2014-15 PNC Pops season drops Thursdays, adds more film to schedule
A new focus in repertoire for the seven concerts of the 2014-15 PNC Pops season isn't the only change coming to the symphony's second-largest subscription series.
The Pops concerts will run Fridays to Sundays. Thursday concerts have been dropped, due to poor attendance. The symphony says it has contacted current Thursday subscribers, 90 percent of whom have been “reseated” to weekend performances next season.
Friday and Saturday concerts will start at 7:30 p.m., a half hour earlier than previously. Classical subscription concerts, which dropped Thursdays many years ago, also will start at 7:30 p.m. A symphony survey of its concertgoers found 80 percent wanted an earlier start tine.
Less than two years after the death of Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch, who brought a singular authenticity, knowledge and enthusiasm to Broadway repertoire, Pops programming is turning to film music. Four of the seven Pops concerts feature film music, including a showing of the complete “Singin' in the Rain” with the symphony playing the film score.
“One of the reasons for the emphasis on programming with videos or from films is it's what our market is looking for, and to maximize our appeal to it. It is also a response to trends in the symphonic pops industry,” says Marci Solomon, the symphony's general manager.
“There's a finite amount of shows. If there's more film, there's less musical theater. But I want to point out there's a little bit of overlap,” she says. “ ‘Disney in Concert' will have songs from movies, but also from screen-and-Broadway (productions), such as ‘Lion King.'
Marketing and sales Vice President Michael Sexauer says that, looking back five years, Broadway-themed programs were never the most popular unless Hamlisch was leading them.
“We have to know what works. That's why we're experimenting,” he says. “We're finding that people respond very favorably to a multimedia experience. I don't think we'd ever go completely in that direction because the orchestra would take a backseat, but it is a very popular form of concert presentation across the country.”
The symphony has already experienced excellent attendance in performing with “The Wizard of Oz,” and a family program from Pixar films.
The experiment will continue this season on July 12 when the symphony will play Hans Zimmer's music for a one-night showing of “Gladiator.”
The Pittsburgh Symphony Pops 2014-15 season includes:
Oct. 17 to 19: “Heroes and Villains,” film music, including “Dark Knight,” “Gladiator” and “Last Samurai,” conducted by Lucas Richman
Nov. 16 to 18: “Sci-Fi Spectacular,” including music from epic space films, cult-movie scores and vintage TV themes
Dec. 12-14, 20-21: Highmark Holiday Pops, led by Broadway conductor Todd Ellison
Feb. 6-8, 2015: Popular jazz trumpeter Chris Botti
March 13-15: “Singin' in the Rain,” the iconic Gene Kelly film with live performance of the orchestral soundtrack conducted by Lawrence Loh
April 24-26: “The Texas Tenors,” who came to fame on “America's Got Talent” and whose first CD is “Country Roots — Classical Sound”
June 19 to 21: “Disney in Concert: A Tale as Old as Time,” with a quartet of singers performing songs from such films as “Frozen,” “Tangled,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King”
All performances are at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Subscriptions to the seven concerts cost $122.50 to $659.75. Single tickets will go on sale around Labor Day.
Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.