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Maazel tribute on Friday in NYC

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

To honor the late Lorin Maazel, the conductor's family has organized a tribute on Friday in New York. Involved in the event include Alan Gilbert, James Galway and others. There's a live-stream available for those not in NYC. Additional information from the press release:

The Maazel Family's tribute to conductor Lorin Maazel, on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 12:30 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (Two West 64th Street, New York City), will be streamed live on castletonfestival.org for those unable to attend. Five cameras will capture the program in a 720p feed.

The tribute will include remembrances from Maestro Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Sir James Wolfensohn, and members of the Maazel family.

Artists include Sir James Galway performing an excerpt from Gluck's "Orfeo," violinist Eric Silberger performing "Meditation" from Thaïs by Jules Massenet, soprano Jennifer Black performing "Tu che di gel" from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, tenor Dominic Armstrong and baritone Paul LaRosa performing a duet from Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi; Mr. LaRosa will also perform with Ms. Black the Love duet from 1984 by Lorin Maazel, Mr. Armstrong will also sing "Pourquoi me réveiller" from Werther by Jules Massenet. Baritone Javier Arrey will perform "Ombra mai fu" from Serse by Händel, mezzo-soprano Erika Rodden will perform a Lied by Brahms. John Arida will be the piano accompanist throughout the program. Ilann S. Maazel will play a Valse by Chopin, and a quintet from the New York Philharmonic will perform Hasenöhrl's "Till Eulenspiegel einmal anders!", an arrangement of Richard Strauss' tone poem Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28. Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center, will perform a Spiritual, accompanied by Dan Nimmer. Also presented will be a short film highlighting the Maestro's legendary career.

Lorin Maazel was one of the world's most esteemed conductors, devoting his life to music professionally for 73 years. Maestro Maazel completed his seventh and final season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 2009-10 and continued through 2011-12 as Music Director of the Palau de les Artes "Reina Sofia," in Valencia, Spain. He became Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic in 2012 and pursued a broad range of guest conducting activities with the world's leading orchestras, enjoying particularly close associations with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Maestro Maazel was also a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalog of works written primarily over the last 15 years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and a sold-out revival at La Scala, Milan. A second-generation American born in Paris, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at age five and conducting lessons at age seven. At 11, he made his debut with NBC in New York at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini. In addition to his prodigious performing activities, Maestro Maazel devoted much time to nurturing young artists. A significant philanthropic gift and enduring memorial is his Castleton Festival, which benefits over 300 young musicians yearly. The Festival takes place in the rolling hills of Rappahannock County, Virginia, on the Maazel Family's 600-acre farm.

Tributes to Maestro Maazel have been held by the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the London Philharmonia, NHK in Tokyo, and by the Munich Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio in a combined concert event. The New York Philharmonic will soon announce its own tribute to Maestro Maazel for May 2015.

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A big flute orchestra

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

I got an email today from Wendy Kumer, the president-elect of the Pittsburgh Flute Club, who sent me some details of the club's collaboration with other local flutists for a performance before the Pittsburgh Symphony concert on Oct. 26. Almost 150 flutes in the Heinz Hall lobby should prepare audience members for the Nielsen Flute Concerto on the PSO program, performed by Lorna McGhee.

There's much to love about this pre-concert performance, which includes lots of new music; one piece features the Club's oldest member, 91 year-young Joe Bonadio. More from the Pittsburgh Flute Club: 

The Pittsburgh Flute Club (one of the oldest ones in the country at nearly 100 years old) is teaming up with the Flute Academy in Oakland and several area and university flute choirs to play a special "Grand Lobby" pre-concert at 1:45 prior to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Sunday, October 26, 2014 2:30 Heinz Hall program that features the PSO's Principal Flutist, Lorna McGhee in the "Concerto for Flute and Orchestra" by Carl Nielsen.

