For more than 110 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in the Autumn of 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck assumed the position of Music Director.
With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, the PSO continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras. HarrisonParrott gave a warm welcome to the PSO in September 2011 when bringing them to the BBC Proms for two performances. Their programmes featured two major international soloists; Anne-Sophie Mutter (Rihm’s Gesungene Zeit) and Hélène Grimaud (Beethoven's Piano Concerto no.4) and under Manfred Honeck they gave stunning performances of the Fifth Symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Mahler.
“In Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, [Honeck] showed [the orchestra’s] range: from the strings, exquisitely mysterious pianissimos; bassoons with a warm burr; horns sounding so delicately that they seemed to come from another dimension.” (Evening Standard, September 2011)
“Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony had seemed a nice, solid way to round things off, but it allowed this fine orchestra to show what feats its brass could achieve, with a principal horn whose pianissimo control is simply miraculous.” (The Independent, September 2011)
“George Vosburgh[’s], the principal trumpeter of the Pittsburgh Symphony[,] (. His) rendition of the fierce funereal fanfare that launches Mahler’s Fifth symphony had the kind of blazing authority that made one’s jaw drop, and his burnished tone was so powerful is seemed to press against the walls. His three trumpeter colleagues were hardly less biting…” (The Daily Telegraph, September 2011)
“The horn section – led very much from the front by their excellent principal William Caballero – is one of the best in the business.” (The Guardian, September 2011)
“The Pittsburgh principals — especially violin, piccolo, trumpet and outstanding horn — tuned into Mutter’s song with true finesse. Manfred Honeck certainly had ensured excellent preparation for the intense listening required by Rihm in opening this Prom with the Act I prelude from Wagner’s Lohengrin. This evokes a host of angels descending to Earth with the Holy Grail, no less. And this orchestra’s distinctively hyperalert, tremulously sentient violins created a shimmering light, pierced by a noble horn solo of coppery gold. When it was time for Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, the orchestra — and Honeck — were on top form. These players can certainly do dynamic control and the subtlest of ensemble, as they confirmed in the symphony’s lightly suspended love-song of an adagietto. But they can also let rip when Honeck lets them.” (The Times, September 2011)
“It has been a wonderful weekend at the Proms, with the greatest American orchestra and the greatest European orchestra back-to-back.” (The Daily Telegraph)
"The Pittsburgh Symphony's mix of American bravura with European warmth is a quality that makes them the finest orchestra in the US" (The Guardian)
“...the most brilliantly virtuosic, immaculately calibrated and surpassingly musical concert of orchestral works heard at the Kennedy Center since the Berlin Philharmonic’s last visit.” (The Washington Post)