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The Cleveland Orchestra embarks on tour to Asia in spring 2019

Showcasing the depth and breadth of their remarkable partnership, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra extend their touring to Asia on a seven-city tour

Tour is nineteenth international tour for Cleveland and Welser-Möst

In March and April 2019, The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst embark on their nineteenth tour together, with eleven performances scheduled across Asia in seven cities: Taipei, Macao, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, and Beijing. The tour’s repertoire features four big musical works, two from the 19th century and two from the 20th, with Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto (No. 5) with soloist Daniil Trifonov and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, alongside Richard Strauss’s epic tone poem Ein Heldenleben and Prokofiev’s enigmatic Symphony No. 3. Details of concert pairings, venues, and dates of the Asia tour are listed in the Program Information section at the end of this release.

The 2019 Asia Tour is part of The Cleveland Orchestra’s 101st season and the 17th year of the ensemble’s acclaimed partnership with Franz Welser-Möst. This is the 19th international tour that Cleveland and Welser-Möst have presented together; it is their third trip together to Asia and features their first joint appearances to all of these seven cities. The tour includes the first Cleveland Orchestra performances in Macao, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Nanjing, along with return visits to Beijing and Shanghai (which the Orchestra first visited in 1998) and to Taipei (where the Orchestra played in 1987).

“The Cleveland Orchestra has toured internationally almost every season for the past half century,” says André Gremillet, The Cleveland Orchestra’s executive director,and we are very proud to represent Cleveland and Ohio around the world. Touring is also an essential part of our season both from an artistic and an audience development perspective.”

“Audiences in Cleveland, across the United States, Europe and more recently Japan know how unique the partnership between Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and the Orchestra is,” continued Gremillet. “And we are very fortunate to be able to share our music-making with people from all around the world. It’s been over two decades since The Cleveland Orchestra last appeared in China — and we are thrilled to return to a country that is now one of the most important music market in the world and to perform for audiences that are so enthusiastic and appreciative of classical music.

In recent seasons, including the Orchestra’s Centennial Season in 2017-18, praise for The Cleveland Orchestra under the artistic leadership of Welser-Möst has continued to grow. The New York Times has called the ensemble “… America’s most brilliant orchestra,” with The Wall Street Journal stating that the Orchestra is “… magnificent.” Two tours during its 100th season, to Europe in October 2017 and to Europe and Japan in May-June 2018, demonstrated the Cleveland/Welser-Möst partnership to sold-out houses.

“Whenever we go to a part of the world, to a place we haven’t been for a long time, or in this case to some cities where The Cleveland Orchestra has never been before, I believe it is important to present a range of repertoire that showcases the Orchestra’s abilities and lets the artistry of this ensemble really shine. So we include works, such as Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, which are well-known, and others, like Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 3 that fewer people may know,” said Music Director, Franz Welser-Möst. “We are also so very happy to bring with us a star pianist, Daniil Trifonov, who The Cleveland Orchestra has performed with and championed since early on in his career. We’ve been collaborating with him for half a dozen years and are proud that he really is, at least in part, a product of Cleveland.”

“I can’t claim this idea, but live music is one of the only art forms that can truly travel the world,” said Cleveland Orchestra Board President Richard K. Smucker. “In our case, the Orchestra spreads the reputation of Cleveland itself – not only domestically but internationally. The Orchestra proudly carries the name of Cleveland with it, which is a phenomenal way to share this cultural gem which reflects the spirit and essence of our city. The Cleveland Orchestra is not just a great orchestra, but we believe it also represents a great city. The excellence of this Orchestra mirrors the pride, innovation and quality of the citizens of Cleveland and our region. This Orchestra was created to serve its hometown, with music education and great symphonic entertainment. We’re always proud to share the extraordinary results with the world.”

“I fundamentally believe that it is important for The Cleveland Orchestra to share our artistry with audiences throughout the world, continued Franz Welser-Möst. “Sharing our work is important, so that more people can know and experience what we are creating in Cleveland. Only through live performances can people truly understand firsthand that we set a high bar — and that our standards are pretty much unmatched worldwide. The Cleveland Orchestra is too often a hidden secret. Performing in Asia in 2019 is important to renew our acquaintance with the many enthusiastic and new fans of classical music, and also perhaps in new concert halls that are attracting the passion and interest of these growing audiences.”

