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

Filter by year: Go

Intermission Interviews - 3/31/23 - Mar 31, 2023

Jim Cunningham spoke with Guest Conductor Daniele Rustioni and pianist Francesco Piemontesi during intermission of WQED-FM's live broadcast of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on March 31, 2023.   

Daniele Rustioni - Mar 30, 2023

Daniele Rustioni makes his Heinz Hall debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony March 31st and April 2nd with Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the Brahms First Piano Concerto with Francesco Piemontesi, and Unsuk Chin’s "Subito Con Forza." It’s a high wire act because he is also conducting the Metropolitan Opera’s Falstaff during the same weekend with a Saturday matinee live broadcast on radio and to theaters with the HD series.  He told the orchestra his Mother will be watching in Italy so it must be good!  He flew to Pittsburgh on Thursday morning for rehearsal and he will fly to New York after the Friday performance at Heinz Hall for the Saturday Met Falstaff which begins with an early curtain. Then he returns to Pittsburgh for Sunday afternoon. His friend and mentor Gianadrea Noseda had done something similar a few years ago. Daniele tells Jim Cunningham about his admiration for Italian conductor Victor de Sabata who made his American debut in Pittsburgh at the Syria Mosque.  Daniele Rustioni was born in Milan and studied at the Conservatory there. He is married to Francesca Dego and they recoded the Violin Concerto by Ermanno Wolf Ferrari and the Mozart Violin Concertos. About his Falstaff at the Met, Patrick Dillon in Opera Canada wrote: “The not-quite-forty-year-old Milanese has been making ever-increasing waves in the world’s opera houses and concert halls, and at the Met this season he took the virtuosic house band out of the pit and onto the stage of Carnegie Hall for Bartók and Stravinsky before helming the current string of Falstaff's. Everything about his deft, graceful, shipshape account of this infinitely rewarding score seemed unobtrusively right.”

Marty Bates and Moon Doh - Mar 28, 2023

Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony visit Teutonia Maennerchor on Phineas Street, Northside to present Triumph of the Misfits in the Discovery and Drinks series with Schubert’s Death and the maiden Quartet and Ravel’s String Quartet on March 30 at 7pm.  Each ticket includes a selection from the bar. Pittsburgh Symphony Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Marty Bates will host. In May,  Assistant Conductor Moon Doh will present the next program in the series with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as the centerpiece. Assistant Conductor Doh also has a free Side by Side concert April 11 at Heinz Hall  with Gustav Mahler.  The plans for the PSO Disrupt series and highlights of the remainder of the season are in the discussion with Jim Cunningham.

James MacMillan - Mar 17, 2023

Composer Sir James MacMillan joins Jim Cunningham in the WQED-FM studio just hours before his world premiere to share his thoughts about his new music heard for the first time on commission from the Pittsburgh Symphony - March 17th ,18th and 19th, 2023. Her tears fell with the dews at even will be recorded along with the Mozart Requiem for Reference. He wrote the music and found the words of Tennyson From Mariana that seemed to fit.

Sir James has known Principal Flute Lorna McGhee since she was just starting out in Scotland and he wrote a considerable amount for the flute in the score. He discusses his time as Composer of the Year in Pittsburgh, and his music written for Pittsburgh starting with a Fanfare in 2016, the Fourth Symphony, the Larghetto for Manfred Honeck’s 10th year as Music Director.  

Also on the list of topics: the chant workshop he will lead on Saturday with the men of the Westminster Choir, his new music being heard around the globe including at the Cincinnati May Festival, St. Patrick’s Day in Scotland, Andrew Carnegie the Great Scot, the ability of music to lift us even in our darkest hour, how he shares much of Manfred Honeck’s thinking about spirituality and where we are with the state of the spiritual life in our world today.

Manfred Honeck - Mar 13, 2023

The Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony runs down the concerts of March 7 with Lang Lang playing the Saint-Saens 2nd Concerto and March 10th and 12th with Franz Schmidt’s Fourth Symphony for the first time at Heinz Hall, along with Emanuel Ax playing Chopin’s Second Concerto . The weekend of March 17, 18 and 19, Manfred Honeck conducts his personal version of the Mozart Requiem which will be recorded for the Reference label with narrator F. Murray Abraham and soloists with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

Emanuel Ax - Mar 10, 2023

Emanuel Ax plays the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Chopin with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Friday March 10 and Saturday March 12 at 2:30 at Heinz Hall. Jim Cunningham joined Mr. Ax to talk about Chopin, the love of his life George Sand, Ax's long association with the composer including the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, recording the concerto twice with Eugene Ormandy and Sir Charles Mackerras plus doing crosswords, a new cd on the way from Yo Yo Ma and much more in this interview recorded after rehearsal at Heinz Hall.

Gil Shaham - Feb 24, 2023

Violinist Gil Shaham talks about his unique approach to the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Franz Clement who played his instrument upside down during the cadenza at the premiere when the ink was still wet on the page. Gil also talks about his recording with the Knights, his long collaboration with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the 360 concert on Saturday night and how to pronounce his name depending on where you are in the world.