Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PSO Celebrates the Music of St. Petersburg

Guest Conductor Vasily Petrenko Credit: Mark McNulty

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Vasily Petrenko immerse audiences in the music of St. Petersburg during BNY Mellon Grand Classics: Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto on June 9 and 11 at Heinz Hall.

During the 2016-2017 season, the Pittsburgh Symphony explored the music of some of the world’s great musical cities. Petrenko, who is chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool and Oslo Philharmonic, leads the orchestra on its last “stop” — St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 was written in 1943, at a turning point in World War II. Although a great sense of achievement and pride spread across his nation, Shostakovich was not so optimistic, fearing that this would give further rise to Stalin. As a result, the symphony ends with a less-than-hopeful tone, which left it unpopular and useless for propaganda purposes, it remains one of Shostakovich’s great artistic achievements.

Making his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony this weekend, Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov performs Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s much-loved Piano Concerto No. 1. The concerto had its Russian premiere in St. Petersburg in November 1875 and has one of the most iconic openings of any classical work. (This work became the first piece of classical music to sell more than a million records with pianist Van Cliburn’s 1958 recording.)

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders, with Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco will occur on stage one hour before each concert. The Steinway Young Artists will perform in the Grand Lobby, beginning one hour before the concert start time, on Friday and Sunday. Both pre-concert presentations are free and open to ticketholders.

A post-concert chamber ensemble performance on stage will follow the Friday evening concert only. Kelsey Blumenthal and Marta Krechkovsky, violins, and Dimitri Papadimitriou, piano, will perform Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano. This performance is free to ticketholders.

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, June 9 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 11. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, are available through the Heinz Hall Box Office in person, by phone at 412-392-4900 or online at

About the Artists

Guest Conductor Vasily Petrenko Credit: Mark McNulty
VASILY PETRENKO was born in 1976 and started his music education at the St. Petersburg Capella Boys Music School – the oldest music school in Russia. He then studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire and also has participated in masterclasses with such major figures as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov. Following considerable success in a number of international conducting competitions including the Fourth Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg (2003), First Prize in the Shostakovich Choral Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg (1997) and First Prize in the Sixth Cadaques International Conducting Competition in Spain, he was appointed chief conductor of the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.

Petrenko is chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (appointed in 2013-2014), chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (a position he adopted in 2009 as a continuation of his period as principal conductor that commenced in 2006), chief conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015) and principal guest conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (since 2016). Petrenko also has served as principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from 2009 to 2013, and principal guest conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (formerly the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre of the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet) where he began his career as resident conductor from 1994 to 1997.

Petrenko has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony Tokyo and Sydney Symphony. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic and the Grafenegg Festival with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the State Academic Symphony of Russia, and made frequent appearances at the BBC Proms. Recent years have seen a series of highly successful North American debuts, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras, and appearances at the Aspen and Ravinia summer festivals.

Highlights of the 2016-2017 season and beyond include Petrenko’s tours with the European Union Youth Orchestra as chief conductor, dates in Europe and Asia with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and complete cycles of the Beethoven Symphonies in both Liverpool and Oslo. He makes return visits to the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne in Europe and, further afield, to San Francisco, Houston, Baltimore and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, Minnesota Orchestra and the Los Angeles and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras. Petrenko will make his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival.

Equally at home in the opera house, and with more than 30 operas in his repertoire, Petrenko made his debuts in 2010 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Macbeth) and the Opera de Paris (Eugene Onegin), and in recent seasons has also conducted Pique Dame at Hamburg State Opera, Boris Godunov at the National Reisopera, Eugene Onegin, La Bohème and Carmen at the Mikhailovsky Theatre and Carmen at the Zurich Opera, Tosca and Parsifal with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Der fliegende Holländer with the Oslo Philharmonic and at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. Last year saw a highly successful debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Boris Godunov, and future plans include performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Zurich Opera.

Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. His Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos Records with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (collated as a boxset in autumn 2015) has garnered worldwide acclaim, and his has been documented in award-winning surveys of Rachmaninov’s symphonies, orchestral works and complete piano concertos with Simon Trpceski, Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos and Manfred (winner of the 2009 Gramophone Award for Best Orchestral Recording), works by Offenbach, Higdon and Tavener, Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 and Cockaigne Overture for Onyx Records. Last year also saw the release of the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies on Onyx. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra he has released the Shostakovich cello concertos with Truls Mork (Ondine), the Szymanowski violin concertos with Baiba Skride (Orfeo), and the first installment in a cycle of Scriabin’s symphonies, and in autumn 2016 Lawo Classics will release Prokofiev’s complete Romeo and Juliet ballet.

In October 2007, Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2010 he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards. He is only the second person to have been awarded honorary doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University (in 2009), and an honorary fellowship of the Liverpool John Moores University (in 2012), awards that recognize the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the city’s cultural scene.

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov Credit: Christian Fatu
Described by The Times as the “master of all he surveys” and with The Washington Post noting to “keep your ear on this one,” BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV’s captivating performances continue to receive international praise.

Recent seasons have seen Abduraimov work with leading orchestras worldwide, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras, and prestigious conductors including Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Manfred Honeck, Vasily Petrenko, James Gaffigan, Jakub Hrusa, Thomas Dausgaard and Vladimir Jurowski. Last season, he made his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Gergiev featuring in their new 360-degree festival and subsequently made his BBC Proms debut with them.

Upcoming European highlights include the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester as part of the Elb Philharmonie opening, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and further afield he will work with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In recital Abduraimov is one of the featured artists for the Junge Wilde series at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, he appears at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and returns to the Verbier Festival and La Roque d’Anthéron.

In North America, Abduraimov will perform in recital at the Stern Auditorium following his debut success at Carnegie Hall in 2015, as well as for the Cliburn Concerts, Carolina Performing Arts, the Vancouver Recital series and concerts with Houston and Pittsburgh, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Minnesota Orchestra, among others. He has recently appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony and Seattle Symphony.

In 2017, Abduraimov will tour to Asia for performances with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Beijing and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and also embark upon a recital tour of Australia.

An award-winning recording artist – his debut recital CD won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason Découverte – Abduraimov released his first concerto disc in 2014 on Decca Classics which features Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1 with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai under Juraj Valčuha.

Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1990, Behzod began to play the piano at the age of five as a pupil of Tamara Popovich at Uspensky State Central Lyceum in Tashkent. He is an alumnus of Park University’s International Center for Music where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch, and now serves as the ICM’s artist-in-residence.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Exciting News From Pittsburgh International Airport


Condor Airlines announced new seasonal nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany, a city that has been in high demand by the Pittsburgh region. Twice weekly flights (Fridays and Mondays) will begin on June 23, 2017, and continue through September. Flights will be offered on a Boeing 767-300 with a Business Class, premium economy, in-seat entertainment system in all classes and new seats. This aircraft will also be able to carry cargo.

According to the German American Chamber of Commerce in Pittsburgh, there are approximately 11,000 people working for German-owned companies in the region; 5,000 German citizens with family in the area; 125 German companies including Adidas, BASF, Bayer, Covestro, Bosch, SAP and Siemens.

The last time Pittsburgh International had service to Frankfurt was in October 2004. Frankfurt is a key city for business and leisure travelers alike, and offers important connections throughout Germany and Europe to cities including Munich, which has become the second largest hub for Condor.

Today, Pittsburgh becomes one of 17 destinations served by Condor in North America. On an annual basis, more than seven million passengers fly with Condor, which celebrated its 60 th anniversary in September, to about 75 destinations in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.


One of Europe’s fastest growing airlines,  WOW air, will continue to offer easy and low-cost ways for Americans to travel to Europe by soon adding Pittsburgh to the growing list of destinations.

The affordable transatlantic airline will begin nonstop flights from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to Iceland for as low as $99* one-way including taxes. For only $149.99*, travelers can continue their trip to WOW air’s other European destinations including London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris and Dublin.

Tickets went on sale November 7, 2016.

Service from PIT to and from Iceland will start at four days a week with connecting flights on to other available European destinations. The inaugural flight from Pittsburgh will be on June 16, 2017.

The new PIT route will be serviced by the A321 aircraft, which will each carry 220 passengers in a single-class configuration. Seat pitch will vary from 30 inches as standard to 34 inches at an additional charge.

For more additional information please visit


China Caissa Signing Agreement
 Caissa Touristic announced its intention to conduct nonstop charter service from China to Pittsburgh beginning this year, the region’s first link to the lucrative Chinese tourism market.

Pittsburgh is the first market in North America to receive nonstop charter service on a program through Caissa. The flights will be between China and Pittsburgh in 2017 as part of a partnership agreement with Pittsburgh International Airport, VisitPITTSBURGH, and Idea Foundry. Pittsburgh will be the arriving and departing gateway for hundreds of Chinese tourists who are visiting the U.S. East Coast.

The company will also be selling tickets to the Pittsburgh region for those interested in nonstop service to China on the return flights. The precise schedule will be finalized in coming weeks. The plans could include flights next summer as a part of the multi-year partnership with Caissa.

“We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with Pittsburgh International Airport and the Pittsburgh region to offer an additional travel option to the United States,” said Caissa Touristic President Chen Xiaobing, “Pittsburgh will be a great connection to Chinese markets.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our region to become, really, the first medium-size city in the country as a destination for Chinese tourists,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “Our region’s businesses, the airport, and our tourism industry will be the primary beneficiary of this agreement.”

Fitzgerald, along with Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis, VisitPITTSBURGH CEO Craig Davis and Michael Matesic, President & CEO of Idea Foundry, Inc., traveled to China and met with officials there.

“This is huge step forward for the future, particularly for nonstop air service to China. The charter-to-scheduled service model has been successfully adopted in other parts of the world,” said Christina Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport CEO. “We are the first U.S. market to tap into China’s fast-growing tourism market with this type of business model, and it shows Pittsburgh to be an industry leader.”

VisitPITTSBURGH will work with Caissa to book hundreds of Chinese tourists at Pittsburgh’s hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions, and outdoor tours. The marketing partnership also includes a year-round destination marketing campaign facilitated by VisitPITTSBURGH, aimed at delivering smaller Chinese tour groups on existing scheduled flights via other international gateways in the shoulder and off-peak seasons as well.

“Our region’s tourism-related businesses are truly excited to have this opportunity to market Pittsburgh to China – a market that is exponentially increasing and looking to travel,” VisitPITTSBURGH CEO Craig Davis said. “These flights mean Pittsburgh will be a focus of their American experience.”


After eight successful years of nonstop transatlantic service from Pittsburgh International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Delta Air Lines will once again be flying travelers in the region to Paris starting in May with an important earlier arrival time.

Delta will offer nonstop service to Paris starting May 25 through Sept. 30, 2017. The flight will be daily through August and will fly five times per week in September. The flight will depart Pittsburgh International at 7:30 p.m. and arrive in Paris at 9:25 a.m. The earlier arrival time into Paris allows for easy connections to other points in Europe, India and Israel. The flight departs Paris at 3:15 p.m. and arrives in Pittsburgh at 6:05 p.m.

"We're thrilled that Delta will be flying nonstop to Paris for the ninth year in a row, further demonstrating the demand for nonstop transatlantic service in our region,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “Nonstop flights to Europe are important for our thriving business community as well as leisure travelers, and we thank Delta for continuing to provide that vital connection.

Nonstop Pittsburgh to Paris gets travelers to Europe and beyond more quickly and easily than lengthy connections. The service helps travelers avoid the busiest and most congested U.S. East Coast gateways.

Flights will feature amenities including flat-bed seating, Westin bedding, Delta Studio entertainment, power at every seat, Tumi amenity kits and fine dining options in Delta One on the aircraft to make traveling abroad more comfortable.

"Delta is an important partner of Pittsburgh International Airport and the airline’s transatlantic service shows its commitment to our region,” Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said. "This nonstop flight to Europe is popular with business travelers because it saves time on costly connections and allows for more vacation time for leisure travelers."

At Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), passengers can connect to 100-plus destinations in Europe, Asia, India and the Middle East on Delta and SkyTeam partners Air France/KLM. The top destinations for travelers from PIT connecting through CDG are Rome and Amsterdam.

Pittsburgh International Airport is equipped with TSA PreCheck lanes for departing passengers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Kiosks for faster international re-entry processing. Additionally, with a Trusted Traveler Enrollment Center located on the Ticketing Level in the Landside Terminal, travelers can also complete their enrollment interviews inside the airport.

In 2015, the airport improved the international arrivals process to save travelers time in getting home.

About Allegheny County Airport Authority: Allegheny County Airport Authority, which manages Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport, is committed to increasing air service, improving customer service and inspiring growth in the Pittsburgh region. Pittsburgh International Airport serves more than 8 million passengers annually on 15 carriers.

During the past two years, the airport has increased its nonstop destinations 75 percent to include 68 markets. J.D. Power ranked Pittsburgh International in its Top 10 medium-size airports in its 2015 North American Airport Satisfaction Study. Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast both named Pittsburgh International a Top 10 Domestic Airport in 2016. In addition, TripAdvisor ranked Pittsburgh International Airport a Travelers’ Choice Favorite for Shopping in 2016.

Air Transport World magazine recently announced Pittsburgh International Airport as its 2017 Airport of the Year, joining an impressive list of past winners around the world as the first U.S. airport to win. Pittsburgh joins the ranks of Hong Kong International, London Heathrow and Singapore Changi, respectively, since the airport category was added four years ago. 

“In the past two years, Pittsburgh International Airport has nearly doubled the number of nonstop destinations available to travelers. Just like our region, the airport service continues to grow, serving business and leisure travelers alike,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “We are proud of the work being done by the team at Pittsburgh International Airport, and thank ATW for this fantastic recognition.”

Pittsburgh International was officially be honored in March along with other winners and was featured in the subsequent issue of the magazine.

“This award is a huge honor from a longtime, respected industry resource. Pittsburgh International has turned a corner – passengers, flights and destinations are up – and the industry has taken notice,” Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said. “We’re excited by the turnaround story at the airport which has been powered by a tenacious team at every level in the Authority and an engaged and supportive community.”

In selecting Pittsburgh International Airport, ATW cited the rapid ascent in air service gains as well as increased community engagement. Pittsburgh International serves 68 nonstop destinations, a 75 percent increase over the 37 destinations available in 2014. The airport has seen multiple new carriers enter the market including Condor, WOW, Allegiant, Frontier, OneJet, Porter, and Southern Airways, as well as additions from Southwest, Delta and JetBlue. The airport just finished its busiest year since 2008 with more than 8.3 million passengers, posting a third straight year of gains after more than a decade of decline.

Summer Sing - Open to Singers of All Levels

The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh's Summer Sing starts June 6! Join them for three Tuesdays in June to sing and study three works, led by associate conductor Jon Erik Schreiber. These sessions are open to singers of all levels.

Last year's Summer Sing was a big hit! But you don't have to take their word for it - here's what just a few participants had to say about it:

Very enjoyable way to spend an evening." "Thank you so much for holding this event. It was a really enjoyable experience. I wish I could have attended all three sessions."

"Thank you! It was a fantastic experience! Jon Erik challenged, but was mercifully supportive. As always, teaching us how to create beautiful music and use "the instrument" appropriately!"

 "It was lots of fun!" "Is it possible to have more than 3 sessions?" "Loved the Summer Sing and looking forward to doing it again next summer!" "Jon Erik was great! I would rearrange my schedule and drive out of my way to work with him again!"

If you want to join Summer Sing this year, advanced registration is highly encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome!

June 6, 7-10pm – Mozart Coronation Mass (K.317)
June 13, 7-10pm – Schubert Mass No. 2 in G (D.167)
June 20, 7-10pm – Faure Requiem (Op.48)

We will provide copies of the scores for each session.

Rodef Shalom Congregation
4905 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

$15 per session, or $30 for all three.

For more information or to register, go to

I Blush to Publish This But Couldn't Resist

Sperling’s BestPlaces released a laugh-out-loud funny list of real cities with quirky, sexual-sounding names.  The “King of Lists” website pored through thousands of place names to find strange-but-real monikers like Climax, Georgia and Blue Ball, Pennsylvania.

1. Buttzville, New Jersey 
2. Dick Johnson, Indiana  
3. Intercourse, Pennsylvania  
4. Pleasure Point, California  
5. Climax, Georgia  
6. Plentywood, Montana   
7. Licking, Indiana  
8. Blue Ball, Pennsylvania   
9. Bangs, Texas  
10. Weed, California
11. Ballville Township, Ohio
12. Ballplay, Alabama
13. Blowing Rock, North Carolina 

A Little About the Towns

1. Buttzville, New Jersey
- Population 194
- Median Home Price $172,700
According to Wikipedia, the town was named after its founder, Michael Robert Buttz. Naturally, he wanted to spread his grief to future generations by naming a town Buttzville. Sure, he could've gone with Michael City but perhaps that sounded too cool.

2. Dick Johnson, Indiana
- Population 1,421
- Median Home Price $111,600
This burg was actually named after the 9th Vice President of the United States, Richard Mentor Johnson, who was Martin Van Buren's partner in crime. The use of a nickname and insisting on both first and last names combines for an awkward, appendage related city name.

 3. Intercourse, Pennsylvania

- Population 1,300
- Median Home Price $243,200
A longtime favorite on lists like this and joked about in countless movies and TV shows, the prevailing theory is that this Amish country town was named after the intersection of two roads. So why didn't they just name it "Intersection?"

4. Pleasure Point, California
- Population 6,004
- Median Home Price $735,500
This Northern California town is famous for its surfing and for possibly inspiring the classic Hitchcock movie "The Birds." According to the nearby City of Capitola website, locals like to tell people it got its name from being the site of a brothel, but the more accepted origin is that in the early 20th Century it was the home of a health spa and salt water swimming pool called "The Pleasure Point Plunge." Sounds legit, but it still sounds like a place that Men's Health magazine helps you find in the dark.

 5. Climax, Georgia
- Population 273
- Median Home Price $65,000
Known for its annual pig themed festival, Swine Time, Climax gets its name from being the highest point of the railroad that stretches between the city of Savannah and the Chattahoochee River (Wikipedia). So, nothing to do with the another kind of climax. Maybe.

6. Plentywood, Montana
- Population 1,923
- Median Home Price $131,200
We probably could have guessed that this had something to do with firewood or trees. And we'd be right for doing so. According to a few stories floating out there, this town near the Canadian border got its name from either a nearby cluster of trees or a cowboy explaining that a few miles up the creek "You'll find plenty (fire) wood." (Wikipedia)

 7. Licking, Indiana
- Population 7,611
- Median Home Price $80,000
Indiana is also home to French Lick, and both places get their names from the proximity to natural salt licks, areas where animals can lick the ground to get minerals and nutrients, like salt. Good times.

 8. Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
- Population 1,097
- Median Home Price $187,600
Blue Ball gets its name from the Blue Ball Hotel, which was erected over two hundred years ago before going flaccid (torn down) in 1997. Why someone decided to name their hotel Blue Ball is still a mystery, but hey, we're still writing articles about it so maybe they won.

9. Bangs, Texas
- Population 1,581
- Median Home Price $64,533
Bangs was named after Samuel Bangs, who either had a Dumb and Dumber hairstyle, sold fireworks, or got a lot of action. Just kidding we think that was just his name.

 10. Weed, California
- Population 2,556
- Median Home Price $153,100
Weed is a slang term for marijuana and stoners everywhere enjoy posting pictures of the "Weed Next 3 Exits" sign off Interstate 5 in Northern California. Weed is also a name for unwanted plants growing rampantly in a garden. However, this Mt. Shasta adjacent town gets its name from neither, but instead founder and local businessman Abner Weed.

11. Ballville Township, Ohio
- Population 5,887
- Median Home Price $133,000
Ballville was named after Colonel James V. Ball, a member of the army in the War of 1812. So, another case of "that was just the guy's name." And sure, he could have just called it Ball, but Ballville is funnier.

