PSO forced to end chamber orchestra
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Two years after the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra made a triumphant return to Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland with its chamber orchestra, it has dissolved the series. The PSO recently announced the loss of 11 administrative positions, but this is the first artistic casualty due to the economic downturn.
"This is an unfortunate but necessary decision in this economic environment," said Lawrence Tamburri, Pittsburgh Symphony president.
The final concerts of the PSO chamber orchestra series at Carnegie Music Hall and at Upper St. Clair High School will be April 23 and 25, respectively.
The PSO faced a two-front financial bind with the chamber orchestra.
One, it had to find a successor to concertmaster Andres Cardenes, who served as its lead programmer and conductor for 10 years but will leave after next season. He presided over the chamber orchestra's return in 2007 to Carnegie Music Hall, where the PSO first performed in 1896. The chamber orchestra series began in 1999 as Nuance, with concerts at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, and performs three main programs a year on a series.
"It was always the intent to replace Cardenes, but along comes the bad economy," said Jim Barthen, PSO spokesman.
The other predicament is the economic viability of presenting major concerts at Carnegie Music Hall and Upper St. Clair High School, where the series expanded in season 2007-08.
"We are evaluating each of our activities in light of what is important to the community and for maintaining artistic excellence within the economic realities," said Tamburri. "This means that some non-core activities may no longer be possible."