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. Tickets are available online or by calling 724-284-8505. Tickets are also available at the door. Student and senior citizen discounts are available, as are group rates. Curtain time is 8:00 PM.

The March 21 concert will be held at the Carson Middle School in the North Hills. Carson is located at 300 Hillvue Lane, off Perry Highway/Route 19, just past CCAC-North and across from West View Savings Bank. Tickets are available at the door or online and are $12.00 for general admission, $8.00 for senior citizens and $5.00 for students. Children under 12 are free. To inquire about group rates call 412-223-7501. Curtain time is 7:00 PM.

Now moving into its 40th season, The Pittsburgh Philharmonic is Southwestern Pennsylvania’s premier volunteer orchestra. Approximately 70 musicians from throughout the tri-state area, ranging in age from 15 to 80, perform great works of classical music at various venues in the region. Members of the orchestra include business executives, retirees, students, teachers, and other professionals, some who have been performing with the Philharmonic for over 20 years, several who teach or play music professionally, and some who have advanced music degrees.

Music director for the Philharmonic is Edward Leonard.

For more information about The Pittsburgh Philharmonic, visit the website at www.pghphil.org.