We were hoping for about 40 flutists but this event has blossomed into an amazingly HUGE group of more than 140 flutists! Rehearsals for the 35-minute program began in July. The all-inclusive roster includes flutists aged 12 through high school, college, local adult amateurs, to about 35 professional flutists. Our oldest member, Joe Bonadio, 91, began playing flute for the first time at age 79. We have 1 piccolo player, 14 bass flutists, 14 alto flutists, and are pleased to have Western PA's only contrabass flute in the ensemble. University flute choir members from Slippery Rock, Seton Hill, West Liberty, WVU, and even Ohio State are participating in this one-of-a-kind concert.

Here are some additional highlights about this performance:

Pittsburgh Flute Club commissioned local composer (Oberlin trained), Gay Kahkonen, to write a piece for this event. She came up with a jazz-styled blockbuster in nine harmony parts dedicated to our 91 year-old, favorite PFC member, Joe Bonadio. Titled "Joe's Treat," this delightful composition features Joe on several one-measure solos in his favorite jazz idiom. This will be its world premier and well worth an early arrival to the PSO concert.

Under the direction of Wendy Kumer from the Flute Academy in Oakland the massive flute orchestra will perform seven works including three original compositions, three world premiers, and four spirited arrangements. When Long Island, NY composer, Laurence Dresner heard we were programming his newest oeuvre, "Flutes Gone Wild," he made travel arrangements to hear it played. Local music arranger, Bob Bollman, brilliantly adapted a mid-century favorite, The Theme from "A Summer Place." They will also play Pittsburgh native, Dorli McWayne's adapted version of Mozart's "A Little Night Music," and as a nod to Lorna's chosen composer, Nielsen, a beautiful Praeludium from his "Little Suite." Plan to get to Heinz Hall early on the 26th. The incredible timbre and ambiance created by a flute orchestra is unparalleled.

 

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PSO to collaborate with artist Baron Batch

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Pittsburgh Symphony has announced a year-long collaboration with local artist Baron Batch:

PITTSBURGH—A chance encounter between Baron Batch, founder of Studio A.M., and Michael Sexauer, vice president for sales at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, at a pop-up art event on the South Side this summer has led to a season-long artistic collaboration between the two organizations.

"I fell in love with Pittsburgh because of organizations like the Pittsburgh Symphony who are open to creative collaboration. A few years ago I would have never imagined that I would be live painting with the orchestra but of course things change, and thankfully for the better," said Batch. "It is an honor to live in the city of Pittsburgh during this time of renaissance in the arts community, and my team of creatives and I am pleased to help take part in the city's redevelopment. Pittsburgh is changing."

Batch, a Pittsburgh-based artist, entrepreneur and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back who retired from the NFL in 2013, is the founder of Angry Man Salsa and the multimedia marketing agency Studio A.M., based in Homestead.

The creative partnership between Batch and the Pittsburgh Symphony began with a live painting event at the symphony's opening gala, For Your Eyes Only, in September. Batch created a painting on the spot at the event's cocktail hour, which was later auctioned that evening. (Studio A.M. produced a brief video of the event that can be seen at http://youtu.be/rVegGH3QeTs.)

Batch will make his next appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Fiddlesticks Family Concert Presented by Macy's, "Fall Festival," on October 18. Batch will do a live painting of Fiddlesticks during the Discovery Time Adventures at 10 a.m., prior to the start of the concert at 11 a.m.

In November, Batch will be featured during the PNC Pops "Sci-Fi Spectacular" weekend on November 13-16. He will attend the Jack Heinz Society Happy Hour on November 13, providing a Studio A.M. D.J. for the event, which includes a social hour and access to the concert rehearsal that evening. During the concerts on November 14, 15 and 16, Batch will paint live in the lobby of Heinz Hall prior to the concerts and during intermission. The paintings will fit the sci-fi theme of the weekend and will be displayed from stage at the end of the concert.

