In Thursday’s (9/10) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Andrew Druckenbrod writes, “Excellent harmony on and off stage has led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and music director Manfred Honeck to dramatically increase their commitment to each other. Yesterday, the orchestra announced that Mr. Honeck has agreed to exercise not one, but two options in his contract that will add five years to the Austrian conductor’s tenure. Mr. Honeck, whose initial three-year contract began in fall of 2008, will now remain in his post until at least 2015-16. … Beginning next season, Mr. Honeck also will increase his conducting weeks at Heinz Hall by one, for a total of 10, with additional weeks for touring. The terms of the agreement were not released. … The extension is unusual for its length and for how early it came in the conductor’s tenure. The two sides began talking last December—just three months after Mr. Honeck officially took the reins of the PSO, according to his agent, Lothar Schacke. ‘It is not business as usual, but it happens now and then,’ said Judith Kurnick, vice president for strategic communication for the League of American Orchestras. ‘It clearly shows a positive connection on both sides that is happening so early.’ ”

Photo credit: Jason Cohn

Posted September 10, 2009