Noah Bendix-Balgley is 27-years-old and just four weeks in his new job as Concertmaster for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts is pleased to announce that on Saturday night October 22nd at 7:00 PM Mr. Bendix-Balgley will join the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Players in the Grand Concert of The October MusicFest at historic Lincoln Hall. This year the third annual classical music festival will feature music of German composers and promises to be the high point of the fall season.
Mikhail Istomin the director of the Chamber Player is delighted to have Noah Bendix-Balgley join the Players for this concert….“he will add to the sweetness of the music, and I know he will be impressed with the intimate feel and wonderful acoustics of Lincoln Hall.” The German theme also has significance for Noah, was living in Munich, at the time he accepted the position of concertmaster.
According to Andrew Druckenbrod, of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette…”High on the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s wish list for a new concertmaster was a violinist who could lead the group forward while connecting to its illustrious past. No one envisioned the violinist also would connect to his own past in a remarkable way. It turns out the American violinist is not the first in his family to play in the group
Mr. Bendix-Balgley discovered his great-grandfather, Samuel J. Leventhal, played in the PSO under Victor Herbert, “He played under Brahms in Leipzig, Germany, and joined the PSO as a 20-year-old in 1900.”For the orchestra and music director steeped in the Austro-German tradition, it was welcome news and the Pittsburgh Symphony is very pleased with their choice. Orchestras often hire young concertmasters as they expect the person to stay for many years.
As reported by Mr. Druckenbrod, Mr. Manfred Honeck, the PSO music director said, “It goes without saying that a player for this position has to be technically brilliant, Mr. Bendix-Balgley intonation is very clear, his tone is rich and very expressive, but he never gets carried away. He is certainly one of the best of his generation.”
Leadership is as crucial a quality for a successful concertmaster as musicianship. “He is the artistic spokesman for the orchestra outside, and inside [the group], he must be the leader and be well-respected,” Mr. Honeck said during the search. “He must be a fantastic player and a charismatic personality that people will follow.”
Druckenbrod continued n “Concertmasters not only tune orchestras before performances and play solos within compositions, they do anything from establishing conformity in strings bowing direction to upholding artistic quality in all sections with other principal musicians.”
“The concertmaster connects the conductor to the orchestra,” said Mr. Bendix-Balgley, who will move to the region. “I really try, with my bow use and body movement, to bring out the music and what the conductor is looking for.”
Mr. Bendix-Balgley was a dark horse late entry for the position. Mr. Honeck’s violinist son Matthias brought him to the attention of the orchestra well into the search.”He was an unknown to us, but on further research appeared interesting, so he was invited to audition where he exceeded all expectations,” Mr. Honeck said.”It is not that he was hiding, but that his star hadn’t risen yet and our paths intersected at the right time,” said Robert Moir, the PSO’s vice president of artistic planning. It is ARCA’s hope that he will be happy to return time and again to perform at Lincoln Hall. Tickets are still available, and can be secured by calling 412-867-1816. Adults are $20.00 and students $10.00. Visit ARCA’s website www.alleghenyriverstone.org for other upcoming events