Tears, moment of silence, “Eli Eli” at Pittsburgh Symphony concert following mass shooting

Posted on: October 29, 2018

“Concerts around the city Saturday delayed their start … to allow time to reflect on the wounded spirit of Pittsburgh” following that day’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, writes Jeremy Reynolds in Sunday’s (10/28) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “At Heinz Hall … a small audience gathered to listen to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s first PSO360 concert of the season, which seats listeners onstage with a small group of musicians. The orchestra’s president and CEO Melia Tourangeau choked back tears in her opening remarks. An audience member comforted her: ‘It’s OK. We are here together. We will hear music.’ The PSO’s own Clarion Quartet opened the performance with a moment of silence before playing an arrangement of the Hebrew song ‘Eli Eli’ (‘My God, My God’). It was … added in response to the synagogue shooting earlier in the day … that left 11 people dead…. This performance, this hauntingly beautiful tune … was the most transcendental moment…. By the evening’s finale, Haydn’s Concerto in C major for Cello and Orchestra … no one had forgotten what had happened, this wasn’t about distraction. But somehow, everyone there seemed to feel just a little bit better.”

The following statement was posted on Saturday at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Facebook page. “ ‘This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’—Leonard Bernstein. We are saddened by the events that transpired today in our hometown at the Tree of Life synagogue. We dedicate our weekend concerts to all those impacted.”

Posted October 29, 2018

In photo: The intimate setting for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s PSO360 concerts.