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Pittsburgh native Evancho’s musical maturation keeps pace with life |

Pittsburgh native Evancho’s musical maturation keeps pace with life

Mark Kanny
| Thursday, February 12, 2015 8:55 p.m
Portrait Records
Singer Jackie Evancho
Portrait Records
Singer Jackie Evancho

In just four years, Jackie Evancho has gone from being a talented young girl from Richland to a performer with an international career.

Her success as a singer has even carried her beyond music. In 2012, she played Robert Redford’s daughter in the drama “The Company You Keep.” That same year, she starred in Guess Kid’s clothing campaign.

Evancho will return to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 13 for a concert conducted by Karin Hendrickson at Heinz Hall, Downtown.

Hendrickson is a graduate of Grove City College and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Also a pianist and composer, she has won numerous honors for her conducting.

Evancho first worked with her at a private gig at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington.

“We really like her, so we decided to use her for local projects,” says the young singer.

Evancho will perform numbers from her most recent recording, “Awakening,” and other favorites such as “The Impossible Dream” and “Ave Maria.”

“Awakening” was released in September 2014 and is Evancho’s fifth album in four years. Her future plans include more touring and concerts, and a sixth CD.

“Once you release an album, you’re thinking about the next album,” she says. “There’s rarely a break in time. My mother and I have been coming up with ideas, but I have to keep those confidential.”

Evancho’s mom has played an essential role in her development.

“She just has a good ear,” Evancho says. “She can hear the smallest things.

“Most of my family has good ears. There are no singers, but there’s a lot of music in the background that might have something to do with it. Many family members play instruments. My dad’s a drummer who had his own band. My mom played clarinet and oboe in high school.”

Evancho’s breakthrough success came in Los Angeles, where she won second place in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” at age 10. She frequently travels domestically, including for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and at a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Her passport has seen heavy use, too, and not only in Europe. She was invited to perform for Japan’s royal family at the Imperial Palace and has toured with the Tokyo Symphony.

“Sometimes, I get really tired with time changes, but, other than that, it’s fun to see different places and experience them,” she says.

Although Evancho has a career most adults would die for, she’s still a young person with years more education before her.

“I’m in public school again after two or three years of cyber school, because I missed the interaction with kids,” says the high-school freshman. “Basically, the teachers know when I’m leaving and how long I will be gone, and I turn in (my assignments) when I get back.”

Evancho says she thinks her transition from pre-teen to teen is “the same as everyone goes through — newly gained emotions and constant complaining. It’s nice, but kind of annoying. It’s nice, because the older I get, the more seriously I’m taken.”

Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or

Categories: Music
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