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

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Peter Oundjian and Alina Ibragimova - Jan 12, 2023

Conductor Peter Oundjian and violinist Alina Ibragimova provide the roadmap for the Prokofiev First Violin Concerto which they perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony January 13th and 15th. Peter chooses a few high points in his 14 years as Music Director of the Toronto Symphony and fills Jim Cunningham in on his family ties to Eric Idle of Monty Python. He also shares his love of Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Thomas Tallis Fantasy having recorded the composer in Toronto. Alina remembers being in Pittsburgh on March 11, 2020 just hours from her debut when the music world went on hiatus. Both are glad to have survived the pandemic and feel optimistic about the future of classical music.  

Daniel Meyer - Dec 8, 2022

Daniel Meyer conducts 8 Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concerts through Sunday the 18th of December with the Mendelssohn Choir, Santa and Blaine Alden Krauss who stars in Hamilton on Broadway plus dancers from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater who perform highlights from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. Maestro Meyer has the rundown of the event for Jim Cunningham and what he is up to with the Erie Philharmonic and the Westmoreland Symphony.

Martin Helmchen - Dec 1, 2022

Berlin born pianist Martin Helmchen makes his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck playing the Schumann Concerto December 2 at Heinz Hall. He talks with Jim Cunningham in the upstairs dressing room about his earlier work with Manfred Honeck, the Schumann Concerto which he recorded a number of years ago and how his interpretation has changed, Robert Schumann the romantic figure in music, Germany and the US in the World Cup, and the progress in unification of the East and West in Germany.

Anne Martindale Williams - Nov 28, 2022

Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams discusses her Vivaldi Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in B flat, which she played with Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster Noah Bendix Balgley on November 25 and 27 2022 at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Music Director Manfred Honeck. She tells Jim Cunningham about her work with Noah dating back to his years as Pittsburgh Symphony Concertmaster and about her hiring in 1976 by former Music Director William Steinberg.

Noah Bendix-Balgley - Nov 28, 2022

Former Pittsburgh Symphony Concertmaster Noah Bendix Balgley talks with WQED-FM's Jim Cunningham about his appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony November 25 and 27 with Music Director Manfred Honeck. He played his Fidl Fantazye: A Klezmer Concerto and the Vivaldi Concerto by Antonio Vivaldi in B flat for Violin and Cello in which he was joined by PSO Principal Cello Anne Martindale Williams. Noah talks about his fall 2022 tour with the Berlin Philharmonic which featured him as a soloist in Mozart's First Violin Concerto with Kiril Petrenko conducting. Other topics include his work in Pittsburgh and his thoughts about the Berlin Philharmonic plus a preview of the upcoming season in Berlin.

Manfred Honeck - Nov 28, 2022

From his newly redecorated dressing room Pittsburgh Symphony music Director Manfred Honeck discusses Mozart’s Mass in c minor with the Schumann Piano Concerto to be heard Friday and Sunday December 3 and 5 2022 and Saturday night only Handel’s Messiah. Both concerts are with with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and soloists including Ying Fang who appeared in Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Metropolitan Opera this past fall. Manfred Honeck tells Jim Cunningham about the mystery of the missing sections of the Mozart Mass and why a non believer should care about the Mass in the modern world. He also shares his thoughts regarding the Thanksgiving day concert and the visit of his daughter Anna Maria to Heinz Hall.    

David Robertson - Nov 10, 2022

Conductor David Robertson explains why you shouldn’t be too sad about Tchaikovsky’s last days, his final symphony and applauding before the last movement. Has he ever heard a better French Horn virtuoso than Pittsburgh Principal William Caballero? No, and Robertson started his musical life as a horn player. Oliver Knussen adds considerable virtuosity and  color to the  program too. What’s it like to train the next generation of conductors at Juilliard and exactly how do you do it? Find out in this conversation with Jim Cunningham recorded in the conductor’s dressing room at Heinz Hall after rehearsal on Thursday November 10, 2022.