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Honeck to conduct PSO Grand Classics concerts

| Friday, Oct. 13, 2006

Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck, who made an exciting Heinz Hall debut in May, will substitute for artistic advisor Sir Andrew Davis at Nov. 24 and 26 Mellon Grand Classics Concerts, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday.

Honeck will lead the scheduled program -- concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach played by principal violist Randolph Kelly and Max Bruch played by concertmaster Andres Cardenes, and Antonin Dvorak's "New World" Symphony. The symphony said Davis has a scheduling conflict with the November concerts.

Davis also said last month he would leave as artistic advisor when he his contract expires at the end of the 2007-08 season. This creates an opportunity for new leadership of the orchestra.

"It's no secret Honeck had a very successful debut in May," says Bob Moir, symphony vice president for artistic planning. Honeck displayed wide ranging excellence in familiar music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and was superb in the world premiere of "The Being of Love" By Reza Vali.

"When Andrew encountered a scheduling problem, we checked with Honeck right away," said Moir. At the time of his debut, Honeck had been engaged to return for concerts in May 2008 -- the first available date that matched up with the symphony's schedule.

Concertmaster Andres Cardenes said "I'm sorry that Andrew is not going to be conducting. On the other hand, his withdrawal opens up an opportunity for us to continue to look for leadership we're seeking. Obviously, we're trying to build relations with conductors like Honeck and others to search for the right person."

Moir said last season's debuts of Marek Jurowski and Gianandrea Noseda also prompted quick reengagements, the details of which he did not disclose.

Cardenes also said "I'm happy to be playing the Bruch with Honeck. He's a string player and former member of the Vienna Philharmonic. He'll bring something different to the accompaniment. It will be an interesting collaboration."

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