Friday, May 27, 2016

"39 Steps" - Silly, Wacky, Yet Dazzlingly Entertaining

James Bond as played by Mike Myers meets Peter Sellers, a.k.a Dr. "Strangelove," with heavy splashes of Monty Python. That’s as close as I can get to an impromptu description on short notice of the madcap adventure experienced in "39 Steps."
Played under the guise of spy thriller, this fast-paced comedy drama is a whirlwind of talent in motion - everything from the cast of four who play scores of characters and Guy Stroman’s densely inventive direction to playwright Patrick Barlow’s crisp script, which keeps the suspense bubbling beneath the surface, Andrew David Ostrowski’s supportive lighting and sound designer, Bob Bollman’s eclectic menage of aural hints and insinuations.
It’s all happening on the stage of the Cabaret at Theater Square in Downtown Pittsburgh in a production by the Civic Light Opera. If I have any prognosticative (I think I just coined a new word) skills at all, I’m predicting it’ll be a BIG hit with a capital H.
Loosely  drawn from the 1915 novel by John Buchan which, in turn, spawned Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same title, this "39 Steps" is a fast-moving escalator that takes you into a world of eccentric characters, played with praiseworthy moxie by Luke Halferty and Quinn Patrick Shannon.
The duo adeptly transform into cops and spies, a hotelier and his spouse (yes, there is some cross-dressing), salesmen on a train (bumping in sync as they sit in an imagined train) and assorted odd balls and kooks - more than 100 roles, some of which they morph into in seconds flat.
Keeping everything on a semi-sane kilter is Allan Snyder as the main protagonist, Richard Hanney, a Brit just returning home from overseas who gets much more than he bargains for while trying to enjoy an evening at the theater. Dashing and debonair, Snyder seems expert at drawing the line between spoof and reality, maintaining a sober demeanor in impossibly outlandish situations. And therein lies much of the fun.
Absolutely riveting in multiple female roles, Megan Pickrell is mysterious and seductive as Annabell, a dark-haired beauty who propels Hannay on his adventurous journey that involves train rides, running for his life through the Scottish moors, even a blitz by an airplane (one of the many Hitchcock cinematic references in the play, in this case, a scene from "North by Northwest").
Pickrell shows a much more innocent side in her role as the blonde Pamela, who at first becomes Hannay’s antagonist then turns into his accomplice as he wards off both the police and foreign operatives all the while trying to solve the mystery of the 39 steps.
Set designer, Tony Ferrieri, does a lot with a minimum of props and a devilishly clever arrangement of theater boxes at both ends of the stage, which are used by the director in imaginative ways.
From the looks of things the cast and crew put a lot of work in the production and it shows. Step by step, they keep the jollity rolling, the playfulness rollicking and the intrigue unrelenting  to the end.
 "39 Steps" is at the Theater at Cabaret Square, Downtown Pittsburgh thru August 14. For tickets, phone 412-456-6666 or visit website

"Matilda The Musical" Making Its Pittsburgh Premier

The ay Company of "Matilda the Musica;" Credit: Joan Marcus

“REJOICE. It is even more glorious than promised.”– New York Times
“Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway.” – New York Post

TIME Magazine’s #1 Show of the Year, MATILDA THE MUSICAL, will premiere in Pittsburgh on May 31 – June 12, 2016 at the Benedum Center, located at 237 7th Street, downtown Pittsburgh.  Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers, the first national tour of MATILDA THE MUSICAL will be presented as part of the Pittsburgh CLO 2016 Summer Season and PNC Broadway Across America-Pittsburgh 2015-16 Series.

 “As one of the Broadway producing partners of MATILDA THE MUSICAL, we are proud to bring this Tony Award®-winning production to Pittsburgh where audiences of all ages are bound to fall in love with this special show.  By contributing to new works such as MATILDA THE MUSICAL, we ensure that Pittsburgh audiences will be among the first to see the very best that Broadway has to offer,” said Pittsburgh CLO Executive Producer Van Kaplan.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to present the critically acclaimed MATILDA THE MUSICAL in collaboration with the Pittsburgh CLO,” shared Paul Organisak, Vice President of Programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.  “MATILDA THE MUSICAL celebrates imagination and illuminates the courage it takes to change one’s destiny.  Pittsburgh—a city re-imagined and re-made—will no doubt warmly receive this inspirational story about what can happen when you dare to dream.  No one should miss this spectacular story that began as a novel and is now a musical masterpiece.”

Winner of 50 international awards including 4 Tony awards and a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical, MATILDA THE MUSICAL is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox). It is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

Birthday Party Credit: Joan Marcus

MATILDA THE MUSICAL is directed by Tony Award® winner Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage), who helms this production with a book by Tony Award®-winning playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin.
The production has sets and costumes by Tony Award® winner Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Tony Award® winner Hugh Vanstone, and sound by Simon Baker.


For single tickets, phone 412-456-6666.
To subscribe to the PNC Broadway Across America-Pittsburgh Series, call (412) 456-1390 or visit Groups of 10 or more may contact the following to purchase group tickets:

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Group Sales: 412-471-6930 or
Pittsburgh CLO Group Sales: 412-325-1582 or
For additional information, visit:

THE RSC (Producer). The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. Everyone at the RSC – from actors to technicians, milliners to musicians – plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. Our work begins its life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring it to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.

We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers since the Company was founded and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We reach 450,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Plan Your Visits to the Three Rivers Arts Festival Ahead of Time

  The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, a popular annual Pittsburgh event, runs for ten days this year starting on June 3. If you’re either a veteran Festival-goer or a newbie, it might be wise to plan your visits ahead of time to catch your favorite performers and events

The Festival’s new website is built to work on-the-go and always has the latest schedule info. With  it, you can sort events by genre or date, check the map, get walking directions and more.

