Trinity Cathedral's Cultural District neighbors the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have a nearly sold-out pair of concerts for the weekend of June 11-13. A third performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3–an hour-and-a-half reflection on nature, humanity, heaven, and love–has been added. This is part of the PSO’s ongoing “Music of the Spirit” initiative at Heinz Hall and throughout the community.

As part of the special weekend, Trinity Cathedral’s Fr. Paul Johnston will moderate a discussion of this choral symphony. It will take place on the Heinz Hall stage on Saturday, June 12, at 7 p.m.

The panel will consist of the Most Rev. David Zubik, bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh, Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Temple, and Maestro Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Fr. Paul is priest at the Cathedral, active as a chaplain to the arts community, and an artist-lecturer in music history at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music.

Tickets are available at (412) 392-4900.

"I'm honored to be joined on stage by such distinguished ecumenical guests," says Fr. Paul. "And the intellectual firepower will be welcome, because the text poses challenges. These follow, in part, from the controversial circumstances surrounding the composer Mahler's conversion from Judaism to Christianity."

The text to this symphony begins with Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra, but then turns to a description of heaven from the folk collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

"As many questions as may be raised about circumstances," adds Fr. Paul, "there's no getting around the final lines of the text which say that heavenly joy is–quote–granted through Jesus to all mankind for eternal bliss. And the music seems to support this."

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