|Fiddlesticks, the PSO's feline musical ambassador to children Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra|
Fiddlesticks is all about the fun that musical play can bring — whether it is playing an instrument, creating or improvising music, playing with sound or playing games on the playground! Hear some favorite music by Pittsburgh-born Henry Mancini, sing along to If You're Happy and You Know It and much more. Musical play can be playfully fun and Fiddlesticks will show our audiences how!
The series’ conductor, Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, joins Fiddlesticks, the orchestra’s feline musical ambassador to children, on stage along with vocalist Katy Shackleton Williams; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violin Jeremy Black and his son, Nicholas; a trombone choir facilitated by Pittsburgh Symphony trombone Jim Nova; the Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble; and dancers from Attack Theatre.
Ticket holders are invited to participate in Discovery Time Adventures prior to every Fiddlesticks concert. These educational activities allow young audiences and their families to meet symphony musicians, learn songs and take part in various musical activities. Discovery Time Adventures for the “Play!” program will include a guest room with the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, music makers room, dance room, eurhythmics room and a craft room. Musical ambassadors from the orchestra will also be there.
Discovery Time Adventures will begin at 10 a.m. and the concert will begin at 11:15 a.m. Tickets, ranging in price from $12 to $22.25, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or by visiting pittsburghsymphony.org.
About the Artists
American conductor FRANCESCO LECCE-CHONG has worked with orchestras around the world including engagements with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. With the start of the 2015-2016 season, he begins his new position as assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra after serving four years as associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). He will return to the MSO throughout the season for several guest engagements and will make his opera debut with the Florentine Opera. He also will continue as associate conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival.
As a trained pianist and composer, Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers and supports arts education. While working with the MSO, he curated and presented the works of both active and lesser-known composers, including two works commissioned by the orchestra, as well as two U.S. premieres. Lecce-Chong has complemented his programming with a strong commitment to arts education for all ages. In Milwaukee, he provided artistic leadership for the MSO’s nationally lauded Arts in Community Education program — one of the largest arts integration programs in the country — and he continues to be a frequent guest speaker for arts organizations around the country.
Lecce-Chong is a native of Boulder, Colorado, where he began conducting at the age of 16. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors in piano and orchestral conducting. Lecce-Chong also holds a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller
KATY SHACKLETON WILLIAMS has performed extensively in the Pittsburgh area with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Mendelssohn Choir, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, River City Brass Band and Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. She was a featured soloist for several Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops concert series and made her BNY Mellon Grand Classics debut in September 2005 with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was a soloist in the Heinz Hall performance of The Lord of the Rings and has been the special guest vocalist for many of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Fiddlesticks and Tiny Tots children’s concerts.
Violinist JEREMY BLACK was applauded for his “musical fire” and “effortless technique” by the Chicago Tribune for his debut performance with the Chicago Symphony at age 12, winning first prize in the nationally broadcast 1991 Illinois Bell/WTTW Young Performers Competition. More recently, his “fabulous tone” and “polished, reliable virtuosity” were noted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in his “sensational” solo debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Black has been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's first violin section since 2002 and concertmaster of the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago since 2005. He has also performed as a guest concertmaster with the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and in the violin sections of the Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra.
An avid fan of chamber music, Black performed and recorded the world premiere of Eugene O'Brien's Algebra of Night with the 21st Century Chamber Consort in Washington, D.C. (CD release expected in 2016), and has performed numerous recitals throughout the Pittsburgh region, including Carnegie Mellon, Chatham and Duquesne universities, West Liberty State College and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
A native of Evanston, Illinois, Black studied with Mark Zinger, currently professor emeritus at DePaul University and a former student and colleague of David Oistrakh. Black's secondary education began in 1996 at Case Western Reserve University where he studied with Linda Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music. After graduating, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to pursue his master’s degree with Paul Kantor at the University of Michigan. Black resides in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood with his wife, Kate, and their two sons. He plays a violin made by Lorenzo and Tommaso Carcassi, dated 1783.
NICHOLAS BLACK began playing the violin when he was five years old and studied with his parents, Jeremy and Kate Black, until 2015. Now a student of Jennifer Madge at the Pittsburgh Music Academy, he also has taken lessons with Christie-Keiko Abe, violinist of the Chicago Piano Trio, and performed in the Trio’s summer workshop in Chicago. He is in the third grade at the Environmental Charter School, and loves hockey, baseball, biking and Minecraft.
The DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE, directed by Dennis Hoffmann, performs works selected from traditional, contemporary, pop and jazz styles and include world and regional premieres. The Percussion Ensemble performs on campus each semester, frequently with well-known guest soloists. In May 2016, the group will be featured at the Pennsylvania Day of Percussion in Millersville, Pennsylvania.
Among the dedicated teachers and scholars who make up the faculty of the Music School are members of the world-renowned Pittsburgh Symphony as well as other artists who are acclaimed performers of opera, jazz and sacred music.
The FIDDLESTICKS TROMBONE CHOIR is under the direction of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trombonist Jim Nova and is comprised of Pittsburgh Symphony members and current students and recent graduates of Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Under the artistic direction of Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza, ATTACK THEATRE, now celebrating its 21st season, combines contemporary dance, live music and multimedia to create “wickedly entertaining stage productions” (Pittsburgh City Paper). Attack Theatre has performed and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia including for the Avignon Festival, the 7th Next Wave Dance Festival/Japan, Indonesia Arts Festival, Monaco Danses Forum, the Spoleto Festival and the Broadway production of Squonk.
A sought after collaborator, Attack Theatre has worked extensively with theater companies, in museums, performed in more than operas (including Carmen, Rigoletto, Eugene Onegin, Aida, Dead Man Walking and Samson and Dalila), and danced with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on numerous productions including a reimagining of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with Pinchas Zuckerman.
Known for their "audacious athleticism," (Dance Magazine), Attack Theatre has received “Best Dance Performance” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and “Best Dance Company” (Pittsburgh City Paper) for multiple years, and the prestigious National Dance Project Touring Award (NEFA). In addition to their performance and touring schedule, Attack Theatre conducts extensive arts education residencies throughout the region for 9,000 students and teachers annually through master classes, residencies, in-school performances and workshops for teachers.
Here’s the concert program
Lucas Richman Music Can Make Your Life CompleteMs. Shackleton Williams
Traditional (Lucas Richman) Frere Jacques
Ms. Shackleton Williams
Traditional (Michael Moricz) If You're Happy and You Know It
Aaron Copland Old American Songs
I Bought Me a Cat
Ms. Shackleton Williams
Johann, Jr. Strauss Neue Pizzicato-Polka, Opus 449
Edvard Grieg “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt
Dancer and Percussion Ensemble Improvisation
Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble
Georges Bizet “Habanera” from Carmen Suite No. 2
John Williams (arr. Nova) “Throne Room and End Title” from Star Wars
Aaron Copland “Hoe Down” from Rodeo
Lucas Richman Music Can Make Your Life Complete