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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's 2012-13 season packed with premieres

| Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's 2012-13 subscription season of 22 BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts will feature 10 conductors, 15 instrumentalists, six vocalists and the Mendelssohn Choir at Heinz Hall, Downtown.

The repertoire will include two world premieres, nine local premieres, and continue the Music for the Spirit series and projects devoted to composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Gustav Mahler.

Music director Manfred Honeck will lead 10 of the subscription concerts, plus the opening night gala on Sept. 15 featuring pianist and composer Lang Lang.

Honeck will conduct Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7, May 31 to June 2, for the first time with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He'll also lead a concert honoring the 200th anniversaries of the births of opera masters Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, March 1 to 3, which will be hosted by Pittsburgh Opera general director Christopher Hahn.

Many of the other major pieces Honeck will conduct are ones he's already done at Heinz Hall, such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphonies No. 7, Feb. 15 and 17, and No. 9 ("Choral"), April 26 and 28, his special performing version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem, Oct. 12 to 14, and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, June 7 to 9.

Composer of the year

The music director also will conduct "Mothership" by composer of the year Mason Bates, Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. The other Bates' pieces on the schedule are the world premiere of his Violin Concerto, Dec. 7 to 9, as well as "The B-Sides," March 22 to 24, and "Desert Transport," April 12 to 14.

Bates, who is one of two resident composers with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is a noted DJ as well as a composer. When Leonard Slatkin conducted his masterly "Liquid Interface" in February 2010, the audience included a significantly higher proportion of young adults than is normally seen at subscription concerts.

The symphony also will present Bates' "Mercury Soul," a DJ'd classical concert in a club setting, but date and venue are yet to be determined.

The other world premiere will be "The Gift" by Christopher Theofanidis, April 26 and 28, who was composer of the year for the 2006-07 season.

Guest soloists

Most of the guest soloists are returning artists, including such longtime favorites as pianists Yefim Bronfman, Nov. 23 to 25, and Emanuel Ax, March 22 to 24, and violinists Joshua Bell, April 12 to 14, and Gil Shaham, Dec. 14 to 16.

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff will make his overdue debut, Jan. 25 to 27, with the symphony playing Antonin Dvorak's Violin Concerto.

Other notable soloists will include pianists Yuja Wang playing Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, June 7 to 9, and Valentina Lisitsa playing Edvard Grieg's Concerto, May 17 to 19, baritone Thomas Hampson, Sept. 21 to 23, and concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Oct. 12 to 14.

Guest conductors

Two of principal guest conductor Leonard Slatkin's three weeks of concerts feature Bates' music, Dec. 7 to 9 and March 22 to 24. The other includes William Schuman's Symphony No. 3, Oct. 5 to 7, an imaginative and powerful mid-20th century masterpiece. Slatkin also will conduct Camille Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 ("Organ") and Sergei Prokofiev's "Alexander Nevsky" -- two big, colorful and popular pieces.

Other returning conductors include two weeks by Gianandrea Noseda, Jan 11 and 13, and Jan.18 to 20, who holds the Victor de Sabata Guest Conductor chair; Yan Pascal Tortelier, May 17 to 19,; and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, March 8 and 10.

One of the four conductors making their Heinz Hall debut is already known to some local music lovers. Jeannette Sorrell, who will lead a concert devoted to the six Brandenburg Concerti of Johann Sebastian Bach, April 5 to 7, has given many great concerts for Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society with her Apollo's Fire orchestra from Cleveland. The others, Michael Francis, Jan. 25 to 27; Juanjo Mena, April 12 to 14; and Kazeem Abdullah, May 10 and 12, will arrive with promising reputations.

Subscriptions packages cost from $99.75 for seven concerts in the least expensive seats to $1,611.75 for 21 concerts in the most expensive seats. Single tickets will go on sale in the late summer.

Details: 412-392-4900 or .

The concerts

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 2012-13 BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts, all at Heinz Hall, Downtown.

* Indicates extra concert, not in the subscription series.

* Sept. 15 - Opening Night Gala

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Lang Lang, piano

Lang Lang: "Dragon Song" selections

Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1

Sept. 21 to 23

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Thomas Hampson, baritone

Richard Strauss: orchestral songs

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9

Oct. 5 to 7

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Olga Kern, piano

Ottorino Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite 3

William Schuman: Symphony No. 3

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Oct. 12 to 14

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin

John Lithgow, narrator

Vocal soloists, Mendelssohn Choir.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem

Oct. 19

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Vocal soloists, Mendelssohn Choir

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection")

Nov. 23 to 25

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Yefim Bronfman, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5

Strauss family waltzes and polkas

Nov. 30, Dec. 2

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Mason Bates: "Mothership"

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Dec. 7 to 9

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 68

Bates: Violin Concerto

Camille Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 ("Organ")

Dec. 14 to 16

Arild Remmereit, conductor

Gil Shaham, violin

George Walker: Sinfonia No. 4 ("Strands")

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1

Jan. 11 and 13, 2013

Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

Enrico Dindo, cello

Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2

Dvorak: Symphony No. 7

Jan. 18 to 20

Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

Benjamin Hochman, piano

Victor de Sabata: "La notte di Platon"

Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto for Left Hand

Strauss: "Aus Italien"

Jan. 25 to 27

Michael Francis, conductor

Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Mozart: Symphony No. 40

Dvorak: Violin Concerto

Bedrich Smetana: "Sarka" from "Ma Vlast"

Leos Janacek: "Taras Bulba"

Feb. 15, 17

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Denis Matsuev, piano

Modest Mussorgsky: "Night on Bald Mountain"

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

March 1 to 3

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Gregg Baker, baritone

Mendelssohn Choir

Christopher Hahn, host

Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner Bicentennials

March 8 and 10

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, conductor

Horacio Gutierrez, piano

Mozart: Serenade No. 6

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19

Bela Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

March 22 to 24

Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Emanuel Ax, piano

Lindsay Ammann, mezzo-soprano

Mendelssohn Choir

Bates: The B-Sides

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25

Sergei Prokofiev: "Alexander Nevsky"

April 5 to 7

Jeannette Sorrell, conductor and harpsichord

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concerti

April 12 to 14

Juanjo Mena, conductor

Joshua Bell, violin

Bates: "Desert Transport"

Leonard Bernstein: Serenade

Brahms: Symphony No. 3

April 26 and 28

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Mendelssohn Choir

Christopher Theofanidis: "The Gift"

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

May 10 and 12

Kazeem Abdullah, conductor

Nicola Benedetti, violin

Brahms: Tragic Overture

Paul Hindemith: "Mathis der Maler" Symphony

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

May 17 to 19

Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor

Valentina Lisitsa, piano

Osvaldo Golijov: "Sidereus"

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto

Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole

Edward Elgar: "In the South"

May 31 to June 2

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Mozart: "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"

Mahler: Symphony No. 7

June 7 to 9

Manfred Honeck, conductor

Yuja Wang, piano

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

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