Conductors, soloists and composers involved in making great Pittsburgh Symphony performances talk about their music.

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Alice Sara Ott - May 18, 2023

Pianist Alice Sara Ott tells Jim Cunningham about her long association with the Edvard Grieg Concerto, playing it in Norway, visiting the Grieg House and playing his piano, recording it with Esa Pekka Salonen , her ten CDs for DG, growing up in Germany and home in Munich, her fashion sense and design work and how delighted she is to make her Pittsburgh debut.

Pablo Heras-Casado - May 18, 2023

Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado speaks with Jim Cunningham in the conductor’s dressing room after rehearsal on May 18, 2023 about the Stravinsky Rite of Spring and it’s ferocity, sense of danger and riot inducing nature which he recently recorded in France. He explains what composer Igor Stravinsky meant when he said Herbert von Karajan’s Rite of Spring featured a “Hootchie Kootchie tempo”; he speaks about his personal approach and about his recent recordings for Harmonia Mundi of Schumann, Schubert and Beethoven, his tour with the the Freiburg Orchestra, the Disrupt concert at Heinz Hall with the Riot theme and how to engage a younger audience for classical music.

Seong-Jin Cho - Apr 20, 2023

Korean born pianist Seong–Jin Cho returns to Heinz Hall and the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck April 21, 22 and 23 2023 in the Ravel Piano Concerto in G. He’s played it many times for a pianist who is 28 years old and in this conversation with Jim Cunningham, explains the special moments of the French masterpiece. Fresh from his solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York where he played music by Handel featured on his latest DG cd, Seong-Jin shares what he’s working on for concerts in the near future and the high wire debut at Carnegie Hall with the Vienna Philharmonic when Denis Matsuev and Valery Gergiev withdrew from the program on short notice. Berlin is his home these days but he gets back to his birthplace often where classical music is thriving.

Holocaust Remembrance Concert - Apr 18, 2023

Members of the Pittsburgh Symphony including David McCarroll,  Concetmaser; Tatjana Mead Chamis, viola; Dylan Naroff, violin; and cellist Angela Park joined Jim Cunningham to discuss their performance of suppressed composers including Gideon Klein, Erwin Schulhoff and Mieceslaw Weinberg in the Chatham University Chapel, 7pm on April 18.  Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the cornerstone program of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. It is the day set aside to remember the approximately six-million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust Center’s annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration is a solemn community gathering. This year,  in addition to a concert, the evening will include a candle lighting ceremony, with additional candles lit in honor of the Liberators, Veterans, and the  non-Jews who risked their lives to save the lives of their Jewish friends and neighbors; a film produced by Chatham University students featuring local survivors; and a memorial for local survivors who have passed away. 

Jader Bignamini - Apr 14, 2023

Jader Bignamini makes his Pittsburgh Symphony debut with Shostakovich Tenth Symphony and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto played by Kiril Gerstein - April 14th and 16th, 2023 with a special Disrupt concert on the 15th with a more casual concert presentation. Maestro Bignamini speaks about the Tenth and Beethoven, plus gives Jim Cunningham a summary of his early years in Crema, Italy not far from Cremona. He says he is delighted to make several debuts this season and is enjoying his second full season in Detroit as Music Director. 

Intermission Interviews - 3/31/23 - Mar 31, 2023

Jim Cunningham spoke with Guest Conductor Daniele Rustioni and pianist Francesco Piemontesi during intermission of WQED-FM's live broadcast of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on March 31, 2023.   

Daniele Rustioni - Mar 30, 2023

Daniele Rustioni makes his Heinz Hall debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony March 31st and April 2nd with Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the Brahms First Piano Concerto with Francesco Piemontesi, and Unsuk Chin’s "Subito Con Forza." It’s a high wire act because he is also conducting the Metropolitan Opera’s Falstaff during the same weekend with a Saturday matinee live broadcast on radio and to theaters with the HD series.  He told the orchestra his Mother will be watching in Italy so it must be good!  He flew to Pittsburgh on Thursday morning for rehearsal and he will fly to New York after the Friday performance at Heinz Hall for the Saturday Met Falstaff which begins with an early curtain. Then he returns to Pittsburgh for Sunday afternoon. His friend and mentor Gianadrea Noseda had done something similar a few years ago. Daniele tells Jim Cunningham about his admiration for Italian conductor Victor de Sabata who made his American debut in Pittsburgh at the Syria Mosque.  Daniele Rustioni was born in Milan and studied at the Conservatory there. He is married to Francesca Dego and they recoded the Violin Concerto by Ermanno Wolf Ferrari and the Mozart Violin Concertos. About his Falstaff at the Met, Patrick Dillon in Opera Canada wrote: “The not-quite-forty-year-old Milanese has been making ever-increasing waves in the world’s opera houses and concert halls, and at the Met this season he took the virtuosic house band out of the pit and onto the stage of Carnegie Hall for Bartók and Stravinsky before helming the current string of Falstaff's. Everything about his deft, graceful, shipshape account of this infinitely rewarding score seemed unobtrusively right.”