Pittsburgh Symphony: streaming American music from an airplane hangar

Posted on: January 26, 2021

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra brass musicians are filmed in a performance at the Washington Penn Plastics Hangar at the Washington County Airport in South Franklin, Pennsylvania for the PSO’s “Front Row” virtual concert series.

“Talk about social distancing. The brass and woodwinds sections of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performed in an airplane hangar in Washington County for sections of the latest episode of the digital series, ‘Front Row,’ ” writes Tyler Dague in Friday’s (1/22) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The PSO’s head of artistic planning, Mary Persin, wanted to create an all-American program for this first installment of a two-part episode, ‘For the People,’ envisioning the vastness, variety and possibilities of the landscapes of the U.S. The episode premiered Friday.… Musicians took over the Washington Penn Plastics Hangar at the Washington County Airport in South Franklin…. String musicians performed works back at Heinz Hall.” In addition to Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, whose “booming percussion filling the expansive hangar, … WQED-FM artistic director Jim Cunningham and Ms. Persin served as musical guides” for the program, which included music by Philip Glass, Libby Larsen, Jessie Montgomery, Anthony Plog, and Florence Price. “The second part of ‘For the People’ … includes more works by Ms. Larsen and Ms. Montgomery as well as Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower and her ‘Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,’ and ragtime great Scott Joplin.”