Finally, Batch will help the Pittsburgh Symphony produce a Bach tribute video for the worldwide Bach in the Subways event in March (bachinthesubways.com). Bach in the Subways started in 2011 as a celebration of Bach's birthday — his 330th birthday is March 21, 2015 — and to expose more of the public to live classical music. Along with the video, Studio A.M. and the Pittsburgh Symphony will work together to promote the March 20 & 22 BNY Mellon Grand Classics performances, "Bach's Coffeehouse," as part of the celebration of the composer's life.

"Collaboration provides the opportunity to create something new and unique," said Jim Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. "Working with Baron Batch and Studio A.M. this year is a very exciting opportunity, and we are looking forward to the new and creative experiences it will provide our patrons."

Learn more about Baron Batch at baronbatch.com and more about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at pittsburghsymphony.org.

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Andres Cardenes to be guest concertmaster with PSO

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Andres Cardenes, the concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1989-2010, will be guest concertmaster for this weekend's PSO concerts at Heinz Hall.

Current concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley has started his post as one of the concertmasters of the Berlin Philharmonic, so he won't be here this weekend or the weekends of Oct. 24 and 31; May 15; and June 5 and 12, said Joyce DeFrancesco, the PSO's director of media relations.

On the weekend of Oct 24, Seattle Symphony concertmaster Alexander Velinzon will take a spin in the first chair. (He is on leave Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant concertmaster, according to the BSO website.)

The following weekend, Nick Eanet – former first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet and former concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra – will substitute. Replacements have not been determined for the end of the season.

A few weeks ago, James Wilkinson, the PSO's president and CEO, told me that Mr. Bendix-Balgley has until next summer to decide for certain whether he will leave the PSO, and that he'll be here at least until September.

"We are not starting the search process for his replacement," Mr. Wilkinson said.

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Pittsburgh Opera RAs to sing in Market Square

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

For the second consecutive year, Pittsburgh Opera resident artists will brighten the lunches of those of us who mill about Market Square during the Thursday farmer's market. More from Pittsburgh Opera and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership: 

Downtown Pittsburgh – Although Summer is on its way out, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Market Square Farmer’s Market is transitioning to all things autumn, with pumpkins, fall fruits, flowers and vegetables playing a starring role. Also playing a starring role for the next two weeks will be the Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists, who will be providing free lunchtime performances on Thursday, October 9 and 16. Performances will occur between 11:30 and 1:00 p.m.

According to Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, “Last year, Pittsburgh Opera residents joined us at the Market for the first time and the response was spectacular. We are pleased to again support this Downtown Arts organization by providing a unique and visible venue to showcase their tremendous talents, while offering something truly special for the weekly visitors of our Farmers Market.”

The Resident Artists will sing in solos, duets and ensembles and will include some of the best-loved and well known opera classics, including:

 "La donna e mobile" from Verdi's RIGOLETTO- the most famous tenor aria from the opera
 "Au fond du temple saint" from Bizet's THE PEARL FISHERS - this friendship duet is rich and warm, a beautiful blend of baritone and tenor voices
 "La ci darem la mano" from Mozart's DON GIOVANNI - Don Giovanni (Don Juan) seduces a sweet country girl...one of many women that he has beguiled
 "Seguidilla" from Bizet's CARMEN - Carmen insinuates that she will become Don Jose's lover if he will join her for drinking and dancing
 “O mio babbino caro” from Puccini’s GIANNI SCHICCHI – heard frequently in commercials for champagne, Italian foods, and even the video game Grand Theft Auto
 "Brindisi: Libiamo, ne lieti calici" from Verdi's LA TRAVIATA - a drinking song from the grand party scene in Verdi's most beloved opera

"Pittsburgh Opera is delighted to perform once again in Market Square - the beating heart of Downtown. Good food and great opera are the perfect match," said Christopher Hahn, Pittsburgh Opera General Director.

In addition to the performances, Pittsburgh Opera will offer free tote bags to the first 100 people who visit their booth and sign up for their e-mail list, as well as an opportunity to win one of three sets of tickets to Otello (on stage at the Benedum Center November 8, 11, 14, and 16). They will also offer a special one-day-only subscription deal.

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