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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announces 2019-20 season offerings | TribLIVE.com
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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announces 2019-20 season offerings

Mark Kanny
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Pittsburgh Symphony
Pianist Yulianna Avdeeva
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Pittsburgh Symphony
PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck
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Pittsburgh Symphony
Violinist Nikolaj Znaider

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season will include 20 classical weekends and seven Pops weekends.

The programming includes not only new music and repertoire favorites, but also features stimulating juxtapositions. For example, three of the world’s top violinists will play violin concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, contrasting them with more recent violin solo works showcasing virtuosity, a major contemporary voice and folk influences.

“At heart, we are all humans who need to share love, laughter, sadness and joy,” says music director Manfred Honeck. “At the center of this stand-out season is the exceptional artistry of our Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians and the power of great music to stir the soul.”

Honeck dominates the fall activities because he will lead the orchestra on a five-country, 11-concert European tour in late October and early November. He’ll lead the “A Night in Black and White” gala on Sept. 14 (not part of the subscription series), which will feature Lang Lang playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. The BNY Mellon Grand Classics series begins with the music director leading the Pittsburgh premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s “Fountain of Youth,” a symphony co-commission.

Honeck will also play a leading role in the symphony’s observance of the 250 th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, a celebration which will stretch into next season. This season Honeck will conduct the German composer’s Symphonies Nos. 3 (“Eroica”) and 7, as well as the first symphony performances in a quarter century of his opera “Fidelio” and the Missa solemnis. The conductor also will conduct a staged production with European musicians of “Fidelio” at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria, where the opera was first performed.

Honeck and the orchestra, who have already won two Grammys, are scheduled to be recorded in concert performing excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet” and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7.

Two notable conductors will make their debuts in 2019-20, including Jakob Hrusa, who is music director of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany. He is also principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in Prague, Czech Republic, a post Honeck held until a few years ago. Matthias Pintcher is a composer and conductor who will lead a program including one of his own pieces.

Instrumentalists’ Heinz Hall debuts will include Armenian cellist Norek Hokhnazaryan, South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho (who took over many of Lang Lang’s concerts when he was injured), and Latvian violinist Baiba Skride.

Leading conductors returning to the symphony next season include Osmo Vanska, who will conduct subscription concerts plus a special Saturday evening performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec. 7, Mark Elder, David Robertson, Vasily Petrenko and Juanjo Mena.

Major violinists and pianists bringing their distinctive personalities to the Heinz Hall stage include Igor Levit, Helene Grimaud and Yefim Bronman at the keyboard. The roster of leading violinists includes James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Gil Shaham and Nikolaj Znaider. In addition, German superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Honeck conducting at a special non-subscription concert June 13, 2020.

Finally, the “PSO 360” concerts are well worth checking out. The audience sits on stage with one or a small group of musicians, which is revelatory in sound and connection with the performers. These concerts will feature cellist Norek Hokhnazaryan, Nov. 30, PSO brass playing Holiday Favorites, Dec. 9, violinist Baiba Skride, Feb. 22, pianist Yulianna Avdeeva, March 7, and symphony musicians playing Beethoven, April 18.

Classical subscriptions cost from $102 for six concerts in the least expensive seats to $1,470 for 20 concerts in the most expensive seats.

Pops subscriptions for the seven-concert season cost $133 to $658.

Single classical and Pops tickets will go on sale in August.

Details: 412-392-4900 or pittsburghsymphony.org

BNY Mellon Grand Classics

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season of BNY Mellon Grand Classics at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall:

Sept. 20, 22

Manfred Honeck, conductor

James Ehnes, violin

Julia Wolfe: “Fountain of Youth”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4

Antonin Dvorak: Scherzo capriccioso

Camille Saint-Saens: Introduction and Rondo capriccioso

Alexander Borodin: Polovtsian Dances

Oct. 11, 13

Honeck, conductor

Matthias Goerne, baritone

Jan Sibelius: “The Swan of Tuonela”

Franz Schubert: Lieder

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”)

Oct. 18, 19, 20

Honeck, conductor

Igor Levit, piano

Oct. 18:

Mason Bates: Resurrexit

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Oct. 19:

James MacMillan: Larghetto

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Oct: 20:

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

Nov. 29, Dec. 1

Honeck, conductor

Norek Hokhnazaryan, cello

Aram Khachaturian: Concerto-Rhapsody

Strauss family: waltzes and polkas

Dec. 6, 8

Osmo Vanska, conductor

Augustin Hadelich, violin

Carl Nielsen: Helios Overture

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2

Thomas Ades: Violin Concerto (“Concentric Paths”) Sibelius: Symphony No. 3

Jan. 17, 18, 19, 2020

Honeck, conductor

Seong-Jin Cho, piano

Giacomo Puccini: “Turandot” Suite

Franz Liszt, Piano Concerto No. 2

Sergei Prokofiev: selections from “Romeo and Juliet”

Jan. 24, 26

Honeck, conductor

Vocal soloists: TBA

Mendelssohn Choir

Beethoven: Fidelio

Feb. 14, 15, 16

Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Ray Chen, violin

Elgar: Cockaigne Overture

Sibelius: Violin Concerto

Maurice Ravel: “Daphnis and Chloe” Suites 1 and 2

Feb. 21, 23

Juraj Valcuha, conductor

Baiba Skride, violin

Alexander Glazunov: Valse de Concert No. 1

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 3

March 6, 8

Mark Elder, conductor

Yulianna Avdeeva, piano

Hector Berlioz: “King Lear” Overture

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto

Sibelius: Symphony No. 1

March 13, 15

Jakob Hrusa, conductor

Alina Ibragimova, violin

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1

March 27, 29

Jukka-Pekka Saraste, conductor

Randolph Kelly, viola

Zoltan Kodaly: Galanta Dances

Bela Bartok: Viola Concerto

Igor Stravinsky: “Petrouchka”

April 3, 5

Matthias Pintcher, conductor

Gil Shaham, violin

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5

Ravel: Tzigane

Pintcher: Ex Nihilo

Claude Debussy: La Mer

April 17, 19

Honeck, conductor

Vocal soloists: TBA

Mendelssohn Choir

Beethoven: Missa solemnis

April 24, 25, 26

Honeck, conductor

Helene Grimaud, piano

Brahms: Symphony No. 3

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture

Schumann: Piano Concerto

May 8, 9, 10

Juanjo Mena, conductor

Benjamin Grosvenor, piano

Haydn: Symphony No. 85

Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1

Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”)

May 15, 17

Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

Soloists and program: TBA

May 29, 30, 31

David Robertson, conductor

Jan Lisiecki, piano

Georges Lentz: “Jerusalem” (after William Blake)

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”)

June 12, 14

Honeck, conductor

Nikolaj Znaider, violin

Anton Webern: “Im Sommerwind”

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

June 19, 20, 21

Honeck, conductor

Yefim Bronfman, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

PNC Pops

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season of PNC Pops at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall:

Oct. 4-6

Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Nov. 15 to 17

Revolution: The Beatles Symphonic Experience

Dec. 13-15, plus Dec. 20-22 non-subscription performances

Highmark Holiday Pops

Feb. 7-9

Blockbuster Broadway!

March 20-22

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony

May 1-3

Pops Paul Shaffer

June 5-7

The Doo Wop Project


Mark Kanny is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.


Mark Kanny is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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