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Ed DeArmitt/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Fiddlesticks in action with (L) Resident Conductor Andrés Franco and (R) guest vocalist Katy Williams.
Someone lives inside Heinz Hall. Who is lucky enough to call the performing arts center and concert hall their home, you ask? It’s Fiddlesticks! The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) friendly, furry musical ambassador. Fiddlesticks helps make sure everyone who attends concerts at the PSO discovers new things, gets involved, feels comfortable, and enjoys the show, especially younger classical music fans.
Fiddlesticks has been taking PSO visitors on musical adventures at Heinz Hall for some time, and Pittsburgh City Paper felt it was time to learn a little bit about the cat behind the music. Via an email interview (that was transcribed by Resident Conductor Andrés Franco), CP and Fiddlesticks talked classical music, relaxing, and what he has coming up at the PSO.
So, Fiddlesticks, tell me about yourself. What kind of cat are you?
I am a musical cat. I love to play the violin and dance around. I am happiest when I can share the beautiful music of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with my many young friends in the audience in Heinz Hall (also my home).
What gets you most excited about the Pittsburgh Symphony?
The incredible music that comes from the orchestra. When the audience hears the amazing sounds of the many instruments of the PSO, they love it! They clap and move and dance and sing along, and that makes me so happy!
Why is music like the symphony plays so important to kids?
The PSO is everyone’s orchestra in Pittsburgh. The musicians play all different types of music and they are great! Sometimes they play music I recognize and sometimes they play music I have never heard before. I like to listen to both of these types of music and learn about new types of sounds. Listening and thinking and asking questions is how we learn new things. Then, we can share our new thoughts with new friends!
Who is your favorite conductor, and what is your favorite song?
I have many favorite songs and conductors. It is too difficult to choose one of each. The PSO has wonderful conductors and they are all my friends.
Where did your theme song come from? Did you create it, or did you have a little help from friends?
Lucas Richman composed my theme song, “Music Can Make Your Life Complete.” A composer creates music for the orchestra to play. When Lucas composed this music, he was also the conductor of the Fiddlesticks Family Series. He and I became life-long friends. I told him we needed a song at the beginning of the concert and at the very end of the concert that invited everyone to join in and sing-along with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – to create music together.
How do you like to spend your time off? What do you do to relax?
Like many cats you might know, I do like to eat and sleep a lot. My favorite food is macaroni and cheese! I also like to practice my violin, play around with my friends, and spend time outside enjoying the sunshine. Mostly, I relax by stretching, cleaning my fur, and listening to music.
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What kind of events do you have coming up at the PSO, Fiddlesticks? And how can interested parties become more involved?
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
A sensory-friendly PSO concert at Heinz Hall
I have three concerts this season and you can find out more at pittsburghsymphony.org. There are activities in Heinz Hall before the concert in the rooms in the front of Heinz Hall, and after the concert everyone can come by the signing table in the Grand Lobby to meet me, Resident Conductor Andrés Franco, and vocalist Katy Williams. It is going to be a great year! Here are the dates of my concerts - November 23rd, Up and Away; February 1st, Love is in the Air; and, April 4th, Spring has Sprung!
Anything else you would like people to know?
I want to welcome everyone to enjoy my concerts. In case you didn’t know, there is a family restroom, Braille programs, a quiet room, fidgets, and noise-canceling headphones for each of my concerts. I hope my friends in the audience will enjoy the concert more because we have these available.
BTW, what are your pronouns, Fiddlesticks?
My pronouns are he/him, or you can just call me Fid or Fiddlesticks. My official title is the PSO’s Feline Ambassador to Young Children, but my favorite thing to be called is FRIEND!