Once upon a time, in the world of classical music, there lived the "Big Five." The term was used to lump together the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and our own Philadelphia Orchestra as the finest performing orchestras in the U.S.
But, over time, as other orchestras gained stature, both in performance and finances, the term became passe and no longer indicative of the American orchestral scene.
The Austrian-born conductor Manfred Hoeneck has led a storied life. His first exposure to music was through learning folk music on the traditional mid-European lute, the zither. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, his journey onward from the Vienna Philharmonic to Pittsburgh and beyond is reflected in a favorite symphony by a composer the conductor regards as a fellow traveler.
Join us this Sunday at 1 pm as Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, makes his eagerly anticipated Philadelphia Orchestra debut. The program features works by composers who were influenced by the music and spirit of Central European culture.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a genteel rivalry with its illustrious neighbor to the west, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Though not among the"Big Five" American orchestras, Pittsburgh is certainly in that league. And then there were those neck-and-neck European tours where Pittsburgh had more, and classier, dates than Philadelphia.