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Example research essay topic: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - 1,585 words

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... phonies of Gyrowetz and Haydn, and to study such other scores as were available I nthe incipiently cultured Boston that day. Soon thereafter every other city also sprouted its musical organization. Philadelphia, Cincinatti, St. Louis, San Francisco, and other communities as they attained a modicum of wealth and leisure attracted German and French immigrants to perform in the orchestras. Further development of the American orchestra should be attributed to visiting tours of European great orchestras. Germania Orchestra, having gained initial and greatest success in Boston responded to a demand from cities as far west as Beethoven and played Beethoven to sold out audiences.

Members of this group later scattered to city orchestras from Boston to Chicago thereby continuing the work of fructifying American musical culture to its everlasting benefit. American ballet evolution continued with the life of Theodore Thomas, who started out a as an 18-yr old violinist in the New York Philarmonic. As a conductor, Thomas was the first modern conductor to completely fulfill the promise of symphonic ideals. As his first venture he found a permanent orchestra that performed in New Yorks central park. Then this group migrated throughout East Coast and Chicago wetting the appetite of the audiences for the disciplined performances. Financially these orchestras for the most part were either cooperative systems as was the case of New York Philarmonic or the private enterprise of the Theodore Thomas orchestras.

The first orchestra to profit from unlimited philanthropy was the Boston orchestra. It was modeled on the court of troupes of Europe and was established, owned, and administered by one man who looked upon and treated his musicians as his salaried employees. The Pittsburgh Symphony, originally called Pittsburgh Orchestra was founded in 1895 with the support of 25 public spirited citizens in the Art society of Pittsburgh. Fifty two instrumentalists were recruited from several smaller defunct orchestras. Concerts were given in the newly built Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland under the direction of Frederick Archer. For the first three years the orchestra played 10 pairs of concerts each season in addition to special or tour concerts.

Victor Herbert took over conducting duties in 1898, while the orchestra added 15 new players and changed the type of programming. In 1904 Emil Paur, who enjoyed 15 successful years as a director, succeeded Herbert. During his reign PSO presented almost 1000 concerts and was classed as third in artistic importance in America, behind Boston and Chicago. Early history of PSO was marred by financial troubles. By 1907 dwindling public support created severe financial troubles for the orchestra. In 1910 The Art society of Pittsburgh withdrew its support and faced with very large debt orchestra disbanded.

Same year Pittsburgh Orchestra Association organized to try to reestablish the orchestra. Another attempt was made in 1916, but little accomplished. Local music was yielding to the orchestra at the nearby Carnegie Institute of Technology. Pittsburgh Symphony opened again in 1926 in Syria Mosque in Oakland. The orchestras conductor was Antonio Modarelli had many guest conductors visit between 1930 and 1937: Walter Damrosch, Eugene Goossens, and others. The orchestra made its first series of radio broadcasts beginning in 1936.

By 1937 it enjoyed national coverage. In 1937 Fritz Reiner was appointed permanent conductor. During his 10 years in that position he restores the ensembles former prestige and once again PSO ranked among the nations major orchestras. By 1944 season orchestra has expanded to 121 people, more than doubling original number of 52. This number grew to over 200 by mid 80s. In 1944-1945 season the orchestra performed 107 programs, including a two-month tour, seven popular programs, and concerts for young people.

In 1948 financial difficulties once again affected Pittsburgh Symphony. The season was reduced from 28 to 25 weeks, Fritz Reiner quit and was replaced by Vladimir Bakaleinikoff as acting musical director. In 1952 William Steinberg was hired as permanent conductor and remained as such until his retirement in 1976. Steinbergs reign was a period of stability for the orchestra without any major financial crises. During this period orchestra toured all major U.S. cities, Europe and Japan. In the early 1960s Henry Heinz II and other prominent Pittsburghers were discussing the possibility of finiding a new home for the orchestra.

The fear of future deficits obviated one ideal location adjacent to Civic arena and a further search located Loews Penn Theater in downtown Pittsburgh, which was scheduled for demolition. In 1968 decision was made to purchase and renovate the structure as a multifunction hall for performing arts. Work began in May 1970 and inaugural concert took place on September 11, 1971. The new hall was named Heinz Hall for Performing arts. It has 2850 seats and excellent acoustics. During Steinberg years the PSOs programming emphasized the nineteenth century Germanic composers.