Founded in 1918, The Cleveland Orchestra’s first tour took place the next year, when the ensemble’s musicians traveled by train to perform in nearby cities, including in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Youngstown, Ohio. They crossed an international border for the first time in 1922, to perform in Canada, and also made their first appearance at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in 1922. The Orchestra first crossed ocean waters in 1927 to perform in Cuba. Major overseas and international touring began in 1957, with the ensemble’s first trip to Europe, featuring 29 concerts across more than five weeks that spring. As the Orchestra’s fame spread — fanned by recordings and radio broadcasts — new and lengthy concert tours of Europe followed in the 1960s, as well as the first trip to Asia in 1970, featuring 12 concerts in Japan and Korea.

Touring expanded in the following decades, with Cleveland’s first tour to Australia and New Zealand (1973), and South America and Mexico (1975), along with increasingly frequent visits to Europe’s musical capitals and festivals, as well as regular concert tours across the United States and into Canada. 

The 2019 Asia Tour marks Franz Welser-Möst’s 19th international tour with The Cleveland Orchestra during his first seventeen seasons as music director. It marks the Orchestra’s eleventh visit to Asia and second tour to China. The Cleveland Orchestra visited Hong Kong three times, in 1978 and 1982 with Lorin Maazel, and in 1990 with Christoph von Dohnányi.

"Music is the most universal language,” adds André Gremillet. “While we come from different cultures and live in different environments, experiencing great music together reminds us that what we all have in common is greater than what might separate us. We believe one of our most important roles is indeed to bring people together, and we are truly honored to be invited to perform for music lovers in Asia.

About The Cleveland Orchestra
Founded by Adella Prentiss Hughes, The Cleveland Orchestra’s inaugural concert took place on December 11, 1918, with the 2017-18 Centennial season marking the Orchestra’s 100th year of concerts. Under the leadership of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, The Cleveland Orchestra has become one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world, setting standards of extraordinary artistic excellence, creative programming and community engagement. The New York Times has declared it “... the best in America” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color and chamber-like musical cohesion. The 2018-19 season marks the Orchestra’s 101st year of concerts, and the beginning of a Second Century of extraordinary music making, dedicated service to its hometown and worldwide acclaim.

Strong community support from across the ensemble’s home region is driving the Orchestra forward with renewed energy and focus, increasing the number of young people attending concerts and bringing fresh attention to the Orchestra’s legendary sound and committed programming — including annual opera presentations with innovative staging and pairings. Recent acclaimed productions have included Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande (May 2017), a double bill of Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard’s Castle (April 2016) presented in collaboration with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet and an innovative presentation of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (May 2014, with encore performances in Cleveland and Europe during the autumn of 2017). The 2017-18 season also featured in-concert performances of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (April 2018).

The partnership with Franz Welser-Möst, begun in 2002 and entering its 17th year with the 2018-19 season, has earned The Cleveland Orchestra unprecedented residencies in the U.S. and around the world, including one at the Musikverein in Vienna, the first of its kind by an American orchestra. It also performs regularly at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals. The Orchestra’s 100th season in 2017-18 featured two international tours, concluding with the presentation on three continents of Welser-Möst’s “Prometheus Project” featuring Beethoven Symphonies and overtures; these Beethoven concerts were presented in May and June 2018, at home in Cleveland, in Vienna’s Musikverein, and in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

The Cleveland Orchestra has a long and distinguished recording and broadcast history. A series of DVD (available through Clasart Classics) and CD recordings under the direction of Mr. Welser-Möst continues to add to an extensive and widely praised catalog of audio recordings made during the tenures of the ensemble’s earlier music directors. In addition, Cleveland Orchestra concerts are heard in syndication each season on radio stations throughout North America and Europe.

Seven music directors — Nikolai Sokoloff, Artur Rodziński, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi and Franz Welser-Möst — have guided and shaped the ensemble’s growth and sound since its founding in 1918. Through concerts at home and on tour, via radio broadcasts and a catalog of acclaimed recordings, The Cleveland Orchestra is heard today by a broad and growing group of fans around the world. For more information, visit clevelandorchestra.com and https://www.clevelandorchestra.com/about/mission-and-history/.


