Matt performs with the PSO – reviews!
POSTED ON Oct 01, 2012 BY Valentina INUncategorized

Pops begins era without HamlischOn Saturday the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra officially began the difficult task of moving its Pops series into a new era without the services of long-time figurehead and conductor Marvin Hamlisch.But the masterful and witty maestro was at Heinz Hall in spirit. Although he passed away suddenly Aug. 6, the PSO brought in a former resident and assistant conductor, now music director at the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Lucas Richman, who started by saying, “This afternoon I have big shoes to fill.”The evening continued with a slide presentation of the award-winning composer, at which point Mr. Richman remarked that the “season continues in [Mr. Hamlisch’s] vision.”Indeed Mr. Richman, a capable conductor, segued into selections from “Funny Girl,” where Mr. Hamlisch was the rehearsal pianist for star Barbra Streisand, which launched his career. The orchestra felt restrained, perhaps by the moment at hand, and likewise with Mr. Richman’s arrangement of “Great Love Songs from the Movies.”But the ensemble regained its breathability and sweep after intermission with the appearance of “Glee” star, Matthew Morrison, who brought some magnetic arrangements from his upcoming album.Although most people know him as Mr. Schuester on television, Mr. Morrison turned out to be a throwback to the historic song-and-dance man. And as an unabashed Broadway show lover, he was right up Mr. Hamlisch’s alley, for the former Pops conductor often tried to promote young talent to continue the popularity of the Great White Way.Only 33, Mr. Morrison fit the bill. Emerging in a casual black suit, raincoat (and umbrella) and porkpie hat, he immediately channeled Fred Astaire as he twirled a coat rack during the uptempo “It Don’t Mean a Thing.”This concert had to be regarded as a preview of events to come, so there were a few glitches along the way — his between-song patter could have been beefed up and there was also some nervousness at the start.He relied on free-wheeling energetic moves (which could be sharpened by collaborating with a choreographer) for standards like “The Lady is a Tramp” and could have used a more laid-back vocal weight in his “mash-up” of “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Basin Street Blues.”But Mr. Morrison really hit his stride in a driving percussive medley from “West Side Story,” so difficult in its phrasing and transitions, then a reprise of “Younger Than Springtime,” from his Broadway role in “South Pacific.”After one more heartfelt nod to Mr. Hamlisch and “What I Did For Love,” the lights went out, except for a spotlight on Mr. Hamlisch’s podium.Mr. Morrison finished as only a song-and-dance man could, right here in Pittsburgh, with a “Singin’ In the Rain” tribute to native Gene Kelly.Mr. Hamlisch would have been thrilled.Source—–Glee star performs with PSOSporting a pair of suspenders, colorful dance moves, and his signature “chin butt,” as Sue Sylvester calls it, _Glee_’s Matthew Morrison took the stage of Heinz Hall on Saturday with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as part of the PNC Pops series.This was the first Pops concert of the season, as well as the first without the late Principal Pops Conductor Marvin Hamlisch. The memory of Hamlisch sobered the otherwise gaiety-filled concert, but conductor Lucas Richman handled the somber moments well, keeping them poignant but brief: He conducted a beautiful piece “Marvin style,” and kept a spotlight on an empty podium.Before Morrison took the stage, the orchestra presented a lively, charming first half, plunging into Broadway with the overture from Pretty Girl. Perky and fun, the piece soared and swelled, engaging even the audience members who hadn’t seen the movie.The second piece, a compilation of romantic cinema songs called Romancing the Cinema: Great Love Songs from the Movies, was put together by Richman. As the highlight of the concert, the compilation featured “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, among others. The orchestra outdid itself with this piece, with personal touches from a percussion section that could only be called perfection on drums and a strings section that set souls alight.Morrison was accompanied by composer Brad Ellis, playing the piano just as he does as the silent accompanist in Glee. Morrison whirled through Broadway favorites and quintessential classics from the jazz songbook, ranging from “Lady is a Tramp” from Babes in Arms to a medley from Bernstein and Sondheim’s West Side Story to the adaptation of the famous Mexican mambo, “Sway.”Morrison’s theatricality was a key part of his performance, both while he was singing and vamping between pieces. He showed off his signature dance moves, at one point dropping down and breakdancing

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