Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year!

First Night Pittsburgh

    Those in town for New Year's Eve might want to check out the website of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to find all sorts of information on what's happening Downtown  There's plenty to see and do before ringing in 2016 with a massive fireworks display. For all you need to know, go to http://firstnightpgh.trustarts.org/ .

    To close out New Year's weekend on the right foot, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s first performance of 2016, and the first concert of Listen Locally: The 115th Anniversary Season is  bringing back an audience favorite

    Voces Solis will perform a free end-of- the-holidays concert at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall (ACFL&MH) IN CARNEGIE on Sunday, January 3 at 3:00 p.m.  Magnficat: Contemporary Lesson and Carols features songs by the Baroque composer Henry Purcell, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, as well as several other composers, and is the ensemble’s third performance in the Music Hall.

Voces Solis

    Voces Solis is an offshoot of The Summer Singers. The group is made up of professional musicians, music educators and singers who performed with elite choirs in college, but haven’t had enough opportunity for choral singing since graduating. The ensemble’s goal is “to elevate our own standards of musicianship while rekindling our love for music making, enabling us to pass this fire on to our students and fellow musicians.” 

    The concert is the Carnegie Carnegie’s – and Voces Solis’ – gift to the community.  The concert wraps up the holidays with a performance that brings people together for the shared experience of beautiful music.  The concert will be followed by a dessert reception with the singers and the ACFL&MH’s Lincoln Gallery.  The Espy Post will be open during the reception, and Executive Director Maggie Forbes promises a look at the beautifully restored Library. 

“The sound of this largely a cappella choir in our Music Hall is simply gorgeous,” says Forbes.  Voces Solis brings together musicians in the art and fellowship of choral music, “but we, the audience, are the extraordinary beneficiaries.”

Voces Solis’ free Yuletide Concert is a great opportunity to introduce children to live choral music and to the Music Hall.  The intermission-less concert will last about an hour.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cirque Dreams Holidaze - New Holiday Stage Spectacula rFor the Entire Family

Ringing in the Holidaze  Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cirque Productions
    Cirque Dreams Holidaze features 30 performers from around the globe, two performances of 20 acts and 0ver 300 costumes. Diirected and conceived by critically acclaimed director Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams lights up the 2015 holiday season with its newest holiday stage spectacular and returns to the Benedum Center, Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, December 30, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  This show is produced by Cirque Productions.
    From the creators of the groundbreaking Broadway hit CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY, CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to The New York Daily News and “a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load.”  This is a show not to be missed…it’s a cirque show…Broadway musical…holiday spectacular…and family show all in one.
    The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle raves, “Even the Grinch would be impressed with this Christmas wonderland.”  “Stuffed with so much holiday cheer and audacious acts, Scrooge would exit with a big ol’ smile on his face,” hails the Erie Times News about this “Broadway-worthy spectacle.”
    “The perfect way to come in from the cold, forget the holiday stresses and find the magic of the season” proclaims The Oakland Press. Don’t miss this international sensation that “Dazzled…at The Kennedy Center” according to The Washington Post.
    In CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE, Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with over 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe.      Experience gingerbread men flipping mid-air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief.  The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers.      Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees & soldiers creating a wonderland of amazement.

Spinning Around Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cirque Productions: 


Says Creator/Director Goldberg, “CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE celebrates our brand of over 20 years with this unique holiday stage spectacle for the entire family.  There aren’t enough shows today where mom and dad can bring the kids and grandparents, make it a date night, fun time for teens and entertain so many generations with…‘how did they do that’, ‘wow’ and ‘amazing’.  This show has something for everyone.”
    Tickets are on sale for CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE performances ($39.75-$59.75) and available for purchase at TrustArts.org, by calling 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue.
CIRQUE DREAMS and Neil Goldberg

    Over 50 million people have experienced a Cirque Dreams show in theatres, casinos, theme parks, cruise lines, and on Broadway.  Now in its 22nd Year, Cirque Dreams shows have garnered the praise of critics around the country from USA Today, Associated Press and The New York Times to CNN, Today Show and Fox & Friends. Producer and Director Neil Goldberg has been declared “One of today’s leading theatrical impresarios” by The LA Times and “Uniquely ingenious” by the New York Daily News. 
     The Cirque Dreams franchise is a globally recognized entertainment brand including, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cirque Dreams Rocks, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Cirque Dreams Unwrapped at Gaylord Palms Orlando Resort and Cirque Dreams & Dinner onboard Norwegian Cruise Line.  For more information, visit www.cirqueproductions.com.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee - Tuesday at the August Wilson Center


A Buffalo Jump in Montana


A sacred ceremony led by indigenous brothers and sisters is open to the public to promote healing through connection during "Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee," Pittsburgh's entry in a world-wide observance on Tues, Dec. 29, 6-8 pm, August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh (15222).

Indigenous elders will participate in leading this event, which will include interactive participation, traditional stories, dancing, drumming, and ceremonies as tools to lead those attending through a reflective life changing journey. Healing Hearts at Wounded Knees is free and open to the public.

Pittsburgh's Healing Hearts event is one of more than 100 already planned as part of a global ceremony on the 125th anniversary of the massacre of indigenous people of the Sioux Tribe by US troops on the Pine Ridge Reservation on Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota on December 29, 1890. Following more than a century of historical protests and observances. the anniversary is again being marked with a call for peace and understanding among all people.

The event's international Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee web site states: "The Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee [HHAWK] Committee extend invitation to Indigenous communities, religious institutions, academic institutions, political institutions, and people in all walks of life in order to end massacre, racism, war and to further global healing of the essential "multi-generational wounding" caused by these acts. Since religion is one of the historical modes of oppression, focusing on healing the wounds between Indigenous people and world religions — in particular Christianity — we believe could create a significant shift in consciousness and healing from 2015 – 2018."

Pittsburgh organizers reinforce the Tuesday event is designed to bring our wounds out of denial and work together to heal them hand in hand, heart to heart, invoking the sacred to be with us as we walk down this deeply compassionate reverential road together, applying healing enables to realize a more.

The event is created in partnership with leaders from the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh, Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, August Wilson Center, and many others.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Puglia's Primitivo for your Holiday Table

Primitivo, a robust Italian red, by Tormaresca


    Here's a missive from "The Daily Sip" by Bottlenotes which suggests that Primitivo, a bold Italian favorite goes well with holiday dishes.

    The holidays are meant for sharing fall’s bountiful harvests with friends and family. However, it can be intimidating to find a wine that perfectly pairs with the myriad of flavorful dishes you find on your table this time of year.

    And yet, winemakers in Puglia have been using the Primitivo grape to pair with feasts for thousands of years. Primitivo is genetically similar to California’s popular varietal Zinfandel. In fact, they share the same parentage from an ancient Croatian grape. Introduced to Puglia, located in the heel of Italy’s boot, by a priest named Francesco Indellicati, he named the grape “Primativo” as it was the earliest variety to ripen in the vineyard.

    Like Zinfandel, the aroma of Primitivo is marked with distinctive dark fruit and hints of nut and spice that complement warm tones found in seasonal favorites like roasted squash and classic sauces. Full, well-integrated tannins help the wine stand up to savory meats, like roasted beef, ham and turkey, yet help balance the richness of stuffing and roasted vegetables.


    Tormaresca, a leading producer in Puglia, makes two distinct styles of Primitivo from its Masseria Maìme estate – Torcicoda, generally known for being rich and full-bodied with elegant tannins, and Primitivo, which expresses ripe, fresh fruit aromas and a smooth body. Both wines are 100 percent Primitivo.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Enjoying a Sweet Visit to Ohio’s Amish Country

My dozen of cookies, safe and uneaten back home Photo Crdit: Bill Rockwell


Darn you Lawrenceville. You got me started.
Last December, just as I vowed to limit my intake of sweet treats during the holiday season, I was tempted to take the cookie tour of one of Pittsburgh’s trendy neighborhoods. Not only did the Lawrenceville tour introduce me to some awesome restaurants and boutiques, the Roundabout Brewery, the Arsenal Cidery and one of the most fascinating antique bowling alleys in the country, it also got my sweet tooth stimulated in a big way with a complimentary cookie - in all sort of shapes, sizes, textures and deliciousness, at each stop.
This November, a post card announcing the 8th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns in Ohio’s Amish Country got those visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. I’d been meaning to take the tour since its inception, but never got around to it. Diet be damned - I was going to go and cross off another entry on my bucket list.
About a two and a half hour drive from my home in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Holmes County is located between Cleveland and Marietta just west of I-77 and boasts the largest percentage of Amish residents of any county in the U.S. The current count is 42 percent, and farming, an Amish specialty, is an important part of the economy - along with tourism.
This year’s cookie tour took me to 12 inns and hotels which hosted the event and supplied the cookies, wrapped in clear plastic baggies and sealed with a label that identified each cookie and its lodging site.
Loretta Coblentz, co-organizer from its inception and owner of the Barn Inn, said it takes her about 25 minutes to drive from her boutique hotel located at the western end of the tour near Millerburg to Sugar Creek, the tour’s eastern terminus. But that’s a direct route that doesn’t have you veering off the main road to get to the participating properties.

A trio of local girls Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell


While the tour is offered over a two day weekend, I did manage to visit each inn by getting an early start and finishing just at closing time around 6 p.m. This year, the tour was offered from noon to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13.
With the cookie tour booklet and my GPS on hand, I managed to find each property with minimal effort and enjoyed the bucolic countryside of gently rolling hills along the way, being careful to watch out for Amish bicyclists and horse and buggy riders who share the roads with motorized vehicles.
Each site along the way was decked out for the holidays and displayed some of the rooms available for overnight guests. Most had additional edible treats like the cheese and punch at the Guggisberg Swiss Inn. The punch, by the way, a mix of Sprite, Blue Hawaiian Punch and pineapple juice, was one of the best non-alcoholic versions I ever tasted.
Each of the inns also hosted at least one local vendor such as Amish Country Essentials whose owner demonstrated at the Victorian Suite in Berlin how to make all natural bath bombs, and the Wendel August Forge, showing an array of textured copper art at the Carlisle Country Inn.
String Quartet at the barn Inn Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell

 Some even had live entertainment like the keyboard musician at the Guggisberg Swiss Inn and the lovely string quartet playing Christmas music in the parlor of the Barn Inn.
But let’s face it, I was there for the cookies, well mostly, which I carefully collected for later consumption.
"Our cookies vary every year," informed Coblentz. "The hosts submit their recipes to our review committee for approval, and each recipe is unique. Initially, we used to make the cookies ourselves I still do, but, with so many wonderful bakeries in the area, the site operators have them make them instead."
And what a tasty array it proved. Carrot cake sandwich cookies, cranberry bliss cookies, melting snowmen cookies, maple oatmeal scones, chocolate peppermint dreams - 12 tasty treats in all. Fortunately, the cookie booklet includes recipes for each one for those who’d like to duplicate them at home.
Although some of the inns participate in the tour year to year, some are also newbies. This year’s newcomers included the Stone Cottage Inn in the charming hamlet of Winesburg and the Miller Manor, once the home of a local entrepreneur, now turned into a rental property that can sleep 20 or also serve as a conference or reunion center.
View of the Stone Cottage  Inn from the Loft Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell

Built in 1834, the Stone Cottage Inn boasts stone walls, wood beam ceilings and a charming loft that overlooks the ground floor.  The entire inn can be rented out for the night or longer and sleeps up to eight.
Wanting a restful start to my own cookie tour, I spent the preceding evening at the Wallhouse Hotel in Walnut Creek. Relatively new to the area, this stylish, modern hotel has 62 rooms with a colorful, crisp decor, an indoor pool, whirlpool and fully equipped fitness room, which I made good use of during my stay. The complimentary breakfast proved above average and is served in its attractive breakfast area. The fact that the inn was also on this year’s cookie tour gave me a jump start on the day.
Breakfast area of the Wallhouse Hotel Photo Credi:t Bill Rockwell

Wanting a place to have dinner the evening of my arrival, I perused the Internet and discovered the Chalet in the Valley in Millersburg, famous for its schnitzel, which comes in six different preparations, including Wiener and Jaeger. On arrival, our waitress, dressed as a Swiss maiden, tempted me with the special drink of the evening - an eggnog hot chocolate. I succumbed like a sailor entranced by Charybdis.
Our Waitress at the Chalet in the Valley

The Chalet is owned by the Guggisberg Cheese Factory across the road, so its no wonder the restaurant also features fondue, a melted pot of cheeses and wine served with your choice of dipping morsels like chicken, bratwurst, pretzel chips, knockwurst or broccoli. I was also glad to see rosti on the menu, a Swiss shredded potato classic I hadn’t had since a visit to Geneva years ago.
Another good place to dine that was adjacent to the Carlisle Country Inn in Berlin, a stop on the cookie tour, is the Berlin Farmstead Restaurant, a popular eatery featuring Amish meat-and-potato meals that start with a humongous salad bar and finish with made-from-scratch desserts like date nut pudding. The Miller family, whose manor house dominates a nearby hilltop and was on the cookie tour, started Dutchman Hospitality Group, a melange of restaurants, including the Berlin Farmstead, inns, shops, even a theater that stages musicals, many with an Amish theme.
After arriving back home with my trove of 12 uneaten cookies, I decided to be prudent and froze my collection with the vow of allowing myself one per day to go along with my morning coffee. To date, my favorite has been the Orange Poppy seed Ricotta cookie, offered by the Wallhouse Hotel, although I still have six remaining cookies to go. I’ve included the recipe below.
Loretta Coblenz, owner of the Barn Inn, and Phil Jenkins, former owner of the Inn at Honey Run, got together one day eight years ago and put their heads together to come up with some sort of tour that could be held during the off-season. The cookie tour was the result of their brainstorming session.
The fist year, organizers sold 175 tickets, with all the proceeds donated to a local charity. Since 2008, the Christmas Cookie Tour has donated over $91,000 to local deserving charities including LifeCare Hospice.
Date Nut Pudding at the Chalet in the Valley

The 2015 tour brought in 1,250 ticket holders over the two days event, which should bolster the tour’s scholarship endowment established to support Holmes County students going on to college to study business and the hospitality industry.
In short, the cookie tour is a sweet way to support a great cause, explore some scenic countryside, see some interesting hostelries and sample some novel and creative sugary treats. Oh, and did I mention fun?
The 2016 Christmas Cookie Tour is scheduled for December 10 and 11. Tickets are $35 and must be reserved in advance. Phone 330-674-3975 or visit website www.ChristmasCookieTour.com.
Orange Poppy Seed Ricotta Cookie Recipe
2-1.2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tbls. pppyseeds
1-1/2 c. sugar
zest from 2 oranges
½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbls. Freshly squeezed orange juice
15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and poppy seeds. Stir with a whisk to blend.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Mix with your fingertips until sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla, orange juice, and ricotta cheese. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. The dough will be moist and a bit sticky.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto a baking sheet. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Glaze with a mix of 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar, 3 Tbls. freshly squeezed orange juice and zest from 1 orange whisked together in a small bowl. Spread about 1 teaspoon of glaze onto each cookie and let glaze harden before serving.

Assorted Cookies Collected on Cookie Tour Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell






Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pick of the Week -Bill Toms and Hard Rain in Concert on Pittsburgh’s South Side

Bill Toms and Hard Rain
   Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Nashville-based producer, Will Kimbrough, has described; Pittsburgh musician, Bill Toms, as “a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above.”
    Even though Toms has been around the music scene for quite a while, I’m chagrined to say that I’ve never heard him live. Hopefully, that’s all going to change starting at 9 p.m. this Saturday, December 19 when I plan to catch Toms and his band Hard Rain at Excuses, 2526 East Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. The concert will also feature the “Soulful Horns.”
    

     Toms’ solo performances have taken him all over the United States and Europe. In addition to his previous seven studio CD's, one “Live” CD, and single EP, his latest record, the Will Kimbrough produced, “Deep In The Shadows” was released to international critical acclaim in 2015.
    Writing for Soundstage Xperience, Red Bennett said about his album ‘Memphis’ "Though he's Pittsburgh based, Tom's gravelly voice sings of rebellion, love, hurt, and the down and out just like he's lived in Memphis all his life. The styles might vary a bit, just as they do on Memphis Beat, but he has commitment in spades and enough energy to power a small city. The singer-songwriter sweeps into your life like a tornado; if he's singing, you'd better pay attention. But, heck, you won't mind doing that at all."