It’s also advisable to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Festival updates.

No matter where you’re staying or where you live, there’s an easy, affordable, and environmentally-responsible way to commute to the Festival. Learn more about the Free Bike Valet supported by Colcom Foundation, public transportation options, and parking-made-easy with

Count on new amenities in 2016 that will enhance the Festival experience for all visitors - a sensory-friendly break area supported by Autism Connection, a climate-controlled comfort station for families including a semi-private feeding area, and more.

All aboard The Gateway Clipper Fleet’s QUEEN vessel for the 57th Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival Opening Night Party!

All-new this year, join the fun after work on Friday, June 3 for the Festival kick of - and the unofficial start of summer! Enjoy delicious appetizers, drinks, and live music by Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing prior to the Festival’s opening headliner, Michael Franti and Spearhead.

The Queen will be docked near Point State Park from 5 to 8 p.m.. Come and go as you please; the wristband issued to you at check-in gives you all-night access to the festivities.

Tickets are $35 and include:
 Admission to the party from 5 to 8 p.m.
Appetizers and one complimentary drink (cash bar following)
Entertainment featuring Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
For tickets phone 412-456-6666 or visit

Please note: Children under three are not permitted; all children must have a ticket and be accompanied by an adult.
Accessibility: Wheelchair Seating

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mike Bartlett’s hilarious and thought-provoking Olivier Award-winning play, "COCK," opens the season for Kinetic Theatre

Erika Strasburg and Thomas Constantine Moore in "COCK" Photo Credit: Kinetic Theatre Company

Kinetic Theatre Company will produce the Pittsburgh premiere of red hot young British playwright Mike Bartlett’s Olivier Award-winning play “Cock,” to open its expanded 2016 three-play season: Love (and Other Catastrophes!).

Bartlett’s provocatively titled play (often referred to as The Cockfight Play) will feature three alumni from Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious School of Drama – Ethan Hova (2005), Erika Strasburg (2010), and Thomas Constantine Moore (2014) – along with Broadway veteran and Kinetic Theatre associate artist Sam Tsoutsouvas and plays May 13-29, 2016 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Downtown.

Mike Bartlett won London’s 2010 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement for Cock, his hypnotic and uproariously funny play that is much more than its provocative title. John, the play’s central character, has been in a stable relationship with his boyfriend for many years but falls in love with a woman! Both are prepared to fight to keep him.

A dinner party with the two parties is arranged and battle royal ensues.  A comic and highly theatrical discussion of identity and sexuality, the play is performed without props or scenery, placing the focus solely on the actors and the drama of the situation.

Mike Bartlett won the London Critics Circle Award for his future history play King Charles III, which began at the Almeida Theatre before transferring to the West End. The Broadway production, which opened in October, 2015 has been nominated for six 2016 Tony Awards. His five-part television series Doctor Foster, broadcast in 2015, was named Best New Drama at the British National Television Awards. A second series is currently in production. In 2011, he was the writer-in-residence at the National Theatre and in 2007 he was Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Royal Court

Bartlett adapted Chariots of Fire for the Hampstead Theatre in 2012, transferring to the West End for a lengthy run. In 2011, his play Love, Love, Love won Best New Play at the Theatre Awards UK and Bull won an Olivier Award in 2015 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.  He won the Writer’s Guild, Tinniswood, and Imison Prizes for Not Talking and the Old Vic New Voices Awards for Artefacts. He is currently under commission from Headlong Theatre, Liverpool Everyman, Hampstead Theatre, and the Royal Court Theatre.

Director Andrew Paul has helmed all four of Kinetic Theatre’s Pittsburgh premiere productions: Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange, David Mamet’s Romance, Conor McPherson’s adaptation of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death, and Charles Marowitz’s Sherlock’s Last Case.

He recently directed sold-out, extended runs of Peepolykus’ The Hound of the Baskervilles at Nevada Conservatory Theatre and David Ives’ The School for Lies at San Diego’s North Coast Repertory Theatre (Craig Noel Award nominee - Outstanding Production of 2014 - as voted upon by the San Diego Theatre Critics), a ClassicsFest workshop and reading of Edward Ravenscroft’s Restoration comedy The London Cuckolds at Los Angeles’classic repertory company, Antaeus Theatre, and the Las Vegas premiere of George Brant’s award-winning play Grounded at Cockroach Theatre.

Paul previously co-founded the acclaimed Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (PICT) and served as the company's producing artistic director from 1996 to 2013.  Under his leadership, PICT produced more than a hundred plays, festivals devoted to the plays of Samuel Beckett, John Millington Synge, Harold Pinter, and Anton Chekhov, and two successful international tours.

His many PICT productions as director include Chekhov’s Ivanov, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Julius Caesar, David Hare’s Via Dolorosa and Stuff Happens, Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, David Mamet's Race, Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden, Pinter's No Man's Land, Alan Bennett's The History Boys and Tom Stoppard's Rock'n'Roll.  

Paul's 2002 production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer starring Bingo O'Malley played to acclaim at thirteen venues in Ireland and Northern Ireland and he appeared as an actor in the 2003 PICT production of Shaw's Major Barbara which performed 14 sold-out performances at the Galway Arts Festival and transferred to Dublin for three weeks of performances at the Pavilion Theatre. 

In 2008, he directed and collaborated with Sir David Hare on the non-English language premiere of his play Stuff Happens at the Slaski Theatre in Katowice, Poland.  In 2010, Andrew was a featured speaker at the World Theatre Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In COCK, Thomas Constantine Moore plays the central role of John.  Moore is a 2014 BFA graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and has performed professionally with Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre in Tamara and The Master Builder. Ethan Hova is a 2005 CMU Drama graduate.  He just completed Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj for Washington D.C.’s Woolly 2Mammoth Theatre Company. He has performed in Pittsburgh with Quantum Theatre in Tamara, Richard II, and The Arabian Night.