 12. Ballplay, Alabama
- Population 1,444
- Median Home Price $63,500
This was not named after William H. Ballplay. There is no such person. We think. It was however, possibly named because local Native Americans would play a ball game in the area to settle disputes between tribes, according to Wikipedia. So why didn't they name the town Fenway Park or Wrigley Field?

13. Blowing Rock, North Carolina
- Population 1,292
- Median Home Price $308,200
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blowing Rock gets it name from a unique rock formation above a gorge that manipulates wind currents and causes them to blow in all sorts of directions. Or something. Pretty cool actually.
About Sperling’s BestPlaces -  Serving 2 million visitors a month, Sperling’s BestPlaces website puts insights and facts in the hands of the public so they can make better decisions about best places to live, work, retire, play, or relocate.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Carnegie Science Center to Host Submarine Memorial on USS Requin (SS-481)

USS Requin Credit: Carnegie Science Center

Submarine Memorial

Sunday, May 28 – 10 - 11 am

USS Requin (SS-481) moored along the Ohio River at Carnegie Science Center

Veterans of USS VI Requin Base will host a special memorial ceremony aboard the Cold War-era submarine. They will toll a bell once in memory of each submarine on “Eternal Patrol” and cast flower petals on the water so that they may “travel down the rivers of this great nation to the oceans” where fellow submarines are at rest. The Marine Color Guard from Three Rivers Leatherneck Detachment 310 and the VFW Post 9199 Honor Guard will perform a 21-gun salute.

After the service, visitors are invited to tour Requin. The event is free and open the public. Admission to the submarine will be free all day.

USS Requin was inducted into the Submarine Hall of Fame on May 21, 2017. The Hall of Fame recognizes post-WWII submarines that made significant contributions to submarine tactics and technology, and WWII submarines for their wartime service. Requin was nominated for her use as the first Radar Picket submarine and service protecting the East Coast during the Cold

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Family Members of Victims of 911 Terrorist Plot to Speak at Memorial

Site of Flight 93 Crash with Wall of Names to Left and Crash Site Marked by Boulder at Rear Credit: NPS

On Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, two Flight 93 family members will share stories about their loved ones who lost their lives aboard United Flight 93, and their experiences involving the development of the memorial over the past 16 years.

Flight 93 family members Ken Nacke and Ed Root will be the featured guests at the inaugural “Flight 93 Speaker Series” event at Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. Ken’s brother, Louis J. “Joey” Nacke, was a passenger on board Flight 93 on September 11, 2001; Ed’s cousin, Lorraine Bay, was a United Airlines flight attendant.

Ken and Ed will speak at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.  The event will take place in the Learning Center, located adjacent to the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center. This event is free of charge and open to the public.

Ken Nacke has been a Baltimore County Police Officer serving and protecting the citizens of Baltimore County, Maryland for the last 30 years. Ken has been very involved with Flight 93 National Memorial since its inception, and was selected as one of 15 Federal Advisory Members who were tasked with overseeing the design and construction of Flight 93 National Memorial in 2005. Ken also served as a former board member of the Families of Flight 93, Inc.  He has chaired and served on several committees within Flight 93 National Memorial and the Families of Flight 93, Inc., and views this project as a true labor of love.

Edwin Root retired as a business analyst after 34 years from the Phillips Van-Heusen Corporation. An advocate for many years of American Civil War historic preservation, Ed has served on the Boards of the Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia and the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association. He is also a co-author of “Isn’t This Glorious – The 15th, 19th and 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiments at Gettysburg’s Copse of Trees.”  The book garnered the “Bachelder-Coddington Award for Civil War” in 2006.

Ed served on the Stage II jury which selected the winning design of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 2005. Ed has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Families of Flight 93, Inc. since 2006, and has served on numerous committees within either the Families of Flight 93 organization or the larger Flight 93 Memorial partnership. Ed lives in Allentown, PA with his wife Nancy.
Moderating the event will be Stephen Clark, Superintendent of the National Park units of Western PA, which includes Flight 93 NMEM.

As part of the programming this year, the Flight 93 Speaker Series is a joint effort between the National Park Service and the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial. There will be four Speaker Series events on weekends throughout the summer. The summer-long series is sponsored by Somerset Trust and will run through August with new special guests each month.

Established in 2009, the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial is the official non-profit supporting partner of Flight 93 National Memorial. The Friends focus on awareness, education, volunteer support, preservation and stewardship. The Friends of Flight 93 is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, donations to which are tax deductible. To learn more about the Friends, make a donation to support the memorial, or become a member visit

On September 24, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Flight 93 National Memorial Act. The Act created a new national park unit to commemorate the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, on September 11, 2001, courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our nation’s capital. The memorial is near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed with the loss of its 40 passengers and crew. For more information on Flight 93 National Memorial visit

More than 22,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Manfred Honeck will Conduct Mahler's "Resurrextion" Symphony #2 Credit: Felix Broede

Music Director Manfred Honeck leads the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, guest vocalists and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh in Gustav Mahler’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” as part of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics at Heinz Hall on June 2-4.

Mahler’s Second Symphony is the work that brought him his initial fame and marked the start of his career as a composer, rather than as a conductor. The epic first movement conveys nothing less than the search for the meaning of life. The composer himself wrote:

“‘We are standing near the grave of a well-loved man. His whole life, his struggles, his sufferings and his accomplishments on earth pass before us. And now, in this solemn and deeply stirring moment, when the confusion and distractions of everyday life are lifted like a hood from our eyes, a voice of awe-inspiring solemnity chills our heart, a voice that, blinded by the mirage of everyday life, we usually ignore: ‘What next?’ it says. ‘What is life and what is death? Will we live on eternally? Is it all an empty dream or do our life and death have a meaning?’ And we must answer this question, if we are to go on living.’”

This colossal five-movement symphony is the first of Mahler’s symphonies to use voices and words in addition to the orchestra, and includes many of the dramatic sonic effects closely associated with him, such as an off-stage band. The finale in particular is full of the terror and glory of a last judgement and resurrection, depicted with a wall of sound produced by a full orchestra and chorus, and answering some of the questions posed by Mahler in the first movement.

Soprano Ying Fang, making her Pittsburgh Symphony debut, and mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger join the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh in this transformative musical experience.

The concert opens with Composer of the Year James MacMillan’s moving Miserere, a choral setting of Psalm 51 (“Have mercy upon me, O God.”), which will be performed by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticketholders, with Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Dorseyville Middle School will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall one hour before concert start on Friday, June 2. Both pre-concert presentations are free and open to ticketholders.

The Pittsburgh Symphony recently acquired a 20-note set of Deagan Co. tower chimes from a church in Illinois. After many weeks of meticulously cleaning, their full sound will be employed during the performances of Mahler’s Resurrection. (Two of the chimes were used in the BNY Mellon Grand Classics weekend on March 31 & April 2.) Patrons can explore a display about these chimes in the Grand Tier this weekend.

