In Saturday’s (5/30) Toronto Star, William Littler writes about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Manfred Honeck. “One constant during the pendulum swing of [Pittsburgh’s] prosperity has been the excellence of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra … Like other Rust Belt cities such as Cleveland and Detroit, Pittsburgh has long seen its orchestra as a point of civic pride, and even in the recent years of economic decline all three cities have continued to support their orchestras at financial levels unheard of in Canada … Curious to learn what all the fuss was about, I traveled to Pittsburgh recently to meet the maestro and hear a program of Mozart, Beethoven and Richard Strauss, and came away from the experience with a three letter response: Wow!” Littler calls Heinz Hall, the PSO’s venue, “one of the handsomest venues in North America,” and observes that “Honeck in person projects a decidedly unassuming persona, despite appearing decisive and animated on stage, where he presided over a couple of the most dramatically engaged readings of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration that I have heard in years.”

Posted June 2, 2009