About Franz Welser-Möst
Franz Welser-Möst is among today’s most distinguished conductors.  The 2018-19 season marks his seventeenth year as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, with the future of this acclaimed partnership extending into the next decade. The New York Times has declared Cleveland under Welser-Möst’s direction to be the “best American orchestra“ for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like musical cohesion. 

During The Cleveland Orchestra’s centennial last season — dedicated to the community that created it — Franz Welser-Möst led two ambitious festivals, The Ecstasy of Tristan and Isolde, examining the power of music to portray and create transcendence, followed by a concentrated look at the philosophical and political messages within Beethoven’s music in The Prometheus Project (presented on three continents, in Cleveland, Vienna, and Tokyo). His innovative approach to programming, introducing new music, and rediscovering and re-examining older works continues this season, including a brand-new made-for-Cleveland production by Frederic Wake-Walker of Richard Strauss’s opera Ariadne auf Naxos in January.

Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra are frequent guests at many prestigious concert halls and festivals around the world, including regular appearances in Vienna, New York, and Miami, and at the festivals of Salzburg and Lucerne. During Welser-Möst’s tenure, The Cleveland Orchestra has been hugely successful in building up a new and, notably, younger audience at home in Cleveland through groundbreaking programs involving families, students, universities, and cross-community partnerships.  A series of established and newly created education offerings continue to energize and engage students throughout the region. To read more about Franz Welser-Möst visit this link: https://www.clevelandorchestra.com/about/musicians-and-conductors/franz-welser-most/.


About Daniil Trifonov
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) – winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award – has made a spectacular ascent in the world of classical music as a solo artist, a champion of the concerto repertoire, a collaborator at the keyboard in chamber music and song, and a composer. Trifonov recently added a first Grammy Award to his already considerable string of honors, winning Best Instrumental Solo Album of 2018 with Transcendental, a double album of Liszt’s works that marks his third title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist. The Times (UK) calls him “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”

Trifonov launches the New York Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season, playing Ravel’s Concerto in G for the opening-night gala under incoming Music Director Jaap van Zweden and Beethoven’s mighty “Emperor” Concerto the following night. He revisits the Ravel, both on tour with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle, and during a residency at Vienna’s Musikverein, where he not only appears with the Vienna Philharmonic, but also gives the Austrian premiere of his own Piano Concerto. The “Emperor” is also the vehicle for further collaborations with the London Symphony, National Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, with which he embarks on a tour of Asia.

During a season-long residency with the Berlin Philharmonic, Trifonov plays Scriabin’s concerto under Andris Nelsons. Other orchestral highlights include a return to Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium for Schumann’s concerto with longtime collaborator Valery Gergiev and the Met Orchestra, Prokofiev’s Third with the Chicago Symphony, and Rachmaninov’s Third with the Boston Symphony. On his upcoming Deutsche Grammophon release, Destination Rachmaninoff: Departure, the pianist performs the Russian composer’s Second and Fourth Concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, his partners on 2015’s Rachmaninov: Variations.

In recital this season, Trifonov plays Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev on Carnegie’s mainstage and in Berlin, where his Berlin Philharmonic residency features multiple solo and chamber performances. These include accounts of his own Piano Quintet, of which he also gives the Cincinnati premiere with the Ariel Quartet. In Berlin, as well as at New York’s 92nd Street Y, he plays duo recitals with his frequent partner, baritone Matthias Goerne. To read more about Daniil Trifonov visit this link: daniiltrifonov.com.


2019 Asia Tour Program Information
Thursday, March 28, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. | Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, National Concert Hall, Taipei
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
STRAUSS  Ein Heldenleben


Friday, March 29, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. | Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, National Concert Hall, Taipei
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5


Sunday, March 31, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Macao Culture Centre,
Special Administrative Region of China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)                
PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 3


Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Shenzhen Concert Hall, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5


Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Shenzhen Concert Hall, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
STRAUSS  Ein Heldenleben


Saturday, April 6, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Shanghai Symphony Hall, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
STRAUSS  Ein Heldenleben


Sunday, April 7, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Shanghai Symphony Hall, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5


Monday, April 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. | Nanjing Poly Grand Theatre, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
STRAUSS  Ein Heldenleben


Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. | Qintai Grand Theatre, Wuhan, China
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)                
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5


Friday, April 12, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. | National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano

BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
STRAUSS  Ein Heldenleben


Saturday, April 13, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. | National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5