Following the concerts on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, a quartet featuring Jennifer Orchard, violin, Tatjana Mead Chamis, viola, Mikhail Istomin, cello, and Dimitri Papadimitriou, piano, will perform Mahler’s Piano Quartet on stage post-concert. The performance of this one-movement piece is free to ticketholders.

The Saturday, June 3 concert is offered in memory of Albert Filoni, the architect who helped remake Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, including the renovation of Heinz Hall. Filoni passed away in October 2016.

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, June 2 and Saturday, June 3, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, are available through the Heinz Hall Box Office in person, by phone at 412-392-4900 or online at

About the Artists

Soprano Ying Fang Credit: Courtesy Photo
Soprano YING FANG has been hailed by The New York Times for her “pure and moving soprano, phrasing with scrupulous respect for the line and traveling with assurance through the mercurial moods,” as well as “singing with a fresh, appealing soprano and acting with coquettish flair.”

The 2016-2017 season includes a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Elvira in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and Jano in Janáček’s Jenůfa. She will also portray Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro conducted by Corrado Rovaris in a Stephen Lawless production for Opera Philadephia and sings Bellezza in Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno with conductor Emmanuelle Haïm with Opéra de Lille. Fang appears this season with the New York Philharmonic in an all-Mozart program under Bernard Labadie, performs Handel’s Messiah with the Philadephia Orchestra conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann, ventures to Chicago for Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts with Music of the Baroque Orchestra conducted by Jane Glover, and joins St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble for a Schubertiade in New York.

Fang’s 2015-2016 season included performances at the Metropolitan Opera as Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and the Shepherd in Wagner’s Tannhäuserconducted by James Levine. She made her Verbier Festival and role debut singing Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff alongside Bryn Terfel and led by Jesús López Cobos, and returned to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence for its production of Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. On the concert stage, she debuted at the Ravinia Festival in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 under the baton of James Levine. She appeared in recital with Carnegie Hall as part of the Neighborhood Concert Series and at the Kennedy Center under the auspices of Vocal Arts DC, both with pianist Ken Noda.

Previous appearances for Fang include Barbarina in the season-opening new production of Le Nozze di Figaro conducted by James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera, where she also sang the Dew Fairy in Hänsel und Gretel conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; and Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro directed by Stephen Wadsworth at The Juilliard School, where she also performed the title role in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide conducted by Jane Glover. She joined the Mediterranean Youth Symphony for a European tour of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 conducted by Carlo Rizzi, and was featured in the Metropolitan Opera and The Juilliard School’s joint concert of comic operas conducted by James Levine, in which she sang Konstanze, Teresa and Adina. Other notable recent appearances include Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare and Contessa di Folleville in Rossini’s Il Viaggio A Reims, both with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the title role in Mozart’s Zaïde with the New World Symphony, and Bellezza in Handel’s oratorio Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno with Juilliard 415 under the baton of William Christie at Alice Tully Hall. She also appeared at Aspen Opera Theater Center where she was heard as Maria in Bernstein’s West Side Story and the role of Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflötewith the Aspen Opera Theater Center, of which the Aspen Times wrote: “Soprano Ying Fang sang Pamina with a creamy tone and marvelous specificity in each moment.”

Fang made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2013-2014 season singing the role of Madame Podtochina’s Daughter in Shostakovich’s opera The Nose. At The Juilliard School, she has been seen as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Fanny in Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio and the Spirit of the Boy in Britten’s Curlew River. She made her Alice Tully Hall debut performing Handel’s motet Silete Venti with conductor Steven Fox leading the Juilliard 415, and appeared as the soprano soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap.

A native of Ningbo, China, Fang is the recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award, the Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award, the Rose Bampton Award of The Sullivan Foundation, The Opera Index Award, and the 1st Prize Award of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. In 2009, she become one of the youngest singers to win one of China’s most prestigious awards — the China Golden Bell Award for Music. She has been hailed as “the most gifted Chinese soprano of her generation” by Ningbo Daily.

Fang holds a master’s degree and an Artist Diploma in opera study from The Juilliard School and a bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Gerhild Romberger Credit: Christine Schneider
GERHILD ROMBERGER was born and brought up in the Emsland. After studying music for schools at the Academy of Music in Detmold, she attended voice training classes with Heiner Eckels and graduated with concert-standard honors. She rounded off her studies with courses under the professors of lieder performance Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll. She now lives with her family in Detmold, where for a long time she has been an extremely popular professor of singing at the Academy of Music.

As alto, she has always concentrated on concert performances, her work focusing on lieder recitals on a wide variety of themes, as well as on contemporary music. Her extremely extensive repertoire encompasses all the major contralto and mezzo-soprano parts in the oratorio and concert literature from the Baroque via the Classical and Romantic periods all the way to the 20th century.

Significant career moments for Romberger in recent years were the concerts with Manfred Honeck, who invited her to perform in, among other works, Mahler’s symphonies, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and the Grosse Messe by Walter Braunfels. In addition with the Berlin Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester with Riccardo Chailly.  Furthermore she performed with the Vienna and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras (under Daniel Harding), at La Scala (under Franz Welser- Möst) and with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra (under Bernard Haitink).

In the 2016-2017 season, she will perform with the Radio Philharmonisch Orkest in Utrecht and Amsterdam with Szymanowski`s Stabat Mater under Markus Stenz, with the Vienna Philharmonic and the 2 Sinfonie of Karl Amadeus Hartmann (under Ingo Metzmacher) in Hamburg and Cologne and in Leipzig with the Gewandhausorchester and Beethoven’s 9 Sinfonie (under Andris Nelsons).

Besides that a great tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer (Mahler: Lied von der Erde) will lead her to Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Cologne, Lugano und Budapest. In 2017, she can be heard with Mahler’s 2 Sinfonie at the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (under Thomas Hengelbrock) and at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (under Manfred Honeck). After this, she will be at La Scala in Mailand with Beethovens Missa solemnis under Bernard Haitink.

Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh Credit:Timothy Cox Photography

Hailed as one of the finest choruses in the country, the MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH (MCP) is proud of its long artistic partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and looks forward to another exciting season at Heinz Hall. Primarily a volunteer chorus, the Mendelssohn Choir is composed of more than 100+ singers whose passion and commitment enables them to perform alongside the world’s greatest musicians. In addition to its performances with the PSO, the Mendelssohn Choir produces its own community concerts and provides professional choral instruction to talented young people through the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

MCP is committed to offering a mix of traditional and innovative choral performances to maintain the vitality and relevance of the choral art. Under its new music director, Matthew Mehaffey — MCP’s seventh music director in its 109-year history, MCP looks forward to bringing Pittsburgh audiences more concert experiences such as “The Music of Downton Abbey” (October 2016) and the Pittsburgh premiere of Annelies, a choral work based on the Diary of Anne Frank, (February 2017).  Last summer, MCP partnered with composer/conductor Steven Hackman to perform “Defying Gravity,” a concert of Hackman’s arrangements and choral mash-ups at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The concert was Hackman’s premiere performance at the Arts Festival and was MCP’s first appearance on the Festival’s mainstage after a 40-year hiatus. MCP and Hackman later performed the “Defying Gravity” concert at Oglebay, West Virginia.

