TCO Classics

June 2020 Edition: The Art
of Leadership

In this inaugural edition, we take our listeners on a retrospective of some of the Orchestra’s most influential leaders: conductors who have guided and shaped the ensemble’s growth and sound.

Franz Welser-MöstFranz Welser-Möst

Sep. 26, 2015

Severance Hall

Franz Welser-Möst
  • Mozart Symphony No. 41
  • Strauss Alpine Symphony
  • Strauss Moonlight Music

Franz Welser-Möst is known around the world for his understanding of and abilities with the music of Richard Strauss — deftly blending the music’s larger structure with expertly nuanced detail. This concert from 2015 features Strauss’s “Alpine Symphony” tone poem, depicting a daylong hike in the Alps. It also includes a vigorous rendering of Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and, as a special treat, an encore of Strauss’s “Moonlight” music from the opera “Capriccio.”

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
View Program Pages
Jan. 28, 2003

Severance Hall

Franz Welser-Möst
  • Saariaho Orion
  • Mahler Symphony No. 7

Beginning his 19th year as music director with the 2020-21 season, Franz Welser-Möst has polished The Cleveland Orchestra’s artistry to new levels of warmth, sensitivity, and communicative response. This concert from early in his tenure demonstrates his affinity for the music of Gustav Mahler while also highlighting his commitment to new music and new musical voices. Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s “Orion” was the first piece commissioned under Franz’s directorship.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
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Pierre Boulez

Jan 15, 2015

Boulez's 90th Birthday Concert
conducted by Franz Welser-Möst

Pierre Boulez
  • Boulez Twelve Notations (for solo piano)
  • Berg Wozzeck: Three Excerpts
  • Debussy Jeux
  • Boulez Notations: I, VII, IV, III, II

In this special concert from January 2015, Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra celebrated the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez, paying homage to this titan of the modern music world. Boulez served as the Orchestra’s first Principal Guest Conductor in the late 1960s, and from that time onward developed and enjoyed a particularly warm and close relationship with the Orchestra’s musicians, returning regularly to Cleveland. His approach to music infused the Orchestra’s own thinking, and brought new pride and precision to their playing.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
  • Joela Jones, piano
  • Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
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Nov. 9, 1967

Severance Hall

  • Schubert Symphony No. 6
  • Debussy Danse sacrée et danse profane
  • Stravinsky The Rite of Spring

Pierre Boulez made his professional American conducting debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1965. George Szell subsequently invited him to be a regular guest and the Orchestra’s first Principal Guest Conductor. Across fifty years, Boulez led the ensemble in a wide variety of scores, especially showcasing newer works and modern compositional techniques. In this 1967 concert, he leads an exhilarating performance of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” which he recorded with Cleveland three years later in a sizzling, Grammy Award-winning rendition.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Pierre Boulez, conductor
  • Alice Chalifoux, harp
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Christoph von Dohnányi

Jan. 27, 1994

Severance Hall

  • Ives The Unanswered Question
  • Hartmann Adagio (Symphony No. 2)
  • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”

Christoph von Dohnányi led The Cleveland Orchestra across two exciting decades, which included a large number of new commercial recordings, expanded international touring, and the successful renovation and reworking of the Orchestra’s concert hall. This 1994 concert demonstrates his affinity for a wide range of musical styles, from the American Charles Ives to the modern German Karl Amadeus Hartmann and the French-styled Russian of Tchaikovsky. After the precision of Szell and the sometimes free-wheeling spontaneity of Maazel, Dohnányi focused on clarity and consistency, and brought The Cleveland Orchestra into a new era of acclaim.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Christoph von Dohnányi, conductor
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Lorin Maazel

May 12, 1973

Severance Hall

  • Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet

During his decade at the helm, the French-born American conductor Lorin Maazel brought a countervailing, daring flare to The Cleveland Orchestra’s Szell-inspired precision. His mercurial approach could vary night-to-night and performance to performance, instilling in the Orchestra’s musicians a new necessity to be on their toes and question choices. In this special, one-night-only concert from 1973, he tackled the whole score of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” ballet, bringing off the entire work in a dynamic performance that breathes with life, dance, and heartache.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Lorin Maazel, conductor
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George Szell

Oct. 19, 1967

Severance Hall

  • Dutilleux Métaboles
  • Brahms Symphony No. 3
  • Mozart Piano Concerto No. 26 (“Coronation”)

For many people and for many years, George Szell and The Cleveland Orchestra were one and the same. A half-century after his death, however, and we start to have more perspective on both his strengths and limitations. Szell indisputably brought Cleveland to international fame, utilizing recordings and touring to showcase his work. His methodic rehearsals and laser-sharp ears brought the Orchestra’s musicians into clear, precise alignment in their playing. This 1967 concert recording celebrates Szell at his best: an important commissioned work being given an encore set of performances, a concerto with an artist whose collaborative spirit was clearly in-sync with Szell’s, and a Brahms symphony filled with breath, clarity, and a touch of autumnal warmth.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • George Szell, conductor
  • Robert Casadesus, piano
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Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams

Mark Williams’s awareness of classical music took hold gradually, starting from obligatory public school clarinet lessons in the 4th grade, and then with increasing interest as he noted similarities between the soundtrack for “Jaws” and the last movement of Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. As a teenager watching a telecast from the Metropolitan Opera, his future career was suddenly clear.

As Chief Artistic Officer for The Cleveland Orchestra since 2013, Mark Williams works closely with Music Director Franz Welser-Möst in planning and programming the Orchestra’s concert seasons, tours, and education offerings each year. He previously served as Artistic Administrator of the San Francisco Symphony (2009-12), and began his career in artist management in New York with Columbia Artists Management and IMG Artists. A native of Ohio, Mr. Williams holds a bachelor of music degree in horn performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University, where his primary teachers were Cleveland Orchestra principal horn players Richard Solis and Richard King. He has also played in masterclasses and studied with former Metropolitan Opera Orchestra horn players Julie Landsman and Michelle Baker.

Arriving in July: Revisiting Prometheus

As part of the 2018 Centennial Season’s celebration, Franz Welser-Möst created “The Prometheus Project,” examining Beethoven’s music through the metaphor of Prometheus, a daring Titan who defied Zeus to bestow on humanity the gift of fire.

Once a month, our current limited-time collection for TCO Classics will change along with a new theme, curated by Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams. Get notified about next month’s edition by signing up for our free digital newsletter.

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