The Cleveland Orchestra Announces 2020 Blossom Music Festival, presented by The J.M. Smucker Company

Concert programs include “something for everyone”
  • Season features classical favorites, discovery of orchestral treasures, blockbuster films, Broadway, and popular music
Under 18s Free celebrates 10 successful seasons
  • 200,000th young person expected to attend Blossom Music Festival this summer with Under 18’s Free
Beloved artists return and eleven make debuts
  • Three Cleveland Orchestra debuts and eight Blossom Music Festival debuts
  • Return of audience favorites Jahja Ling, Herbert Blomstedt, Loras John Schissel, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Kirill Gerstein, and Brett Mitchell
  • Not Our First Goat Rodeo: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile’s Goat Rodeo reunion
The William Bingham Foundation puts forward a $100,000 matching challenge for donations supporting Blossom Music Festival
Image Magnification (IMAG) on screen for all festival concerts
Subscriptions and Lawn Ticket Books on sale now

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra announces its 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, presented by The J.M. Smucker Company. Nineteen concerts will be part of the Blossom Music Festival, taking place from Fourth of July through Labor Day weekends (July 3 – September 6). This year marks the 10th anniversary season of the Orchestra’s innovative Under 18’s Free ticket program for families and children which provides free tickets for young people to all Blossom Music Festival concerts.

“Each summer, we strive to offer something for everyone,” said Cleveland Orchestra Artistic Administrator Ilya Gidalevich. “This season is no exception. From conducting legends like Herbert Blomstedt and Edo de Waart, to long-welcomed members of The Cleveland Orchestra’s family like Jahja Ling and Brett Mitchell, audiences can expect terrific classical music played at the highest possible level. In addition to classical concerts, our friends and fans across Northeast Ohio come to the Blossom Music Festival to enjoy music from Broadway shows, blockbuster films, classic rock, and more.”

Program highlights include the following:

Three titans of the conducting world take the podium to lead music by genius composers of the classical world. Edo de Waart conducts music by Beethoven on August 9, plus a song cycle by Berlioz featuring frequent Cleveland Orchestra guest, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Herbert Blomstedt returns August 15 for a suite from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, including the classics “Morning Mood” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” closing with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.  The record-holder for the most Blossom Music Festival appearances, Jahja Ling, marks his 119thBlossom performance in an all-Brahms program on August 22. The evening including Brahms’s Violin Concerto performed by Sayaka Shoji in her Cleveland Orchestra debut.

Two female conductors make debuts during classical programs this season. On July 25, Elim Chan (chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra) leads The Cleveland Orchestra for the first time in concerts featuring music by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, as well as Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Benjamin Grosvenor. On August 23, Jane Glover (music director of Music of the Baroque) makes her Blossom Festival debut, leading the Orchestra and Blossom Festival Chorus in works by Handel and in Mozart’s iconic Symphony No. 40.

On August 1, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, hailed as “one of the best pianists in the world,” will perform Aaron Zigman’s Tango Manos. This piano concerto, written specifically for Thibaudet, was premiered by him in 2019. This Fabien Gabel-led programcontinues the Orchestra’s partnership with the Kent Blossom Music Festival, featuring a side-by-side performance with the Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra of Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole and a suite from Roussel’s Bacchus et Ariane.

Two classical programs highlight music from popular American composers. An evening of songs by George and Ira Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein on July 5 will be led by Bramwell Tovey and feature soprano Tracy Dahl. The concert on July 11 sees the return of former Cleveland Orchestra associate conductor Brett Mitchell — now music director of the Colorado Symphony —leading the Orchestra in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) with virtuosic pianist Kirill Gerstein. The program closes with music by Aaron Copland, including a suite from his evocative and enduring Appalachian Spring.

In Not Our First Goat Rodeo onAugust 8, an astounding group of virtuosos – Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin — reunite live for the first time in nearly a decade. Joined by featured vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, the lively talents of these exceptional artists come together on stage to create a singular sound that’s part composed, part improvised, and uniquely American — music so complex to pull off that the group likens it to a “goat rodeo”, airplane pilots' nickname for a situation in which many different things need to go right to avoid disaster.

Music from theater icons Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Leonard Bernstein, and Frederick Loewe is featured in an evening of Broadway Legends on July 26 with conductor Richard Kaufman. Broadway’s best will perform the songs: Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee Christiane Noll, and Phantom of the Opera star Hugh Panaro.

An Independence Day tradition, Salute to America is back this season with the Blossom Festival Band led by Loras John Schissel, band conductor since 1998. This patriotic celebration concludes with Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture and a spectacular fireworks display.

The Classical Mystery Tour stops at Blossom, with a tribute to The Beatles on Labor Day Weekend, September 5 & 6. Hear "Penny Lane" with a live trumpet section, experience the beauty of "Yesterday" with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, enjoy the classical/rock blend on "I Am the Walrus," and relish the cascading crescendos on “A Day in the Life.”

These highlights join the previously announced films featured during the 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert (July 17-19) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTMin Concert (August 29 & 30). Update: the start time for Harry Potter has been moved to 7:00 p.m. Individual tickets are on sale now for these two concerts; ticket information is included below.

Details of the 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, including the full list of Cleveland Orchestra and Festival soloist and conductor debuts, are available in the Calendar section below and online at

Under 18s Free is a signature program of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences. The Center, created with a lead endowment gift from the Maltz Family Foundation, was established in 2010 to fund programs to develop new generations of audiences for Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Northeast Ohio. Under 18s Free continues to develop young audiences by making attending Orchestra concerts affordable for families, once again offering free Lawn tickets to young people (17 and under) for every Blossom Music Festival concert this season.

After 10 successful years of the Center for Future Audiences and 10 seasons of Under 18s Free, The Cleveland Orchestra has one of the youngest audiences of any major American Orchestra. Approximately 20% of the Orchestra’s classical concert audience is under the age of 25. As part of the Under 18s Free 10th season celebration, a special activity book will be available for all children attending Blossom concerts. Prizes will also be offered to kids attending select concerts. More details will be announced soon.

“We are proud to be leading the charge on young audience development,” says Ross Binnie, Cleveland Orchestra Chief Brand Officer and Director of the Center for Future Audiences. “Ten years after launching the Under 18s Free program at Blossom, we are well on the way to creating the next generation of Cleveland Orchestra fans. We expect to welcome our 200,000th young person for free this summer. It’s wonderful to see the results from such a simple idea: families of six can hear world-class music, have a picnic in a national park, and spend time together — all for less than the price of a movie and popcorn.”

At Blossom Music Festival, Under 18s Free lawn vouchers (two per regular-priced adult paid admission) are offered to any Blossom Music Festival subscription concert each summer. Under 18s Free tickets are also available as part of Lawn Book purchases. More ticket information below.

The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to providing a world-class guest experience for all visitors to Blossom Music Center. Every year, Blossom audiences eagerly await a summer of picnics on the lawn, gatherings with friends and family, and incredible music under the stars. Amenities at Blossom that create a top-notch experience include:

  • Image Magnification (IMAG) willreturn for the entire 2020 Blossom Music Festival series, produced through the Orchestra’s longstanding partnership with ideastream. In 2018, state-of-the-art LED screens were installed in the pavilion of Blossom Music Center. IMAG — an on-screen display of live footage from the concert — will be offered for all non-film performances during Blossom Music Festival. The Cleveland Orchestra and ideastream are committed to collaborating on projects that can transform lives through the power of music, including weekly Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts on WCLV 104.9 ideastream, co-producing nationally distributed television specials, and live-streaming community concerts online.
  • The Tasting Room — a new bar space located steps away from the Lot A entrance to Blossom — opened in 2019. With seating extending to Eells Gallery, this spot offers guests plenty of room to relax and spend time with friends and family before or after a concert. The menu includes a full bar with a wide variety of liquor, beer, and wine options. After the concert, dessert service is available, allowing guests a comfortable space to lounge and dine while avoiding post-concert crowds.
  • Want a picnic without having to shop or load up the car? Gourmet picnic packages can be pre-ordered on and picked up on-site for all Blossom Music Festival concert evenings.