     This Saturday, Toms is inviting his fans and those who’ve never before heard him play with these words. “Celebrate the holiday season with the band on their home turf. Soul pouring out of your body, while sweat stained shirts will be hung from mantel with care.. Santa will be shaking it, as will Mrs Clause. Hip moving, pelvis groovin, hand clappin, gospel singin to bring in 2016.”
    To hear some of Toms’ music, go to Youtube.com or visit his website www.billtoms.com. Tickets for this Saturday’s concert are $7.00. If you miss this one, Toms will be at Moondog’s in Blawnox at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 23 and back again at Excuses at 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 13.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Electra - A Flavor-Packed, Low Alcohol Dessert Wine



Quady Electra Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell
   
    While the brilliantly colorful angel on the front label on a bottle of Quady Electra might imply Christmas, as in the hymn "Angels We Have Heard On High," the wine maker suggests serving this low alcohol (it comes in at 4.5%) Muscato at summertime picnics.
    I think it might just as well serve as a Christmas season dessert accompaniment to go along with a slice of Buche de Noel, especially for an alcohol -deprived designated driver who should be able to handle a moderate-sized glass before getting behind the wheel.
    Made from 75% Orange Muscat grapes with the remainder made from Muscat Canelli, the flavor profile of Electra is definitely citrus-y orange with accents of honeydew, pear and apricot. While decidedly on the sweeter side of the spectrum, the wine has a pleasant acidity and crispness that balances out its 172.4 g/L residual sugar.
    The wine maker’s methodology is to ferment the wine at a low temperature for a short period of just over a month, then filter and bottle it with an alcohol content that’s less than that of most beers. This process preserves the original flavors of the grape and allows distinct floral notes to come through, a compliment to its predominately orange qualities.
    Refreshingly light with a slight effervescent quality, the wine can be drunk alone but also mates well with spicy Asian dishes, fruit salads, subtly-flavored cheeses, creamy puddings such as tapioca and rice, cheesecake and fruits such as persimmons, strawberries, red raspberries and apricots.
    The folks at Quady also suggest using it to make Sangria and freezing it overnight in a covered container to make sorbet. A 750 ml bottle sells for around $14.00.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

"The Nutcracker" - A Holiday Entertainment Classic

   
Pas de Deux from "The Nutcracker" Photo Credit: Rich Sofranko

    Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's classic “The Nutcracker” has been a Pittsburgh tradition for 14 years. Set to Tchaikovsky's sublime score, a dreamlike journey unfolds through a moonlit snow scape to a whimsical Land of Enchantment. More than 100 dancers bring to life iconic choreography from the wondrous waltz of the snowflakes to the pristine Sugarplum Fairy pas de deux. PBT’s “The Nutcracker” brings the story home for a holiday tradition inspired by Pittsburgh landmarks and traditions
    This year, Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr will introduce several new touches – adding additional dancers to the Waltz of the Flowers, redesigning the Rat King’s elaborate headpiece and adding new surprises to the Party and Battle scenes. The most dramatic difference will be a brand-new Christmas tree, which famously grows in Act I as the enchantment takes hold. PBT has commissioned a hand-crafted drop, which will heighten the tree and amplify the special effect.
    “’The Nutcracker’ is such a massive, textured production, which leaves a lot of potential to weave new nuances into the tradition each year,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. “You could watch this production all 24 times and discover a new detail each time. It’s part of what makes this ballet so magical.”
    The production features costume and set designs by Emmy-winning theatrical designer Zack Brown. From the romantic white tutus of the Snow Scene to the bumblebees and flowers of the Land of Enchantment, the production’s 200-plus costumes were built in the PBT Costume Shop under the direction of Costumier Janet Groom Campbell.
    In addition to PBT’s 30 company dancers, over 130 PBT School students, ages 7 and up, will perform throughout the run as toy soldiers, clowns and other enchanted characters. Orr creates unique casting combinations for each of the show’s 24 performances. One dancer can perform as many as eight character roles during a single season and even multiple roles per show. The variety brings fresh chemistry and highlights emerging talents in principal roles.
    “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets of all time, based on a classic tale written by German Author, E.T.A Hoffman. Since the ballet’s premiere in 1892, companies have adapted the story by altering choreography and emphasizing themes.
    Beginning in 2002, Orr recreated the famous production with an unexpected love story, more complex choreography and a Pittsburgh setting. The set design and storyline reflect Pittsburgh landmarks, such as the snow scene’s Mt. Washington view and a Land of Enchantment carousel inspired by the city’s historic amusement parks.
    Featuring more than 100 dancers and vivid Pittsburgh-inspired scenery, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre stages its sweeping production of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 4-27, at the Benedum Center.           
    Tickets start at $28, and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

    Groups of eight or more can save up to 50% on tickets by contacting PBT’s Group Sales department at groupsales@pittsburghballet.org or 412-454-9101.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Heinz Hall is Decked Out for the Holidays - And the Public is Invited in for a Look

The Christmas Tree at Heinz Hall Photo Credit::Dana Bohince 

    The public is invited to Heinz Hall to enjoy the majestic Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah this holiday season.
    The tree and menorah are displayed in the Grand Lobby and will be open to public viewing from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the following days: December 7-11, December 14-17 and December 21-22. The holiday decorations also can be viewed by ticket holders attending performances at Heinz Hall this month.

