Premiering Chris Massa


Chris Massa is the winner of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic’s 2017 Young Composer Contest, a competition designed to provide local composers under the age of 35 with the chance to showcase their talents with a full symphonic orchestra.

Born in 1981 and raised in Dover, PA, Chris Massa began percussion studies at the age of six, and began composing when he was sixteen. By the time he graduated from high school, he had performed at Westminster Cathedral, Carnegie Hall, and the White House. Chris graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University, where he studied composition with Robert Maggio and Larry Nelson.

Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Chris has worked with many of area’s leading independent artists, including Brad Yoder, Ben Hardt, Joy Ike, Autumn Ayers, Boulevard of the Allies, and Yours Truly. He is also the vocal and instrumental arranger for Re-Creation U.S.A., a non-profit organization whose main service is to America’s Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and State Veterans Homes.

As a composer, Chris has written a wide variety of works, including two cantata/oratorios, Love Came Down and Behold the Lamb, for the combined choirs of Berks Christian and Conestoga Christian schools; Improvisations on Four American Folk Hymns and Rondo for Black Orchid String Trio; Variations on “Idumea”, for bassist Ryan McMasters; Jubilee, commissioned by the York Youth Symphony Orchestra; Colors!, commissioned by the Dover Area High School Symphonic Band; North Salem March, commissioned by the North Salem Elementary Symphonic Band and performed at the 2012 PMEA conference; and An American Requiem​, commissioned by Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh for the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. He is a resident composer and project manager with OvreArts, one of Pittsburgh’s premiere new music ensembles, and serves as assistant director of music ministries at Church of the Ascension. He lives [...]

And the Winner is…

Pianist Enoch Hsiao is the winner of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic’s Young Artist Concerto Competition. A North Allegheny Intermediate High School sophomore student, Hsiao studies piano privately. Additionally, he participates as an assistant concertmaster in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Marina Lupinacci and Rachel Stegeman teach Enoch piano and violin respectively ever since Enoch moved to Pittsburgh almost four years ago. Through their insightful and inspiring teaching, Enoch had learned much and gained great joy and confidence. Through his hard work and discipline, he had acquired multiple rewards as he won prizes in several piano competitions: 1st Place of Division 2 in Social Music Works 2014, as one of six winners of the Musical kids of WQED 2014, a Honorable mention of the 2014 international of Piano Competition at the Ithaca College School of Music, as one of the winners of Pittsburgh Concert Society 2015, and, 2nd place in the junior group of Duquesne Young Artist National Competition 2015, etc. Besides playing his instruments, he enjoys other activities such as watching sports, doing math, and hanging out with friends.

Oh Night Divine- talking with composer Mark Fromm

A highlight in our holiday program comes from the Philharmonic’s own Mark Fromm, a prolific composer and our principal bassoonist since 2013. His “O Night Divine” is an innovative arrangement of the familiar carol “O Holy Night.” Mark’s arrangement is both modern and beautiful. As Mark describes, “I use variations on the typical major and minor scales that allow me to create unusual harmonies and new countermelodies that flow underneath the main melody.” Although composed for a full orchestra, the arrangement often uses a variety of smaller combinations of instruments to present the melody, which Mark notes can produce “the feel of chamber music within a larger group.” Mark’s work also includes sections of new music based on fragments of the carol’s well-known melody.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Mark says that “at an early age, I knew I wanted to compose music.” Mark started composition lessons in the 10th grade, and he stayed in the area for most of his musical training, with a BFA in Composition from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Pittsburgh. You may remember his works “Frick Gates,” which the Philharmonic commissioned and performed in 2014, and “What Child is This, Lully, Lullay” from the 2015 holiday concert. A skilled performer as well, the Philharmonic is fortunate to have Mark among our ranks and we are thrilled to be playing his music again.


Welcome Concertmaster, Kathleen Andrews!

The Pittsburgh Philharmonic is pleased to welcome, violinist  Kathleen  Andrews as our concertmaster. Ms. Andrews holds  degrees  in  Violin Performance  from  Eastern Michigan  University  and  The  Hartt  School. Her  primary  teachers  have  included Daniel  Foster,  Yehonatan  Berick and  Anton  Miller.    While  attending  the Hartt  School, Ms.  Andrews participated  in  the  long-­‐term  Suzuki  teacher-­‐training  program  with renowned  pedagogue  Teri  Einfeldt.

Since  moving  to  Pittsburgh  in  2012,  Ms.  Andrews  has  performed  with many  local orchestras  and  chamber  ensembles,  including  the  Chamber Orchestra  of  Pittsburgh, Alia  Musica,  Ovre  Arts,  the  West  End  Trio and  others. She  is  concertmaster  of  the Pittsburgh  Philharmonic  and  a member  of  the  first  violin  section  of  the  Butler County  Symphony. Kathleen  is  also  the  violinist  of  the  contemporary  music ensemble, Wolftrap. Ms. Andrews  has  long  been  a  passionate  chamber  musician and has played in masterclasses  for  members  of  the  Emerson,  Daedalus, Brentano  and  Vermeer  string  quartets  and  has  performed  with members  of  the  JACK  quartet. In addition  to  an  active  performing schedule,  she  teaches  violin  and  viola  at  Lincoln Park  Performing  Arts Charter  School  and  Hope  Academy  of  Music  and  the  Arts, where  she takes  joy  in  bringing  music  into  the  daily  lives  of  her  students. Kathleen lives  in  Pittsburgh  with  her  husband,  composer  and  bassist  Ryan McMasters.

