I have been playing cello for 21 years, since I was three years old. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, PA for a majority of my life and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been a constant joy and a profound positive influence. I had planned to attend the October 14, 2016 presentation of Dvorak’s “New World” for my first marriage anniversary. As disappointed as I was to make alternate plans, I could not disagree with management more on their handling of the situation and I support the musicians’ decision to stand together and defend the world-class talent that is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As a young cello student, each year I was given an opportunity to play in the lobby with my music school, the Center for Young Musicians. The vaulted ceilings and the echo of our instruments filled every inch of Heinz Hall and inspired us to keep playing, to keep learning. Afterwards, we of course had the opportunity to purchase tickets and hear that night’s performance. I played in Heinz Hall’s lobby 10 times over those years of schooling and each year I strived to learn a more advanced piece to impress the audience that gathered.
While it is understandable that management would want to immediately make a change to keep Heinz Hall open despite their deficit, I cannot emphasize enough the dedication it takes to become as talented as the musicians of PSO. They have spent a lifetime dedicated to their instrument, they spend hours each day practicing, and sacrifice their weekends to bring a few moments of inspiration to the people of Pittsburgh and those who travel to see them.
Do not make the mistake of undervaluing the musicians that have dedicated their talent to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Do not devalue the honor of having a world-class Symphony Orchestra in a city as intimate as Pittsburgh. Reconsider the numbers and find a way to value some of the most inspiring people this city has to offer.