Pittsburgh Symphony on Tour
Jim Cunningham interviews Johannes Prinz, the director of the Vienna Singverein, who has known Manfred Honeck since their student days. Jim also gets reaction to the PSO's Mahler "Resurrection" Symphony from Helge Wehmeier, an underwriter of QED's tour coverage. We hear the PSO's Adam Liu and Penny Brill bringing music therapy to St. Anna's pediatric hospital, PSO Board Chair Richard Simmons saluting orchestra members after last night's concert, and the backstage brass group featured in Mahler's Second at the Musikverein.
PSO hornist Ronald Schneider received an email from "Ron Schneider." Suspecting spam, he opened it anyway, and discovered that it was from a notable pianist in Vienna who shares his name. They finally met in person, and QED's Jim Cunningham was there.
Manfred Honeck's moving musical event expanding on Mozart's Requiem elated performers and audience on All Souls Day in Vienna. QED's Jim Cunningham gets reactions from the US Ambassador to Austria, William Eacho; vocal soloists Liang Li, Sunghae Im, and Paul Appleby; PSO violinist Chris Wu, Pittsburgher Monique Mead, and Nikolaj Znaider, who played the world premiere of Herbert Willi's Violin Concerto "Sacrosanto," commissioned by the Musikfreunde for the PSO's visit.
The Pittsburgh Symphony's most musical family on this tour is the Winklers. Chad Winkler is a member of the PSO trumpet section, joined by his trumpet-playing father and brother as tour "extras" for Mahler's Symphony #2. Chad's sister-in-law Sonja Winkler is the PSO's Director of Orchestra Operations and Touring. Other members of the family have come to Vienna, and the Winklers all gathered at a Viennese restaurant named Winklers.
On All Saints' Day in Vienna, QED's Jim Cunningham meets Herbert Willi, composer of a violin concerto which has its world premiere tonight at the Musikverein with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist and the Pittsburgh Symphony led by Manfred Honeck. Honeck and Willi share a strong interest in spirituality. Willi talks about his approach to composition, his prior work with maestro Honeck, and the meaning behind his composition "Abba-Ma" which the PSO is also performing on its European Residency Tour.
At the Musikverein, Jim Cunningham interviews Pittsburgh Opera favorite Laura Claycomb, who joined the tour and Mahler 2nd Symphony recording sessions on short notice, as did noted bassoonist Milan Turkovic, who lends a hand for the recording. Jim also visits a restaurant where Beethoven ate (and lived), and attends a Honeck family gathering where daughter Anna Maria sang a song by the late PSO Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch.
At Vienna's Musikverein, QED's Jim Cunningham interviews Vienna Symphony oboist Peter Schreiber about his impression of the PSO's rehearsal, which included music by Herbert Willi, who is well known in Austria. Manfred Honeck and the PSO will give the world premiere of Willi's Violin Concerto "Sacrosonto" on Thursday with soloist Nikolaj Znaider.
The Pittsburgh Symphony's first concert in Vienna's Musikverein coincides with a modern music festival. The PSO offered the Vienna premiere of "Silent Spring" by American composer Steven Stucky, who talked with QED's Jim Cunningham. Jim also speaks with Manfred Honeck's son Joachim, and mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger who is featured on this tour with the PSO in Mahler's Symphony #2 "Resurrection."
QED's Jim Cunningham talks with retired PSO oboist James Gorton, who was drafted to play on short notice. Jim also interviews Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, a noted Beethoven specialist who heads the prestigious summertime Grafenegg Festival, which featured the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestar last year. He's become a champion of Gershwin's Concerto in F, which he performed with the PSO at the Musikverein on Monday night.
After the Pittsburgh Symphony's second concert in Madrid, Jim Cunningham reports on the concerts there. He interviews Pittsburghers following the orchestra from Barcelona to Madrid, concert presenter Alfonso Aijon, choral director Josep Vila i Casanas, organist Larry Allen and PSO oboist Scott Bell.