PSO’s Music Director is Looking Forward To These 5 Concerts

A Concord of Sound: That’s what symphony means in Greek, elegantly calling up the intimate and grand, melodic and percussive, bewitching and precise, collaboration between composer, musicians, and conductor that ignites a fine symphonic performance. Because Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Manfred Honeck knows when this fire will likely burn bright, we asked him to share with TABLE readers a list of PSO concerts he’s particularly looking forward to this year. 


Heinz Hall, June 9-11

Garrop: “Forging Steel” (WORLD PREMIERE + COMMISSION)
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major
Richard Strauss (arr. Honeck/ Ille): Salome Suite for Orchestra (WORLD PREMIERE + COMMISSION)
Ravel: Boléro (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)

Meant for our 125th anniversary season, this is a program that is three years in the making, and we can’t wait to present it! Susan Jaffe’s choreography for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers beautifully complements the classic, rhythmic tale of Ravel’s Boléro — and you will see the interweaving of dancers with the orchestra. We’re thrilled to welcome back the brilliant pianist Igor Levit who will play Gershwin’s jazzy Piano Concerto, a quintessential American piece. And with two world premieres that the PSO commissioned, you will be the first to see and hear two exciting new works. 

BNY Mellon Grand Classics 1: Opening Weekend

Heinz Hall, September 29-October 1 

Ortiz: “Kauyumari” (PITTSBURGH PREMIERE)
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 

After the restful month of August, we’ll come back together at Heinz Hall for Opening Weekend with exuberance and flair. We’ll open with Latin Grammy-nominated composer Gabriele Ortiz’s Kauyumari (“blue deer,” among the Huichol people of Mexico) and superstar pianist Hélène Grimaud performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto, a gorgeous piece from the Romantic period. Come see and decide for yourself if Schumann secretly encoded his wife’s name into this stunning work. 

BNY Mellon Grand Classics 3: Beethoven’s Five Piano Concertos

Heinz Hall, October 27 & 29 

Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2, 4 & 3
Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 5 “Emperor” 

I think it’s fair to say that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In a Pittsburgh first, legendary pianist—and dear friend of the Pittsburgh Symphony—Rudolf Buchbinder both performs and conducts from the keyboard the five beloved Beethoven Concerti that have inspired pianists and audiences alike for more than 200 years. Buchbinder is celebrated worldwide for renditions with intellectual depth and musical freedom. 

BNY Mellon Grand Classics: Thanksgiving with the Symphony

Heinz Hall, November 24-26 

Korngold: Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 35
Gibson: “to make this mountain taller” (PITTSBURGH PREMIERE)
Strauss family waltzes and polkas 

American violinist Randall Goosby, the youngest recipient ever to win the Sphinx Concerto Competition, will make his Pittsburgh debut performing Korngold’s cinematic concerto. This is an exciting artist whose Pittsburgh debut you’ll want to see. In addition to enjoying traditions like turkey and pie, I love Thanksgiving weekend for sharing the music of my home country, Austria—with favorite waltzes and polkas of the Strauss family. 

Handel’s Messiah

Heinz Hall, December 2 

Handel: Messiah 

I would be utterly remiss if I did not include a concert with our outstanding choral partner, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and that is Handel’s Messiah. We will be joined by exceptional international soloists for this beloved masterpiece that sets a beautiful tone for the holiday season. 

Story by Manfred Honeck

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