PSO returns from Europe

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Pittsburgh Symphony wrapped up its latest European tour this weekend. In case you missed it, here is the Post-Gazette coverage of the tour: 

PSO-in-Berlin-1 1Music director Manfred Honeck displays his Pittsburgh pride — and a Terrible Towel — at the Berlin Philharmonie. Read more about it here. (Photo: Kent Logsdon)  

ADDENDUM [June 13, 2016]: Here's video of the orchestra's concert at the Berlin Philharmonie on May 22. More info on the orchestra's website.

And here's one more nugget: Violist Paul Silver shares a bit about his experience on tour — including the special chance to perform in Europe alongside his daughter, Sarah, who plays with the San Antonio Symphony. 

Mr. Silver explained that he normally likes to plan some adventures during PSO tours:

"But due to the fact that I'm still recovering from leg surgery and our very busy concert and rehearsal schedule, I decided to take it easy today," he wrote last week. "A group of us enjoyed a relaxing, restful day walking around the small island portion of the town of Lindau [Germany], where we are staying, and taking an hour and a half boat ride around the eastern portion of Lake Constance, or as they call it here, the 'Bodensee.' Some of our colleagues chose to go a bit farther afield — renting a motorcycle, journeying to nearby Liechtenstein, and hiking in the nearby mountains, to name a few ... In addition, our symphony patrons (who are traveling along on the tour), along with Manfred and some orchestra members, went to Wolfegg Castle for a tour of the site where Manfred's summer music festival, the Internationale Wolfegger Konzerte, takes place. (He has been artistic director of the festival since 1994.)

"For me, the unquestionable highlight of this tour has been the opportunity to share the music making and the travel experience with my daughter, Sarah, who was hired as an extra violinist for the tour and the two weeks of concerts in Pittsburgh prior to departure. She was lucky enough to be excused from her regular position as assistant concertmaster on the San Antonio Symphony. Touring provides a unique challenge for an orchestra — playing each night for new audiences in new venues with distinctly different acoustics. During my 35 years in the orchestra, I've found touring provides a great bonding experience for our orchestra, not only amongst the players but also between the orchestra and our music director. The opportunity to play the same music but to do it a bit differently every night makes us stronger and more flexible as an ensemble. When you can share all of these experiences with your flesh and blood on the stage, it's quite a thrill. Then, afterwards, to be able to discuss the musical experience, the reaction of the audience, and how we felt individually and collectively, makes it that much better."

Sarah chipped in her thoughts, too:

"It is difficult to find the words to express just how wonderfully special this tour is to me," she wrote. "Not only am I playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, but I also get to sit on stage with my dad. We are getting to travel through Europe together, playing in world famous concert halls with the world class orchestra that I grew up listening to. When we finish a Tchaikovsky symphony in the prestigious Musikverein and the audience bursts into applause, I get to look over at my father smiling toward the standing audience and glancing in my direction to share in the prideful moment. Pittsburgh should also be incredibly proud."

Sounds like a very special experience for the Silvers! It's also worth noting that the orchestra features another father-daughter duo: co-principal clarinetist Thomas Thompson, who was hired by the PSO in 1966, and cellist Alexandra Thompson, who joined it last season. 

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