Erika Strasburg won the 2015 Broadway World Award for Performance of the Year for her role in the Off-Broadway production of St. Joan of the Stockyards, directed by Peter Kleinert. She has appeared in Pittsburgh with Pittsburgh CLO, City Theatre, Quantum, and is currently appearing in Barebones Productions performance of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

A Scene from COCK Credit: Kinetic Theatre Company

Sam Tsoutsouvas has performed leading roles on Broadway and at many of America’s finest regional theatres.  His recent Pittsburgh appearances include Ed Dixon’s L’Hotel and Caryl Churchill’s A Number at Pittsburgh Public Theatre and Frank Lloyd Wright in Worksong at City Theatre.
His many productions with director Paul include Edgar in Kinetic Theatre’s The Dance of Death, Robert in Blue/Orange (Phoenix/Kinetic Theatre), Max in Stoppard’s Rock’n’Roll, Antony in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Hirst in Pinter’s No Man’s Land (all PICT).

The design team for COCK includes Scenic Designer Johnmichael Bohach, Costume Designer Julianne D’Errico, Lighting Designer Alex Stevens, Sound Designer Nicholas Erickson, and dialect coach Natalie Baker Shirer. 

Kinetic Theatre’s 2016 season also includes the hilarious new West End adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles by the British comedy troupe Peepolykus (July 21-August 7 at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre), and the American premiere of Three Days in the Country (November 18-December 4 at New Hazlett Theatre), a thrilling new adaptation by renowned playwright Patrick Marber of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country.

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater is located at 937 Liberty Avenue, Downtown. Subscriptions for the three play 2016 Kinetic Theatre season are vailable now for just $99.00 and can be purchased directly from the theatre by email at or by phone at 412-225-9145.
Single tickets for Cock are available through Showclix and can be purchased by phone at 1-888-718-4253, or by visiting Showclix online or visiting Kinetic Theatre Company online at

The mission of Kinetic Theatre Co. is three-fold: to explore the issues facing our diverse and rapidly changing world through the language of theatre, to value text, both classic and contemporary, as our primary source of inspiration, and to honor, value, and respectfully compensate the artist.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Day Trip to Some of Pittsburgh’s Less Heralded Landmarks

George Westinghouse Bridge Credit: Bill Rockwell

Growing up in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, where I lived between the ages of 4 and 12, I remember being awed by the George Westinghouse Bridge. It towered over the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh, where my father worked for nearly 40 years.
The massive, yet graceful, 1,598-foot long, concrete structure opened on Saturday, September 10, 1932 at a cost of $1.75 million, a mere pittance by today’s inflated standards. Of the bridge’s five spans, the largest central span is 460-feet high, its deck 240-feet above the valley floor, making it the equivalent height of an 18-story building. Billed as "the world’s largest concrete arch span structure in the world," the bridge was an engineering marvel of its day.
The monumental bridge, however, has had its share of tragic history. It claimed its first fatality on December 31, 1931, when construction worker, Joseph Urban, 28, of McKeesport, slipped off a beam and plunged to his death. On New Years Eve, no less.
The bridge’s gruesome history also includes infamy as a site for distraught individuals bent on the idea of committing suicide. As of early 1983, the tally had risen to 44 people who decided to take their lives by jumping off and ending it all.
Local folklore pegs the bridge as haunted. Some claim to have seen the ghost believed to be that of the first casualty strolling along come evening, causing drivers to brake suddenly to avoid the sprite. And then there are the reports of sightings of the spirits of the suicide victims.
As a youth, I remember driving over the structure several times by car, barely able to see over the sides and take in the wondrous views. Forever fascinated by the bridge, I decided I had to walk across both sides to catch what I hoped would be a pair of impressive vistas. One cloudy day in mid-May, I drove to East Pittsburgh, parked my car on the street near the Sunoco station near the entrance to the bridge and started off by foot. Despite my chronic vertigo, I was determined to make the lofty trek to see what I’d been missing all these years.
A part of busy Route 30, the bridge gets a lot of daily traffic, which whizzes by at a hefty clip. At the onset, I had to make my way along a 20-foot approach to the bridge where the traffic flew by about three feet from my unprotected path. Once I got to the first span, however, I discovered that the walkway is protected by a three-foot concrete barrier, which runs along both sides of the bridge for pedestrian protection.
A View from the Bridge - Edgar Thompson Works Credit: Bill Rockwell

Just as I got my first look at the Edgar Thompson steel mills from the bridge’s west side, a huge truck flew by, sending a powerful gust of wind my way. The height from my initial vantage point coupled with the burst of wind certainly got my adrenaline flowing.
Despite its vertigo-inducing height, my zeal to walk the bridge on both sides was stronger than my trepidation. Coincidentally, just as I approached the center of the bridge, a train chugged its way underneath, its strident whistle reverberating loudly like some stricken banshee and echoing through the valley. It brought back childhood memories of early Turtle Creek.
After getting to the far end of the bridge, I crossed Route 30 to the other side. Here, the going seemed easier. By now, I was attuned to the height and enjoyed looking at the sprawling former Westinghouse plant far below.
Another bucket list entry crossed off my list, I then headed through Braddock to Homestead’s Waterfront for a look at the remarkable labyrinth created by artist Lorraine Vullo along the Monongahela River. After treading other labyrinths near Greenville, Pa. and another one at the Lily Dale Assembly near Chautauqua, New York, I’d become a labyrinth fan of sorts.
Walking the Labyrinth Credit: Bill Rockwel

