TCO Classics

August 2020 Edition: Summer Nights

This new edition of TCO Classics offers encore radio broadcasts from across a half century of concerts presented at Blossom Music Center, The Cleveland Orchestra’s magnificent outdoor summer home. This month, we invite you to listen to a selection of live summer concerts featuring a variety of noted guest artists and extraordinary musical works — concerts you might remember, and ones you will wish you’d experienced in person!

BlossomSummer Nights

July 26, 1968

Blossom Music Center
George Szell, conductor

This concert dates from the very first season at Blossom and features former Music Director George Szell alongside the extraordinary soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf — showcasing both artists at the top of their craft in works by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. Charming listening, filled with musical elegance and emotional heartache, on a very special summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • George Szell, conductor
  • Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano
  • Haydn Symphony No. 93
  • Strauss Songs with Orchestra
  • Mahler Symphony No. 4
August 3, 1968

Blossom Music Center
Louis Lane, conductor

Louis Lane served across three decades as a Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra, and led many summer concerts prior to the opening of Blossom Music Center. Here, during Blossom’s very first season, he deftly leads a program mixing together popular and lesser-known works. Soloist Van Cliburn plays Rachmaninoff’s Romantic Second Piano Concerto as well as a rare rendition of a concerto by the too-often-neglected American composer Edward MacDowell. Impassioned and far-ranging music for an entrancing summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Louis Lane, conductor
  • Van Cliburn, piano
  • Creston Introit for Orchestra
  • Ginastera Concerto for Strings
  • Macdowell Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
August 17, 1968

Blossom Music Center
Aaron Copland, conductor

Renowned American composer Aaron Copland conducted The Cleveland Orchestra on five different occasions. Here, during Blossom’s inaugural season, he leads a concert showcasing American and European works and featuring famed (and classically trained) clarinetist Benny Goodman as soloist: spell-binding music on a summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Aaron Copland, conductor
  • Benny Goodman, clarinet
  • Bernstein Candide: Overture
  • Copland Appalachian Spring: Suite
  • Weber Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra
  • Copland Clarinet Concerto
  • Ives The Unanswered Question
  • Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn
July 27, 1969

Blossom Music Center
Josef Krips, conductor

As part of Blossom’s second season, famed Austrian conductor Josef Krips leads a program of musical works by Strauss — the first half in tone poems and an opera excerpt by Richard Strauss, with the second half devoted to the effervescent Viennese world of Johann Straus Jr.’s waltzes and polkas. A perfect delight for a summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Josef Krips, conductor
  • Roberta Peters, soprano
  • Strauss Don Juan
  • Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos: Zerbinetta's Aria
  • Strauss Till Eulenspeigel's Merry Pranks
  • Strauss Jr. Gypsy Baron: Overture
  • Strauss Jr. Emperor Waltz
  • Strauss Brothers Pizzicato Polka
  • Strauss Jr. Perpetual Motion
  • Strauss Jr. Voices of Spring Waltz
  • Strauss Jr. Die Fledermaus: Audition Song and Laughing Song
  • Strauss Jr. On the Beautiful Blue Danube
  • Strauss Jr. Radetzky March
July 9, 1970

Blossom Music Center
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

Legendary American conductor Leonard Bernstein led The Cleveland Orchestra only once, in this single presentation of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, nicknamed the “Resurrection.” Bernstein recorded this work on several other occasions with other orchestras, and his mercurial emotional connection to Mahler’s music brought on differing moments and details each time. Here he is joined by the Blossom Festival Chorus and two soloists for this sprawling and ultimately triumphant score — for one unforgettable summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Leonard Bernstein, conductor
  • Lorna Haywood, soprano
  • Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
  • Blossom Festival Chorus
  • Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
  • Mahler Symphony No. 2
August 8, 1970

Blossom Music Center
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos , conductor

This concert pairs two incredible Spanish artists, both then at the prime of their artistry and both sadly now gone. Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads a program filled with energy and life. The first half featured pianist Alicia de Larrocha in two Spanish concertos, bringing her own special understanding to these works’ rhythms and musical ideas. De Burgos rounds out the evening with Dvořák’s dashingly uplifting Eighth Symphony, rousing the night air in a masterfully perfect view of summer nights at their best.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos , conductor
  • Alicia de Larrocha, piano
  • Arriaga Los Esclavos Felices: Overture
  • Turina Rhapsody for Piano and Strings
  • Falla Nights in the Gardens of Spain
  • Dvořák Symphony No. 8
July 14, 1990

Blossom Music Center
Robert Shaw, conductor

This concert in 1990 featured Robert Shaw leading Brahms’s German Requiem in a summer evening dedicated in George Szell’s memory to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Shaw, one of America’s foremost choral conductors, had served as associate conductor under Szell and forged the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus into one of the world’s best symphonic choruses. A beautiful night, a brilliantly soothing requiem, and extraordinary playing and singing, touching on the work of two great conductors.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Robert Shaw, conductor
  • Dawn Upshaw, soprano
  • William Stone, baritone
  • Blossom Festival Chorus
  • Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
July 10, 1993

Blossom Music Center
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

American conductor Leonard Slatkin served as Festival Director at Blossom across nearly a decade of concerts, from 1990 to 1999. His imaginative programming delivered a wide-ranging repertoire, including intriguing juxtapositions and programs built around musical themes and ideas from the everyday world. Each piece on this program plays upon ideas — and/or depictions — of mechanical power and strength, including the starring role for violin soloist Itzhak Perlman. Captivating music for a summer night.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Leonard Slatkin, conductor
  • Itzhak Perlman, violin
  • Rouse The Infernal Machine
  • Schuller The Twittering Machine from Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee
  • Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine
  • Piston Symphony No. 2
  • Brahms Violin Concerto
August 5, 2000

Blossom Music Center
Jahja Ling, conductor

Jahja Ling’s long tenure as a staff conductor with The Cleveland Orchestra, begun in 1984, continued through six years as Festival Director at Blossom, from 1999 to 2005. This concert from 2000 is typical of Ling’s unique programming — combining musical variety, consummate daring, and audience favorites in equal portions. Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos made his Cleveland Orchestra debut on this perfectly tuned summer evening.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Jahja Ling, conductor
  • Leonidas Kavakos, violin
  • Blossom Festival Chorus
  • Women of the Akron Symphony Chorus
  • Debussy Clair de lune
  • Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2
  • Holst The Planets
July 5, 2013

Blossom Music Center
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

This concert with Franz Welser-Möst marked opening night for the 2013 summer Festival. Here he juxtaposes two of his favorite composers, first tapping into Richard Strauss’s understanding of each human's bittersweet journey through life toward death. Soprano Luba Orgonasova was thrilling in her command of both the music and her incredible voice. After intermission, Franz led a fiery and understated, but overwhelming look at Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony.

  • Performers
  • The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
  • Luba Orgonasova, soprano
  • Strauss Four Last Songs
  • Shostakovich Symphony No. 8

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 educational 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.

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