    The 25-foot Grand fir comes from Rossman Farm in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. It has been decorated with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of white lights. This year, the tree is decorated with gold musical instruments and red and purple ornaments. The tree was trimmed by Plantscape and was delivered and set up by Eichenlaub Inc.
    Heinz Hall is located at 600 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Monday, December 7, 2015

SANCHO: AN ACT OF REMEMBRANCE

Patterson Joseph Portrays Charles Ignatius Sancho at August Wilson Center

    The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces Sancho: An Act of Remembrance, part of the 2015-2016 Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series, will take place on December  11 at 8 p.m. at the August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh).
    Step back in time and submerse yourself into the incomparable story of Charles Ignatius Sancho. A man born on a slave ship but never a slave, who was immortalized by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, and, in 1774, became the first British-African to cast a vote. 
     In this endlessly revealing, often funny one-man show, celebrated Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Joseph delivers a masters touch as he inhabits the curious, daringly determined life of the composer, social satirist and general man of refinement. Joseph abundantly illustrates and uncovers the grit and passion of a man forgotten by history but who deserves praise and illumination.
    You owe it to yourself to experience this rare glimpse into the often-misunderstood narrative of the African-British diaspora.
For more information on the show, please visit: www.sanchotheplay.com
Cast and Crew
    Paterson Joseph (Writer and Performer) has worked regularly at the National Theatre in London (Whale, Saint Joan, Royal Hunt for the Sun, The Emperor Jones, Elmina’s Kitchen) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (Julius Caesar, Don Juan, Troilus and Cressida, Love’s Labours Lost, King Lear, The Pretenders) as well as the Royal Exchange, Gate, Almeida, and Young Vic Theatres.
    His television debuts include: BBC’s The Hollow Crown (PBS) The Leftovers (HBO) and Danny Boyle’s Babylon. Paterson is a season regular in Law and Order UK and Peep Show, he has also appeared in Doctor Who, Hustle and No.1 Ladies Detective Agency (all BBC). In 2015, Paterson has been seen co-starring Christopher Ecclestone in Safe House, a major four-part drama for ITV and is appearing on Sky and NBC this autumn in You, Me and the Apocalypse. Sancho marks Paterson’s first play as a writer.

    Simon Godwin (co-director), Ben Park (music and sound design), Michael Vale (designer) and Lucrecia Briceno (lighting designer) help the story come to life as it portrays a man living in a historical time. Sancho is produced by Tim Smith for Pemberley Productions in association with the Oxford Playhouse.
Tickets

    Tickets are currently on sale for $20-$30. Tickets are available at www.TrustArts.org, by calling 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10 or more, call 412-471-6930.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sweeten Up Your Holidays with Quady Wines

Quady Starboard Photo Credit: Bill Rockwell

    A lot of novice wine drinkers are said to start off drinking sweeter wines, then move on to drier wines as their palates mature. Through time, many experienced wine lovers learn to expand their horizons even more by adding sweeter wines back into to their portfolio of likes and dislikes. For some with eclectic tastes, it could be an austere Sauvignon Blanc one day and a Port the next. Or a robust Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner followed by a Sauterne as a digestif.
    If you’d like to explore the sweeter side of the wine spectrum, Quady wines are a good choice, partly because the winery has a reputation for producing quality wines at a reasonable price. In many circles, Quady is considered a sweet wine specialist. Winemaker Andrew Quady started making Zinfandel Port 40 years ago but it was the production of a luscious Orange Muscat wine named Essensia that put the Madera-based winery on the global map.
    With considerable foresight, Quady decided to plant Portuguese varietals like Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional in the foothills of the California Sierras in 1979, a decision that bore fruit down the road with the production of a richly delicious Port-style wine called Starboard.
    Quady discovered that the Portuguese varietals planted in Central California have brighter fruit flavors than their cousins in Portugal due to climatic conditions and terroir. The vineyard is deliberately managed to produce loose bunches and a small crop for an intense concentration of flavors. As to  methodology, Quady uses a neutral 190-proof grape spirit to lets the flavors of the Portuguese varietals come through at an early\ier age.wine.
    In 1988, Quady first decided to blend several different vintages aged an average of five years. Thus the name Batch 88. The current offering - the 2006 Vintage Starboard, was bottled in 2008 and has spent 6-plus years in the bottle. The lifespan of the wine is pegged at at least 25 years, but is ready to be drunk now even though it is expected to get more complexity as the years go by.
    Described as halfway between a ruby and a tawny Port, the Starboard is dark red in color, almost black, smooth, and wonderfully balanced and near perfectly tannic. The flavor profile is loaded with black cherry, black berry and raisin. Winemaker Michael Blaylock’s tasting notes are a bit more comprehensive. They include “smells of cherry vanilla cola, leather, dried plums, green thistle and anise.” As to taste, he detects cardoon, lingering tannin and exotic notes of Fuyu persimmon and an aftertaste of Pink Lady Apple.
    The wine is great by itself, but can also be enjoyed with a variety of cheeses, chocolate desserts and cheesecake. The alcohol content is 20% by volume and the cost of a 750 ml bottle is around $20.
    