When I first read about the Homestead labyrinth soon after its completion in 2009, I decided I’d pay it a visit some day. That was seven years ago, but, remember, all good things come to those who wait.
After entering the Waterfront complex, I drove past the site the first time around. I hadn’t seen the Pump House near the parking lot that should have been a visual clue to my  arrival. After asking for directions, I found the parking lot, then headed down a rise to my left and spotted the impressive structure, its intricate, twisting  pathways lined with stones. Around the periphery, the artist laid close to 250 triangular stones, some of which are inscribed with the names of regional steel mills and blast furnaces.
Despite its proximity to the bustling Waterfront, the labyrinth is a tranquil spot in its park-like setting, where the Mon flows gently by underneath a photo-worthy railroad bridge. Across the river to the east, the famous Carrie Furnace’s towers silhouette the skyline.
Ironically, the labyrinth is sited near the infamous Battle of Homestead, where the steel workers fought the Pinkerton mercenaries during the strike of 1892. The violence that took place during the strike (the battle claimed the lives of 7 steelworks and 3 Pinkertons) is a stunning contrast to the peaceful contemporary setting which fosters meditation and spirituality.
It took me about 20 well-spent minutes to make my way around and around the convoluted pathway into the center of the structure and out again. My mind wandered as I coursed my way to the very center, where the artist placed a figure of a six-pointed compass star.
Along with some reverential feelings for the men who fought for their livelihood here, I also began to think of more practical matters - like where to have dinner that evening. One thing about the Waterfront, it has an abundant array of dining spots to consider.

Outside the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery Credit: Bill Rockwell

I settled on the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. Normally a wine drinker, I also like to sample some of the local brews from time to time. The evening of my visit, Rock Bottom had nine drafts on tap, all hand-crafted in house plus a cider by the Arsenal Cidery in Lawrenceville and a mead from the Apis Meadery in Carnegie. I got to try all 11 in two flights I shared with a buddy. The flights cost $6 each for 6, four-ounce servings.
One interesting and helpful feature is the restaurant’s list of beer and food pairings - a simple chart that matches "crisp and refreshing" brews with items like pizza, fish, seafood, salads and pretzels and "dark and roasty" pours with steaks, grilled meats, pork, chocolate and desserts.
Other taste profiles include "hoppy," "wheaty, fruity and spicy" and "malty," which brewmaster, Meg Evans, turns out a variety of options - everything from seasonal, specialty and light beers to craft and dark beers.

Asiago, Crab and Artichoke Dip Credit: Bill Rockwell

According to my waitress, Rock Bottom offers a scratch menu, which she translated to mean 95% of the food items are made from scratch. She also said the kitchen has a way of using beer as an ingredient in its culinary offerings.
The lengthy menu includes appetizers, salads, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. We started with an asiago cheese, crab and artichoke dip, topped with pico de gallo and served with toasted crostinis ($10.59), then moved on to a healthy smoked tomato and kale Caesar salad, big enough to feed two. ($9.99)

Rib Eye and Mashers with Cajun Shrimp Credit: Bill Rockwell

For my entree, I selected a 12-oz. ribeye and Cajun-style shrimp combo with a side of cheddar cheese and green chile mashed potatoes ($22.49 - shrimp extra). My buddy went for two blackened fish tacos served with black beans and rice ($13.99). For dessert, a huge slice of home made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was big enough for sharing ($6.79).

Rock Bottom also serves wine and cocktails. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, the adjacent Sing Sing Lounge features dueling pianos in an all-request show.

Rock Bottom is located at 171 Bridge Street in Homestead. Phone 412-462-2739.

Rock Bottom Carrot Cake Credit: Bill Rockwell

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An Invitation to Sing - Bach Choir's Summer Sing 2016

Miss the camaraderie of choral singing in the summer? Don’t have time to join a choral group during the year? Simply love to sing? Come join us at the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh's first-ever Summer Sing!

Jon Erik Schreiber, associate conductor of the Bach Choir, will lead three Tuesday evening sessions, each devoted to a major work. Open to singers of all levels.

Tuesdays, June 7, 14, 21 from 7-10:00 pm
Rodef Shalom Temple
4905 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

June 7 – Bach Magnificat
June 14 – Bernstein Chichester Psalms
June 21 – Mozart Requiem

$15 per session, or $30 for all three! Advanced registration is highly encouraged. Register at

Thursday, May 19, 2016

History Walk at Jumonville Glen and Memorial Weekend Encampment at Fort Necessity

Jumonville Glen NPS photo by M.J. McFadden

The details of the encounter are still debated.  Young George Washington was in the secluded glen at sunrise on that May morning 262 years ago.  The French troops, who were just waking, put up fifteen minutes of resistance.  The skirmish sparked the French and Indian War, a war that spread to four continents.

Saturday, May 28th is the anniversary of the skirmish in the glen.  The National Park Service will conduct a ranger guided walk at the Jumonville Glen unit of Fort Necessity National Battlefield at 7:00 a.m. to commemorate the event.

Jumonville Glen is named for the French commanding officer who died there.  It is located seven miles west of Fort Necessity National Battlefield on Jumonville Road.  The quarter-mile trail from the parking area to Jumonville Glen is paved, but can be slippery and uneven in places.  Visitors to the site should wear sturdy shoes.  The program will be held rain or shine.

The National Park Service will also host an encampment at Fort Necessity National Battlefield during the Memorial Day weekend.  Programs on French and Indian War battle tactics will be presented at the fort at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The programs will include a ranger talk  at the fort followed by a musket firing demonstration. Fort Necessity and Jumonville Glen are located along the National Road (Route 40) in Farmington, Pa.

