Since its beginnings in 2003, The Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra has brought a vibrant ensemble of talented local professional musicians to the neighborhood communities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Originally conceived as a choral and orchestra medium, the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra (formerly the St. Andrew's Festival Orchestra at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh), soon branched out to perform Chamber music. In 2016, Paula Tuttle and Mary Beth Malek, both charter members of the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra, began Chambersite to develop chamber ensembles that have the ability to reach more audience members through it versatility and broad range of repertoires. The Zaffiro Trio, featuring pianist Tina Faigen, clarinetist Mary Beth Malek and cellist Paula Tuttle perform beloved works of the classical and romantic eras and commission new works for this unique combination of instruments. The Diamante Trio with Lilly Abreu, is also very distinct. Violinist Devin Arrington joins Paula and Mary Beth to perform music of Latin America. Soprano Lilly Abreu sings with the Diamante on select occasions.
The St. Andrew’s Festival Orchestra first performed in November 2003 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh. As an outgrowth of a concert by England's Hereford Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, St. Andrew's produced an All Saints Festival which lasted a week, and which culminated in performances by the St. Andrew's Festival Orchestra and Chorus. Discussions in the Spring and Summer of 2004 led to the formation of a non-profit organization with a change of name. In recent years, the Pittsburgh Festival orchestra cultivated associations with Andres Cardenes, former concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, in an evening of Chamber Music, the Westmoreland Choral Society, in two performances of their annual Christmas concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg, and a series of Baroque concerts at Mount St. Mary's Catholic Church on Mt Washington, Mount St. Peter's Catholic Church in New Kensington and Geneva College in Beaver Falls.
More recently the organization has increasingly presented a greater number of Chamber Music concerts. The gradual shift to more intimate scoring was an obvious one in the economic climate around 2008, as well as a flexibility to present concerts in venues with a variety of seating capacities with or without pianos.
The 2016 and 2017 concert seasons included programs supported by the University of Pittsburgh at Bellefield Hall in Oakland, Campana Lecture and Concert Hall in Greensburg, and Penn Alps Great Hall in Grantsville Maryland. Chambersite groups also performed on recitals at Longwood of Oakmont, Masonic Villages of Sewickley, and Friends of Music in Squirrel Hill’s Church of the Redeemer. Zaffiro and Diamante perform frequent educational programs. Recent performances at Pine Richland, Norwin, and Jefferson Hills schools and the Freedom Camp in Garfield have provided musical and cultural enrichment for over one thousand students.
Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Musician (Cellist),
Mary Beth Malek
Director of Operations
Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet, Pittsburgh Festival Opera and Civic Light Opera Musician (Clarinetist),
Treasurer, Executive Director Emeritus
Opera Singer, Cellist
Pittsburgh Opera Chorus (Soprano),
Master Violin Maker
Homeless Children’s Education Foundation, Executive Board Emeritus
Minister of Music, Southminster Presbyterian Church
S.A. Neff Jr.
World Renowned Bookbinder and Chamber Music Patron