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Debuts, premieres, soloists dot Pittsburgh Symphony's 2003-04 lineup

| Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has planned a musical feast for Mariss Jansons' final season as music director. The 2003-04 subscription series is packed with debuts and premieres, as well as the return of major performers, and is augmented by special events featuring some of the biggest names in classical music.

"I think we have a very, very good season," Jansons says. "All the conductors and artists are high class."

He's proud of the performers making their debuts, mentioning not only his friend, conductor Valery Gergiev, and emphasizing that cellist Natalia Gutman and violist Robert Diaz are great musicians. He says his programs next season, as throughout his tenure here, emphasize the standard repertoire not only because the public loves them but because that music's depth is important for the artistic development of the musicians. "I am convinced the public likes music which they know, which is popular. I am also convinced that when they hear a good performance," he says, raising his finger for emphasis, "they will be touched."

Jansons will conduct eight weeks of subscription concerts, plus two Sunday Afternoon in Vienna matinees and a special benefit concert. He'll conclude the season and his tenure here with Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. In addition, he will take the orchestra on tours to the East Coast and Europe.

The music director's repertoire is so ambitious that three concerts the first weekend in October feature five major pieces, almost enough music for two separate programs. In addition to big pieces such as Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony and Anton Bruckner's Eighth, Jansons will lead -- with the help of two other conductors -- the world premiere of "The Time Machine" by Michael Daugherty, whose "Spaghetti Western" was a hit a few seasons ago.

Daugherty's is one of four world premieres commissioned for next season by the Pittsburgh Symphony. Roberto Sierra's Concerto for Violin and Viola is a joint commission with the Philadelphia Orchestra. And two Pittsburgh composers will be back at Heinz Hall: Leonardo Balada for his Fifth Symphony ("American") and David Stock for his Cello Concerto, which will be played by Truls Mork.

Former music director Andre Previn will return to conduct his own Violin Concerto, which was written for and will be performed by his wife, Anne-Sophie Mutter. Lorin Maazel also will return next season, to lead Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony, which he didn't perform during his Heinz Hall tenure as music director.

Other music new to Pittsburgh next season will include "Adagietto" from "Paradise Lost" and Piano Concerto ("Resurrection") by Krzysztof Penderecki, who will be Composer of the Year, Henri Dutilleux's "Shadows of Time" and Sierra's Fandangos.

Two of the world's leading conductors will make their Pittsburgh Symphony debut next season. Valery Gergiev achieved fame through his work as music director of the Kirov Theater in St. Petersburg, while John Eliot Gardiner moved from fame as a period instruments conductor to performances with modern orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic. Two other highly regarded conductors who will make their local debut next season are Yan Pascal Tortelier and Richard Hickox.

Returning conductors will include David Zinman, Pinchas Zukerman, James Conlon and David Robertson.

Soloists will add box office appeal as well as aesthetic variety. Next season will see the return of many who are perennial favorites, such as pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, violinist Gil Shaham and violist Pinchas Zukerman. Others in the lineup have been unaccountably absent in recent years, such as pianist Andras Schiff and violinist Viktor Tretyakov. Local musicians making solo debuts will be violist Roberto Diaz and cellist Natalia Gutman.

Pittsburgh Symphony musicians will be in the spotlight when concertmaster Andres Cardenes plays the Sierra premiere, cellist Anne Martindale Williams plays Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in C, and four members of the French horn section play a notorious work by Robert Schumann.

The vocal lineup is also distinguished, including soprano Jane Eaglen, mezzo-sopranos Susanne Mentzer and Michelle DeYoung, and baritone Thomas Hampson. Chen Reiss, who was a fabulous soprano soloist at last summer's East End Bach Festival, will return to sing George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" before Christmas.

The extra concerts will include the first Pittsburgh Symphony appearance by Daniel Barenboim in more than 30 years. Barenboim will play both piano concerti by Johannes Brahms, with Jansons conducting, at a symphony benefit concert on March 2, 2004. Barenboim is music director of the Chicago Symphony.

In June, flutist James Galway will headline a three-concert festival to coincide with the National Arts Conference being held in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 2003-04 season

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    Sept. 19-21: Mikhail Rudy, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Penderecki: "Adagietto" from "Paradise Lost"; Grieg: Piano Concerto; Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2.

    Sept. 25, 27 : Mariss Jansons, conductor. Bruckner: Symphony No. 8.

    Sept. 28 : Sunday Afternoon in Vienna. Mariss Jansons, conductor. Mozart: Symphony No. 34; Schubert: Symphony No. 3; Johann Strauss, Jr.: TBA.