General admission for the park is $5.00 per adult.  Children 15 and under are free of charge.  The fee is collected at the park’s Visitor Center and is valid for seven days.  Annual passes are available for $15.00.   For more information on this and other programs at Fort Necessity, please call (724) 329-5512 or visit the park’s web site at

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Historic Demonstrations and Talks at the Mount Washington Tavern for National Road Festival

Mount Washington Tavern at Fort Necessity Battlefield

Farmington, PA:  Fort Necessity National Battlefield, a partner of the National Road State Heritage Corridor, will again be a participant in the National Road Festival over the weekend of May 21-22, 2016. The annual festival celebrates the historic National Road, America’s first federal highway.

The Mount Washington Tavern near Farmington originally operated as stagecoach stop during the heyday of the National Road (1820s to 1840s).  During the National Road Festival, members of the Friends of Fort Necessity will tell the stories of this historic stagecoach stop and its role in our nation’s development. 

Mount Washington Tavern

Dressed in historic costume, they will greet modern National Road travelers at the Mt. Washington Tavern from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Visitors can also see demonstrations of historic crafts and try out some children’s toys and games popular in the nineteenth century.   Light refreshments will be available from the Friends of Fort Necessity.  Proceeds are used to help fund programs and projects for the park.

The Mount Washington Tavern is a unit of Fort Necessity National Battlefield.  The park and tavern are located on US Route 40 eleven miles east of Uniontown, Pa.  A park entrance fee of $5 per adult is collected at the visitor center and covers all park activities; visitors age fifteen and younger are free.  For more information visit our website at or call 724-329-5811.

Mount Washington Tavern

Fort Necessity National Battlefield is one of 401 National Park Service sites and preserves site of the opening battle of the French and Indian War. The park is located on US Route 40 eleven miles east of Uniontown, Pa. A park entrance fee of $5 per adult (age 15 and under free) covers all park activates. Visitors are requested to stop at the visitor center to pay their fee before visiting the tavern. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Touchstone Center for Crafts’ annual Spring Fundraiser is being held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 and features Scott Blasey, lead singer for the Pittsburgh-based band, The Clarks.  Blasey’s lively career has given him the opportunity to appear on the Letterman show, and he has opened for rock icons Neil Young and the Beach Boys. His shows feature Clarks classics, original work, timeless covers, and interesting stories.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Borelli-Edwards Gallery, 3583 Butler Street in Pittsburgh, and include an auction of art and crafts donated by Touchstone’s talented instructors and artists.
Touchstone’s chef, Meryl Elliott, formerly of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, will prepare the food, and the event will feature a selection of beer, wine and soft drinks. Tickets are $100 or $250 for two VIP tickets. To purchase tickets, phone 724-329-1370.

May kicks off the season at Toucshstone Center for Crafts and as students and resident artists arrive on campus, it is the perfect time to think about scholarships! Proceeds from "An Evening with Scott Blasey" benefit Touchstone's Scholarship Fund

If you aren't near Pittsburgh, you can still help us raise much needed funds for our scholarships by visiting the Touchstone website and making a donation.

Touchstone is a unique three-seasons craft school in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, only 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1972 as Pioneer Crafts Council, Toucstone's original mission was to foster interest in the preservation of traditional mountain crafts.

Today, this unique craft school has expanded to include contemporary and experimental techniques in addition to traditional and historic methods in disciplines such as blacksmithing, ceramics, metals, textiles, glass, oil and watercolor painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.  

As Pennsylvania's only residential craft school, Touchstone offers both beginners and seasoned artists more than one hundred week-long and weekend courses taught by some of North America's finest artists and artisans

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"The Lion" - One Man Enters the Den and Exits Redeemed

    Generally speaking, a guy with a guitar is most often a prosaic sight. A guy with a guitar and a story, while rarer, is still as ubiquitous as seashells in an Atlantic City souvenir shop. But Benjamin Scheuer with a guitar and a story - now that’s something to sit up and take notice of.
A professional musician/songwriter, Scheuer grew up in New York and the UK, his mother’s native country. His father, an American with an economics degree from Harvard and a law degree from Columbia, while irritated by his son’s lack of skill in mathematics and his weak motivation to pursue a life in academia, nevertheless, inspired his life in music at an early age when he sang him a folk song. He also built him a simple banjo from a cookie-tin lying around, which got him hooked on music before his teens and sent him on his professional journey.
Scheuer is currently retelling his life’s story with the aid of seven guitars, all turned to a different key, at the City Theatre on Pittsburgh’s South Side. For someone still in his early to mid-30s, not only does he have quite a story to tell, but he also has a masterful way of telling it - through 16 songs of his own making with brief snippets of connecting narrative in between.
At the City Theatre, Scheuer enters the stage from a back door of the set by Neil Patel that reminded me of some of the furnished rooms in a low rent district I’d encountered in film. Unobtrusive and restrained, the set soon recedes into the background allowing our focus to zone in on the actor. Full of insouciance and self-confidence, he makes a powerful first impression, dressed in a light blue suit, white shirt, suspenders, purple socks and a necktie loosely tied around his collar.
I’d take Scheuer for someone in his early to mid-30s that, when looked at at the right angle, somewhat resembles a youthful Ed Norton. Plopping down on a chair, he wastes no time getting to his first tune, a lighthearted ditty about his father, obviously one of the most important influences of his life.
He soon segues into other tunes that chronicle the rift in his relationship with his paternal idol, introduces us via song and spoken word to his mother and two younger brothers, then carries us into adolescence, shows a snide side in a humorous letter to his math teacher, reveals the ups and downs of a first love, then glides into the independence of early adulthood, one that barely leaves time for the family he left behind.
Each part of his life’s journey is captivating, partly due to the meaty, dense lyrics of his songs, partly to the resonant, penetrating melodies that underscore them. (Several of his songs from the show "Cookie-tin Banjo," "Weather the Storm" and "The Lion" have already won awards, and an album "Songs from The Lion" is scheduled for a June release).
Scheuer’s tale is a mix of comic moments, personal insights, dark situations and a health crises that eventually brings him back to family and eventual healing - all convincingly, fervently told through the music and words of his own making. Behind the scenes, lighting designer, Ben Stanton almost poetically bathes the set with color appropriate to the mood of the moment.
Scheuer has already taken "The Lion" on the road to the Arena Stage in the nation’s capital, off-Broadway in New York and San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. His one man, musical autobiographical performance captured the 2015Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and a 2015 Theatre World Award.
The Pittsburgh audience the night I attended the theater rose to their feet in a spontaneous burst of appreciation, giving him a well deserved standing ovation. It came after the playing of the title song, "The Lion," a tune that sums up his mature attitude about what it takes to be a man.
  Scheuer graciously acknowledged the accolade, then wowed the theater-goers even more with an emotion coda that reprised his initial song, bringing to full circle a truly remarkable evening of theatrical craftsmanship.
"The Lion" is at the City Theatre on Pittsburgh’s South Side through June 5. For tickets, phone 412-431-2489 or

