The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been a vital part of the City of Pittsburgh’s heritage for more than 100 years. With its noble history of the finest conductors and musicians and its strong commitment to artistic quality and excellence, audiences around the world have claimed the Pittsburgh Symphony as their orchestra of choice. In September 2008, the Pittsburgh Symphony welcomed its ninth Music Director Manfred Honeck. Beginning in the early 1900s with frequent performances in Canada, the Pittsburgh Symphony confirmed its ranking as a world-class orchestra, earning critical acclaim for each tour abroad. Its 37 international tours include 20 European tours, nine trips to the Far East and two to South America. In January 2004, the Pittsburgh Symphony became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration.