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The Cleveland Orchestra to give world premiere performances of Topos by Anthony Cheung at May 18 and 20 concerts

Cheung is the Orchestra’s current Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will give the world premiere performances of Topos, a new work by Anthony Cheung, at the Orchestra’s Severance Hall concerts May 18 and 20, 2017.  Mr. Cheung is in his second season as the Orchestra’s ninth Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow.  Prior to each of the concerts on May 18 and 20, Cheung will participate in a "Meet the Composer" talk in Reinberger Chamber Hall with Rabbi Roger C. Klein of The Temple-Tifereth Israel.

Haydn’s Symphonies Nos. 39 and 96 are featured on May 18, 19, and 20 with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist in György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto.  Mr. Cheung’s new work is not included in the Friday, May 19 morning program.  Mr. Aimard is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra family of guest artists.  He first appeared as soloist with the Orchestra in February 1996 and has since appeared with the Orchestra in more than 40 concerts.  He served as artist-in-residence for two seasons (2007-09) and has performed with the Orchestra on tour in Europe and the United States.  His most recent appearances with the Orchestra were in February 2012, when he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18, conducting from the keyboard.  Biographical information on Pierre-Laurent Aimard may be found here

Topos was commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra through the Young Composers Endowment Fund, which was established in 1997 by a generous endowment gift from Jan R. Lewis and Daniel R. Lewis.  In spring 2016, The Cleveland Orchestra gave the first Cleveland performances of Cheung’s Lyra.

As part of the Lewis Young Composer Fellowship, Mr. Cheung participates in Cleveland Orchestra rehearsals and a variety of educational activities serving the Northeast Ohio community, including Concert Previews at Severance Hall and masterclasses, seminars, and coachings at area conservatories and high schools. A biography of Anthony Cheung is available here.

About Topos

The following is an excerpt in Anthony Cheung’s words about Topos; the complete artist’s statement is available upon request:

Topos is the largest-scale project I’ve yet undertaken, and one that owes the most to the past.  It is a work that re-engages familiar yet constantly evolving ‘topics’ from the vast repository of Western music.  Each movement is based on one or several related musical topics: representational tropes with special recurring characteristics that evoke scenery, psychological effect, natural and cultural phenomena, etc.  The fluidity of meaning in these topics fascinates me.  For example, horn calls were originally indicative of hunting, signaling, and fanfare but reemerged in the 19th century as symbols of nostalgia and even leave-taking. A particular sequence of allusions moves non-chronologically but diachronically through examples as varied as Mahler, Schumann, Haydn, Beethoven, and Ligeti – heard in both original and recomposed versions – revealing the topic in all its strangely complex and multi-dimensional manifestations.

The reason why these musical topics are both relatable and familiar is because they are part of our collective historical consciousness as listeners but also speak to shared human conditions.  Thus they are open-ended and invite constant reinvention and commentary.  My lasting gratitude goes to Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra for their invitation to do precisely that.  This piece is dedicated with gratitude to them, and with love to my wife, Wang Lu.”

The previous Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellows are Marc-André Dalbavie (1999-2000), Matthias Pintscher (2001-03), Susan Botti (2003-05), Julian Anderson (2005-07), Johannes Staud (2007-09), Jörg Widmann (2009-11), Sean Shepherd (2011-13), and Ryan Wigglesworth (2013-15).


Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 19, 2017 at 11 a.m.
Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 8 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

HAYDN  Symphony No. 39
LIGETI  Piano Concerto
CHEUNG  Topos [WORLD PREMIERE, Cleveland Orchestra Commission] *
HAYDN  Symphony No. 96 (“The Miracle”)


Anthony Cheung is the current Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow. Works by the composers are commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra through the Young Composers Endowment Fund, which was established in 1997 by a generous endowment gift from Jan R. Lewis and Daniel R. Lewis.

*Not performed on Friday morning concert.


All programs, artists, and prices are subject to change.