Stephane Deneve

WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham spoke with this weekend’s Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra guest conductor, Stephane Deneve. He’s conducting music of Ravel, Poulenc and the Gershwin “An American in Paris.” He talks about program, working in St. Louis, if he ever sees Leonard Slatkin in town, and if he is a classical radio fan.

Pianist Cedric Tiberghien

Pianist Cedric Tiberghien plays the Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand this weekend with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It’s his Heinz Hall debut. WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham got his thoughts on the Ravel concerto, his interests outside of music and more.

Samy Moussa

Montreal Canada born composer Samy Moussa talks about his Pittsburgh Symphony commission Adgilis Deda —Hymn for Orchestra – mentioning that it is terrific to have it on a program with one of his favorite composers Anton Bruckner as well as how it was inspired by a person he met in Georgia of the former USSR where he spent an extended period of time. He describes his path so far as a musician studying in Canada, Munich, Germany and now living in Berlin. He is delighted that the Pittsburgh Symphony has already played his Violin Concerto and that he will be working with an orchestra and conductor he has admired from afar.

Manfred Honeck

Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director Manfred Honeck talks with Jim Cunningham in the grand lobby of Heinz Hall about the Liszt Dante Symphony and this weekend’s performances of Beethoven’s Ninth with 3 pieces by Anton Bruckner – Locus Iste, Ave Maria and the Adagio from the String Quintet in F in the arrangement Manfred Honeck and Thomas Ille have made. He also speaks about the Beethoven Ninth and how it is always new including an offstage military band and working with Daniel Singer at the Mendelssohn Choir. Manfred Honeck talks about the Pittsburgh Symphony commission of Samy Moussa to write Adgilis Deda—Hymn for Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Symphony announced just this week that the orchestra will be back on tour in August and September 2024 as the only American orchestra at the Salzburg Festival and return visits to several other prestigious European Festivals.

Leif Ove Andsnes

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes returns to the Pittsburgh Symphony to play one of the most challenging piano concertos of all, the Third by Sergei Rachmaninov with Music Director Manfred Honeck. He joins Jim Cunningham in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall to talk about the fine points of the Concerto, how he stays ” in the pocket” as drummers in jazz and funk bands like to do, comments on the record Rachmaninov made of his own Third, mentions a few favorites from the 37 cd box set of his recordings which have been issued by Warner Classics, talks about his season with the Rachmaninov Third also in Philadelphia, his chamber music tour with the Dover Quartet playing Brahms and Dohnanyi and his videos including the Pictures Reframed which involves the piano being played under water and his love of his hometown Bergen, Norway about a day’s drive from Trondheim where he will perform this season. He says he does not know anything about the Trondheim stick dance which Monty Python suggests is done by women in Norway to resolve marital disputes.

Charlie Albright

Gilmore and Avery Fisher prize winning pianist Charlie Albright makes his Pittsburgh Symphony debut April 12, 13 and 14 with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for PNC Pops and Saturday morning Fiddlesticks concerts. He’s from Centralia, Washington with a start at age 3 then on to studying at Harvard with an interest in economics and pre medicine but the piano became the main focus. He’s appeared with Yo Yo Ma on numerous occasions often with special circumstances and he is loving the sound of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the grandeur of Heinz Hall and the collaboration with Byron Stripling. The subjects covered include why he loves music and young people, his work on YouTube teaching piano, his daughter who is less than one year old and the pre concert ritual which now and then includes a stop at Chipotle. Charlie Albright spoke after the Friday rehearsal with Jim Cunningham sitting at the top of the stairs in the grand lobby under the crystal chandeliers.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins Jim Cunningham to share his thoughts about Camille Saint-Saens and the Egyptian Concerto No. 5 written in uxor and inspired by his visit to the country even weaving a bit of a song he heard from the river. Jean-Yves talks about his Hall of Fame designation at the Hollywood Bowl, his work in the wine region of Burgundy with cellist Gautier Capucon, his interest in jazz, his new cd with Michael Feinstein and his style with couture from Vivienne Westwood.

Osmo Vanska

The long time Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra discusses the Inextinguishable Symphony No 4 by Carl Nielsen, the Bach Toccata and Fugue in d minor in the Skrowacewski transcription and its use on horror films along the way to becoming the best known music by J. S. Bach. Maestro Vanska says he’s living the Finnish equivalent of the free life but enjoys his home in Minnesota, he knows the Finnish wunderkind Klaus Makela and why he is great having just been appointed Music Director in Chicago along with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Topics include the Finnish character to avoid small talk , his Yamaha motorcycle and why he let the Minnesota Orchestra auction it off.

David Sogg – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra The Inextinguishable

Acting Principal Bassonist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, David Sogg, spoke live with Jim Cunningham on the Morning Show about his role in Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable, being performed this Friday, April 5th and Sunday, April 7th. Sogg talks about his first introduction to Nielsen’s work with his Wind Quintet, and his personal connections to Denmark. This concert also includes Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 5, performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Visit to learn more and find tickets.

Juanjo Mena

WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham sat down with conductor Juano Mena, who will conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this weekend in Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula by James Lee III. Plus, he’ll conduct violin works by Ginastera and Sarasate with Hilary Hahn.

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PSO Live Broadcast Intermission Interviews – 3/15/24

During WQED-FM’s live broadcast of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Friday March 15, 2024, Jim Cunningham spoke with conductor Jacob Joyce, guest violinist James Ehnes, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Vice-President of Artistic Planning Mary Persin and WQED President and CEO Jason Jedlinski during intermission.

Mason Bates

Mason Bates joins Jim Cunningham to talk about his Pittsburgh premiere of Philharmonia Fantastique, commissioned in part by Pittsburgh. With animation and live action film this score has won a Grammy in its Chicago Symphony recording while becoming Mason’s most performed piece. It mixes animation with ties to the Pixar studio and Lucasfilm, live action on screen while the orchestra plays. Mason also fills us in on his next opera based on Michael Chabon’s “The Fabulous Adventures of Kavalier Klay.” Mason Bates recalls how much he enjoyed his Pittsburgh visits, commissions and year as Composer in Residence and his winning of the Heinz Award, plus meeting Theresa Heinz. At the end of the conversation, he reveals where he takes out of town guests when they visit San Francisco while he teaches at the Conservatory.

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