Conductors, soloists and composers involved in making great Pittsburgh Symphony performances talk about their music.

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David Bennett - Feb 16, 2018

David Bennett performs with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this weekend in a concert titled "From Swing to Rock."   He stopped by WQED-FM to chat with Anna Singer about the concerts.



Osmo Vanska - Feb 7, 2018

Osmo Vanska Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra graciously receives congratulations for the Minnesota Grammy nomination for Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and congratulates Pittsburgh for a win. He runs down the speed of the finale of the Beethoven Fifth which he conducts with the Pittsburgh Symphony February 9,10 and 11. He recalls his work with Finnish composer Rautavarra and his personality traits while describing what he loves about the Requiem heard on the weekend program. Vanska speaks about soloist Vilde Frang, violin and her Stravinsky Concerto, the Kabalevsky Comedians, taking the Minnesota Orchestra to South Africa, loaning Mrs. Vanska, concertmistress Erin Keefe to Pittsburgh for some concerts in the concertmaster search, the Finns of the conducting world  who will be guests in Pittsburgh in 2018-2019 and whether the weather in Pittsburgh reminds him of his home in Finland. Not quite cold enough suggests Maestro Vanska.   

Manfred Honeck - Grammy win - Jan 29, 2018

Pittsburgh Symphony  Music Director Manfred Honeck reacts to wining two Grammy Awards at the 60th ceremony in New York at Madison Square Garden January 28, 2018. The Shostakovich Fifth Symphony and Barber’s Adagio received the prize with nominations going to Detroit and Leonard Slatkin, San Francisco and Michael Tilson Thomas, The Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langree and the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vanska. Maestro Honeck is on the phone from Chicago where he was guest conducting the Chicago Symphony in Mahler’s Fifth and Mozart’s 25th Concerto with Till Felner.

Kirill Gerstein - Jan 26, 2018

Pianist Kirill Gerstein arrived from Russia in Boston as the 14 year old youngest student ever at the Berklee School of Music at the invitation of vibraphone legend Gary Burton. Now he has two additional degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and teaches in Germany. He made his Pittsburgh Symphony debut with Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in the same weekend but he had heard the orchestra on a tour stop in Stuttgart. He likes coffee and jazz and reflects on the psychiatrist who helped Rachmaninoff get out of his writers block.

Lorna McGhee - Jan 24, 2018

Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Flute Lorna McGhee has already been heard this season playing concertos by Mozart and Ibert with Manfred Honeck and Juanjo Mena. She gives us an overview of the flute weekend beginning with a memorial Tribute to her colleague Bernard Goldberg former Pittsburgh Symphony Principal January 27 1:30 at Heinz Hall and two master classes with William Bennett one on Sunday January 28 at 6pm at Duquesne University’s PNC Recital Hall and the other at Carnegie Mellon University in Alumni Concert Hall with a double session and dinner break from 3:30-5:30 and 6:30 to 8:30. All the event are free and you can come and go as you please. Lorna tells about the great flute flute hero Marcel Moyse and her teacher Mr. Bennett along with a few thoughts about Manfred Honeck in his 10th anniversary year.

Phylicia Rashad & Kathryn Bostic - Jan 19, 2018

Lift Every Voice is the concert the Pittsburgh Symphony will play Saturday January 20 at 8pm at Heinz Hall featuring the world premiere of the August Wilson Symphony by Kathryn Bostic, the composer for the soundtrack of WQED’s American Masters portrait of August Wilson The Ground on Which I Stand. Phylicia Rashad will host the concert. Phylicia Rashad hosted WQED’s Project Literacy US program in 1988 on PBS. She is a Tony Award winning actress portraying Aunt Esther in August Wilson’s Columbia the Gem of the Ocean. She just finished production on the Fox series Empire and appeared in the Rocky film sequel Creed. She has received multiple doctorates for her work onstage and in film directing and acting and she just accepted an offer to direct a new production of Broadway. She holds a degree from CMU and Howard University her alma mater. Kathryn Bostic is a singer and pianist in addition to her film and theater writing. She has won multiple awards and has collaborated on Broadway with Rashad. Her soundtrack for the American Masters program brought Coldplay violinist Davide Rossi to the recordings studio. In the conversation they discuss their work with August Wilson. Phylicia reveals the three greatest roles for an actress and shares thoughts about her role as Clair Huxtable on the Cosby show. They discuss what they were doing on Martin Luther King Jr. day and run down events at the concert with a description of the August Wilson Symphony. Phylicia discusses her day at CMU and Kathryn her work with CAPA students.

Ifetayo Ali - Jan 19, 2018

Ifetayo Ali 15 year old cellist from Chicago and Sphinx competition winner talks about the Lalo Cello Concerto which she will pay for her debut with Lucas Richman and the Pittsburgh Symphony  at Life Every Voice Saturday January 20 at 8pm at Heinz Hall. In 2013, at the age of ten, Ifetayo was honored at the Friends of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra Rising Stars Showcase, where she recorded the 1st movement of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto (No. 1). To date, the video has over 75,000 YouTube views and over 10 million Facebook views.