For 26 years, MCP was privileged to call Robert Page (1927-2016) its music director. A legendary choral conductor, arranger and musician, Page transformed the choral field as well as the institutions he was a part of such as the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. He will be remembered as a champion for symphonic choruses to have the respect that they deserve as performers. But most of all, he will be remembered by the Mendelssohn’s extended family of singers as someone who inspired and touched their lives through his music, his friendship, his mentorship and his larger-than-life personality. As individuals, and as an organization we are better for having known Page.

As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s “chorus of choice,” the Mendelssohn Choir has performed with some of the world’s foremost conductors including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Manfred Honeck. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI.

Committed to fostering the choral art form, the Mendelssohn Choir has numerous recordings, commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. The Choir’s most recent recording released in fall 2011 is Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh with Manfred Honeck conducting.

For more information on the Mendelssohn and Junior Mendelssohn Choirs and upcoming performances go to

Friday, June 2, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 3 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Heinz Hall
BNY MELLON GRAND CLASSICS: Mahler’s Resurrection
YING FANG, soprano
GERHILD ROMBERGER, mezzo soprano
MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH (Matthew Mehaffey, director)

James MacMillan                             Miserere
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

Gustav Mahler                                  Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection"
I. Allegro maestoso


II. Andante moderato
III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung
IV. Urlicht (Primeval Light)
V. Scherzo
Ms. Fang
Ms. Romberger
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh

Thursday, May 18, 2017


12 Peers Theater presents the first production of their 2017 season, Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno, to be performed at the University of Pittsburgh Studio Theatre June 1-18, 2017.

Thom Pain (based on nothing) is an epic and intimate Pulitzer Prize-nominated solo show.  Directed by Vince Ventura and starring Matt Henderson, this play will take you through the ins and outs of love, loss, growing up, and badly done magic tricks.  Join us for one man's journey through life-changing interactions with dogs, bees, and audience members.    

THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) Directed by Vince Ventura Featuring Matt Henderson June 1-18, 2017 University of Pittsburgh Studio Theater  A moving solo show and Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Thom Pain (based on nothing) is one man's attempt to mythologize the loss of innocence we all experience when we shift, sometimes in a single moment, from child to adult.  He's just like you, except worse. He is trying to save his life, to save your life—in that order.

In his quest for salvation, he'll stop at nothing, be distracted by nothing, except maybe a piece of lint, or the woman in the second row.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT Will Eno recently made his Broadway debut with his critically acclaimed new play, The Realistic Joneses.  Eno received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theatre Award. His plays The Open House and Title and Deed premiered at the Pershing Square Signature Center in 2014 and 2012 respectively. The Realistic Joneses also premiered in the spring of 2012, at the Yale Repertory Theater. Both 2012 plays were named in a short list of Best Plays in the New York Times. His critically acclaimed play Middletown (Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play, 2010) received its premiere in winter 2010 at the Vineyard Theatre, and was then produced at Steppenwolf Theatre.

His collection of short plays entitled Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations premiered at The Flea Theater in 2007 starring Marisa Tomei and Brian Hutchison. Eno's internationally heralded play Thom Pain (based on nothing) had a successful year long run at the DR2 in New York, after a sold out run at the 2004 International Edinburgh Festival, where it won all the major awards, and then transferred to the Soho Theatre in London. The play is now being produced across the United States, as well as Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Denmark, Israel, Mexico and other countries.

Thom Pain (based on nothing) was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Eno's play The Flu Season received the 2004 Oppenheimer Award for the best debut production in New York by an American playwright.  His play Gnit, an adaptation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, premiered at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, in the Humana Festival, in the spring of 2013.

Eno's plays have also been produced by the Gate Theatre, the SOHO Theatre, BBC Radio, The Print Room and elsewhere. His plays are published by Oberon Books, TCG, and playscripts, and have appeared in Harper's, The Antioch Review, The Quarterly, and Best Ten-Minute Plays for Two Actors. He has been commissioned by the Royal National Theatre in London and the Yale Repertory Theatre. He is a Helen Merrill Playwriting Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, a Fellow of the Cullman Center at the NY Public Library, and was awarded the first-ever Marian Seldes/Garson Kanin Fellowship by the Theater Hall of Fame, as well as the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton. Will Eno lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 ABOUT THE PERFORMER Matt Henderson's previous acting projects with 12 Peers Theater include White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Colorado, the Pittsburgh Monologue Project, and the Modern Myths Podcast episode of Gone Astray.  He has worked with many theatre companies throughout the Pittsburgh area, including PICT Classic Theatre (The Lion in Winter), Bricolage (B.U.S., Midnight Radio, Jr. - Mad Science Lab and Underwater Voyage,  Midnight Radio - Animated Holidaze, Speech & Debate, Weightless), City Theatre (the Young Playwrights Festival), Saint Vincent Summer Theatre (Suite Surrender), No Name Players (Fixing King John), Off the Wall (boom), Throughline Theatre (The Farnsworth Invention), Prime Stage Theatre (Walk Two Moons, The Scarlet Letter, The Westing Game), TACT (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead), Stage Right (Tink, The Little Mermaid), and Cup-A-Jo Productions (Hospitality Suite).

As a playwright, his work has been produced by 12 Peers, Bricolage, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, In Between Theatre, Stage Right, and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival and has been performed throughout the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, and Finland.  Directing credits include Caliban, The Curse of Atreus, The Mango Farmer of Vermont, The Disappearing, and Wine and Spirits for 12 Peers.  He is also Literary Manager and Marketing Director for 12 Peers.  This August, you can see him in the 12 Peers production of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, and you can see his play The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever at The Theatre Factory.
TICKETS Single Tickets: $20 Tickets are available online at and by phone at  412-626-6784.  Name Your Own Price performances will be held every Sunday and Monday, June 12, 2017.  Performances: June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17 at 8 PM; June 4, 11, 18 at 2 PM  Performances: University of Pittsburgh Studio Theatre, Cathedral of Learning,  4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

ABOUT THE COMPANY Founded in 2011, and taking their name from the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne, 12 Peers Theater is a 501(c)(3) organization operating in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.  12 Peers Theater's mission is to provide challenging and engaging theater through contemporary works exploring myth and cultural identity.