Friday, May 13, 2016

Andy Warhol Museum Announces Major Addition to Collection

Andy Warhol, Do It Yourself (Sailboat), 1962, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
    The Andy Warhol Museum has acquired an early and important Warhol Pop art
painting to add to its collection. Warhol’s Do It Yourself (Sailboats), painted in
1962, is one of five paintings in existence from this rare hand-painted, paint-by-number
series. The Warhol’s collection previously did not include an example of
this seminal series and moment in Warhol’s earliest experimentations with pop
    This 72 ¼ x 100-inch painting harkens to Warhol’s interest in providing audiences
with instantly identifiable imagery from everyday life. Of the remaining paintings
from this series, three are in institution collections in Europe, and one is in a private
collection. Other imagery depicted in this series include a seascape, violin,
landscape (autumn scene), and flowers.
    The painting was first exhibited in 1962 at Stable Gallery in New York, the gallery that first exhibited Warhol’s work.
    "Thanks to this painting and others like it, Warhol in so many ways democratized
vision and opened the door for anything to be considered a subject in a work of art,"
says Eric Shiner, The Warhol’s director. "Warhol posits that a dime store painting,
replete with instructions on exactly how to paint, where to paint, and with what
colors to paint, is just as legitimate a subject as anything else. We’re thrilled to have
this key work in our collection, and we thank Gagosian Gallery for its assistance in
making this acquisition possible."
    "I am delighted to have been able to help The Andy Warhol Museum obtain this
seminal painting. It exemplifies an essential part of Warhol’s legacy, and it will be a
powerful addition to the museum’s already impressive collection," says Larry
    When evaluating its overall collection, The Warhol identified this particular series
of paintings as essential to its mission and commitment to telling the story of
Warhol’s practice and method, and their contexts in art history. To achieve the goal
of acquiring a painting from the Do It Yourself series, despite not having an
acquisition fund, The Warhol with its museum board and Carnegie Museums of
Pittsburgh leadership, after thoughtful deliberation made the decision to deaccession
paintings from its collection.
    Following industry guidelines and procedures, several pieces from the museum’s collection were traded for this new work. These deaccessioned works were all from series in the museum’s collection which were already well represented.
    Warhol’s Do It Yourself (Sailboats) will be on view to the public beginning June 28, 2016.
    The Warhol receives state arts funding support through a grant from the
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and The
Heinz Endowments. Further support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset
About The Andy Warhol Museum
    Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place of Andy Warhol’s birth, The Andy
Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival
materials and is one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world.
    The Andy Warhol Museum is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Additional information about The Warhol is available at
Phone: 412-237-8300
Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat, and Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fri, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Mon closed
Admission: Members free
Adults $20; Children/Students $10
Good Fridays 5 – 10 p.m., half-price museum admission
The Warhol Store/The Warhol Café – free

Thursday, May 12, 2016

PSO to Perform Music from Two Strauss Operas along with Work Featuring the "Wizard of Percussion"

Martin Grubinger, a.k.a. The "Wizard of Percussion to perform with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Photo Credit: Feilx Broede

Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are known for their performances of the music of Richard Strauss. On May 13-15, music from the composer’s beloved operas, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier, are center stage during the BNY Mellon Grand Classics at Heinz Hall.

The two wildly different operas provide a unique listening experience. After the world premiere of Elektra in 1909, one reviewer joked that Strauss’ next work would also include "four locomotives, 10 jaguars and several rhinoceroses." This Elektra symphonic rhapsody was conceived by Honeck and orchestrated by Tomás Ille. The great comedic opera Der Rosenkavalier brings a lighter tone, complete with passion, love and, of course, a waltz. Both Strauss works will be recorded this weekend for a future commercial release.

Also on the program, the "Wizard of Percussion" Martin Grubinger makes his Heinz Hall debut, performing Bruno Hartl’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Hartl, the former principal timpanist of the Vienna Philharmonic, wrote the piece in 2000 for the then 17-year-old Grubinger, crafting a score that calls for two dozen different percussion instruments.

Grubinger will be part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 European Tour, which begins on May 17. He will perform the Hartl Concerto with the orchestra during concerts in Hannover, Germany, and Vienna, Austria.

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.

