Boulez Introduces Informal Evenings

Between 1970 and 1972, in an effort to help audiences become more familiar with 20th century composers and works, Pierre Boulez, the Orchestra’s musical advisor, inaugurated a series of concerts called “Informal Evenings with Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra.” A press release announcing the first Informal Evening in December 1970 described it as a “shirt-sleeve evening” and as “an experimental format for musical presentation” during which Boulez would discuss, dissect, rehearse, and direct a polished performance of selected works by 20th century composers. Visual aids also were used, and time was allowed for questions from the audience.

Each of the four evenings focused on a different contemporary composer, beginning with Olivier Messiaen, followed by Edgard Varèse, Alban Berg, and Igor Stravinsky.

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