Time for Three to Play with PSO

Time for Three Credit: Courtesy Photo
Time for Three, a classically trained string trio known for their exploration of a variety of musical genres joins the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the final concert of the 2016-2017 season of FUSE@PSO.

The concert, scheduled for Wednesday, June 14, will begin with a Happy Hour at 5 p.m. followed by the concert at 6:30 p.m.  The Heinz Hall event will feature an array of classical-pop mash-ups featuring music by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Guns and Roses, Beethoven, Purcell, Vivaldi, Mahler and more!

Time for Three Credit: LeAnn Mueller
TICKET COST:               $30 for general admission seating in advance; $35 at the door

INFO/TICKETS:           412-392-4900 or Heinz Hall is located at 600 Penn Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cocktails and Cuisine - An Evening for Foodies

 A night for foodies who care marks a decade Cocktails & Cuisine on Fri., May 19, when Crisis Center North fills The Woodlands in Bradford Woods with fabulous eats prepared on site by top chefs, libations, dancing with DJ Sean, and a silent auction. Guests can graze and sip their way through the region’s best cocktails and cuisine from leading restaurateurs, spirit purveyors, and dessert specialists. Cocktails & Cuisine runs 6-10 pm at the Woodlands Foundation’s outdoor venue with an indoor silent auction room,134 Shenot Rd., Wexford (15090).
“Cocktails and Cuisine is the living depiction of what a community can do when it gathers together to end domestic violence,” states Grace Coleman, Executive Director of Crisis Center North. More than 400 of Pittsburgh’s most influential people are expected to be on hand, including the Master of Ceremonies, Peggy Finnegan, WPXI-TV news anchor. The event chair is Lisa Kennis-Miller.

Tickets for the 21 plus event are $85 per person or a special two-ticket $250 Friend of CCN package, each with tax-deductible portion. All tickets include convenient free parking with shuttle service to the nearby venue. For details on attending are at or call Crisis Center North at 412-364-6728 ext.15.

The Northern Star Awards acknowledge individuals and groups committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence. The 2017 Honorees are: Joe Martonik, Moon Township, Individual Honoree; Karissa’s ARMY, accepted by Paul Kunco, South Hills, Community Honoree; and Ross Township Police Department and K-9 Neeko, System Honoree. Penny, CCN’s canine advocate, will present to Neeko. [See bios/background below]

Awards to be presented to participating chefs honor the Best Savory, Best Dessert and Best Presentation patrons vote on People’s Choice. The event’s celebrity food judges are joined by Finnegan to vote  their favorites:
Christina French, founder, owner and publisher of Table magazine.
​​Rachel Jones, editor-in-chief, Whirl Publishing
​KC Lapiana, culinary expert and entrepreneur who is owner of In the Kitchen, Strip District;
Rick Sebak, award-winning documentary director and producer, WQED Multimedia and PBS.
2017 Showcase Restaurants provide all the delectable treats and beverages, with chefs cooking on site. These generous regional businesses are: Aladdin’s; Atria’s - Richland Township; Blue North; Bruster’s; Ditka’s; Edible Arrangements – McIntyre Square; Emporio : A Meatball Joint; Bonefish Grill; Blue North; Jimmy Wan’s; John Marshall Catering; Melting Pot; Monte Cello’s; Stak Shack;  Tin Man Sweets; Walnut Grill; and Wunderbar.

Beverage Purveyors providing samples and tastings for the 10th C&C event are: Arrowhead Wines and Hard Cider; Beer by Fuhrer Wholesale; Bird Dog Whiskey; D’Andrea Wines; Ugandan Gold Coffee; and USTIANOCHKA Premium Russian Vodka.

The Evening’s Entertainment -- Dancing, Painting and Bidding
Ultimate Entertaining’s DJ Sean provides the evening’s playlist for dancing under the event tent. Patrons can join a Twist dance contest and dance lessons led by Euphoric Ballroom of Butler. New this year, The Smoke Stack will provide cigar sampling with some beverage pairings in a designated area after the meal is served.

Painting with a Twist’s Jaison Schafer creates a painting during the event and the custom canvas added to the silent auction, in addition to:
Trips of a lifetime to France, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Mallorca, Switzerland, Italy and Tuscany, and stateside to San Francisco and Alaska.
Barrel of Booze raffle for a giant container of wine and spirits.
A wide array of silent auction items, including dining packages, entertainment tickets, sports memorabilia, jewelry and art pieces, and more, all donated by businesses, artists, and individuals to support CCN.

The Northern Star Awards
Annually since 2001, Crisis Center North acknowledges important community members with The Northern Star Awards which recognize individuals and groups committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence. The 2017 Honorees are:

Joe Martonik, Individual Honoree
Joe Martonik, a teacher in the Moon School District, has been named Individual Honoree for his work as an active advocate for prevention education alongside his role on the faculty in the Moon Area School District. Through his partnership with CNN, Joe has helped to create community and conversation with hundreds of students, leading young people to better understand how to avoid abusive relationships and how to seek intervention if needed.

Karissa’s ARMY, Community Honoree
Paul Kunco, founder of Karissa’s ARMY, will accept the Community Honoree award on behalf of the organization named in memory of his daughter, Karissa Marie Kunco. Karissa’s ARMY demonstrates an ongoing investment in supporting the work of and advocating for the mission of CCN. Paul’s courage to publicly challenge this behavior of abusers has helped to mobilize individuals to be caring and active citizens through Karissa’s ARMY.

Ross Township Police Department and K-9 Neeko, System Honoree
Chief Joseph A. Ley and K-9 Neeko, of the Ross Township Police Department, will receive the System Northern Star Award from Penny, CCN’s own canine advocate. The honor recognizes the department’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of victims and keeping the community safer for all. The Ross Twp. team is skilled in implementing the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) and actively aids in training, promoting, and providing suggestions on the continued enhancement of the LAP program and of its partnership with CCN.

Crisis Center North (CCN) aims to empower victims of domestic violence and cultivate community attitudes and behaviors that break the cycle of violence. The non-profit counseling, referral, and educational resource center serves victims of domestic violence (DV), their children, and teens involved in violent dating relationships in the northern and western communities of Allegheny County.

