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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
May 16, 2012
About This Performance
Through Music for the Spirit, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra demonstrates its deep commitment to the power of music to promote and spread a spiritual and universal message.
“It is hard to separate music from spirituality as it can be said that music always has a certain spiritual aspect. Even though music is most often without words, it has a tremendous power to reach and touch the human spirit in amazing ways. Music, in this sense, transcends time, places, boundaries and even language.
One must wonder-- how can it be that a Buddhist can be touched so deeply by the Mozart Requiem when the Requiem is absolutely reflective of Christian understanding and experience? How can it be that Reza Vali's Persian-inspired "The Being of Love" moves so many people and takes them on such a powerful spiritual journey? How could Gustav Mahler, a Jewish composer living in a Christian area, write music that could speak so powerfully to both faiths?
In all cases, it is music that is the language and absolute unifying element. Music provides understanding between humans. Music can help to foster peace where this hostility, fear or suspicion. Music serves as a bridge between one person and another. It is through music that we can learn from each other, foster connections between people, spread understanding and learn to respect each other's beliefs and values. Not only do we expand our own individual horizons and learn about other faiths and ways of life, but it is also through music that we begin to see what we all have in common. No matter where we come from, or whatever beliefs that we hold, there are certain universal and essential aspects to human existence. From the beginning of time, spirituality has been one of those. Spirituality is always a big part of the human experience. In this sense, music transmits and reflects a higher purpose, something that is unifying and universal.” -Manfred Honeck
Music for the Spirit History
On January 17, 2004, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for a pope. The concert celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s papacy and honored the Pope’s lifelong commitment to interfaith understanding and reconciliation of the Christians, Jews and Muslims. That unprecedented opportunity remains one of the most significant events in the PSO’s history and demonstrated the power of music to promote dialogue across religious traditions.
From that great beginning, a partnership has developed between the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the faith communities in Pittsburgh to continue performing concerts that celebrate the spiritual and universal message of music, thus Music for the Spirit was created. PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck is deeply committed to and excited about Music for the Spirit. Each season the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plans to perform two concerts of music with spiritual roots. One concert will be at Heinz Hall on one of the PSO’s BNY Mellon Grand Classics subscription weekends. The second concert will be in the community and will rotate venues bringing the PSO and Music for the Spirit to churches, synagogues, mosques and community centers.
The repertoire for the concerts will vary each season, but will feature spiritual works appealing to all music lovers regardless of their faith tradition. Throughout the year, there are also plans to offer programs in the community that will deeply impact the spiritual and musical lives of Pittsburghers.
This season, our Messiah performances (December 2-4, 2011) and Brahms Requiem/ Dvorak Biblical Songs performances (February 3-5, 2012) are part of our Music for the Spirit program. We are also pleased to announce that our community concert will take place on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Rodef Shalom featuring the PSO led by Music Director Manfred Honeck.
In addition, there are three Music for the Spirit ancillary events planned for the 2011-2012 season.
-Book club- Will take place at Rodef Shalom and additional sites, TBA
-Manfred speaking engagement- Manfred will talk about Music for the Spirit and his faith, location TBA
-Chamber music concert, date and location TBA
"Music brings us together no matter our differences. Music transcends eras, cultures and a million different peoples as it speaks to the heart and gives us hope. Music for the Spirit has been a timeless means to bring together our diverse community in Pittsburgh to lift up our spirits, to touch our souls, to give us a glimpse of the eternal in our transient world. The Catholic Church of Pittsburgh has been so very proud to be a part of Music for the Spirit since its very beginning. We look forward to be a part of this wonderful ecumenical and interfaith effort for years to come." – Bishop David A. Zubik, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
"The PSO’s Music for the Spirit Program is such an important addition to both our community’s cultural fabric and to the interior life of all our people; and this is true irrespective of our respective religious (or non-religious) orientations. After all, as human beings, we clearly share more in common with one another than that which differentiates us. And the ways in which the PSO’s Music for the Spirit Program reflects the intangible, invisible, moving parts of our hearts and souls, coupled with the ways in which our interior lives resonate to music proves the point. Appreciating "fear and faith and song go together," this program transcends religious difference, theology and ritual, serving instead to unite our entire community in bonds of universal and spiritual fellowship. Bravo, Maestro Honeck! Bravo PSO!" – Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Senior Rabbi of Rodef Shalom Congregation
"The Church and Her people have sung their sacred texts, from the Psalms of Hebrew scripture to the Magnificat, Benedictus and Nunc Dimittis (Luke 1: 46-55; 1:68-79; 2:29-32) of the New Testament as a way to make those texts come alive as a personal expression of one’s faith. Music has a way of lifting one’s spirit to experience that which is transcendent. With hymn and chant, accompanied by lute and harp or massive pipe organ, music has a way of joining heaven and earth in a single melody. Music for the Spirit will be a wonderful means of engaging the transcendent with the listeners from all of our Abrahamic traditions." – Reverend Donald Green, Executive Director of the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania
Support for Music for the Spirit is provided by:
Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Donahue
Susan and Roy Dorrance
Mary and Jim Murdy
Maureen S. O’Brien
Catharine M. Ryan and John T. Ryan III
Music for the Spirit Committee
Richard P. Simmons
Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Pastor Donald Green
Father Ronald Lengwin
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