Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mahler and Noah Bendix-Balgley Close out Pittsburgh Symphony Season

Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley Credit: Nikolaj Lund

Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra close the 2015-2016 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season with one of Gustav Mahler’s most well-known symphonies and a performance by former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley on June 17-19 at Heinz Hall.

For the first half of this program, Bendix-Balgley thrills with performances of Mozart's Rondo in C Major and a new concerto for violin and orchestra in the style of Klezmer music, an exciting concept conceived and created by Bendix-Balgley himself. Mahler, whose music holds a special appeal to Maestro Honeck, wrote his fifth symphony while courting his future wife, Alma. This purely instrumental symphony reflects the change in the composer’s life, moving from tragedy to triumph during its five movements. Its beautiful fourth movement, Adagietto, which is frequently performed separate from the other movements, is a clear love letter to his wife.

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 pittsburghsymphony.org/honeck_mahler 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 Steinway Young Artists program 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 pittsburghsymphony.org/Honeck_mahler.

First concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, NOAH BENDIX-BALGLEY has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his performances. Since becoming a laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and gathering acclaim at further international competitions, Bendix-Balgley has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de Belgique, I Pomeriggi Musicali of Milan and the Orchestre Royal Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), among others.

Recent and forthcoming highlights include recitals throughout Europe and the United States, and performances with the Adelaide and Auckland symphony orchestras, the Utah Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic with Thierry Fischer, the China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony with Long Yu, Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Tomas Netopil at the Aspen Music Festival, and the premiere of Bendix-Balgley’s own klezmer concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck.

From 2011 to 2015, Bendix-Balgley was concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the “Best Classical Concert of 2012” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bendix-Balgley’s performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, featuring his own original cadenzas, was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Bendix-Balgley also performed his own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for solo violin in front of 39,000 fans at the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Bendix-Balgley began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. Bendix-Balgley graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Munich Hochschule. His principal teachers were Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Poppen and Ana Chumachenco. In his spare time, he enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and in the United States. Bendix-Balgley performs on a Cremonese violin made in 1732 by Carlo Bergonzi.

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