Yo-Yo Ma helps open PSO's season in grand style
o more fairy tales tonight. The giant duck is in the river, the Pirates are in the playoffs, and best of all ... Yo-Yo Ma is here.”
Those weren't the only words from maestro Manfred Honeck that brought a full house at Heinz Hall to its feet during the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's “Once Upon a Time” Gala on Sept. 27 that kicked off the 2013-14 season. To describe the evening in the simplest of terms, it requires a mere four words: They. Rocked. The. House.
Almost instantaneously, cocktail hour turned into breathless praise for the cellist du jour as many confessed to this being the second, third and even fourth time to see him perform. “I shouldn't say there are expectations because it's with certainty that he will be great,” said Steve Hough (with Nachum Golan).
Seats eventually taken, board chair Dick Simmons (with Ginny) welcomed the 900-plus by announcing that the evening had already grossed $1 million before the first note: a record-shattering amount for the PSO.
From there, we were put back into the maestro's capable hands, who injected an infectious energy with Antonin Dvorak's Carnival Overture before launching into ethereal selections from “Hansel and Gretel,” “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
And finally, there was Ma. “I just want to say how unbelievably thrilled I am to play with one of the greatest orchestras in the world,” he humbly demurred. Two selections from Tchaikovsky, “Andante Cantabile” and “Variations on a Rococo Theme,” one lingering standing “O” later, and they were still begging for more.
“I imagine music in heaven, it being like that,” said Sharon Tillotson Gallagher (with Bob).
Following the performance, the crowd split as some tucked into a sit-down dinner catered by the Duquesne Club with the rest of the Tillotson clan (also event chairs) including Carol Hefren Tillotson, Craig and Jill Tillotson, and Curt Fleming and Kim Tillotson Fleming; the Walton family (honorary chairs) including Jim and Ellen Walton, Rachel and Franny Wymard, and Molly and Joe Walton; Gerald and Agnes Hassell; PSO prez Jim and Susanne Wilkinson; Nadine Bognar; Vivian and Bill Benter and Cindy and Murry Gerber.
Meanwhile, the young and the restless filtered into the Fairmont for the soiree after-party with event chair Jensina Chutz, honorary chairs Todd and Margaret Izzo, Erin Starzynski, Michael Herald and Deanna and John Conte.
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.
- Animal Rescue League unveils drive to build new center
- Pittsburgh Opera artists entertain guests at 60th Diamond Horseshoe Ball
- Preview party kicks off Pizzazz shopping weekend
- St. Barnabas fashion show, luncheon raise $24K
- Flash!: High Energy Hoedown; Amachi Hachi Pachi
- Pittsburgh’s North Shore is site of Cancer Caring Center fundraiser
- Chef prepares ‘A White House Dinner in Pittsburgh’ for Life’s Work
- Cabaret acts entertain Hot Pink Pittsburgh guests
- Toonseum’s farewell party for Wos includes unusual attendees
- Hillman Cancer Center gala celebrates hope and courage
- Gala celebrates work of Pittsburgh’s YoungLives Three Rivers