Talk of the Tahn: Pittsburgh Symphony Has More Talent than Steelers

Maybe the Steelers have a few more big stars, but as a group, the PSO is one of the best in … the world. And when I say, the world, I mean, The Whole World. American football is big. Music is bigger.




photo by chuck beard
 

In a fair fight, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra would beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.      

Not on the field of course, and probably not in a democratic popular vote. (Or even an electoral one.) But worldwide, if it came down to a competition to determine who has the most talented players, the best in their field? The symphony would edge out the Black and Gold.

OK, Ben, Antonio and Le’Veon might be top 10 in their fields, but Randolph Kelly the viola player, Anne Martindale Williams on cello, and harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen were top prospects and now are seasoned veterans.

Maybe the Steelers have a few more big stars, but if there really is no “I” in “team,” there isn’t one in “symphony,” either. As a group, as a band (as the musicians call themselves when they’ve had a couple of drinks) the PSO is one of the best in … the world. And when I say, the world, I mean, The Whole World. American football is big. Music is bigger.

This from a diehard Steelers fan who heckles Dallas and Brady jersey-wearers in any airport, who doesn’t know a dime defense from a nickelback but who’ll defend Pittsburgh sports to the point of bloodshed. Remember … we Americans are the only ones who play what we call “football.” Just us.

The whole world listens to music. And the whole world might sometimes think about visiting or working in Pittsburgh.

There are a lot of people in Tokyo and Berlin and Delhi and Christchurch, New Zealand, who’d probably shrug if you told them about an Immaculate Reception, but who very well might own several recordings of the PSO playing Brahms or Stravinsky or Gershwin. Why should you care?

Because the PSO musicians live here, and they’re the best at what they do. Like Harrison rushing a passer, like a Homewood carpenter who’s been finishing furniture for 40 years, they are THAT good when they put bow to string. And many of them, 90-some strong, teach. Your kids, your students, your friends. Right here in Pittsburgh.

I’m not asking anyone to cry “Eureka!” or to throw out their Springsteen or Garth Brooks albums and rush to Heinz Hall, but recently various powers that be have tried to weaken the union of the symphony. Imagine if the Steelers went down to a 35-man roster. They’d get killed. They would no longer be excellent. We’d be ashamed.

Same thing with the PSO.

Empathy. Common sense. Solidarity. Let’s use ’em as we would when they cut your mom’s 401k, or your grandfather’s pension or your kid’s scholarship offer.

I’m not asking you to become a Mozart fan or pay taxes to the symphony (as you do for the Steelers’ stadium). I’m simply saying: Be a Pittsburgher. Respect talent and effort.

Know we have a great band right here in our “mid-size city,” as good if not better than the New York Phil or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and at a minimum salary of nearly 100 Gs a player — as compared to 2.5 mil or more for some of the Steelers — we got a pretty good bargain.

Bosses selling commodities and widgets, I suppose, can cut away at the ranks of their own employees and their own corporate costs, but don’t try that with the PSO. They call it a “nonprofit” for a reason. What it gives to us all, whether we know it or not, cannot be measured.  

You can find more from David Conrad at clementcrawford.blogspot.com or crawford_conrad on Instagram.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

What to Do with Unused Churches in Pittsburgh

A Pittsburgh preservation group says there are approximately 30 unused churches in Allegheny County.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Executive Chef Ben Sloan will offer a festive, eat-with-your-hands spread on Tuesday nights.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

#Wedding: What’s Trending in the Wedding World

Married couples talk hashtags — and why they used them at their weddings.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

Get the Scoop Behind One of Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Condos

The Carnegie Museum of Art’s new exhibit features the works of architect Arthur Lubetz and Front Studio, including the vibrant Glass Lofts Building in Garfield.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments