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The Cleveland Orchestra launches TCO Classics on June 18 — a selection of concert recordings available for free on-demand streaming 

Series offers audio recordings from across six decades of the Orchestra’s extensive live performance archive 

First collection features concerts led by the Orchestra’s musical leaders from the past half century, including music directors Franz Welser-Möst, Christoph von Dohnányi, Lorin Maazel, and George Szell, alongside principal guest conductor and musical advisor Pierre Boulez 

Series marks first time that on-demand streaming is available directly from the Orchestra’s website for a regular selection of full-length concert recordings 

CLEVELAND – On Thursday, June 18, 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra launches TCO Classics, a new series of free, on-demand full-length concert recordings available for online streaming.  This new series offers music-lovers around the world a new opportunity to enjoy great performances from the Orchestra’s extensive recorded archives.  Selected from across six decades of live concert recordings, the series can be listened to at clevelandorchestra.com/classics

During this time when the Orchestra is unable to present in-person performances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, TCO Classics offers Cleveland Orchestra audiences in Cleveland and fans all over the world a new way to experience the ensemble’s unique artistry and music-making.  The programming for TCO Classics is curated by Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams, who is drawing a monthly selection of offerings from the Orchestra’s extensive archive of recorded concerts.  While a number of the series’ concerts were heard via live radio broadcasts at the time, some have never been heard by the public before — and the musical selections from the radio broadcasts have often not be available since they were first aired.  For the complete listing of the first monthly edition of the series, see the program information section below.  

“This new series of live sound recordings gives audiences an opportunity to hear the extraordinary artistry of The Cleveland Orchestra across a range of years and repertoire, in some cases with recordings that have never before been heard outside of the concert hall,” said Williams.  “Music lovers will have a special opportunity to look back in a new way at the remarkable history of this Orchestra by listening to a selection of carefully chosen concerts each month.” 

Distinctly unique from other Cleveland Orchestra digital and physical recording releases and its long-running radio broadcast series, TCO Classics will feature a broad range of performances from across the Orchestra’s recorded history.  Each month, a selection of five to eight complete Cleveland Orchestra concerts will be available to stream, focusing on a specific aspect of the ensemble’s music-making.  The offerings will be available for listening for one month, with a new group released on the third Thursday of each month.   

For TCO Classics’ first grouping of selections, Williams chose to focus on concerts led by The Cleveland Orchestra’s musical leaders from the past half century.  These seven programs feature representative concerts conducted by Music Directors George Szell, Christoph von Dohnányi, Lorin Maazel, Franz Welser-Möst, as well as a program led by Pierre Boulez, who served as the ensemble’s first Principal Guest Conductor (1969-71) and as Musical Advisor between Szell and Maazel’s tenures. Among these programs, listeners have the opportunity to hear Szell lead the Orchestra in a 1967 concert featuring Henri Dutilleux’s Métaboles — a piece Szell commissioned to celebrate the Orchestra’s fortieth anniversary and which Szell and the Orchestra had premiered in January 1965. In addition, Welser-Möst takes the baton for a 2003 concert that includes a performance of the first piece he commissioned as the Orchestra’s music director — Kaija Saariaho’s Orion.

“In coming months, there are many avenues to explore,” said Williams.  “We will look to the distant past — at long-term relationships we have had with various artists and composers — and also at some of the unique festival programming that Franz Welser-Möst has conceived during the last two decades, such as his pairing of Beethoven and Shostakovich symphonies in 2013.” 

