|Stage from Fuse Beethoven and Coldplay Credit: Wade Massie|
PITTSBURGH – FUSE@PSO, the genre-defying concert series presented by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, returns to Heinz Hall on Wednesday, March 22 with “Tchaikovsky + Drake.”
Creative Director and Conductor Steve Hackman creates each FUSE@PSO experience by synthesizing a classical composer’s work with the music of a modern artist. In this concert, Hackman melds three movements from Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony and more than a dozen songs of Drake.
“It may seem like an odd pairing to some; downright repulsive to others,” says Hackman. “These two composers have much more in common than it appears, especially their pervasive sentimentality and the engaging and authentic way they express it."
Three vocalists and a rapper — India Carney, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Voice;” Malia Civetz, an a cappella champion who has been featured on two previous FUSE@PSO concerts; Mario Jose, who has recently been touring with Postmodern Jukebox; and Jecorey “1200” Arthur, who was featured in the June 2016 “Stravinsky’s Firebird” FUSE@PSO concert — will join with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to present this unique piece.
For most of the work, the melodies and lyrics of Drake will be superimposed over and co-exist with the original Tchaikovsky. Interspersed will be original vignettes, composed by Hackman, where Drake's music shines through- but with hints of Tchaikovsky and many extended solo passages for the orchestra.
“There are a lot of people that don't judge music categorically — they don't like or dislike it just because of the ‘genre.’ They understand that good music is good music, no matter what. No matter if it is a symphony orchestra or a synthesizer, a 100-piece chorus or a single rapper,” says Hackman. “In that case, there is no reason why Tchaikovsky and Drake can't live together in one concert experience. And I'm sure that the people who come to hear Drake will leave wanting to hear a little more Tchaikovsky — played by the incredible orchestra we have here in Pittsburgh.”
In keeping with the mission of FUSE@PSO to engage and illuminate music in a way that excites and educates, the evening kicks off with a happy hour-type atmosphere, featuring mingling with musicians and fellow music lovers, happy hour-priced drinks and other activities. The Heinz Hall Garden will be open, depending on weather.
“FUSE@PSO: Tchaikovsky + Drake” begins at 5 p.m. with happy hour; the concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are on sale now online at pittsburghsymphony.org/fuse, via phone at 412-392-4900 or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office. Tickets are general admission and there is no intermission. Drinks are allowed in the concert hall at this performance.
About the Artists
|Steve Hackman Courtesy Photo|
Active across the country as a guest conductor of major symphony orchestras, Hackman presents programs he architects that synthesize orchestral and pop masterworks. He has performed his pieces such as Brahms + Radiohead, Beethoven + Coldplay, Copland + Bon Iver and Bartok + Björk with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Columbus Symphony and Colorado Music Festival orchestra. Hackman's work as an artistic entrepreneur was most recently recognized by an invitation to speak at the TedX Conference.
In 2016, Hackman continues in his second season as creative director and conductor of FUSE at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, an innovative new concert series aimed at engaging a new young audience. The season will include the premiere of Tchaikovsky + Drake, a symphonic mash-up of the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony and the music of Drake, as well as Bartok + Björk, a piece that fuses the former's Concerto for Orchestra with the latter's first three albums. For the final FUSE@PSO concert of 2015-2016, Hackman composed Firebird: Remix | Response, an original concept-album/remix of Stravinsky's Firebird, for full orchestra, chorus, singer, rapper, drummer, synthesizer and electronics.
From 2013 to 2015, Hackman was music director of the "Mash-Up" series at the Colorado Music Festival. CMF commissioned three premieres in this time — Bartok V. Björk, Copland V. Bon Iver and Beethoven V. Coldplay. Other highlight programs included collaborations with My Brightest Diamond, Aoife O'Donovan, Olga Bell (of Dirty Projectors) and San Fermin.
From 2009 to 2013, Hackman served as co-creative director of the Happy Hour at the Symphony Series with the Indianapolis Symphony, where, along with co-artistic directors Time For Three (TF3), he pioneered a new type of concert experience by producing, arranging/composing and conducting compelling presentations that blended classical with pop. He returns as guest conductor regularly, most recently in spring 2016 premiering a program commissioned by the ISO and Time for Three that combined symphonic movements of Dvořák with songs by Dave Matthews Band.
