St. Vincent College announced that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's music director Manfred Honeck will speak at its commencement May 8 in the Robert S. Carey Student Center on its campus in Latrobe, Pa.
Honeck is a devout Roman Catholic and recently used the school's Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana in a performance of Mozart's "Requiem" mass in December of 2009. Good fit I would say.
Here is the release:
February 26, 2010
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MUSIC DIRECTOR MANFRED HONECK SAINT
VINCENT COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER MAY 8
LATROBE, PA - Maestro Manfred Honeck, the music director of the
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, will be the principal speaker at the
164th annual commencement of Saint Vincent College at 2 p.m. Saturday,
May 8 in the Robert S. Carey Student Center, it was announced today by
Saint Vincent College President Jim Towey.
For Maestro Honeck who typically is seen standing with baton in hand in
front of the orchestra, this will be a rare a cappella performance since
he will appear at SVC without instrumental accompaniment.
"Saint Vincent College is honored to present Maestro Honeck as this
year's commencement speaker because it continues a tradition of
presenting to our students outstanding individuals who are known
internationally," Mr. Towey said.
Appointed the ninth music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
in January 2007, Maestro Honeck began his tenure at the start of the
2008-2009 season. In 2007, he assumed the post of music director of the
Stuttgart State Opera, and in September 2008, he became the principal
guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague.
"I think that many of this year's graduates will be impressed that the
leader of one of Pittsburgh's greatest treasures will be addressing the
class as well as our parents and friends on our special day," Ale
Muzika, president of the senior class commented.
On Maestro Honeck's direction of the Pittsburgh Symphony, The New York
Times Anthony Tommasini recently wrote that "When Mr. Honeck took charge
in the fall of 2008, he brought boundless enthusiasm and artistic
authority...Clearly, Mr. Honeck knows how orchestras work from the
inside, and the musicians - to judge from their incisive and alert
playing - trust him ...".
Born in Austria, Maestro Honeck studied music at the Academy of Music in
Vienna. An accomplished violinist and violist, he spent more than ten
years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera
Orchestra. It is his experience as an orchestra musician that has
heavily influenced his conducting and has helped give it a distinctive
stamp. Maestro Honeck commenced his conducting career in Vienna.
Subsequently, he was engaged from 1991 to 1996 by the Zurich Opera
House, where he was awarded the prestigious European Conductor's Award
In 1996, Maestro Honeck began a three-year stint as one of three main
conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, and in 1997, he served
as music director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year. A
highly successful tour of Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic marked the
beginning of a close collaboration with this orchestra, which
consequently appointed him principal guest conductor, a post he held
from 1998 to 2004. From 2000 to 2006, Maestro Honeck was music director
of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Maestro Honeck has worked with such major European
orchestras as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,
Gewandhausorchester Leipzeig, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London
Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Czech
Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic, and in the United States with
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National
Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his post at the Stuttgart Opera, operatic guest
engagements include the Semperoper in Dresden, Domische Oper Berlin,
Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels and Royal Opera of Copenhagen, as well
as the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg
Festival. He appears regularly at Switzerland's Verbier Festival and has
also been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg summer
music series in Germany for more than 15 years.
He follows a series of internationally-respected music directors who
gave the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra a long and distinguished touring
tradition, including William Steinberg, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel and
Mariss Jansons. He was the first to take the Pittsburgh Symphony to
Shanghai and Taiwan in 2009. Maestro Honeck's contract with the
Pittsburgh Symphony has been extended through 2016.
A group of Saint Vincent College singers - the Saint Vincent Schola
Gregoriana - were invited to take part in three performances at Heinz
Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this past fall. Maestro
Honeck invited Saint Vincent to provide a Gregorian chant schola to sing
as part of his reading of the Requiem Mass of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on
December 4, 5 and 6. Entitled "Requiem Mass for Mozart," the
performances included the Requiem in its entirety, together with other
sacred music of Mozart, and incorporated Scriptural readings,
biographical readings from the letters of Mozart, and a Gregorian chant
schola. Honeck recorded his "Requiem Mass for Mozart" with the Swedish
Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir. The Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana
was composed of 20 singers and included Saint Vincent Benedictine monks,
college students, seminarians and parishioners under the direction of
Fr. Stephen Concordia, O.S.B.
Maestro Honeck joins a distinguished group of commencement speakers who
have spoken at Saint Vincent in recent years, including The Honorable
George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, in 2007,
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin in 2008, and J. Christopher
Donahue in 2009.
More than 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded at this
spring commencement in a traditional public ceremony that marks the
successful completion of the students' formal studies.