm89.7/Johnstown, a publishing division that includes PITTSBURGH magazine, local and national television and radio productions, and the WQED Education and Community Resource Center.

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