Honeck to lead symphony on tour of Asia in May

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The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will embark on a tour of Asia in May, including concerts in China for the first time in 22 years.

This first international tour with music director Manfred Honeck will open with two concerts May 14 and 15 in Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts. The $360 million complex constructed out of titanium and glass opened in 2007 and has been nicknamed "The Egg" for its shape. The PSO's only other visit to China came in in 1987, when Lorin Maazel was at the helm.

The PSO will then make its debut at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center on May 16. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson will solo in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," with other works including Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

"China is one of the great world economies and it is becoming one of the centers of Western art music," said PSO president Larry Tamburri. "As many as 50 million Chinese are studying the piano. To have China as a destination for the PSO is crucial."

The tour concludes with another debut, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in which the PSO will help to open the new World Games Stadium with a concert on May 20 ahead of the 2009 World Games in July. The program is Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" and the final movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

Joining the PSO on the Asia tour, as well as an already announced tour to Europe in September 2009 and 2010, will be the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. The tours are funded in part by the Hillman Endowment for International Performances.



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