Another Quady product I recently tried, the 2014 Essensia is made from a grape variety known as Orange Blossom Muscat. In Italy, it gets an even more lyrical name – Moscato Fior d’Arancio. Whatever you call it, the grape came to Andrew Quady’s attention in 1980 when a county farm adviser brought them to his attention. It seems they were conveniently growing nearby.
    Essensia is very sweet - think a less viscous honey, flavored with orange and apricot. The wine has a lovely orange hue  in the glass, and the label shows a fanciful rendition of a study of orange blossoms by artist Ardison Phillips.
    The grapes are harvested at 22 brix, crushed chilled and allowed to macerate. Wine spirits are then added to the must to halt the brief fermentation. Before it’s bottled, the wine is aged in 60 gallon, mostly-French oak barrels.
    Suggested pairings include chocolate, almond, peach, apricot and apple desserts. You may also want to dip biscotti into it, moisten cakes with it and sip it with chocolate truffles.
   The alcohol comes in at 15%, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board price is $24.99.

www.quadywinery.com.

Celtic Woman Join PSO for Holiday Concert


Celebrate the season with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman with "Home for Christmas — The Symphony Tour" on Monday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Heinz Hall.
    Featuring music from the all-female ensemble’s second Christmas album, "Home for Christmas," the one-night-only concert includes holiday favorites "I’ll Be Home for Christmas," "Silent Night" and more accompanied by the unparalleled musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Celtic Woman — Éabha McMahon, Susan McFadden, Mairéad Carlin and Máiréad Nesbitt — deliver a family-friendly night celebrating the holidays with glitz and gusto.
    The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, ranging in price from $35 to $96, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org.
About the Artists
    Named CELTIC WOMAN in order to represent the essence of a Celtic female performer, the lineup of performers has evolved in the years since the group’s inception, but the signature sound of Celtic Woman has remained consistent. Celtic Woman made its television debut in 2005 with a sold-out performance in Dublin, which was filmed and broadcast in the United States on PBS.
    Although initially intended as a one-time-only event, the concert was so warmly received by the public that the group immediately followed with a debut concert tour in the United States. Since then, Celtic Woman's uplifting music has touched the hearts of a devoted audience in North America, while expanding its reach across the globe to six continents and 23 countries.
    Having been named Billboard magazine’s World Albums Artist of the Year six times, the multitalented ensemble has released nine albums and eight DVDs selling more than nine million copies of its releases around the world, achieving platinum-level sales in 10 countries while their eight public television specials have ranked among the most-watched music programs on the network.
    Celtic Woman has performed for three U.S. presidents and appeared twice at the White House, including the National Christmas Tree Lighting. The group has made high-profile appearances on such television shows as "Dancing with the Stars" and the daytime drama "The Bold and the Beautiful." For more, visit celticwoman.com.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Bach Choir Collaborates with CAPA in"Holiday Happening"



    The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh joins with students from the Concert Choir of Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) for Holiday Happening! Now in its third iteration, the Holiday Happening! performances will take place on December 5th and 6th at St. Agnes Center of Carlow University.
This year the Choir embraces all of the holidays in one great mélange. Included in this wide-ranging program are:
A Welsh Lullaby                                               Traditional (Arr. K. Lee Scott)
Light is come (part VII)                                    Stephen Anderson
Frost                                                                Davis Good
Veni, Veni Emmanuel                                        Zoltan Kodaly
Ki Mi Tziyon                                                    Arr. Robert Page (after Max Helfman)
Eternal Light                                                     John Michael Talbot & Phil Perkins
The Nguzo Saba Suite (opus. 41)                     Glenn E. Burleigh
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas                     Clement Clark Moore

On this year’s performance, Artistic Director Thomas Douglas stated,
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Choir from CAPA under the direction of our own Associate Conductor Jon Erik Schreiber. It is a pleasure to celebrate the spirit of the season by sharing this holiday tradition with the next generation of performers. In selecting the pieces for this program, it was important for us to represent some of the many traditions, both religious and secular, that are celebrated this time of year. Presented in the inspirational setting of St. Agnes Center, these concerts will set a beautiful scene for your Holiday season.”
Join the Bach Choir at the stunning St. Agnes Center of Carlow University for our Holiday Happening performances on Saturday, December 5th @ 8:00 pm and Sunday, December 6th @ 4:00 pm for these performances celebrating the spirit, humility and wonder of the season.

Concert information:
Who:    The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh
What:   Holiday Happening!
When: Saturday, December 5, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 6, 2015 @ 4:00 pm
Where:  St. Agnes Center
Carlow University
3333 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Tickets are available in advance at Showclix or at 1-888-718-4253
And at the door on the day of performance.
Prices range from $9.95-$30.00

More info at www.BachChoirPittsburgh.org

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pittsburgh Symphony to Stage Performance of Handel's "Messiah"


Manfred Honeck, PSO Music Director Photo Credit: Felix Broede


    In honor of the holiday season, Music Director Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra present a one-night-only performance of Handel’s glorious Messiah on Saturday, December 5 at 8 p.m. at Heinz Hall.
    George Frideric Handel’s much adored oratorio was a modest success at the time of its debut in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742, but it steadily gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. Honeck welcomes featured guest vocal soloists Christina Landshamer, soprano; Robin Blaze, counter-tenor; Paul Appleby, tenor; and Paul Armin Edelmann, bass, as well as the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh to present this work in the acoustically stunning Heinz Hall. A religious story of hope, inspiration and timeless expression, this masterpiece is celebrated worldwide in performances throughout December.
    "To present Messiah during the holiday season is always a true highlight,” said Honeck. “For me, this is a perfect piece with the most beautiful and uplifting music to celebrate the holiday season. I am so happy that we continue the tradition of performing Messiah, this beloved music by Handel, here in Pittsburgh.”
    Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/messiah and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets, ranging in price from $27 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/messiah.
About the Artists
    Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. Together with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Honeck’s widely celebrated performances and distinctive interpretations continue to receive international recognition. To great acclaim, Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have also built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. Following a week-long residency in 2012, they will return once again for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016. 
     Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels. The first SACD released by Reference Records of Strauss tone poems, drew rave reviews. The second recording, of Dvořák's Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček's opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by Honeck himself, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 was released in February 2015 to critical acclaim and Beethoven 5 & 7 was released on November 13, 2015. Several recordings, among them Mahler's Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.
    Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and at the helm of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. Honeck began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Honeck was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig and in Oslo, he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season.
     From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart where he conducted premieres including Berlioz's Les Troyens, Mozart's Idomeneo, Verdi's Aida, Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival.
   
