Friday, September 23, 2016


Pinchas Zukerman Credit: Cheryl Mazak

Music Director Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra open the 2016-2017 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season with legendary violinist Pinchas Zukerman and Composer of the Year James MacMillan on October 7 and 9 at Heinz Hall.

Zukerman, who recently performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony during its residency at the Aspen Music Festival and School, will dazzle in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, famously described by the violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim as the “richest and most seductive” of all the violin concertos.

MacMillan’s bustling, patriotic orchestral fantasy Britannia kicks off the Scottish composer’s tenure as Composer of the Year with the Pittsburgh Symphony during the 2016-2017 season. This piece is a kaleidoscopic collection of march tunes, Irish reels, jigs and even a Cockney drinking song.

The concert concludes with the colorful “Enigma Variations,” in honor of the night nearly 100 years ago to the day when composer Edward Elgar himself led the Pittsburgh Symphony in this very work. Composed of 14 variations on an original theme, Elgar dedicated this work to “my friends pictured within,” as each variation was a musical sketch of one of his close acquaintances, including his wife, his publisher and even himself.

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders and led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. MacMillan will join Franco to discuss his work with a particular focus on Britannia. Program notes for the weekend are available online at and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday 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

PINCHAS ZUKERMAN has remained a phenomenon in the world of music for over four decades. His musical genius, prodigious technique and unwavering artistic standards are a marvel to audiences and critics. Devoted to the next generation of musicians, he has inspired younger artists with his magnetism and passion. His enthusiasm for teaching has resulted in innovative programs in London, New York, China, Israel and Ottawa. The name Pinchas Zukerman is equally respected as violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician.

Zukerman's 2016-2017 season, his eighth as principal guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and his second as artist-in-association with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, includes more than 100 concerts worldwide. In January 2017, he serves as artistic director of the Winter Festival for three weeks of concerts and educational residency activities with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Guest conducting and soloist engagements include the Cleveland Orchestra and Boston, Pittsburgh and Montreal Symphonies, plus overseas appearances with the Berlin and Israel Philharmonics, Camerata Salzburg, Sydney Symphony, Korean Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Miyazaki Festival Orchestra. European recitals with pianist Yefim Bronfman and chamber concerts with the Zukerman Trio round out the season.

Over the last decade, Zukerman has become as equally regarded a conductor as he is an instrumentalist, leading many of the world's top ensembles in a wide variety of the orchestral repertoire's most demanding works. A devoted and innovative pedagogue, Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. In Canada, where he served as music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra from 1999 to 2015, he established the NAC Institute for Orchestra Studies and the Summer Music Institute encompassing the Young Artists, Conductors and Composers programs. He currently serves as conductor emeritus of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as artistic director of its Young Artist Program.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Zukerman came to America in 1962 where he studied at The Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian. He has been awarded the Medal of Arts, the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence and was appointed as the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative's first instrumentalist mentor in the music discipline.  Zukerman's extensive discography contains more than 100 titles, and has earned him two Grammy Awards and 21 nominations. His complete recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and Philips were released in July 2016, in a 22-disc set spanning baroque, classical and romantic concertos and chamber music. Fall 2016 sees the Analekta release of Baroque Treasury with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, cellist Amanda Forsyth and oboist Charles Hamann in works by Handel, Bach, Vivaldi Telemann and Tartini. Other recent releases include Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 and Double Concerto with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Forsyth, recorded in live performances at Ottawa’s Southam Hall, and an album of works by Elgar and Vaughan Williams with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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