PSO to Premiere August Wilson Symphony




Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to Present World Premiere of Kathryn Bostic’s AUGUST WILSON SYMPHONY Narrated by Phylicia Rashad


by Laura Soldati
PITTSBURGH — On Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Grammy Award-winning conductor Lucas Richman and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will premiere Kathryn Bostic’s August Wilson Symphony. Through music, art and text, the program will include tributes to two Pittsburgh Hill District legacies, photographer Teenie Harris and playwright August Wilson, as well as a visual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Local artists and ensembles will also showcase talent in the Pittsburgh region. Tony Award-winning actress, Phylicia Rashad, will narrate. Tickets are $25-$65 and are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org or by calling (412) 392-4900.
Composed by Kathryn Bostic, the August Wilson Symphony pays tribute to the iconic playwright with music inspired by the five plays Wilson wrote based on his life experiences growing up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Phylicia Rashad will be the host and narrator for the concert. Ms. Rashad will read passages from August Wilson’s plays before each movement.
Kathryn Bostic scored several August Wilson plays including Gem of the Ocean (Broadway), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (directed by Phylicia Rashad), and Radio Golf. The August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh hired her to score and sound design scenes from his plays in the 2011 August in August tribute to the playwright. Bostic also scored the PBS American Masters documentary August Wilson – The Ground on Which I Stand, which inspired her to create the August WilsoSymphony and will include narrated excerpts from his plays.
Also featured on the program is 14 year-old cellist, Ifetayo Ali, who was the Junior Division 1st Place Laureate of the 2017 Sphinx Competition, performing Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor. The program will also include pianist, composer, and vocalist, Kathryn Bostic, performing her own composition State of Grace, a tribute to playwright August Wilson. A percussion ensemble from the Pittsburgh Cultural Arts Collective, under the direction of Thomas Chatman, will open the program, followed by vocalist Anqwenique who will perform Take My Hand, Precious Lord.
A jazz combo will perform a piece about Teenie Harris called Teenie Time by Jay Ashby that will feature the PSO’s Jeffrey Grubbs on contrabass and Victoria Luperi on clarinet. The Hill District Unity Choir led by Director Jason Washington will close the concert with a special arrangement of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Richard Smallwood’s An Anthem of Praise.
Before the concert, audiences are invited to come to exhibits and pre-concert presentations throughout Heinz Hall. A jazz combo featuring Alton Merrell, Jeffrey Grubbs, James Johnson III, and Anqwenique will play in the Grand Lobby following the concert.
This concert marks a re-launch of a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Hill District community.
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The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania for its supporting partnership of this concert.  This concert is also generously supported by Macedonia FACE.