Christina Landshamer Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve

 Christina Landshamer was born in Munich and initially went to the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in the city, where she studied under Angelica Vogel, following which she studied in Konrad Richter’s singing classes and in Dunja Vejzović solo classes at the State University for Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart.
    Following initial guest performances at the Stuttgart State Opera, she sang at the Opéra du Rhin in Strasburg under Marc Albrecht (Fidelio/Marzelline) as well as at the Komische Oper in Berlin (Susanna). In 2009, “the triumphant and virtuoso Christina Landshamer” had her very successful debut at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna as Clarice in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna under Nikolaus Harnoncourt. This was followed by performances at the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet (with a stage version of the Messiah) and at the Salzburg Festival in Frau ohne Schatten (Hüter der Schwelle – stage direction: Christof Loy) under Christian Thielemann in 2011.
    She performed at the Salzburg Festival again the following year as Frasquita in Carmen, this time under Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic. Also in 2012, she had her debut at the Baden-Baden Festival, again under Christian Thielemann (Ariadne auf Naxos, Najade). Later that year, Landshamer made her highly acclaimed debut as Pamina in Simon McBurney‘s celebrated new production of Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Amsterdam Opera under Marc Albrecht. In 2014, she was seen in Handel’s Rinaldo as Almirena in Glyndebourne. In 2015, she will collaborate again with Christian Thielemann (Freischütz/Ännchen), this time at the Semperoper in Dresden.
    She is particularly fond of singing lieder: a recital of duets with Maximilian Schmitt at the Vienna Konzerthaus marks her first collaboration with Gerold Huber, with whom she had several guest performances in 2013 with a number of recitals, such as at the “Musik im Riesen” in the Essen Philharmonic and the Rheinvokal, with lieder by Schumann, Ullmann and Brahms.
 
Robin Blaze Photo Credit: Dorothea Heise
   


 Now established in the front rank of interpreters of Purcell, Bach and Handel, Robin Blaze's busy schedule has taken him to Europe, South America, North America, Japan and Australia. He read music at Magdalen College, Oxford, and won a post-graduate scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he trained with assistance from the Countess of Munster Trust and is now a professor of vocal studies.
     He works with most of the distinguished conductors in the early music field — Christophers, Cleobury, Gardiner, Herreweghe, Hogwood, Jacobs, King, Koopman, Kraemer, Leonhardt, McCreesh, McGegan, Mackerras, Pinnock and Suzuki. He has visited festivals in Ambronay, Beaune, Boston, Edinburgh, Halle, Iceland, Jerusalem, Innsbruck, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Lucerne, Saintes and Utrecht. He regularly appears with The Academy of Ancient Music, Bach Collegium Japan, Collegium Vocale, The English Concert, The Gabrieli Consort, The King’s Consort, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, RIAS Kammerchor and The Sixteen.     Other engagements have included the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, La Chapelle Royale, City of London Sinfonia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Blaze’s opera engagements have included Athamas Semele at The Royal Opera House; Didymus Theodora for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsamenes Xerxes, Athamas Semele, Hamor Jephtha and Oberon A Midsummer Night's Dream for English National Opera; Hamor Jephtha for Welsh National Opera; Arcane in Handel’s Teseo at the Göttingen Handel Festival, and Bertarido Rodelinda for Glyndebourne Touring Opera and at the Göttingen Handel Festival.

    Blaze’s recent engagements include Handel’s Belshazzar and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the King’s Consort, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu with the Ricercar Consort, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Academy of Ancient Music and the choir of King’s College Cambridge, performances with Florilegium at Wigmore Hall, a recording of Hamor Jephtha with The Sixteen on the Coro label, Barak Deborah with Laurence Cummings as part of the London Handel Festival, Arcane Teseo with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan, a recital as part of the Göttingen Handel Festival, and a tour of Mexico with Bach Collegium Japan.
     Highlights this season and beyond include Bach’s St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music and the choir of King’s College Cambridge, Bach’s Magnificat with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Didymus Theodora at the Göttingen Handel Festival, Medoro Orlando with Welsh National Opera, Handel’s Messiah with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, a tour of Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Blaze also continues his collaboration with Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki.