The Cleveland Orchestra Recording and Radio Broadcast History 

Since its first recording session in 1924, The Cleveland Orchestra has been among the most acclaimed and recorded orchestras in the world. Through successive eras and music directors, the Orchestra’s profile and renown have grown with each wave of new technological advances. Long-playing records and the advent of stereo sound were instrumental in bringing international attention to the ensemble’s growth and evolving artistry during George Szell’s tenure. Lorin Maazel helped Cleveland pioneer early digital recording technology, while the number of albums produced under Christoph von Dohnányi’s baton secured the Orchestra’s boast as “the most-recorded orchestra in America” during the 1990s. Guest conductors including Pierre Boulez also added to The Cleveland Orchestra’s extensive and widely-admired discography. As the economics of the recording industry shifted, the Orchestra also issued a series of private label, limited editions, celebrating the ensembles 75th anniversary (1993), Szell’s 100th birth year (1997), Dohnányi’s tenure (2002), and Robert Shaw’s work as the Orchestra’s choral director (2004) — all drawn from decades of radio broadcast recordings that were heard throughout the United States and internationally, and which continually documented Cleveland’s rising artistic finesse and artistry. 

In the first decades of the 21st century, The Cleveland Orchestra has continued expanding its catalog of recordings, sharing the art of music with new audiences through traditional disc sales, radio broadcasts, and online purchase and streaming. Franz Welser-Möst has led the ensemble through two series of widely-praised video recordings of symphonies by Anton Bruckner and the major works of Johannes Brahms. In addition, Mitsuko Uchida recorded a series of Mozart’s piano concertos and Pierre Boulez, prior to his death, led the Orchestra in a series of recordings of works by Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and others. Across all these eras, the Orchestra’s recordings have received nine Grammy Awards, along with prize ratings around the world and inclusion in many best-of-year lists. 

With the launch of its own label in 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra adds to its longstanding recording legacy, sharing new and old repertoire with fans and music aficionados around the world. New albums released each year are being offered alongside its continuing annual series of radio broadcasts (launched in 1965) on Cleveland’s ideastream/WCLV Classical 104.9 (available worldwide via the internet) and the Orchestra’s touring, which make the ensemble available in an international concert schedule unrivalled by any other major American orchestra.


TCO Classics 

Program Information for Inaugural Month of Concerts 

Available for free on-demand online streaming, beginning Thursday, June 18, 2020 

Series Description:  The Cleveland Orchestra’s archive of concert recordings is an extensive storehouse of performances never released to the public and available only through a limited number of radio broadcasts each season. Through TCO Classics, the Orchestra is offering compelling monthly selections from this archive, personally chosen by Mark Williams, leader of the Orchestra’s artistic planning team, for music-lovers to hear online — available for a limited time, free, as full-concert recordings.  Visit the site on the third Thursday of every month to listen to a new curated collection: clevelandorchestra.com/classics 

Concert Date: January 15, 2015 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor & music director, 2002 to present 
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano 

Pierre Boulez 90th Birthday Salute Concert 
BERG  Wozzeck, Three Excerpts 
DEBUSSY  Jeux
BOULEZ  Notations: I, VII, IV, III, II

Concert Date: September 26, 2015 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor & music director, 2002 to present 

MOZART  Symphony No. 41 
STRAUSS  Alpine Symphony
Encore:  STRAUSS  Capriccio: Mondscheinmusik [Moonlight Music]

Concert Date: January 28, 2003 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor & music director, 2002 to present 

SAARIAHO  Orion (commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra) 
MAHLER  Symphony No. 7

Concert Date: January 27, 1994 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
Christoph von Dohnányi, conductor & music director, 1984-2002 

IVES  The Unanswered Question 
HARTMANN  Adagio (Symphony No. 2) 
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 6

Concert Date: May 12, 1973
The Cleveland Orchestra

Lorin Maazel, conductor & music director, 1972-1982 

Concert Date: October 19, 1967 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
George Szell, conductor & music director, 1946-70 
Robert Casadesus, piano 

DUTILLEUX  Métaboles (commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra; originally premiered January 1965) 
BRAHMS  Symphony No. 3 
MOZART  Piano Concerto No. 26 “Coronation”

Concert Date: November 9, 1967 
The Cleveland Orchestra 
Pierre Boulez, principal guest conductor 1969-1971 and musical advisor 1970-1972 
Alice Chalifoux, harp 

SCHUBERT  Symphony No. 6 
DEBUSSY  Danse sacrée et profane [Sacred and Profane Dance] 
STRAVINSKY  Le Sacre du Printemps [The Rite of Spring]

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