During the weekend, beginning one hour before each concert’s start time, student musicians from the Youth Chamber Connection will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. These performances are free to ticketholders.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting

Described by a Viennese critic as "A wizard of percussion," Austrian multi-percussionist MARTIN GRUBINGER makes his solo percussion performances real "must-see" events. A regular guest with many of the leading orchestras and at the world's top venues, Grubinger possesses an unusually broad repertoire ranging from solo works and chamber music with partners including his own Percussive Planet Ensemble, to percussion concertos.

In the 2015-2016 season Grubinger debuts with New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla and returns to the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Gewandhaus Leipzig and National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He will be artist-in-residence at the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Together with baritone Thomas Hampson he will tour a recital programme to Munich’s Gasteig, Wiener Konzerthaus, Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Heidelberger Frühling Festival. A tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Manfred Honeck will lead him into important halls across Europe.

Grubinger was artist-in-residence at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 2008-2009 and has since followed this with residences with Camerata Salzburg and at the Philharmonie Köln, Philharmonie München, Wiener Konzerthaus and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival just now. He has appeared with orchestras including NHK Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Münchner, Hamburger and Dresdner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker and BBC Philharmonic. He guests regularly with leading orchestras in the United States, amongst them Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Amongst the growing number of works written for Grubinger are Avner Dorman’s Frozen in Time (2007) and Friedrich Cerha’s Concerto (2008), performed and recorded with the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Peter Eötvös on Kairos, as well as Tan Dun’s concerto, Tears of Nature (2012). Spring 2014 saw the German premiere of Eötvös’ Speaking Drums with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer. His renowned percussion projects The Percussive Planet and the recently premiered Caribbean Showdown are further examples of his versatility.

Regular festival appearances include the Rheingau Music Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Salzburger Festspiele, Baden-Baden Festspiele, the Brass & Percussion Festival in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. In 2013, he was artiste étoile at Lucerne Festival.

Winner of multiple prizes, Grubinger is recipient of the Bernstein Award by the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival and the prestigious Jeunesses Musicales’ Würth Prize. Grubinger’s first CD, Drums‘n’Chant, was followed by a live DVD recording of The Percussive Planet — both for Deutsche Grammophon. He has since recorded a number of projects for various labels.

Born in Salzburg, Grubinger studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz and at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He quickly garnered attention through appearances at several international competitions, including the second World Marimbaphone Competition in Okaya, Japan, and at the EBU Competition in Norway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lambrusco: The Robert Downey Jr. of Wine

Lambrusco with Strawberries: A Good Match
Here's the latest missive from Bottlenotes, an online bulletin about wine

RDJ turned it around and so will Lambrusco!
We’d like to think of Lambrusco as the Robert Downey Jr. of wines.
Both had horrible reputations in the 90’s. Downey turned his life around though and we believe that Lambrusco can, uh, Avenge its past and do the same.
Lambrusco is a red, frothy, effervescent wine that was long been associated with Riunite on ice, Riunite so nice.
Thankfully that ad campaign is long gone…and so is the not-so-great wine.
Lambrusco is on a serious upswing and could very well be the next hot trendy wine. So here are five reasons you should get ahead of the curve.
1. Lambrusco is a chilled red wine. That alone is super fun because we drink every other red at room temperature. Couple that with the bubbles – which the Italians call frizzante style, or semi-sparkling – and it’s a party in a glass.
2. The quality of Lambrusco keeps improving, says Joe Campanale, operating director at Alta Linea in NYC. The Italians have upped their game and the wine pros are noticing and putting it on restaurant wine lists.
3. Lambrusco is very low alcohol – like 11% – which means you can drink it all day.
4. It’s made in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, which is sort of central Italy – north of Tuscany, but south of Milan. And while the area is not one of Italy’s leading wine regions, it’s certainly a big-time food region. We’re talking about the home of Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto ham. Yum. And the acidity of the wine is perfect and cuts right through all that fat. That means you know its going to work with your burger and ribs too.
5. The best Lambruscos – the really good stuff – still only cost around $20.
So try this bubbly, food-friendly wine at your next BBQ. Or pour it over strawberries like the Italians do and get an extra fruit serving for the day.
Captain America would be proud.
Lini Labrusca Lambrusco ($16)
Venturini Baldini Lambrusco Tenuta di Roncolo ($15)
Villa Corlo Corleto Lambrusco ($13)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Musical Theater Buffs Take Notice - "The Musical of Musicals: The Musical" Now at Carnegie Stage

    It helps to be  familiar with the portfolio of American musical theater when you see this fun-filled show now at the Carnegie Stage in Carnegie.. It  references more the two score musical  classics in this bright and cleverly created spoof by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart.

     In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form:

Rodgers and Hammerstein
(complete with dream ballet),
Stephen Sondheim,
Jerry Herman,
Andrew Lloyd Webber,
and Kander & Ebb.

Ryan Patrick Kearney and Brittany Graham in "The Musical of Musicals"

The basic plot:
June is an ingenue who can’t pay the rent and is threatened by her evil landlord. Will the handsome leading man come to the rescue?

This comic valentine to musical theatre was the longest running show in the York Theatre Company’s 35-year history before moving to Off-Broadway.

Now for Some Reviews
Village Voice


“Real Wit,
Real Charm!
... it’s GREAT FUN!” – The New Y in "The Musical of Musicalsork Times

The cast includes Elizabeth Boyke, Elizabeth Flemming, Nancy Gordon Galluzzo, Brittany Graham, Ryan Patrick Kearney and Gavin Paymer with direction by Robyne Parrish. Performances are Performances at the Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main Street in Carnegie
May 6-7, 12-14, 19-21 @ 8:00 pm, May 8 & 15 @ 3:00 pm. Phone 724-873-3576 or go to for tickets.

