On the occasion of his final visit as PSO Composer of the Year, Richard Danielpour talks about "Rocking the Cradle," his orchestral response to the sacrifice of war. He talks about his inspiration, the individual movements, his use of Tibetan bowls in the percussion, and his amazement at Manfred Honeck's intuitive understanding of this work.
The Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa made her PSO debut on short notice in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2. Jim Cunningham asks her about the composer's second, third and "fifth" concertos, secrets for playing Rachmaninoff well, "pop" versions of his themes, her home in North Carolina and her (jokingly) claimed identity as a "redneck" pianist.
Pianist Yefim Bronfman talks about his hometown of Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Beethoven's Piano Concerto #3, the composer as futurist, how he might have played his concertos, Mozart's influence on Beethoven, Bronfman's appearance on "Iron Chef," his teachers, favorite recent movies, stage fright, and more.
Guest Conductor Juraj Valcuha leads the PSO's first performances of Zemlinsky's The Mermaid. Valcuha talks about aspects of the music relating to Zemlinsky's love life. The Slovakian maestro also talks about his fondness for the cimbalom and early 20th century music, gives an update on his career, and compares Beethoven's Piano Concertos.
The English pianist makes his long-overdue debut with the PSO in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #2. He talks about the composer's concertos, and his understanding of the latest evidence surrounding Tchaikovsky's death. He also talks about his blog, and topics from Catholicism to practice tips.
Guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier talks about Berlioz' Harold in Italy, based on the literary character by Lord Byron and featuring the viola as "Harold," and about Holst's The Planets, which Tortelier learned during his father's career in England. Tortelier also mentions his new relationship with Brazil's Sao Paulo State Orchestra.
Pianist Benjamin Hochman talks about Mozart's lesser-played Concerto #19, Mozart's cadenzas, developing his Mozart style, his influences such as pianist Edwin Fischer, his studies in Israel,
Pianist Jonathan Biss talks about Brahms' second piano concerto; the love triangle involving Brahms and Clara & Robert Schumann, recording 'live' at Wigmore Hall in London, touring, appearing with the Concertgebouw and Cleveland orchestras; and his parents, violinist Miriam Fried and violist Paul Biss.
Noseda conducts a Liszt transcription, a personal favorite Haydn Symphony, and Brahms' Piano Concerto #2 with Jonathan Biss in week 1. On the menu for week 2: Rossini, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and he'll roll up his sleeves to cook with his friend, celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich, on WQED-HD.
Baritone Gregg Baker, who sang Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Asia with the Pittsburgh Symphony last year, returns to portray three great black baseball pioneers in Richard Danielpour's Pastime with Leonard Slatkin conducting. Baker also talks about Danielpour's 2005 opera, Margaret Garner, in which he created the role of Robert.