Paul Appleby Photo Credit: Dario Acosta
    

 Regarded as one of the most accomplished artists of his generation, American tenor Paul Appleby is a graduate of New York’s prestigious Juilliard School and of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program. Praised for the expressive and interpretive depth of his performances, Appleby has earned his reputation as a fine Mozartian through numerous productions of Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni and, after highly acclaimed productions at both Oper Frankfurt and The Met under James Levine, is considered a leading interpreter of Stravinsky’s Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress).
     A regular guest at The Met, Appleby has performed a diverse repertoire including Brian in Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (praised by the New York Post as his “star-making performance”), Chevalier de la Force in Poulenc’s Les dialogues des Carmélites under Louis Langrée, Hylas in Berlioz’s Les Troyens under Fabio Luisi, and, last season, David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) under James Levine. Other notable highlights include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) at Washington National Opera, Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) at San Diego Opera, and his debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Jonathan in Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed production of Handel’s Saul.
    A versatile artist, Appleby enjoys a buoyant concert career alongside his operatic commitments and returns this season to the New York Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah as well as debuting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel in Mozart’s Requiem. Also this season, Appleby heads back to The Met for a role debut as Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) under James Levine, makes his debut at San Francisco Opera as Tamino and returns to the Glyndebourne Festival in Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict under Robin Ticciati. In recital and alongside Ken Noda, Paul Appleby sings in recital at Carnegie Hall and as part of the Boston Celebrity Series, and makes a debut appearance at London’s Wigmore Hall with Malcolm Martineau.
     The recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including the 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant and George London Foundation Award, Appleby is a passionate advocate of art song, and has performed for the Marilyn Horne Foundation, and at the Aspen Music and Caramoor Festivals with pianist Steven Blier. Paul Appleby has also recorded works by Schubert and Britten as part of The Juilliard Sessions Digital Debut series released by EMI Classics and appeared in recital at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center and as part of the New York Festival of Song.
    
Paul Armin Edelmann Photo Credit: Nancy Horowitz


 Paul Armin Edelmann's association with music began at an early age as the second son of the internationally renowned singer Otto Edelmann. As a child, he was a member and soloist of the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir. Later on he reinforced his musical studies by studying voice with his father at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Shortly after completing his studies he became a member of the Opera Theatre in Koblenz in Germany where he sang more than 30 roles.
     In 1998, Edelmann went freelance and moved back to Vienna. Since then he has sung at the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Volksoper, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Komische Oper Berlin (Fürst Ottokar in Weber’s Der Freischütz), the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels (Dottore Malatesta in Don Pasquale), the San Diego Opera (Dr. Falke and Papageno), the New National Theatre in Tokyo, the Opéra de Rouen, the Lincoln Center Festival in New York (Sciarrino’s Luci Mie Traditrici), the state theatres in Darmstadt and Wiesbaden, and the opera houses in Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Dublin and the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, as well as the Palau de les Arts Valencia, the San Sebastian Festival, Hongkong Opera and the Center of the Performing Arts, Beijing.
     More recent performance venues have included the Opera National de Montpellier, the Prinzregententheater München, the Deutsche Oper Düsseldorf and (in 2010) his debut as Eisenstein in J. Strauss's Die Fledermaus at the Staatsoper Stuttgart. He has also recently sung at the Teatro de la Maestranza Sevilla, Philharmonie Berlin, Teatro Massimo Catania, Opera Montpellier, the Opera National du Rhin Strasbourg, Bregenzer Festspiele, Victoria Hall Geneve, KKL Lucerne, Tonhalle Zürich and the Winter Festival Sochi.
     2014 saw Edelmann´s debut at the Musikfest Hamburg, the Rheingau Music Festival, his return to the Bregenzer Festspiele for Mozart's Zauberflöte and the release of his Schumann-recital album with pianist Charles Spencer and a new recording of Johann Strauss´ Die Fledermaus with Edelmann as Eisenstein. Both recordings on the classic-label Capriccio. Projects for 2014-2015 season include Die Fledermaus (in concert) with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, a concert at the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, Mahler’s Lied Von Der Erde with Opéra National de Paris and a new production of Korngold´s Die tote Stadt at the Warsaw Opera.
     Edelmann has previously given concerts and recitals in many notable venues including the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Vienna Musikverein, the Festival Hall in Salzburg, the Brucknerhaus in Linz, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich, the Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Palau de la Música in Valencia, Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, the Vatican in a concert honouring Pope John Paul II (Haydn’s The Creation) in 1998 and again in 2006 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Mozart's Coronation Mass).
     Edelmann has given recitals in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, the United States, Canada, China and Japan and has worked with such well-known conductors as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Lorin Maazel, Michel Plasson, Ivor Bolton, Paolo Carignani, Kazushi Ono, Miguel Gómez Martínez, Julia  Jones, Ralf Weikert, Karel Mark Chichon, Vladimir Fedosejew, Leopold Hager and Manfred Honeck.
     Hailed as one of the finest choruses in the country, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP) is proud of its long artistic partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and looks forward to another exciting season at Heinz Hall. Primarily a volunteer chorus, the Mendelssohn Choir is composed of more than 100 singers whose passion and commitment enables them to perform alongside the world’s greatest musicians.
    In addition to its performances with the PSO, the Mendelssohn Choir produces its own concerts in the community and operates the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the region’s premier young adult chorus. The Mendelssohn Choir began its 2015-2016 season with an all-Duruflé concert on October 11 at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, and bid farewell to Betsy Burleigh, MCP’s much beloved music director. Burleigh is universally acknowledged for building upon the legacy left by Music Director Emeritus Robert Page, and taking MCP to new levels of excellence during her 10-year tenure with the Choir.
    Under her direction, MCP has earned high praise for its mastery of the great choral classics. The Mendelssohn Choir is engaged currently in the search for its next music director, who will be its seventh in its 108-year-old history. For the remainder of the season, Maria Sensi Sellner will be acting music director and will prepare the Choir for its forthcoming performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

     As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s “chorus of choice,” the Mendelssohn Choir has performed with some of the world’s foremost conductors including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Manfred Honeck. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI. Committed to fostering the choral art form, the Mendelssohn Choir has numerous recordings, commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. The Choir’s most recent recording released in fall 2011 is Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh with Manfred Honeck conducting.