Pittsburgh Symphony musicians find silver linings in virtual concerts, while longing for in-person return

Posted on: April 5, 2021

“Musicians in Pittsburgh, like artists everywhere, had to learn to live without in-person concerts and play from behind a screen when the pandemic arrived,” writes Sydney Roach in Friday’s (4/2) WESA radio (Pittsburgh). “While many say they’re excited to return to the stage, they did discover some surprising upsides to performing online. Lorna McGhee, the principal flautist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, said, … ‘You just hope you don’t mess it up [and] your microphone is working.’ She later learned to appreciate … technology, since it allowed her to work with peers in her home country of Britain…. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Irene Cheng said playing online opened her up to playing music outside of her normal repertoire. ‘I would never have searched out certain composers [or] play serious duos with one of my best friends from the orchestra,’ Cheng said…. She misses the audience … ‘but I think most of all, we musicians who play together so much and travel together and basically know each other so well, it’s more like missing a family.’ She said the next time the PSO family gets together in-person to play after an entire year mostly online will be ‘very emotional.’ ”