The Pittsburgh Symphony and The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, under the direction of Maestro Manfred Honeck will perform the St. John Passion at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5 at Saint Vincent Basilica.
A pre-concert reception for the benefit the Children of St. Joan Margaret School for Blind and Deaf in Haiti will be held at the Fred Rogers Center on the Saint Vincent campus at 5:30 p.m.
Bach’s St. John Passion is a sacred oratorio using scripture from the Gospel of John. It was composed for the Good Friday Vespers in Leipzig in 1724. Honeck will offer a semi-staged representation of this profound work. With the assistance of stage director Samuel Helfrich, guest vocalists and The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Symphony and Maestro Honeck will showcase this work and its testimony to the power of music to transcend time and place. The performance will feature Martin Lattke, tenor (Evangelist); Paul Armin Edelmann, bass (Christus); Sunhae Im, soprano; Andrey Nemzer, counter tenor; and Thomas Cooley, tenor; Lucas Meachem, baritone.
Maestro Honeck and members of the symphony will make a guest appearance at the pre-concert benefit, along with Father Rick Frechette, a priest physician and missionary to Haiti who has served thousands of impoverished children and orphans for more than three decades in Haiti.
Both Honeck and Frechette have received honorary doctorates from Saint Vincent College for their accomplishments in their respective fields.
Father Rick is the director of medical services at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) St. Damien’s Hospital in Haiti and serves as NPH’s regional director of the Caribbean, the Haiti national director and a member of the NPH International Health Services team which oversees the medical needs of the children in nine countries including Bolivia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico. He is the author of a book, Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men, which was published by Transaction Publishers in 2012.
The 2010 devastating earthquake took the lives of seven students, three faculty members, and destroyed several buildings which provided a variety of academic, clinical and residential services for blind and deaf children at St. Joan Margaret School, which currently serves 110 boys and girls between the ages of seven and 15. The pre-concert reception will be for the benefit of the School for the Blind and Deaf operated by Father Rick.
For tickets, call 724-805-2177 or visit www.stvincent.edu/Symphony.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, celebrating 120 years of music making in the 2015-2016 season, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944 and John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series “Previn and the Pittsburgh.” The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900-including 36 international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America-the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.