The Cleveland Orchestra Announces 2021 Blossom Music Festival, Presented By The J.M. Smucker Co.

Beloved summer tradition returns for ten weeks of concerts and picnics at Blossom Music Center, the Orchestra’s summer home

Festival reunites the Orchestra and community through music, with a mix of audience favorites and rising star guest artists

Subscriptions on sale now, individual tickets available Monday, May 3

Under 18s Free, signature program of The Cleveland Orchestra, continues into its 10th season

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Orchestra announces its 2021 Blossom Music Festival season, presented by The J.M. Smucker Co. Following last year’s cancelation due to the global pandemic, the Festival returns this summer with an inspiring lineup of concerts, presented in accordance with local, state, and federal health guidelines. Eleven concerts are currently part of the 2021 Blossom Music Festival, which runs from Fourth of July through Labor Day weekends (July 3 – September 5) at the Orchestra’s scenic summer home in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Subscriptions are on sale now, with individual tickets available for purchase on Monday, May 3.

“Notwithstanding the few guests who attended some of our recording sessions these past few weeks, it has been more than a year since The Cleveland Orchestra played concerts for a live audience, and we’re eagerly looking forward to performing for music lovers across Northeast Ohio this summer,” said André Gremillet, President & CEO of The Cleveland Orchestra. “After what has been a challenging and, for so many, a tragic time, we believe that the upcoming Blossom Music Festival season will provide a measure of joy and relief — offering an opportunity for our community to come together again through the extraordinary power of music. Enjoying picnics and music at Blossom is a beloved summertime tradition, and we hope this year’s concerts will mark a joyful reunion for all of us — musicians, audience, staff, volunteers, and our entire Northeast Ohio community.”

“This Blossom Music Festival season celebrates our community, with music that we know our fans have been eager to hear again,” said Ilya Gidalevich, Artistic Administrator of The Cleveland Orchestra. “For this long-awaited return to the Blossom stage, audiences will experience some of their favorite classical music — like the works of Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Elgar, and Dvořák. As always, expect to see a mix of rising, international music stars and fan favorite conductors and soloists along with the unmatched musicians of ‘America’s finest Orchestra’.”

Program highlights include the following:

The Cleveland Orchestra begins the Blossom season with an explosive start in An American Celebration on July 3. To commemorate Independence Day and the Orchestra's first concert at Blossom since 2019, fan favorite and former Cleveland Orchestra associate conductor Brett Mitchell leads the Orchestra in a performance featuring patriotic hits and music by acclaimed American composers.

An all-Mozart program will be presented July 11 under the baton of Jane Glover, hailed as “one of the finest Mozartians of our day” by the Chicago Classical Review and named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2021 New Year’s Honours. Featured on the Orchestra’s Mozart in the Meadows program is the composer’s beloved Symphony No. 40, often called his “Great G minor symphony.”

The Great American Songbook comes to the Blossom stage, performed by Broadway star vocalist Capathia Jenkins and led by Lucas Waldin. Audiences will experience classic American songs by Gershwin and Ellington in this concert on July 18.

Venezuelan conductor and music director of the San Diego Symphony Rafael Payare makes his Cleveland Orchestra debut on July 25 in a concert featuring an audience favorite: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”).

On August 1, legendary conductor Herbert Blomstedt returns to Blossom for a program featuring Beethoven’s exquisite and energetic Symphony No. 7. A favorite of Northeast Ohio audiences, Blomstedt has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra in 15 of the last 20 years.

The Classical Mystery Tour stops at Blossom on August 8, with a tribute to The Beatles. Hear "Penny Lane" with a live trumpet section, experience the beauty of "Yesterday" with acoustic guitar and strings, and lose yourself in the cascading crescendos of “A Day in the Life.”

Karina Canellakis, American conductor and Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, makes her Cleveland Orchestra debut on August 15 with Tchaikovsky’s passionate Symphony No. 4.

Former Cleveland Orchestra resident conductor and former music director of Blossom Music Festival Jahja Ling leads the ensemble in a romantic evening featuring Brahms’s gorgeous Third Symphony on August 22.

Originally scheduled to make her Cleveland Orchestra debut last season, Elim Chan will lead the ensemble for the first time on August 28, in a program featuring Elgar’s powerful and mysterious Enigma Variations.