Hint from Bottlenotes: How to Really “See” and “Swirl” Your Wine

Wine Hints from Bottlenotes, an online wine newsletter

Hint: Don’t Hold It Up To A Light
So you’re at a party and someone swirls a glass of wine, holds it up to the light and comments on its "legs."
Should you be impressed?
Heck no.

That person clearly came alone and is just trying to get some attention.
The only reason to hold a glass up to the light is because you’re looking for the gnat that fell in.
If you really want to "see" the wine in your glass, tip it over a white surface. Now the color is accurate. If it’s a lighter white or a purpley red, its probably a younger wine. As they age, white wines get darker, whereas red wines get lighter. But both will tend towards brown.

But now your brain is prepared. If it’s a younger wine, you can probably expect fruitier flavors when you taste it. An older wine will have less fruit, more "earthiness".
Too much brown can also mean the wine is bad. So prepare for that too.

If your red wine has black sludge at the bottom of the glass, it’s because its aged. It’s the result of a scientific process, but since we skipped Chemistry class, think of it as the coloring dripping out of the wine and falling to the bottom. That’s why reds get lighter as they age.

Can you drink the sludge? It certainly won’t hurt you and if you pour us a1945 Chateau Lafite odds are good we’re going to lick the glass clean.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tchaikovsky Symphonies and Trifonov Plays Liszt at PSO Concerts

Pianist Daniil Trifanov to Perform Liszt's Concerto No. 1 

Pianist Daniil Trifonov returns to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall for another brilliant performance this season, performing Liszt’s Concerto No. 1, a showpiece for a virtuostic pianist, on Friday and Sunday. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  program on Friday and Sunday also features Haydn’s Symphony No. 93 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Saturday’s program features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 5 only.
Trifonov will be joining the Pittsburgh Symphony for its European Tour in May, performing at 10 concerts during the tour. The Liszt Concerto is one of the pieces he will perform with the orchestra in Europe.

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.

During the weekend, beginning one hour before concert time, student musicians will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. This weekend, Young Steinway Artists will perform before each concert. These performances are free to ticketholders.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting

Russian pianist DANIIL TRIFONOV has made a spectacular ascent to classical music stardom since winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe.

“He has everything and more ... tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” stated pianist Martha Argerich, while the Financial Times observes, “What makes him such a phenomenon is the ecstatic quality he brings to his performances. … Small wonder every western capital is in thrall to him.”

Following the August release of Rachmaninoff Variations — his second title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin — Trifonov remains focused on his compatriot’s music in the 2015-2016 season. He plays complete concerto cycles at the New York Philharmonic’s Rachmaninoff Festival and with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra; Rachmaninoff’s Third for debuts with the Berlin Staatskapelle and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, where he headlines the prestigious Nobel Prize Concert, and with both the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Munich Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev; Rachmaninoff’s Fourth for his subscription debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Rachmaninoff’s Second on an Asian tour with the Czech Philharmonic. Prokofiev’s Third is the vehicle for his debut with the Montreal Symphony, on an extensive North American tour, and Prokofiev’s Second for dates with the Orchestre National de France and the London Symphony Orchestra under Alan Gilbert. He also performs Chopin’s Second with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, Tchaikovsky’s First with the La Scala Orchestra, and Liszt’s First with the Pittsburgh Symphony, at home and on a 10-stop North European tour.

An accomplished composer, it is also with the Pittsburgh Symphony that he reprises his own acclaimed concerto. Besides making his recital debut in Los Angeles, Trifonov undertakes an extensive European recital tour that includes stops in the principal venues of Vienna, Berlin, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. He looks forward to residencies in Lugano, Switzerland, and at London’s Wigmore Hall, where he collaborates on piano duos with his former teacher, pianist Sergei Babayan, and on violin and piano duos with Gidon Kremer, whom he rejoins for concertos at the Cologne Philharmonic.

Last season, Trifonov made debuts with the Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and Toronto Symphonies and returned to orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Washington’s National Symphony and London’s Philharmonia. For his second appearance at the BBC Proms with the London Symphony and on a Japanese tour with the Mariinsky Orchestra, his conductor was Valery Gergiev, with whom he reunited to open the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. The pianist toured a solo recital program to such key venues as London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, Tokyo’s Opera City, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica, and New York’s Carnegie Hall, to which he returned as the final stop on a U.S. duo recital tour with violinist Gidon Kremer.

In 2012-2013, Trifonov made debuts with all the “Big Five” orchestras: the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra; with European ensembles including Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and London’s Royal Philharmonic; and at London’s BBC Proms. The following season, he collaborated with 19 of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Washington, San Francisco and London.

Since making solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall and the Salle Pleyel in Paris in the 2012-2013 season, Trifonov has given solo recitals at venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Boston’s Celebrity Series, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series), Berlin’s Philharmonie (the Kammermusiksaal), Munich’s Herkulessaal, Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau, Zurich’s Tonhalle, the Lucerne Piano Festival, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and the Seoul Arts Center.

Last season saw the release of Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, the pianist’s first recording as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist; captured live at his sold-out 2013 Carnegie Hall recital debut, the album scored both an ECHO Klassik Award and a Grammy nomination. His discography also features a Chopin album for Decca and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on the ensemble’s own label.

It was during the 2010-2011 season that Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix — an additional honor bestowed on the best overall competitor in any category — in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. In 2013 he was also awarded the prestigious Franco Abbiati Prize for Best Instrumental Soloist by Italy’s foremost music critics.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, Trifonov began his musical training at the age of five, and went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition, and continues to write for piano, chamber ensemble and orchestra. When he premiered his own piano concerto in 2013, the Cleveland Plain Dealer marveled: “Even having seen it, one cannot quite believe it. Such is the artistry of pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov."