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The Cleveland Orchestra Announces Concert Programs Celebrating the Holiday Season

Christmas Concerts feature carols and festive tunes sung by the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Children’s Chorus, Youth Chorus Chamber Ensemble, Blossom Festival Chorus, and three guest choruses

Schedule also includes It’s a Wonderful Life in concert and PNC Music Explorers performances by the Orchestra’s Christmas Brass Quintet

Celebrate the holiday season with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra’s annual Christmas Concerts are a local tradition, and Severance Hall is a dazzling wintertime destination for families and friends across Northeast Ohio. On Friday, December 13, this year’s series of a dozen concerts conducted by Richard Kaufman begins amidst the holiday splendor of Severance Hall, featuring The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus Chamber Ensemble, Blossom Festival Chorus, and three guest choruses — Wooster Chorus from The College of Wooster, Cleveland State University Chorale, and Ursuline College Choir.

These festive concerts will feature a selection of holiday favorites, including O Come All Ye Faithful, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and Silent Night.  See the calendar listing below for full program details.

We are pleased to welcome CIBC as the new presenting sponsor for the Christmas Concert series. CIBC, a commercial and wealth bank in Cleveland for 12 years, recently committed to serve as presenting sponsor of the series through 2022.

This season, the Orchestra is also presenting the classic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life in concert on Thursday, December 12. Conducted by the Orchestra’s assistant conductor, Vinay Parameswaran, the beloved film will be shown on the big screen while the orchestra performs the score live.

For the youngest members of your family, the PNC Music Explorers series includes two matinee performances by the Christmas Brass Quintet on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14, featuring members of The Cleveland Orchestra — Lyle Steelman (trumpet), Michael Miller (trumpet), Hans Clebsch (horn) — and guest musicians — Whitney Clair (trombone) and Kenneth Heinlein (tuba).  The quintet will entice young audience members (ages 3-6) to sing- and clap-along with a beloved selection of holiday tunes. Under 18s Free for these concerts with purchase of adult ticket.

Ticket Information
Tickets are available online at or by calling the Cleveland Orchestra Ticket office at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141.  Christmas concerts are expected to sell out, so purchasing tickets early is encouraged.

The Severance Hall Ticket Office is located on street level in the Smith Lobby. The entrance and 15-minute parking are along the west side of the building, on East Boulevard. Severance Hall Ticket Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (closed Sundays and holidays except for those days with performances, when the Ticket Office opens three hours before each concert).

Dining at Severance Hall: Lunch with Santa Claus
Concertgoers attending matinee performances of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Christmas Concerts on December 14, 15, 21, and 22 can enjoy a special holiday lunch with Santa Claus at Severance Restaurant before the performance.  For reservations, call Severance Restaurant at 216-231-7373.

About Richard Kaufman
Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his professional life to conducting and supervising music for film and television productions, as well as performing film and classical music in concert halls and recordings.  The 2019-20 season marks his 14th season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series “CSO at the Movies” and his 29th and final season as principal pops conductor of Pacific Symphony.  In May 2020, he will be named principal pops conductor laureate, and he holds the permanent title of pop conductor laureate with the Dallas Symphony.

Mr. Kaufman’s 2019-20 season includes return engagements with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.  Recent highlights include debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the Handel and Haydn Society.  He has led The Cleveland Orchestra on a number of occasions over the past decade, including for last season’s holiday concert series.

Mr. Kaufman received a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.  In addition to his two recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra, he has recorded CDs with the Nuremberg Symphony, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Brandenburg Philharmonic in Berlin.

As a violinist, Mr. Kaufman performed on numerous film and television scores, including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, and Animal House.  He has recorded with artists such as John Denver, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, the Carpenters, and Ray Charles. For more information, please visit

About The Cleveland Orchestra
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 music-making, and community programming.  The New York Times has declared it “the best in America” and “America’s most understatedly amazing orchestra” for the group’s virtuosity, humility, self-confidence, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like musical cohesion.  Having celebrated its 100th birthday year in 2018, The Cleveland Orchestra is making its mark as a decidedly 21st-century ensemble, dedicated to serving its hometown and the art of music with focused traditions and innovative initiatives.

Strong community support from across the ensemble’s home region is driving the Orchestra forward with renewed energy, increasing the number of young people attending concerts, and bringing fresh attention to the Orchestra’s legendary sound and committed programming — including works that regularly juxtapose older and newer music in standard concerts and festival settings, as well as annual opera presentations.

As The Cleveland Orchestra looks to the future, it strives to be Cleveland’s Orchestra by building community through music, removing barriers to participation, nurturing the next generation of musicians and audience members, and harnessing the life-changing power of music to make the world a better place. For more information visit

About the Cleveland Orchestra’s Choral Ensembles and Guest Choirs
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus (Lisa Wong, director) is one of the few professionally trained, all-volunteer choruses sponsored by a major American orchestra.  In addition to performing with The Cleveland Orchestra in concerts at Severance Hall each season, the Chorus has appeared with the Orchestra on tour in Boston, Brussels, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, London, Lucerne, Luxembourg, Miami, Paris, and New York City, as well as on television and in numerous recordings.  The Chorus has also toured on its own, either a cappella or with other ensembles, to the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Chautauqua Institution in New York; and to venues in England, Wales, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany. Cleveland Orchestra Chorus members hail from nearly 50 communities across Northeast Ohio.  Together, the group’s 125 members volunteer more than 25,000 hours annually, through rehearsals and performances.  They also raise money for their tours through a variety of projects and events.

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus (Daniel Singer, director), comprised of students in grades 9-12, was founded to raise awareness of choral music-making in the schools of Northeast Ohio and regularly collaborates with outstanding music ensembles like The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus.  The Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus (Ann Usher, director) provides musical training in vocal production and choral performance skills to students in grades 6-9.  Members perform alongside The Cleveland Orchestra in major works calling for children’s voices, as well as presenting their own independent performances throughout Greater Cleveland.  By developing musical skills and performing in public, children and young people involved in the Cleveland Orchestra’s choruses acquire poise, gain increased self-esteem, and establish a solid foundation in vocal technique.  For more information about The Cleveland Orchestra’s choruses and ensembles, please visit their website.

The Cleveland Orchestra opened Blossom Music Center in 1968 to serve as the ensemble’s summer home.  A large new volunteer chorus was assembled and included many members of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and members of other Northeast Ohio choral groups.  The Blossom Festival Chorus has since established itself as a permanent and beloved annual part of the Blossom Festival and has sung in more than 100 concerts since its debut. The Blossom Festival Chorus joins the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Severance Hall every December for Christmas concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra.  They have also performed at Chautauqua and on Cleveland's Public Square for the annual Fourth of July concerts.

In this year’s Christmas Concerts, The Cleveland Orchestra will be joined by three guest choruses.  Wooster Chorus from The College of Wooster (Lisa Wong, director) is comprised of undergraduate students representing all academic areas within the school’s liberal arts program. Enthusiastic about the performance of new music, Wooster has recently premiered works by several American composers including Eric Whitacre and Jake Runestad, and was awarded second place in the 2018 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the performance of American Music. The Cleveland State University Chorale (Brian Bailey, director), which has regularly participated in The Cleveland Orchestra’s Christmas Concerts since 1993, is a select ensemble for students with previous vocal and choral experience.  Established in 2018, the Ursuline College Choir (Francisco Prado, director) is comprised of students from all backgrounds and majors.


Severance Hall
Friday, December 13, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  w cs
Saturday, December 14, 2019, at 2:30 p.m.  c w cs
Saturday, December 14, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  w

Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 2:30 p.m.  c u
Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  u
Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 19, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  yc
Friday, December 20, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  yc
Saturday, December 21, 2019, at 2:30 p.m.  c
Saturday, December 21, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  yc
Sunday, December 22, 2019, at 2:30 p.m.  c
Sunday, December 22, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.  yc

The Cleveland Orchestra
Richard Kaufman, conductor
Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
    Lisa Wong, director of choruses and conductor
Blossom Festival Chorus

Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus c
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus Chamber Ensemble yc
Wooster Chorus from The College of Wooster w
Cleveland State University Chorale cs
Ursuline College Choir u

VARIOUS (arr. SEBESKY) – Christmas Scherzo
TRAD. (arr. WILBERG) – O Come all Ye Faithful
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV – Dance of the Tumblers
TRAD. (arr. CLEMENTS) – Gabriel’s Message
TRAD. (arr. CAREY) – What Child is This? *
BRITTEN – This Little Babe **
PAULUS – Wonder Tidings
CHABRIER – Danse Slav
HANDEL (arr. MOZART) – “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah
WILLIAMS – Merry Christmas
BROUGHTON – Miracle on 34th Street
VARIOUS (arr. PRECHEL) – A Very Merry Sing-Along
ANDERSON – Sleigh Ride
BLANE (arr. BASS) – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
GRUBER (arr. KAUFMAN) – Silent Night
TRAD. (arr. BASS) – We Wish You a Merry Christmas

*Omitted when children aren’t performing.
**Adult chorus sings when children aren’t performing.

A heartwarming holiday concert for the whole family. Celebrate the holiday season with The Cleveland Orchestra and Choruses in these annual offerings of music for the season, including sing-alongs and a very special guest — all in the festive Yuletide splendor of Severance Hall.

Come early for pre-concert entertainment in Severance Hall’s Bogomolny Kozerefski Grand Foyer with members of the Cleveland Orchestra’s choruses, guest choruses, or the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit:

CIBC is proud sponsor of The Cleveland Orchestra's 2019 Christmas Concerts


Severance Hall
Thursday, December 12, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus

The classic film on the big screen with the original score performed live!

Experience Frank Capra’s cherished holiday film classic as you’ve never seen it before – with Dimitri Tiomkin’s heartwarming score performed live by The Cleveland Orchestra!  It is Christmas Eve, 1946, and George Bailey (James Stewart) faces financial ruin and is seriously contemplating suicide.  Angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers) takes George on a journey and helps him to realize how many lives he has touched, and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit:


Severance Hall
Friday, December 13, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, December 14, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.
Michael Miller, trumpet
Lyle Steelman, trumpet
Shachar Israel, trombone
Hans Clebsch, horn           
Kenneth Heinlein, tuba

Cleveland Orchestra members and guests perform short selections celebrating the music of the season. For kids ages 3-6.

Under 18s Free with purchase of adult ticket. Find out more here:

For more information and to purchase tickets:

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

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