Music of the silver screen will fill the summer air on Labor Day weekend, September 4 & 5, with Hollywood Under the Stars. Richard Kaufman, one of Hollywood’s most sought after film score conductors, leads the Orchestra in a program featuring blockbuster favorites like Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T., and more.

Further details of the 2021 Blossom Music Festival season, including list of Cleveland Orchestra and Festival conductor debuts, are available in the Calendar section below and online. Additional repertoire and guest artists will be announced in May.

COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols

For the safety of all guests, musicians, staff, and volunteers at Blossom Music Festival, Covid-19 health and safety protocols will be in place, including limited capacity to maintain social distancing. All protocols are in accordance with the guidelines from the State of Ohio and Summit County health department. Protocols include:

  • For the safety of all, guests are asked to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times throughout the venue, except when actively eating and drinking with your household.
  • Physical distancing should be maintained with those outside of your household. Lawn monitors will assist in maintaining appropriate distancing, encouraging households to set up chairs 6 feet from other groups. Seating in the Pavilion will provide appropriate distance between all households.
  • Guests are asked not to visit Blossom Music Center if they are feeling sick, experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or have been potentially exposed to Covid-19 until cleared by a medical professional. If guests develop symptoms while visiting Blossom, please return home immediately and contact your primary care physician.
  • Parking, entrance, and exit procedures will be posted to help direct guests on site, check for symptoms of Covid-19, and maintain social distancing.
  • Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom Music Center staff, musicians, and volunteers will wear masks, submit to daily temperature scans, frequently wash and sanitize hands, and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the best ways to serve our guests during the ongoing pandemic. As advice from health experts and the government evolve, we will update our policies and procedures and inform guests of any changes.

Blossom Music Center Guest Experience & Picnics

The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to providing a world-class guest experience for all visitors to Blossom Music Center — even amidst a pandemic.

Bringing a picnic and enjoying a meal with family and friends is one of the most treasured summer traditions at Blossom Music Festival. The Orchestra is pleased to announce that guests are welcome to bring picnics and eat on the grounds of Blossom Music Center, and may remove masks while actively eating and drinking with members of their households.

Additional on-site amenities and enhancements to the guest experience include the following:

  • Concessions will be available for the 2021 season, including the Blossom Grille restaurant. The Cleveland Orchestra Store will be open, with physical distancing maintained for shoppers. Additional food, beverage, and store details will be announced at a later date.
  • Digital Program Books – Program notes will be available digitally this summer, accessible from your phone or tablet and designed for the mobile experience. Simply text "TCO" to 216-238-0883 to begin reading or scan the QR code found on signage at Blossom Music Center.
  • Image Magnification (IMAG), an on-screen display of live footage from the concert, will return for the entire 2021 Blossom Music Festival season. In 2018, state-of-the-art LED screens were installed in the Pavilion and display live concert footage, viewable throughout the venue.

2021 Tickets & Subscriptions

Subscription renewals are currently underway. For all subscription offerings and for questions about this summer’s procedures, contact the Severance Hall Ticket Office at 216-231-1111 or 1-800-686-1141 or by e-mailing Tickets and packages can also be purchased online. The Blossom Box Office will be open throughout the summer season on festival performance days, starting three hours prior to each concert.

Individual tickets for the remainder of the Blossom Music Festival season go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 3. Tickets start at $25.

Lawn Ticket Books – 2020 Books Valid

All Lawn Ticket Books (including Under 18s Free passes) originally sold for the 2020 Blossom Music Festival can be used for any of the 11 Cleveland Orchestra concerts this summer. Due to social distancing guidelines, lawn capacity will be limited, so we advise those using Lawn Book tickets to arrive early to guarantee a spot. New Lawn Ticket Books are not currently being offered due to limited capacity.

Premier Subscription Series

The 2021 Blossom Music Festival features a six-concert “Classics” and four-concert “Pops” series. Ticket packages are on sale now with a savings of up to 20% 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 and access to Kulas Plaza. Premier subscribers can also request one free Pavilion youth ticket for each adult subscription ticket purchased as part of our Under 18s Free program (box seats not included).

At the time of this announcement, social distancing guidelines as mandated by the State of Ohio and Summit County are still in place, which will require us to relocate subscriber seats. We will make every effort to seat guests in the vicinity of their original location. The deadline to renew is Friday, May 14, but orders will be processed based on the time they are received, so please return order forms as quickly as possible

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. All subscribers receive free parking in Lot B.