    Oct. 3: Andras Schiff, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Brahms: Haydn Variations; Dvorak: Piano Concerto; Schumann: Symphony No. 1 ("Spring").

    Oct. 4: Thomas Hampson, baritone; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Brahms: Haydn Variations; Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer; Schumann: Symphony No. 1 ("Spring")

    Oct. 5: Andras Schiff, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Brahms: Haydn Variations; Dvorak: Piano Concerto; Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 ("Italian.")

    Oct. 31, Nov. 1, 2: Sarah Chang, violin; Hans Graf, conductor. Balada: Symphony No. 5 "American"; Beethoven: Violin Romance No. 2; Dvorak: Violin Romance; Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 ("Scottish").

    Nov. 7, 8: Andres Cardenes, violin; Roberto Diaz, viola; David Zinman, conductor. Sierra: Fandangos; Sierra: Concerto for Violin and Viola; R. Strauss: Symphonia domestica.

    Nov. 21, 22: Emanuel Ax, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Schumann: Symphony No. 3 ("Rhenish"); Penderecki: Piano Concerto ("Resurrection"); Stravinsky: Firebird Suite.

    Nov. 28, 29: Gil Shaham, violin; Mariss Jansons, Edward Cumming, Lucas Richman, conductors. Daugherty: Time Machine; Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2; Beethoven: Symphony No. 1.

    Nov. 30: Sunday Afternoon in Vienna II. Mariss Jansons, conductor. Mozart: Symphony No. 40; Schubert: Symphony No. 1; Johann Strauss, Jr.: TBA.

    Dec. 5, 7: Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano; Pinchas Zukerman, viola and conductor; Lucas Richman, conductor. Berlioz: Corsair Overture, Les Nuits d'ete, Harold in Italy.

    Dec. 12-14: Chen Reiss, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano; Stanford Olsen, tenor; Eric Owens, bass; Mendelssohn Choir; Richard Hickox, conductor. Handel: Messiah.

    Jan. 30, 31, Feb.1: William Caballero, Robert Lauver, Joseph Rounds, Ronald Schneider, French horns; John Eliot Gardiner, conductor. Schumann: Konzertstuck for Four Horns; Shostakovich: Symphony for Strings; Brahms: Symphony No. 2.

    Feb. 20, 21: Lorin Maazel, conductor. Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima; Mahler: Symphony No. 5.

    Feb. 27-29, 2004: Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor. Franck: Symphony Dutilleux: Shadows of Time; Ravel: Bolero.

    March 2, 2004 (Benefit concert): Daniel Barenboim, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Brahms: Piano Concerti 1 & 2.

    March 5, 6, 2004: Yefim Bronfman, piano; Mariss Jansons, conductor. Beethoven: Symphony No. 8; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2; Bartok: The Miraculous Mandarin Suite.

    March 12, 13, 2004: Mariss Jansons, conductor. Mahler: Symphony No. 7.

    March 26, 28, 2004: Victor Tretyakov, violin; Valery Gergiev, conductor. Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony.

    April 2, 4, 2004: Anne Martindale Williams, cello; Pinchas Zukerman, conductor. R. Strauss: Metamorphosen; Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major; Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 ("Death and the Maiden.")

    April 23, 25, 2004: Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin; Andre Previn, conductor. Previn: Violin Concerto; Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe.

    April 30, May 2, 2004: Natalia Gutman, cello; David Robertson, conductor. Kabalevsky: "Colas Breugnon" Overture; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2 Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances.

    May 7-9, 2004: Truls Mork, cello; James Conlon, conductor. Strauss: Don Juan; Stock: Cello Concerto; Dvorak: Symphony No. 7.

    May 21-23, 2004: Jane Eaglen, soprano; Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Studebaker, tenor; Franz-Josef Selig, bass. Mendelssohn Choir Mariss Jansons, conductor. Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht; Beethoven: Symphony No. 9.

    Galway Festival

    June 10, 2004: James Galway, flute; TBD, conductor. Sierra: Fandangos; Bolcom: Lyric Concerto for Flute; Strauss: Sinfonia domestica.

    June 11, 2004: Jeanne Galway, flute; James Galway, flute and conductor. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Cimarosa: Concerto for two flutes, Stanford: Irish Symphony.

    June 12, 2004: James Galway, flute and conductor. Rossini: William Tell Overture; Mercadante: Flute Concerto in E minor; Mancini: Five by Mancini; Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 ("Italian")

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