I connected with the Pittsburgh Symphony's music director Manfred Honeck after his debut concert tonight with the New York Philharmonic as a guest conductor, and he was thrilled with the connection he felt with the orchestra. "I had a great time with them. They were very responsive with what I wanted to do. There were very nice comments by musicians. A visiting conductor faces the question of whether the orchestra are taking the new ideas. They did. It was amazing that they did everying that I asked for."
If the critics, audience, orchestra and management agree (already I have heard, and heard of, positive response from some of the latter two), it will make Honeck two for two in his breakout into the greater Amercian orchestra scene. He is already well-known in Europe, but really not in the US outside of Pittsburgh. But in January 2012 he impressed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (a well-known critic named that concert his No. 2 of the year) (hey, he only made No. 2 in my list, too!). He debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra in May and with the Philadelphia Orchestra next season. Stay tuned. Might be that the Pittsburgh Symphony was smart in recently extending his contract to 2020.
The program was: Braunfels' Suite from "Apparitions on a Theme by Berlioz"; Grieg's Piano Concerto, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.