Cellist Pablo Ferrandez

Pablo Ferrandez returns to Heinz Hall having had a sensational debut in a 2023 December concert with Anne Sophie Mutter and John Williams playing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Anne Sophie Mutter. He describes the challenge of playing the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1., the composer’s fear of being taken away in the night were he to run counter to what Stalin thought he should be writing, the importance of the timpanist in the First Concerto, his family of musicians naming him after Pablo Casals, growing up in sunny Spain, his recordings for Sony including the Brahms Double Concerto with Anne Sophie Mutter, the Czech Philharmonic and Manfred Honeck, and what he knows about Pittsburgh and the orchestra in this conversation with Jim Cunningham.

Watch this episode on YouTube

Composer Katherine Balch

Katherine Balch talks about her new music commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony and several other American Orchestras with the world premiere on February 16, 2023— Musica Pyralis to be conducted by Manfred Honeck. She is inspired by the events around her including fireflies in the music for Pittsburgh. Katherine tells Jim Cunningham her story: born in San Diego, now teaching at Yale, her thoughts about connecting with audiences. her family and whether she is a California girl.

Alexandre Kantorow

Pianist Alexandre Kantorow makes his Heinz Hall debut February 9th through 11th at Heinz Hall with Manfred Honeck. In this conversation with Jim Cunningham recorded in the Dorothy Porter Simmons Rooms at Heinz Hall, he talks about the Liszt Second Concerto; his recent win of the Gilmore Prize and the win at the Tchaikovsky Competition; his early career; growing up in the musical family with his Dad, a conductor and his Mom a violinist; being French; wearing a beret; enjoying fresh baguettes; and his upcoming tour with Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.


Anthony Parnther

Anthony Parnther makes his Pittsburgh Symphony debut with “Lift Every Voice” on Saturday February 3rd, 7pm at Heinz Hall where he’ll conduct the Florence Price Third Symphony and the Lars Erik Larsson Trombone Concertino with Cooper Cromwell Whitney solo. The wide ranging program celebrates tradition in African American musical culture with Grammy wining soloist Oleta Adams and the Unity Choir conducted by Nikki Porter. Anthony has conducted and played bassoon on over 1000 Hollywood film scores including his work as conductor for the Oscar nominated score for Oppenheimer. He is Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “he is the quintessential LA musician.” Anthony Parnther tells his story and speaks of his love of Gospel music while growing up, plus he remembers his Pittsburgh debut conducting music by Matthew Rosenblum in the Microtonal Music Festival in this conversation at Heinz Hall in the conductor’s dressing room with Jim Cunningham.

Cooper Cromwell-Whitley

Trombonist and Paul J. Ross Fellow with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cooper Cromwell-Whitley, discusses with Jim Cunningham his childhood love for the trombone, and Lars-Erick Larsson’s Concertino for Trombone that he will play this Saturday, February 3rd at 7 pm in the “Lift Every Voice” concert with Oleta Adams, Nikki Porter and the Lift Every Voice Unity Choir, Anthony Parnther, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Visit https://pittsburghsymphony.org to learn more.

Nikki Porter

Minister of Music at Eastminster Presbyterian Church and choir director, Nikki Porter, discussed with Jim Cunningham live on the QED Morning Show her upcoming concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Oleta Adams, conductor Anthony Parnther, pianist Alton Merrell, and trombonist Cooper-Cromwell Whitley in “Lift Every Voice” next Saturday, February 3rd at 7 pm. Nikki talks about the program featuring Florence Price and some of Oleta Adam’s most famous works. Nikki also highlights here work as a local choir director in the Pittsburgh area. Tickets start at $25. Visit https://pittsburghsymphony.org/ to learn more.

Alexi Kenney

Violinist Alexi Kenney returns to Pittsburgh to perform the Barber Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Juraj Valcuha. Alexi talks about the concerto, playing the PSO and more with Jim Cunningham.

Juraj Valcuha

Juraj Valcuha returns to Heinz Hall to conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Nico Muhly’s “Bright Idea”, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Barber’s Violin Concerto with guest soloist Alexi Kenney. WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham spoke to the maestro about the concert.

Moon Doh – Courage to Stand Concert

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Associate Conductor Moon Doh stopped by the QED Morning Show to talk about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Schooltime concert “Courage to Stand” taking place Wednesday January 17th at 10:30 and 7pm and Tuesday January 23rd at 10:30am. The concerts feature the orchestra and special guests in a dynamic exploration of musicians, dancers, poets, and other leaders who have used the power of the arts to express their core convictions.

Byron Stripling – Cirque Carnival

Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling stopped by the QED Morning Show to talk about this weekend’s concerts titled “Cirque Carnival.”  Byron talks about what you can expect from the concert, PSO Principal Flute playing as a soloist and working with Dizzy Gillespie.

Live Broadcast Intermission Interviews

WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham interviewed violinist Bomsori, guest conductor James Gaffigan, new Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Associate Trombone Doug Rosenthal, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Classical Music Critic Jeremy Reynolds during our live broadcast from Friday November 3, 2023.