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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians journey afield for ‘Play N’At’

Mark Kanny
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Rob Davidson
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal flutist Lorna McGhee
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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Violinist Dennis O’Boyle
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Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Cellist Michael DeBruyn

Most everyone loves getting out, including the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra who are looking forward to a series of concerts called “Play N’At” which will be offered at untraditional venues starting Feb. 3.

Cellist Michael DeBruyn was one of four symphony musicians who gave an all-Mozart concert at Franktuary in Lawrenceville in April 2014.

“I like the idea of these concerts, because it puts us closer to people. I love playing the concert hall,” he says. “There’s not really anything like an orchestra concert. However, with chamber music, people can get up close to us and say hi or have a conversation between movements.”

The three concerts will feature different programs and performers. Classical-music-themed cocktails, other refreshments, door prizes and reduced-price Heinz Hall tickets will be available at each event.

The first event, Feb. 3 at Franktuary in Lawrenceville, will feature two groups — a bass duet played by Micah Howard and John Moore and mixed repertoire played by flutist Lorna McGhee, violinist Jennifer Orchard, violist Tatjana Mead Chamis and cellist Mikhail Istomin.

“This is something we love,” McGhee says. “I love playing for people. I’m really looking forward to a more direct exchange of music without any of the formalities of normal concert presentation.”

The second “Play N’At” will be Feb. 17 at the Livermore in East Liberty and be performed by a string quartet including DeBruyn playing a piece by Felix Mendelssohn.

The final concert in the series will be March 3 at Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden on the North Side and feature Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale.”

Violinist Dennis O’Boyle says Stravsinky wrote the piece in a spirit very much like “Play N’At.”

“It was ad-hoc, a thrown-together kind of thing but it’s really, really effective music. It has such a sardonic aspect. It just a lot of fun to play.”

Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or [email protected].

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