It’s the most wonderful time of the year—a spectacular concert of holiday music for the whole family. Take a “Sleigh Ride” with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Broadway sensation Ryan Silverman, and Santa Claus, too! It’s Pittsburgh’s favorite holiday tradition.
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Hailed as one of the finest choruses in the country, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP) is proud of its long artistic partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and looks forward to another exciting season at Heinz Hall. Primarily a volunteer chorus, the Mendelssohn Choir is composed of more than 100+ singers whose passion and commitment enables them to perform alongside the world’s greatest musicians. In addition to its performances with the PSO, the Mendelssohn Choir produces its own community concerts and provides professional choral instruction to talented young people through the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.
MCP is committed to offering a mix of traditional and innovative choral performances to maintain the vitality and relevance of the choral art. Under its new music director, Matthew Mehaffey — MCP’s seventh music director in its 109-year history, MCP looks forward to bringing Pittsburgh audiences more concert experiences such as “The Music of Downton Abbey” (October 2016) and the Pittsburgh premiere of Annelies, a choral work based on the Diary of Anne Frank, (February 2017). Last summer, MCP partnered with composer/conductor Steven Hackman to perform “Defying Gravity,” a concert of Hackman’s arrangements and choral mash-ups at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The concert was Hackman’s premiere performance at the Arts Festival and was MCP’s first appearance on the Festival’s mainstage after a 40-year hiatus. MCP and Hackman later performed the “Defying Gravity” concert at Oglebay, West Virginia.
For 26 years, MCP was privileged to call Robert Page (1927-2016) its music director. A legendary choral conductor, arranger and musician, Page transformed the choral field as well as the institutions he was a part of such as the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. He will be remembered as a champion for symphonic choruses to have the respect that they deserve as performers. But most of all, he will be remembered by the Mendelssohn’s extended family of singers as someone who inspired and touched their lives through his music, his friendship, his mentorship and his larger-than-life personality. As individuals, and as an organization we are better for having known Page.
As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s “chorus of choice,” the Mendelssohn Choir has performed with some of the world’s foremost conductors including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Manfred Honeck. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI.
Committed to fostering the choral art form, the Mendelssohn Choir has numerous recordings, commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. The Choir’s most recent recording released in fall 2011 is Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh with Manfred Honeck conducting.
For more information on the Mendelssohn and Junior Mendelssohn Choirs and upcoming performances go to themendelssohn.org.
RYAN SILVERMAN recently starred in Side Show on Broadway for which he received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor. Other Broadway credits include star turns as Billy Flynn in Chicago and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Silverman received Drama Desk and Drama League nomination for his performance as Giorgio in CSC’s production of Passion. He has appeared at the Kennedy Center as Sir Lancelot alongside Brian Stokes Mitchell in Camelot and as Terry Connor in Side Show. Internationally, Silverman has starred in the Theatre du Chatelet’s acclaimed production of Passion opposite Natalie Dessay and as Tony in the Olivier nominated 2008 West End production of West Side Story. Silverman has also been featured in Music in the Air at Encores!; Cry-Baby on Broadway, Finian’s Rainbow (Irish Repertory Theater), and The Most Happy Fella at New York City Opera. He recently made his debut at Papermill starring in Ken Ludwig’s play, A Comedy of Tenors. Silverman starred as Sky in the first national tour of Mamma Mia!, and Jose in the world premiere of the new musical Carmen at La Jolla Playhouse. Silverman played the role of Rapunzel’s Prince in Into The Woods at the MUNY and was in the Chicago production of Wicked (Fiyero u/s). Regional credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy), Cinderella (Prince), Grease! (Danny), Hello Dolly! (Cornelius), Assassins (John Wilkes Booth), Sweeney Todd (Anthony), Forever Plaid (Smudge) and Blood Brothers (Eddie Lyons). TV and film credits include Gossip Girl, The 5 Minarets of New York, Sex and the City 2 and True Blood. Silverman has performed his club act the Café Carlyle (month-long residency) and Feinstein’s at the Regency. Concert performances include the New York Pops (Carnegie Hall), Seattle Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philly Pops, Vancouver Symphony, The Cincinnati Pops, Utah Symphony, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony and Edmonton Symphony, among others.
For more, ryansilverman.com and facebook.com/ryansilvermanonline