Manfred Honeck

Music Director, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Biography

Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/2009 season. The 2017/2018 season will mark ten years of  this acclaimed partnership and in honour of the occasion in Pittsburgh, three of the programmes throughout the year will feature a special commission to commemorate this decade of successful music-making. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad and regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have also built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. Following a week-long residency in 2012, they returned for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016.  Their next tour, in summer 2017, will again lead them to Europe’s most prestigious music festivals, including the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival.

Manfred Honeck’s successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference and Exton labels.  All SACDs released by Reference Recordings, amongst them Strauss tone poems and suites, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and, most recently, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, have received numerous rave reviews and honours. The recording of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček’s opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by the artist himself, was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was Bruckner’s Fourth. Several recordings, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.

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Reviews

“The Pittsburgh/Honeck Beethoven album reaches the shortlist of this century’s great Beethoven symphony recordings. You don’t often find yourself learning new things, and hearing new angles, in music as well-worn as Beethoven’s Fifth. That is what makes this such a special experience.”

Brian Reinhart

Presto Classical

“Honeck’s conducting treats tempo and dynamics flexibly, naturally, and seamlessly […] a stylish, splendidly played interpretation of a kind all too rare today. In the cluttered mess that is the world of classical recordings today, Honeck and Pittsburgh stand virtually alone as a partnership truly worthy of your time and attention.”

David Hurwitz

Classics Today

More Reviews

“With restrained passion Honeck resists the temptation to wallow and there is a gloriously temperamental power that one feels might explode at any moment… The way Honeck builds up the orchestral weight and volume is compellingly dramatic. Honeck and his Pittsburgh players obtain a maelstrom of emotions that can leave the listener crushed. ”

Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International 

“The Pittsburgh/Honeck Beethoven album reaches the shortlist of this century’s great Beethoven symphony recordings. You don’t often find yourself learning new things, and hearing new angles, in music as well-worn as Beethoven’s Fifth. That is what makes this such a special experience.”

Brian Reinhart, Presto Classical 

“Honeck’s conducting treats tempo and dynamics flexibly, naturally, and seamlessly […] a stylish, splendidly played interpretation of a kind all too rare today. In the cluttered mess that is the world of classical recordings today, Honeck and Pittsburgh stand virtually alone as a partnership truly worthy of your time and attention.”

Review by: David Hurwitz, Classics Today 

“Let’s be very clear here; this is what Strauss should sound like. […] It’s not all virtuoso bombast, either […] Honeck infuses the music with a real sense of purpose throughout the programme. […] Thus the climaxes are genuinely exciting; the transfiguration is beyond gorgeous and there is every feeling that this is something very special. […] It’;s like Karajan’s classic readings, only in better sound and a more natural orchestral picture. Fantastic. ”

Brian Wigman, www.classical.net

“[Mozart’s Jupiter symphony] received a performance close to ideal. Drama told through maintenance of line and understanding of harmonic rhythm, not via any applied ‘effects’. The LSO’s playing from all sections was beyond reproach, dark not sugary, counterpoint unerringly projected. Honeck and the orchestra combined the intimacy of chamber music with the dramatic urgency of the opera house […] the LSO clearly loved playing with Honeck, and rightly so, for this was quite a debut, with Mozart surely the cruellest test of all. ”

Mark Berry, Seen and Heard International

“[Manfred Honeck’s] interpretations hark back to a time when the rules were fewer and the colours brighter. His Mahler Five steered clear of the sleep-inducing modern fixations with orchestral homogeneity and tastefulness and instead jumped right off the deep end.”

Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The ArtsDesk

“Going through a musical score with Mr. Honeck is like visiting a tourist attraction with an expert local guide. He constantly points out things that have been long forgotten or interprets them in a way that seems utterly appropriate.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

“The new recording of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 by Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is exceptionally compelling, featuring true individuality, committed playing and demonstration-quality sound.”

Mark Kanny, TribLive