This spring the Pittsburgh Concert Society celebrated 70 years of making music and promoting young Pittsburgh musical talent. Pittsburgh musicians Viola Byrgerson Lundin and Kathryn Brose Reubens founded the society in 1943 as a way to promote music in Pittsburgh by discovering and assisting musicians living or receiving their musical education within a 75-mile radius of Pittsburgh. A judge of national reputation from outside Pittsburgh presides at the auditions and winners are presented in concert and receive financial rewards. Over the last seven decades, the society has presented more than 1,300 musicians in concert. Among the winners are Daniel and Todd Phillips, violinists, who are members of the Orion String Quartet; Mimi Lerner, opera singer, who later headed the voice department at Carnegie Mellon University; David Budway, jazz pianist and composer; and siblings Scott and Tina Faigen, piano, and Joan Faigen Svenson, violin, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon.
Many Mt. Lebanon residents are society board members. The Young Artists Auditions are open to instrumentalists under age 19 and vocalists under age 22. Over the years, many Mt. Lebanon High School students have auditioned. Society president Joan Zelkowicz says the performers aren’t just students—they are upcoming artists on the verge of professional careers. “These are seasoned musicians,” she says. The annual June Alumni Concerts feature return performances by former society winners who have achieved distinguished careers in the field of music.
The 2013-14 season features major winners concerts on September 22, October 13, November 10 and the annual alumni concert is June 1, 2014. Concerts are held at Kresge Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University. Tickets: $15; seniors, $10; students, free. Auditions are held in January, March and April 2014. Check www.pittsburghconcertsociety.org for concert and audition details.