2020 TICKET and subscription information
Subscription renewals are currently underway with Premier Subscriptions, Create-Your-Own Series packages, and Lawn Ticket Books are now available for purchase. Concert schedules and series renewals are being mailed to subscribers of last year’s Festival, and new series packages are currently available for purchase. For all subscription offerings, contact the Severance Hall Ticket Office in person, at 216-231-1111 or 1-800-686-1141, or purchase online at

Individual concert tickets are available for the two film concerts: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert (July 17-19) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM in Concert (August 29 & 30). Individual tickets for the rest of the Blossom Music Festival season go on sale to the general public this April. Tickets start at $26. The Blossom Box Office opens for the season beginning on Saturday, May 30, and will be open throughout the summer on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. through intermission on festival performance days.

Premier Subscription Series
The 2020 Blossom Music Festival features two four-concert “Classics” series and a four-concert “Pops” series. Ticket packages, on sale now, offer approximately 20% savings off individual-ticket prices. Ticket packages start at $80, which includes free Lot B parking and access to Kulas Plaza. Box-seat ticket packages include complimentary parking in First Energy Lot A behind the main Box Office in addition to access to Kulas Plaza.

Create-Your-Own Series
A Create-Your-Own Series package is being offered again this season. When purchasing four or more concerts, there is a savings of approximately 10% off the individual ticket prices. There is no limit to the number of Create-Your-Own Series purchases. All subscribers receive free parking in Lot B.

Lawn Ticket Books Include Two Pavilion Upgrades and Under 18s Free Vouchers
Lawn Ticket Books, a great way to save on tickets for the entire Blossom Music Festival season, include vouchers for children 17 and under. Each book has 10 adult vouchers and two free pavilion upgrade passes — plus 20 Under 18s Free vouchers — all for $175.

Group Ticket Sales
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Call the Cleveland Orchestra Group Sales Office at Severance Hall at 216-231-7493 for information.

The Cleveland Orchestra is proud to partner with The J.M. Smucker Company as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2020 Blossom Music Festival.

The J.M. Smucker Company and The Cleveland Orchestra
The J.M. Smucker Company has supported The Cleveland Orchestra for decades with annual contributions as well as capital gifts for improvements at Blossom Music Center. The company’s ongoing, remarkable support has been recognized through concert sponsorship at Blossom for over a decade, and has earned membership in the Orchestra’s John L. Severance Society — a group of the Orchestra’s most dedicated and generous corporate, foundation, and individual supporters. Additionally, The J.M. Smucker Company was a co-presenting sponsor of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Second Century Celebration, bringing the Orchestra’s 100th season to life while animating a bold vision for an extraordinary Second Century.

Cleveland Orchestra Board Chair Richard K. Smucker is the Executive Chairman of The J.M. Smucker Company, which was founded more than a century ago by Mr. Smucker’s great-grandfather, Jerome Smucker. Today, The J.M. Smucker Company is a leading marketer and manufacturer of consumer food and beverage products, as well as pet food and pet snacks, in North America. The company remains rooted in the Basic Beliefs of Quality, People, Ethics, Growth, and Independence established by its founder and namesake more than 120 years ago.

The William Bingham Foundation Invests in the Sustainability of Blossom Music Festival
Named after the Dudley S. Blossom Sr. family, Blossom Music Festival has become an integral part of summer life for Northeast Ohioans and beyond. Through The William Bingham Foundation, the Blossom family continues its dedication and commitment to life-changing music in our region. The Foundation made a significant investment this year in the sustainability of Blossom Music Festival, with a goal of ensuring that the magic of each Blossom summer remains strong for future generations.

As part of this important grant, The William Bingham Foundation has put forward a $100,000 matching challenge, asking the Northeast Ohio community to join the Foundation in supporting Blossom Music Festival, presented by The Cleveland Orchestra. Learn more at

About ideastream
ideastream serves the people of Northeast Ohio as a trusted and dynamic multimedia source for illuminating the world around us. Publicly supported and locally owned, ideastream is indispensable and highly valued for its unique ability to strengthen our community. ideastream is the consolidation of WVIZ/PBS, with five channels of public television service (WVIZ/PBS-HD, WVIZ/PBS OHIO, WVIZ/PBS WORLD, WVIZ/PBS CREATE and WVIZ/PBS KIDS); 90.3 WCPN, Northeast Ohio’s NPR news and public affairs radio station; WCLV 104.9, Northeast Ohio’s classical music radio station; ideastream Education, with educational resources, services and the award-winning children’s series NewsDepth; and management of The Ohio Channel and the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau on behalf of all Ohio’s public broadcasting stations. For more information about ideastream’s rich legacy of innovation and credible content, visit

A Special Thank-You
Deep gratitude goes to the entire Northeast Ohio community, The J.M. Smucker Company, The William Bingham Foundation, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, GAR Foundation, and all of our sponsors, whose incredible support, dedication, and generosity makes possible these magical evenings at The Cleveland Orchestra’s beautiful summer home.

Blossom Music Center was created as the summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra and opened in July 1968 with performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by George Szell. The 200-acre music park features the award-winning and acoustically-acclaimed Blossom Pavilion, designed by renowned Cleveland architect Peter van Dijk and seating over 5,000 people under cover. The adjoining Blossom Lawn accommodates as many as 15,000 more outside on an expansive natural-bowl amphitheater of grass surrounded by bucolic woods.

In the more than half-century since Blossom’s opening, headline makers and yet-to-be-discovered young artists across all genres have created unforgettable musical experiences for over 21 million visitors. Each summer, Blossom serves more than 400,000 visitors, who attend concerts ranging from rock, country, and pop to classical. Live Nation operates Blossom under a long-term contract with The Cleveland Orchestra, dividing each year between the Orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival of orchestral performances (July Fourth to Labor Day weekends) and a series of presentations from across a wide range of rock, country, and other live-concert genres.

Located 25 miles south of Cleveland and just north of Akron, Blossom is situated in the rolling hills of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which preserves 33,000 acres of natural parkland along the Cuyahoga River. Blossom Music Center was named to honor the Dudley S. Blossom family, who have been major supporters of The Cleveland Orchestra throughout its history. Blossom lies within the city limits of Cuyahoga Falls, an Ohio community first settled in the early 1800s, at 1145 West Steels Corners Road in Summit County.

2020 Blossom Music Festival Calendar

#cleorchblossom #blossom2020


Friday, July 3, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.*
Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.*

Blossom Festival Band
Loras John Schissel, conductor

Great music, fireworks, and fun for the whole family! Blossom’s traditional, star-spangled celebration with the Blossom Festival Band features a mix of patriotic Sousa marches, Broadway favorites, an Armed Forces salute, and more — concluding with the “1812” Overture and fireworks.

*Denotes fireworks following the concert (weather permitting)


Sunday, July 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
Tracy Dahl, soprano

GERSHWIN  Overture to Strike Up the Band
BERNSTEIN  “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide
BERNSTEIN  Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
GERSHWIN (arr. TOVEY)  “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” from Shall We Dance
GERSHWIN (arr. TOVEY)  “A Foggy Day” from Damsel in Distress
GERSHWIN (arr. TOVEY)  Fascinating Rhythm
TOVEY   Urban Runway
GERSHWIN  Catfish Row: Symphonic Suite from Porgy and Bess


Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Brett Mitchell, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano

BERNSTEIN  Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”)
COPLAND  Suite from Appalachian Spring
COPLAND  Suite from Billy the Kid


Friday, July 17, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

The Cleveland Orchestra
Ludwig Wicki, conductor – Blossom Festival debut
Blossom Festival Chorus
Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus

SHORE  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ (film with orchestral score performed live)

This summer, relive the first installment of Peter Jackson’s fantasy adventure trilogy (based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien), with the music performed live by The Cleveland Orchestra! Howard Shore’s score captures Fellowship’s sweeping emotion, thrilling vistas, and grand journeys.


Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Elim Chan, conductor – Cleveland Orchestra debut
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV  Suite from The Snow Maiden
CHOPIN  Piano Concerto No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 2


Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

The Cleveland Orchestra
Richard Kaufman, conductor
Debbie Gravitte, vocals
Christiane Noll, vocals
Hugh Panaro, vocals – Cleveland Orchestra debut

Broadway mega hits. Star vocalists. A night to remember. Pack a picnic and enjoy a celebration of the best of American theater by legendary composers Lerner & Loewe, Sondheim, Bernstein, and a special tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, with music from My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and much more!


Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Fabien Gabel, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra

ZIGMAN  Tango Manos – Cleveland Orchestra premiere
RAVEL  Rapsodie espagnole

ROUSSEL  Suite No. 2 from Bacchus et Ariane


Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Stuart Duncan, fiddle – Blossom Festival debut
Edgar Meyer, bass – Blossom Festival debut
Chris Thile, mandolin – Blossom Festival debut
with guest Aoife O’Donovan, vocals – Blossom Festival debut

Music from the Goat Rodeo Sessions

An astounding group of virtuosos – Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin — reunite live for the first time in nearly a decade. Joined by featured vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, the lively talents of these exceptional artists come together on stage to create a singular sound that’s part composed, part improvised, and uniquely American — music so complex to pull off that the group likens it to a goat rodeo, airplane pilots' nickname for a situation in which many different things need to go right to avoid disaster. In the words of the Los Angeles Times, this concert presents “unlikely musicians on unlikely instruments in concerts ... that [are] part blues, part bluegrass and a smidgen of Bach.”

2011’s Grammy-winning Goat Rodeo Sessions was the first step in this pathbreaking collaboration, producing music that NPR’s World Cafe called “organic yet composed in a way that only four deeply talented, in-tune musicians could make it,” hinting "at Appalachia, Chinese classical, Celtic, and jazz influences.” Now, the group reunites this summer to perform a collection of all-new music, accompanied by a new album to be released in spring 2020 by Sony Masterworks. These five musicians’ diverse traditions and experiences intersect to create a compelling sound that is at once global and American, a shared voice that speaks powerfully to the American experience.

The Cleveland Orchestra does not perform at this concert


Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Edo de Waart, conductor
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano – Blossom Festival debut

BEETHOVEN  Overture to Coriolan
BERLIOZ   Les Nuits d'été [Summer Nights]
BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)


Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor

MENDELSSOHN  Overture: The Hebrides (“Fingal's Cave”)
GRIEG  Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt
DVOŘÁK  Symphony No. 8


Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Jahja Ling, conductor
Sayaka Shoji, violin – Cleveland Orchestra debut

BRAHMS  Violin Concerto
BRAHMS  Symphony No. 2


Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Jane Glover, conductor – Blossom Festival debut
Blossom Festival Chorus

HANDEL  Zadok the Priest (Coronation Anthem No. 1)
HANDEL  Concerto a due cori No. 1
HANDEL  The King Shall Rejoice (Coronation Anthem No. 3)
MOZART  Symphony No. 40


Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

The Cleveland Orchestra
Justin Freer, conductor
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus

WILLIAMS  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ (film with orchestral score performed live to picture)

Cars fly, trees fight back, and monsters are on the loose in Harry’s second year at HogwartsTM School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! This concert features the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM in high-definition, on a giant screen, while a live orchestra performs John Williams’s unforgettable score. Relive every magical moment as the music brings life to a story that has enchanted the world.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. WIZARDING WORLD trademark and logo © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s20)


Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.*
Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.*

Blossom Festival Orchestra 
Martin Herman, conductor – Blossom Festival debut
Classical Mystery Tour

The best of the Beatles like you’ve never heard them: totally live with symphony orchestra. Sensational tribute band, Classical Mystery Tour, joins the Blossom Festival Orchestra performing all The Beatles’ greatest hits, from their early music to the solo years, in original orchestrations. Featuring “Penny Lane,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” and so much more!

*Denotes fireworks following the concert (weather permitting)

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