A Conductor’s Tale

190607_MCG19-4_courtesy ed DeArmitt-Pittsburgh SYmphony Orchestra_HeinzHallPittsburgh

Music director Manfred Honeck has brought a distinctly European flavour to the Pittsburgh Symphony. Gavin Dixon spoke to him at his summer festival in Wolfegg, Germany, as he prepared to embark on a tour of Europe with his Pittsburgh forces – and discovered how his time as a violist in ...

I meet Manfred Honeck on a bright summer morning in the Biergarten of the Hotel Gasthof zur Post, the only hotel in the small town of Wolfegg in southern Germany. The previous night, Honeck conducted Beethoven’s Missa solemnis  as part of the Internationale Wolfegger Konzerte festival, and our conversation is interrupted several times by townspeople coming to congratulate him on the performance. Honeck has been artistic director of the festival since 1994. He is also local to the area, his family home being just across the border in Austria. ‘Every time I come to this town, I feel everybody is involved,’ says Honeck. ‘There used to be a grocery store over there, and the owner would play the organ. Yesterday the cook of the Gasthof came to thank me for the Missa solemnis, as he was there with his daughter. This has always felt to me like a festival that I could really identify with.’

Read more in The Strad’s December 2019 issue…

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