Andre Previn, who was the conductor from 1976 to 1984, changed the repertoire to include works by English and Russian masters. While Previn was the conductor the orchestra developed cleaner playing, clearer textures, and greater discipline. The orchestra gained national recognition through televised series Previn in Pittsburgh Following Previn's departure in 1984, Lorin Maazel agreed to act as Music Consultant while the Orchestra sought a permanent Music Director. He was offered and accepted that position in 1988, having already dazzled the world and won the hearts of the players in the course of numerous guest appearances and three acclaimed tours. The musical legacy of Maazel's artistic leadership is an Orchestra built upon the multifaceted talents of virtuosic players. For years to come, the high artistic standards inspired by this greatest of living American conductors will be upheld within the Orchestra.

Also under Maestro Maazel's direction, the PSO commissioned several works to showcase principal players. The first was the Benjamin Lees Hom Concerto, which premiered on May 14,1992 and was performed later that year on the PSO's European tour by William Caballero. Four commissions followed: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra for Nancy Goeres, Leonardo Balada's Music for Oboe and Orchestra for Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, Rodion Shchedrin's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra for George Vosburgh, Roberto Sierra's Evocaciones and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, and David Stock's Violin Concerto for Andrs Crdenes. On April 10, 1995, the Orchestra announced the appointment of Mariss Jansons to succeed Maazel in 1996. As eighth Music Director of the PSO, he will usher in the next century of extraordinary music making. His performances and recordings with the Oslo Philharmonic, the St.

Petersburg (formerly the Leningrad) Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic led the London Times to call him "one of the most exciting conductors in the world today." The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, now in its 105th season, is under the exciting leadership of Music Director Mariss Jansons. With its noble heritage of the finest conductors and musicians and its strong commitment to artistic quality and excellence, audiences around the world have claimed the PSO as their orchestra of choice. Most recently Mariss Jansons and the Orchestra completed the 2000 European "Bringing Pittsburgh to the World" residency tour, performing to critical acclaim in such cities as Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna and London. At home in Pittsburgh's elegant Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, the Orchestra offers 22 weeks of subscription concerts annually and a Pops series of seven weekends. The PSO continues to offer the innovative series Soundbytes, three concerts for music lovers who want to learn about the classics. The Orchestra also performs free of charge education concerts for students in preschool to grade 6. The Fiddlesticks concerts, featuring the PSO's feline "Ambassador to Children," are enjoying immense popularity and have expanded to a three-concert series. In addition, the PSO stages summer, free-admission concerts in area parks, plus a series of year-round community outreach concerts throughout western Pennsylvania.

Since 1982 the Pittsburgh Symphony has received increased national attention through its annual series of network radio broadcasts by Public Radio International. The PRI series is produced by WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh and is made possible by a grant from the H. J. Heinz Company Foundation and musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Starting with the release of its first commercial recording in 1941, the Orchestra has made hundreds of critically acclaimed discs. Pittsburgh Symphony recordings are available on the Angel, CBS, Philips, MCA, New World, Nonesuch, Sony Classical and Telarc labels. The Orchestra, with Lorin Maazel conducting and Yo-Yo Ma as cello soloist, won a 1992 Grammy award for a Sony Classical disc featuring works by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

Another Sony Classical disc features David Zinman conducting Richard Danielpour's Concerto for Orchestra, a work commissioned by the PSO and given its world premiere performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony. And most recently, Cinema Serenade, a CD with John Williams conducting the PSO and Itzhak Perlman in performances of celebrated film scores, reached number one on the Billboard crossover chart. Today the Pittsburgh Symphony remains among the world's top orchestras, continually gathering more fans around the globe. Drawing upon musicians from five continents and music schools throughout the world, the Orchestra has assembled a cross section of musical talent. The Pittsburgh Symphony maintains a strict policy of nondiscrimination covering age, sex, sexual preference, race, religion, political affiliation and national origin. The only criterion for hiring is that the musicians you see have proven themselves to be among the world's finest. With Music Director Mariss Jansons at the artistic helm of the organization, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is ensured of its role in the lives of music lovers for generations to come. Bibliography: Bibliography 1. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.

Copyright 2000 Columbia University Press 2. The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music edited by Stanley Sadie Macmillan Press Ltd., London 3. The professional symphony orchestra in the United States, George Seltzer 4. Symphony Orchestra of United States, edited by Robert Craven 5. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra website. http://www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

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