Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, June 7, 2018 @ 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Free RSVP 2018-06-07 8 p.m. 2018-06-07 10 p.m. America/New_York Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212 Alphabet City

Join us for From Persia to Pittsburgh, an evening of music featuring guest musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra playing the music of composer Reza Vali. 

PSO cellist Mikhail Istomin, with Rodrigo Ojeda on piano, will perform 8 Persian Folk Songs for Cello and Piano by Vali. The program will celebrate the history and culture of Iran.

The session will be facilitated by Andrés Franco, Associate Conductor of the PSO, and will highlight the BNY Mellon Grand Classics concert on June 8 and 10, 2018, which will feature the world premiere of Reza Vali’s piece Isfahan.

Poets and writers curated by City of Asylum will read throughout the program. This series has encompassed five sessions that have been a true community collaboration and a creative intersection of music, art, literature, and spoken word. Stay tuned for information regarding the 2018-19 series!


Featured Musicians:

Starting his third season as Music Director of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony, ANDRÉS FRANCO continues to delight audiences with his imaginative programming and energetic style. Mr. Franco also serves as Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and continues to appear as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Columbus, Elgin, El Paso, Eugene, Fort Worth, Houston, Mississippi, Springfield, St. Louis and Stockton symphonies; the philharmonic orchestras of Boise and Oklahoma City; and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Outside the U.S., Mr. Franco has conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León/Spain; the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru; in addition to the National Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic, Medellin Philharmonic and EAFIT Symphony Orchestra in Colombia. He has also appeared at the Cabrillo, Grant Park, OK Mozart, Oregon Bach, and Texas Music festivals.

Born and educated in Russia, Mikhail Istomin holds a Master of Music degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. While still in school, he became Principal Cellist of the State Hermitage Orchestra under the direction of Saulus Sondetskis and later joined the orchestra of the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre under Valery Gergiev. In 1987, Istomin became the cellist of the Leningrad Conservatory String Quartet, and in 1989 the group won the grand prize in the National Soviet Union Competition of String Quartets. Later that same year, Istomin defected during the quartet’s US tour, and was granted political asylum in the United States. Immediately following these events, Istomin joined the Richmond Symphony and became a faculty member of both Virginia State University and the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts at the University of Richmond. Istomin was appointed Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater orchestras in 1991, and the following year he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Lorin Maazel.

Venezuelan born pianist Rodrigo Ojeda began his piano studies at the age of ten.  He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in piano performance at the IUDEM (Institute of Musical Studies) in 1997 under Arnaldo Pizzolante.  In 1999 he went on to complete his graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University with Enrique Graf where he also remained to complete his Artist Diploma certificate. Mr. Ojeda has performed on master classes with such notable pianists as Kasimierz Giesrod ( former rector of the Frederic Chopin Academy in Warsaw ), Marek Joblonsky, Georgy Sandor, Marta Gulyas, and Earl Wild.  His solo recitals include performances throughout Venezuela, Ecuador and most recently in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.  He has performed concerti from an expansive repertoire of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Gershwin, Grieg, Schumann, Mozart, Lizt (Totentanz), Cesar Frank and Prokofiev.


Featured Writers:

Toi Derricotte‘s most recent book is the Undertaker’s Daughter.  Her honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement and the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The New Yorker and Poetry. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem in 1996.  She serves on the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors.

Pat Hart writes plays, monologues, short stories, and novels. Playwriting credits include “Book Wench” a one-act play, performed at the Strawberry One-Act Festival, Summer 2015, New York, New York. Published short stories include “The Vigil,” The Writing Disorder (Fall 2015), “New Wife vs. Old Wife, a love story,” (2015) and “Dragon Boogers” novel excerpt (2016) in Voices in the Attic, and “Spider Ball,” Rune (May 2015). Pat has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and is the founder of Free Association, a reading series for established and emerging writers in Pittsburgh. She is currently working on a novel set in Pittsburgh and Burma during the 1920s.

Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. His memoir, SCHOOLHOUSE: Lessons on Love & Landscape, came out from Ice Cube Press in 2016. He’s won a Raymond Carver Short Story Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and been noted in Best American Essays. He teaches at Chatham University, edits The Fourth River, and is at work on a new novel, HOUDINI’S HEIRS.


Asieh Amini, poet, journalist, and activist, was born in 1973 in Iran. She studied Journalism at Allameh Tabatabaie University in Tehran, and master at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Culture Studies (Equality and Diversity). She worked for several newspapers and magazines when she lived in Tehran. Asieh’s fight against execution and for women’s rights garnered attention in human rights communities and imposed hardships on her as well. She achieved Human Rights Watch’s Hellmann/Hammett award (2009), the Oxfam Novib/PEN award (2012), and the Ord i Grenseland Prize (2014).

Following a controversial election in 2009, Asieh Amini left Iran and came to Norway as an ICORN’s guest-writer in Trondheim. She has published three poetry books in Iran and Norway and continues her struggle for freedom of expression in cooperation with Norwegian PEN as a board member of directors (2016- 2018).

Event Details

June 7, 2018 @ 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

Newsletter Signup