April 29, 1989 |
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia audiences know each other's sports teams more intimately than they know each other's orchestras. The explanation may be that the orchestras play in different leagues. The Pittsburgh Symphony played Thursday at West Chester University during a curious state tour in which it has presented pops programs under varied guest conductors. At West Chester, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal conducted and was soloist in concertos by Mozart and Bach. It is clear that the symphony has made strides musically since Lorin Maazel became music director.
October 28, 1995 |
Trumpeting its 100th anniversary with a tour of musical capitals, the Pittsburgh Symphony brought a program of such ordinary fare to the Academy of Music on Thursday that it seemed to be celebrating inertia more than anything else. Too bad, because conductor Lorin Maazel has brought the ensemble out of its doldrums, added important players and shaped it into a crisp and responsive group. This is his farewell season with the symphony, and if he was summarizing his work and the orchestra's history with the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 and Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, he was conceding that he has nothing of importance to say for either.
October 19, 1986 |
John Harbison's orchestral music is part of the older tradition in which large forces are used in shaping large ideas. His concertos and orchestral works exuberantly exceed the boundaries, as if the flow of inspiration is too strong for the form or the instrumentation to limit. One of these extravagances is his two-part ballet based on the Ulysses legend. The ballet's two parts, Ulysses' Raft and Ulysses' Bow, represent a full evening of dance, something in the mold of the Tchaikovsky narrative ballets.
February 10, 1997 |
Mariss Jansons began his tenure as conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Saturday, cheered on by a cohort of Norwegian fans and also by the players themselves. The 52-year-old music director-designate was greeted by a standing ovation at his first appearance, and after the last ripping chords of the Mahler Symphony No. 1, the audience was on its feet shouting, and the orchestra members were stomping their feet and applauding. The Latvian native has had the same effect in Norway, where he has been music director of the Oslo Philharmonic for 18 years.
November 15, 1992 |
Orchestra conductors live by superlatives. Lorin Maazel, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony and now the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, may live by the most superlatives. He is seen describing his glamorous life and conducting various orchestras in Maazel! A Profile of the Maestro, an hour-long paean to a healthy ego at 3 p.m. today on Channel 12. Unlike most of his colleagues, Maazel, now 62, was a conducting prodigy. He conducted an orchestra at the New York World's Fair in 1939 - at age 9. He conducted Toscanini's NBC Symphony at 11, the Philadelphia Orchestra at 14. He had led most of the great orchestras at an age when other musicians are only thinking about starting to conduct.
August 5, 1986 |
Despite the sky-blue brochure ballyhooing the presence of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the Pittsburgh Symphony, the roster of noted guest artists, the listing of educational programs for classical music and dance students at nearby Wheaton College, Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts is not in the music-festival business simply for the betterment of mankind. It's out to make money, too. And it has to be, for unlike most other summer arts facilities, such as Saratoga or Cleveland's Blossom, which are nonprofit organizations offering pop events to cover the cost of classical concerts, Great Woods is a rarity among serious-music sponsors - a for-profit venture.
December 20, 2015
What's happening in Pittsburgh? Some awfully fine orchestral playing, judging by the sounds of the Pittsburgh Symphony's latest disc, Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. This is the symphonic pairing on which conductors from Christian Thielemann to Gustavo Dudamel have made their names, but this beautifully recorded SACD on the Reference label is not to be outclassed. Music director Manfred Honeck draws powerhouse performances, especially of No. 5, forging an interpretation that has swift classical-era tempos but treats the famous opening motto with a gravity steeped in romantic-era performance practice.
October 18, 1990 |
In more than 50 years of conducting, Lorin Maazel has appeared in Philadelphia as a prodigy in short velvet pants, as a smartly tailored young conductor on the rise, as a potential successor to Eugene Ormandy at the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra, as a conductor of touring French orchestras and even as the leader of a Spectrum spectacular, a televised performance of Verdi's Messa da Requiem. Now, having just turned 60, he appears in a new role: music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, which plays a rare performance tonight at the Academy of Music.
March 10, 1990 |
Antiphonal singing calls up images of misty basilicas, massed cassocks, ethereal sounds echoing in solemn rituals. Something of that came through in the concert last night by the Philadelphia Singers at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Robert Page, choral conductor here before leading the Cleveland Orchestra chorus, his own chamber choir and now the Pittsburgh Symphony's chorus, returned to conduct most of a program of antiphonal song. He had singers in the chancel, the balconies, the organ loft at the rear of the church, and for some of the program, timpani and peripatetic brass.