The Magic of Music

Byron Stripling, Principal Pops Conductor

From the Blog

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Hits the Right Notes as Region’s Soundtrack

Music-making is an important part of the Pittsburgh region’s life force: it’s a magnet for artists and tourists, but it also fuels jobs and economic growth. Byron Stripling, principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, reflects on the magic of the Heinz Hall theater, where he first played more than 15 years ago. 

Last year, through digital concerts on Front Row, the PSO found new ways to bring music to people. During the summer, in-person audiences at Hartwood Acres thrilled to the sound of Sinatra at sunset. And finally, in October, people again gathered at Heinz Hall to celebrate the sounds of Harlem’s heyday. 

Looking ahead to 2022, the PSO plans programs featuring the music of Paul Simon, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Marvin Hamlisch and the magic of Motown. 

But there’s a bigger mission at play, too: inspiring the next generation of musicians. The symphony reaches out to the region’s children as early as preschool, and Stripling notes that he is committed to going anywhere he can to share the gift of music with students and schools. 

“Music is a universal language, which is why I share it,” he writes. “And these great musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, they do it because they love it — because they have to — because it’s their life force.”

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Region’s Proposal Named Finalist in Build Back Better Challenge

The Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Coalition’s proposal is among 60 finalists chosen for the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. At stake is up to $100 million in funding to advance a regional industry. 

Pittsburgh’s proposal seeks to grow the region’s robotics and artificial intelligence sector. The challenge, which is a two-phase competition, will ultimately award 20 to 30 regional coalitions amounts ranging from $25 million to $100 million. 

More than 200 public, private and nonprofit organizations across Pittsburgh’s 10-county region supported the proposal, which was organized by the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Coalition — a new public-private partnership created by the Allegheny Conference in collaboration with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. 

Finalists were awarded about $500,000 to develop potential projects and bolster the industry cluster before submitting Phase 2 applications, which are due March 15.  

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“We’re at a really important inflection point in the trajectory of robotics … we have an opportunity to determine how we want to deploy robotics in the world and how can we use that technology to produce the most good.”

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute Director Matthew Johnson-Roberson
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Symphony looking ahead to a year of music in 2022