Hackman is the creative director of :STEREO HIDEOUT:, a music brand that represents the removal of barriers between classical and popular music and the skillful blending of the two. In 2014, he released the debut :STEREO HIDEOUT: album The Radio Nouveau, along with several music videos. The album was mixed in London by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode) and mastered in Brooklyn by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors).
Hackman’s work as a composer and arranger has met with considerable success. The string trio Time for Three and choral ensemble Chanticleer present his works as their showpieces; TF3's Chaconne in Winter highlights their recent release on Universal Records, and Chanticleer's Wait Fantasy can be heard on their recent album Someone New. He enjoys a continuing relationship as an arranger for Time for Three, and most recently contributed the arrangement for their appearance on From The Top, two pieces to their holiday EP Yuletime (Universal) and the music for their appearance on ABC's hit show Dancing with the Stars. Hackman's orchestrations for artists like Time for Three, The Five Browns, Michael Cavanaugh, My Brightest Diamond, Arlo Guthrie, Aoife O'Donovan and Joshua Radin have been performed by nearly all the major orchestras in America. This season marked his first collaboration with the world-renowned Tallis Scholars.
Hackman was a four-year member, producer and musical director of the a capella group The Other Guys at the University of Illinois, a group that under his direction placed runner-up in the International Competition of Collegiate Acapella at Avery Fisher Hall. He is a prolific songwriter, having written hundreds of songs and releasing several albums of original music. His song "The Pendulum Song" was chosen among tens of thousands as a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and he has also received honorable mention in the Billboard songwriting competition. He has entertained as a dueling piano player at Howl at the Moon piano bar in Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville. In season seven of American Idol, Hackman was one of 164 contestants chosen from more than 150,000 to attend Hollywood Week. He finished in the top 64.
Hackman studied conducting under Otto-Werner Mueller and counterpoint/composition under Dr. Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He subsequently studied conducting with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and received further instruction in orchestration from the prolific Broadway orchestrator and composer William Brohn (Miss Saigon, Wicked, Ragtime, and countless others). He served as the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony for two seasons, where he led subscription, family, education and New Year's Eve programs.
JECOREY “1200” ARTHUR is a music educator, composer and performer from Louisville, Kentucky. He began composing music at age 10, and at age 12 purchased the KORG D-1200, which is where his nickname comes from. He quickly became a self-taught recording artist and producer, but decided to become classically trained instead of chasing music industry dreams. Prior to obtaining his Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Louisville, he had the chance to perform at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas, and the Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland.
During his undergraduate studies, 1200 was a student of Dr. Greg Byrne, director of percussion studies at the University of Louisville. Though 1200's compositions can be considered hip hop, he is heavily influenced by neo-classicism and fusion. While in college, 1200 co-founded a creative collective known as the United Legion of DOOM, which features musicians, artists, designers, producers and creative intellectuals from around the globe. 1200 has co-executive produced albums such as Nick B's Transcendence and Hwang's It Was Only Yesterday. 1200 additionally executive produced his own release, SYMPHONY I, in August 2014. SYMPHONY I is an exploration of life, narrated in an anachronist fashion. The music on SYMPHONY I features a variety of samples and influences from various genres including 1990s soul and contemporary classical works.
1200’s unique blend of talent, experience and polystylism also appears in Louisville music groups Citizens United and The Monolith. His most notable performance endeavor is his 1200 ensemble, a group of mixed musicians and designers that perform with him at concerts. This group often features DJ Deuce Carter, keyboardist and guitarist Nick B, light coordinator Lauren "Elmo" Morris and more. 1200's ensemble is known for performing unique shows that differ from previous ones. In December 2014, he performed at Headliners Music Hall, joined on stage by a 12-piece chamber chorus and string quintet. 1200 has also had multiple collaborations with Teddy Abrams, director of music for the Louisville Orchestra. The pair's most notable performance was LOWF4th (Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 4th), where 1200 performed for 35,000 people alongside the Louisville Orchestra on 4th of July in his hometown. Later that month, 1200 collaborated with Dr. Dundiff and performed at Forecastle Festival, even sharing a stage with My Morning Jacket's Jim James.
By day, 1200 is a music educator who specializes in percussion pedagogy. His most recent educational endeavor has been to serve as the music specialist at Hite Elementary School. He has also served as program director for AMPED (Academy of Music Production Education and Development) where he developed curriculum for students to learn the arts of rapping, recording and more. Alongside his performance and educational projects, 1200 is an event curator and has organized for PechaKucha, Kleisner Events, Resurfaced (City Collaborative and Louisville Downtown Partnership), Speed Art Museum and the Louisville Orchestra. 1200 graduated from the University of Louisville in May 2015 with his Master of Arts in teaching.
