Pittsburgh Symphony on Tour
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.