Summer Student Side-by-Side: Interview with Zan and Marella

Each summer the Pittsburgh Philharmonic has some guest musicians performing with us.  These are participants in our Side-by-Side program.  They are music students of high school age who are selected by audition to play with the Philharmonic side-by-side with our regular members.


We decided to ask them some questions so that we could learn more about them.


Zan Husain is performed with our cello section this summer.  He started playing the cello when he was in the fifth grade.  He chose it because he knew he wanted to play a stringed instrument and he thought the cello looked cool.  He now plays on a black cello made by Louis and Clark Company.  It is black because it is made of carbon fiber.


Zan’s favorite piece is Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock.  His favorite composer is J.S. Bach because of all the music he wrote for the cello.  When Zan is not playing his cello he enjoys playing video games, looking at science related videos, exercising and hiking.

Zan really enjoyed the repertoire we played this Summer. He learned how to find repeats faster and turn pages for his stand partner.


Marella Carpenter has been playing in our clarinet section.  She started playing the clarinet when she was 9 years old. Music was always a big part of her life, and she was given the opportunity to learn an instrument in school in 4th grade.  Her cousin played the clarinet, so that inspired her to pursue it as well.


Her favorite piece to play is “Sonata for Clarinet and Piano” by Saint-Saens. She loves how each movement brings a unique energy to the overall piece.  Her favorite composers are Saint-Saens and Mozart while her favorite bands/singers are The 1975, James [...]

Pittsburgh Philharmonic Featured in IN Hampton

Looks like we celebrated our 40th Anniversary in a “grand and lively” style! Thank you again to all our audience members, donors, and musicians for a job well done. Read more in this IN Hampton feature!


And… come see us for our summer performances!

Meet our Guest Artist!

Alyssa Wang earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University with a major in violin performance and a double minor in conducting and creative writing. Music has taken her all across the world, playing in venues internationally in Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, and Norway. In 2016, she was the winner of the Carnegie Mellon School of Music Concerto Competition, the Pittsburgh Female College Association Prize, the Carnegie Mellon Women’s Award, and the Senior Leadership Award. Alyssa studied with Andres Cardenes (Concertmaster, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 1988-2010) at Carnegie Mellon University, and will pursue a Master’s Degree at New England Conservatory in the fall with Malcolm Lowe (Concertmaster, Boston Symphony Orchestra).

Alyssa will perform the Glazunov Violin Concerto with the Philharmonic on May 20 and 21, 2016!

Concerto Competition Winner Announced!

William Wang, a freshman at North Allegheny Intermediate High School, has won first place in the 2016 Young Artist Competition, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra. He will be a featured performer at the orchestra’s spring concert, Spring is in the Air, scheduled for performances March 11 at Butler County Community College’s Succop Theater and at Mt. Alvernia’s Scotus Hall on March 12.

Starting violin lessons at the age of 8, William, now 14, is currently studying with Ms. Monique Mead. He also is an accomplished pianist. In 2012, he won 2nd place at the Duquesne Young Artists National Competition for violin, as well as being selected into the final round of the WQED Musical Kids contest twice, once for violin, in 2012 and once for piano, in 2013. In 2015, he performed a violin duet with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra at their “Perfect Pitch” concert and won the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Young Artist Solo Competition. Aside from violin, William is a passionate basketball player, and was a member of his school basketball team in 8th grade. He also enjoys playing and watching all types of sports in his free time.

The Young Artist Concerto Competition is open to high school musicians performing on harp, strings, brass, or woodwinds. Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 19 and must be residents of Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Washington, or Westmoreland counties. All applicants are required to submit a CD recording of one movement of a standard concerto to the Philharmonic. Finalists selected then appear in person before an Audition Panel and that group selects the winner of the competition.

Now in its 40th season, The Pittsburgh Philharmonic is Southwestern Pennsylvania’s premier volunteer orchestra. Approximately 70 musicians from [...]

Pittsburgh Philharmonic Spring Concert Shines

The March 20 and 21 concerts of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic feature the orchestra performing some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s greatest works, the Overture to Fidelio and his iconic Fifth Symphony. Fidelio is Beethoven’s only opera and when it premiered in 1805 it was an overwhelming flop. As with some of his other works, he struggled with it, and for this piece dropped one entire act and actually wrote four different overtures before audiences of his day gave it rousing approval. It is the fourth overture that the Philharmonic will perform and today it is one of the most recognized and popular overtures in all of opera.

Also on the March program, “A Time to Shine”, is Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which opens with what just might be the most memorable four notes in all of music. Most people who hear that opening, even if they don’t have a musical clue about anything classical, know that Beethoven put those notes together. And that happens in just the first few seconds of the Fifth. More than 200 years and tens of thousands of performances later, the Fifth Symphony still ranks among the best of Beethoven. And, one of the best in the world.

Finally, appearing with the Philharmonic and given their opportunity to shine, will be the winners of the orchestra’s annual Young Artist Concerto Competition and Young Composer Competition. Winners, who are 19 years of age or younger, are selected in February by a panel of judges consisting of music educators and professional musicians, following a series of tryouts. The winners receive a scholarship and the Concerto Competition winner will perform with the orchestra on the 20th and 21st.

The March 20 performance will be at Butler County Community College’s Succop Theater. [...]

ArtsDOG — Help the Phil!

Arts Day of Giving, affectionately called ArtsDOG, is an 18-hour opportunity for arts lovers to donate online to their favorite arts and culture nonprofits and have their contributions partially matched, making your dollars go further.

Arts Day of Giving is Thursday October 2, 2014 from 6:00am until midnight.
People give by going online to and selecting the organization(s) they want to contribute to.
Donations can be as little as $15 for Arts Day of Giving.
Arts Day of Giving is sponsored by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and The Pittsburgh Foundation.