INDIA CARNEY is an American singer, songwriter, arranger and actress. Carney made her national television debut on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning The Voice. She wowed audiences worldwide, and four highly acclaimed celebrity judges as the former Top 5 artist, with her passionate vocal restraint and versatile evenness of tone. MStars News reported “Brooklyn native India Carney has a voice of gold. The New York Times columnist David Brooks gave Carney rave reviews for her version of Lady Gaga's dance hits. Carney performed for David Foster, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Jason Derulo and many others. Carney was a featured artist on Steve Hackman’s Tchaikovsky-Drake mash-up with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and The Joye In Aiken Festival directed by Janice Jennings and curated by pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe. She appeared on NBC’s A Pentatonix Christmas Special, ABC’s Christmas Show Production with CCC-Brooklyn, NY, NYC’s Apollo Theater, The Bitter End, L.A. Youth Network, The Navy Seals Gala and STAPLES Center. Musical theatre credits include Jay Sheib’s Carmen (Carmen), Aida (Aida) and A Chorus Line (Diana). Among Carney’s many awards are a 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and National Young Arts Award in Voice & Theatre, Brooklyn Conservatory Music Impact Award and a UBAA Maidie Norman Award at UCLA.
MALIA CIVETZ, a 2016 graduate of the University of Southern California/Thornton School of Music's popular music program, recently signed with Warner/Chappell Music, the global music publishing company of Warner Music Group. She was named the “Outstanding Blues/Pop/Rock Vocal Soloist” by Down Beat magazine's College Student Music Awards in both 2015 and 2016 and was a member of the 2015 International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella's (“real life” Pitch Perfect) champions, The SoCal VoCals.
Since 2015, Civetz has performed as a vocal soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Steve Hackman's symphonic mash-up of Beethoven + Coldplay and in two world premieres; one with the Colorado Symphony in Bartok + Bjork and another with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Stravinsky's Firebird Remix-Response. She also joined Hackman at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June 2016 to perform the 4th Movement of Beethoven + Coldplay with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In January 2017, she returned to Indianapolis for Happy Hour at the Symphony to perform several movements of Hackman’s mash-up of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 fused with songs of Drake and is excited to perform in the world premiere of that entire piece with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As a member of the award-wining SoCal VoCals, Civetz had the honor of performing at the White House in December 2015 for President Obama, the First Lady and their staff. The dynamic a cappella group completed a two-week performance tour of Hong Kong in March 2016 kicked off with two sold-out performances at Queen Elizabeth Stadium. In May 2016, they performed a medley of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil songs at the BMI Pop Awards as the songwriting team was honored with the BMI Icon Award.
At USC, Malia was a proud recipient of a number of scholarships including the Manilow Endowed Music Scholarship, Las Vegas Hospitality Association Scholarship, Scott Borchetta Popular Music Scholarship and the Thornton School Faculty Scholarship. She graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts in 2012 as a theatre major starring with rave reviews as Tracy in Hairspray and as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. She is a regular to sing for professional sporting and special events at venues including Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, StubHub Center, Honda Center and AT&T Park.
Her musical accomplishments are diverse with a long list of highlights including being selected to perform as a Star of Tomorrow at the Apollo Theater in New York at the age of 13, given the honor of singing for President Barack Obama when she was 16 years old and performing in Barry Manilow’s show at Paris Las Vegas at 17.
A San Francis Bay Area native, MARIO JOSE is a seasoned singer/songwriter, session vocalist and true entertainer. Jose attended Berklee College of Music and was a part of the award-winning a cappella group, Pitch Slapped. In his post-graduate life, Jose has been featured on several TV shows including NBC’s The Sing-Off, ABC’s Duets and on American Idol season 12, where he was one of the Top 40 male vocalists.
Jose has had the privilege to share the stage and studio with music icons including John Legend, Pentatonix, Prince, Meghan Trainor, Justin Bieber, Michael McDonald, Philip Bailey (of Earth, Wind & Fire), John Elefante (of Kansas), Jim Peterick (of Survivor), Bill Champlin (of Chicago), Paula Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Ben E. King, Post Modern Jukebox and many more!
Jose released his first EP of original music Heart of Gold in October 2016 and has just finished as emcee and featured vocalist on Post Modern Jukebox’s U.S. winter tour.