In FY 2016, CCN handled 1,714 Hotline calls, provided Counseling, Advocacy and Case Management services to 2,061 DV victims, delivered Primary Prevention Education programs to 13,106 middle and high school students, and hosted Community Prevention Education programs for 1,348 participants from employer, law enforcement, church, healthcare provider and other community groups.
Crisis Center North marks the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2018. The agency’s 24-hour toll-free hotline may be reached at 866-782-0911. CNN is online at

City Theatre Presents New Plays at Different Stages by Top Talent at MOMENTUM:

City Theatre is excited to announce the plays and events included in Momentum ‘17: New Plays at Different Stages, the South Side theater company’s annual festival of new play development. The annual festival will run from May 31 – June 4, 2017 and will include three public presentations of plays – plus one musical – at different stages in the development process, a closed reading of new work by a Young Playwrights Festival Alumnus, a Happy Hour/Artists Meet & Greet with Urbanist Pittsburgh, and an interactive opportunity to participate in conversation with local playwright Tami Dixon for an upcoming project. The readings and events are free and open to the public. Reservations are strongly encouraged to guarantee seating and can be made at or by calling the box office at 412-431-CITY (2489).

“This year’s festival really does highlight the breadth of developmental work City supports”, explains Director of New Play Development Clare Drobot. “From an early reading of playwright Caroline V. McGraw’s I Get Restless to a workshop of Citizens Market by Cori Thomas, a play receiving its world premiere in City’s 2017-18 season, each opportunity is tailored to individual artistic needs. Both The White Chip by Sean Daniels—also part of next season—and The Consequences by Kyle Jarrow and Nathan Leigh have had previous productions, but Momentum offers the freedom for City to assist in the evolution of these exciting projects.”

Two workshop presentations of Citizens Market by Cori Thomas will take place throughout the weekend and the play will receive its world premiere March 3-25, 2018. It was previously read as part of a playwriting mini-residency at City Theatre in February 2016 under the title Akosua Means Sunday. A reading of The White Chip by Sean Daniels will take place on Sunday afternoon. The White Chip will receive its second ever production April 7-May 6, 2018, having premiered at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in 2016. Full play listing and events schedule is below.


Citizens Market by Cori Thomas
A good New York City supermarket has everything its neighborhood needs, including a charming cast of characters behind the counter. Citizens Market, the latest from City Theatre favorite Cori Thomas (When January Feels Like Summer), follows a hopeful group of immigrants as they form an unlikely family, working together to master the ups and downs of language, love, and staying afloat in the city that never sleeps. Full of laughter and life, this world premiere celebrates an ever-shifting and eclectic America.

Excerpts from:
The Consequences Music & Lyrics by Nathan Leigh & Kyle Jarrow; Book by Kyle Jarrow
A love story in twelve songs, The Consequences follows the rock’n’roll romance of Jeremy and Ellie. Ten years after they last saw each other, a song reconnects them. Jeremy’s a software engineer about to get married and Ellie’s still in a band looking for her big break. Has fate inextricably linked these two or can free will play a part in finding the perfect partner? Join us for a reimagined excerpt from this one of a kind musical by Kyle Jarrow (Whisper House with Duncan Sheik, The Spongebob Musical) and Nathan Leigh (A Life in Transit) directed by City Theatre Artistic Director Tracy Brigden.

The Desired by Lana Meyer
Set in a Chicago brothel in 1911, The Desired is a colorful portrait of a group of women fighting for love and their own slice of the Windy City. Now in its second year, the Young Playwright Festival Alumni Reading offers a private developmental opportunity to a playwright produced in City’s nationally recognized contest. This year we are excited to feature the work of Lana Meyer, a two-time YPF Winner for her plays Roost (2012) and A Cradle of Beliefs (2011).

I Get Restless by Caroline V. McGraw
Hazel has just lost ten years of her life. One moment they were there and the next she’s waking up in a hospital room newly married to a man she doesn’t know. In this sharp, quirky, exploration of love and memory, she tries to fit the pieces of her old life back together only to discover that the brain’s elasticity has its limits.

The White Chip by Sean Daniels
Sean is on top of the world: he’s married, has good friends, and is steps away from his dream job running one of the hottest theaters in the country. He also happens to be an alcoholic spinning out of control. The White Chip follows his life from first sip to first love, critical hit to critical care, all the way to rock bottom where he carves an unusual path to sobriety. This highly entertaining autobiographical tale from Sean Daniels (director of The Lion), is a wry and wild theatrical journey to recovery.

Questioning Color: Conversations about Race with Tami Dixon
How often do you think about your skin color? In what ways does skin color shape experience? In preparation for a new work about identity, playwright Tami Dixon (South Side Stories) will engage in one-on-one conversations with patrons during Momentum 17 to ask candid questions and explore how people come to perceive racial identity and experience whiteness.

Interested attendees can sign up in City’s lobby on Thursday from 6-7 p.m. and Friday between 5-6:30 p.m. Interviews will be scheduled on Saturday between 12-6 p.m. This is a special chance to be part of the artistic process.

City Connects/MOMENTUM
City Theatre extends its City Connects program beyond the season with the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. At all Momentum events, City will collect donations of toiletries for emergency kits the YWCA creates for trafficking and domestic violence shelters/organizations in the Southwestern PA region.

About the YWCA: Violence against women, in its many forms, has no demographic boundaries.  It is known to all age groups, all races, all religions, and all socioeconomic backgrounds.  A woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States, and 700,000 women are raped every year.  (Source: YWCA USA Week Without Violence.)
Throughout the year YWCA Greater Pittsburgh creates emergency kits for trafficking and domestic violence shelters/organizations in the SW PA region.  These kits contain new personal hygiene and toiletry items, sorted and stored in individual Ziploc bags, for safe and easy distribution to women and children at residential facilities and shelters. Items of greatest need include new/unused travel size toiletries, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, tissues, toothbrushes, combs, deodorant, etc.

Wednesday, May 31
The Desired by Lana Meyer
Closed reading
Directed by Spencer Whale
Thursday, June 1
7:00 p.m. – Citizens Market by Cori Thomas
Workshop presentation
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

Friday, June 2

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Happy Hour/Artists Meet & Greet with Urbanist Pittsburgh
Meet the artists behind the plays, enter giveaways, get a behind the scenes tour, and enjoy drink specials in the Gordon Lounge.

7:00 p.m. – I Get Restless by Caroline V. McGraw
Directed by Anya Martin

Saturday, June 3

12:00 - 6:00 p.m. – Questioning Color by Tami Dixon
Audience Interviews, sign up at City on Thursday & Friday during Momentum

2:00 p.m. – Citizens Market by Cori Thomas
Workshop presentation
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas

8:00 p.m. – The Consequences
Music & Lyrics by Nathan Leigh & Kyle Jarrow; Book by Kyle Jarrow
Workshop presentation
Directed by Tracy Brigden

Sunday, June 4

1:00 p.m. – The White Chip by Sean Daniels
Directed by Sheryl Kaller

Momentum 17 is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested. You may reserve tickets online or by calling the box office.

All readings take place at City Theatre, in the Rehearsal Hall or Lester Hamburg Studio. See event website for details.
City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side)
Patron parking is available in the lot across from the City Theatre entrance for $8.

412.431.CITY (2489) or