Mary Pappert School of Music to Kick Off ‘Best of the Bluff’ Series

A poll of audience members was the inspiration for a two-year chamber music series presented by the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Best of Bluff

Season one of Best of the Bluff kicks off Sunday, July 28, with Blues and Ballads at the Movies at 3 p.m. in PNC Recital Hall.

In the past, Bluff Series Artistic Director David Allen Wehr, the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair in the music school, has built each season around a specific composer or national style. For the upcoming two-season series, he went for something different.

David Allen Wehr
David Allen Wehr

“After 17 seasons of my being the sole planner of the Bluff Series programs, I decided that I wanted some input and inspiration from the loyal and enthusiastic members of our audience,” Wehr said. “I also thought it would be an interesting chance to have a season (or two) with no over-arching theme or composer and to have a variety of styles presented.”

Last September, Bluff Series audience members were asked to take a survey that included a list of hundreds of musical works performed in previous years.

“Eighty percent of the pieces featured in the Best of the Bluff series are works that received a significant number of votes,” Wehr said. “I took the survey too. As artistic director, I am still responsible for some coherence in the season as a whole. In addition, I wanted the next series to acknowledge the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven and his music, which has always been the cornerstone of the Bluff Series. His music will be featured prominently throughout the series’ two seasons.”

Music school faculty, many of whom are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), will continue to be at the center of the series’ artistic corps and will be joined by other PSO members and international guest artists. Pre-concert conversations with featured performers will again be held 30 minutes prior to each performance in PNC Recital Hall.

“We have a core of about 150 subscribers who come back year after year for these concerts,” Wehr explained. “I’ve always had my ear to the ground on their feelings about the concerts and enjoy visiting with them at the receptions we have after each performance. The intensity of their listening is commented on frequently by our performers, and the passion coming from the audience is incredibly inspiring for those of us on stage.”

Season one of Best of the Bluff includes the following performances, all in PNC Recital Hall:

  • Sextet in the City, Sunday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m. (pre-concert conversation at 2:30 p.m.)
  • Beethoven at 250: Part One, Sunday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. (pre-concert conversation at 2:30 p.m.)
  • Musique on the Bluff, Sunday, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. (pre-concert conversation at 2:30 p.m.)
  • Beethoven at 250: Part Two, Tuesday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. (pre-concert conversation at 7 p.m.)

For more information on Best of the Bluff and to purchase season passes or individual concert tickets, visit or call the box office 800.838.3006.