Under 18s Free

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. With the cancelation of the 2020 season, the 2021 festival will now mark the program’s 10th season.

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. Under 18s Free is also included on Premier Subscriptions, with one free pavilion youth ticket offered for each adult subscription ticket purchased

Movie Concerts Canceled

Unfortunately the previously announced concerts of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM in Concert will not take place in the 2021 season. While it is the Orchestra’s intention to reschedule one or both of these concerts in a future Blossom season, until large audiences and a full orchestra can safely be accommodated, these concerts are canceled. Ticketholders are offered the following options:

  • Donate your tickets. Please consider donating tickets back to The Cleveland Orchestra. Your support can lessen the huge impact of this unprecedented financial crisis for the Orchestra, and you will receive a tax receipt for the total ticket value. Thank you in advance if you are able to support us with your generosity. Ticket donations can be made online by visiting:

  • Exchange your tickets for a gift certificate for the full value of your purchase, which can be used at any time in the future, for concerts at Blossom Music Festival or Severance Hall. Gift certificates do no expire but are non-refundable.

  • Receive a refund for the value of your ticket to the original form of purchase.

Please contact the Ticket Office by Wednesday, June 30 if you would like to request one of the above options. After that time, any outstanding tickets will be automatically converted to a gift certificate.

Ticket Office Information: To ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, Ticket Office staff members are currently working remotely, and Severance Hall is currently closed to the public. To reach a member of our Ticket Office staff, email or call 216-231-1111 and leave a message. A staff member will reply to you as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours or by the end of the next business day. The Orchestra appreciates your patience and understanding as the team works through all of your requests and questions.

2021 Blossom Music Festival Sponsors

The Cleveland Orchestra is proud to partner with The J.M. Smucker Co. as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2021 Blossom Music Festival.

The J.M. Smucker Co. & The Cleveland Orchestra

The J.M. Smucker Co. 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 Co. 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 Co., which was founded more than a century ago by Mr. Smucker’s great-grandfather, Jerome Smucker. Today, The J.M. Smucker Co. 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.

A Special Thank-You

Deep gratitude goes to the entire Northeast Ohio community, The J. M. Smucker Co.; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; The William Bingham Foundation; GAR Foundation; The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation; Dr. Kenneth F. Swanson Fund for the Arts of Akron Community Foundation; Mary and Dr. George L. Demetros Charitable Trust; Dr. David and Janice Leshner; The Sisler McFawn Foundation; Tom and Shirley Waltermire; Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation; Vincent Lighting Systems; Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation; The M. G. O'Neil Foundation; Lloyd L. and Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation; and The Welty Family Foundation, and all of our sponsors and supporters whose dedicated support makes possible these magical evenings at The Cleveland Orchestra’s beautiful summer home.

We also thank members of the Blossom Committee and the Blossom Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra for their leadership, time, and support of the Blossom Music Festival.

About Blossom Music Center, Summer Home of The Cleveland Orchestra

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 more than 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. In a typical 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.

2021 Blossom Music Festival Calendar

All performances take place at Blossom Music Center, Summer Home of The Cleveland Orchestra
#cleorchblossom #blossom2021

Additional repertoire and guest artists will be announced this May.

An American Celebration

Saturday, July 3, 2021 at 8:00 p.m.*
*with fireworks
The Cleveland Orchestra
Brett Mitchell, conductor

Program to include:
COPLAND Suite from Appalachian Spring
TCHAIKOVSKY 1812 Overture
SOUSA Stars and Stripes Forever

A blockbuster opening weekend! Celebrate the start of the Blossom season and enjoy a night under the stars with great music, fireworks, and fun for the whole family! Join The Cleveland Orchestra for its first public performances in more than a year, featuring Copland’s iconic Appalachian Spring, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture — with cannons! — a march by Sousa and more.

Mozart In The Meadows

Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Dame Jane Glover, conductor (Blossom Music Festival debut)

Program to include:
MOZART Symphony No. 40

Come enjoy the natural beauty of Blossom and a splendid night of Mozart! Highlighting the evening is his Symphony No. 40, sometimes called his “Great G minor” and arguably his most popular symphony, striking for its originality and shadowy intensity — influencing generations of musicians to follow.

The Great American Songbook: Gershwin and Ellington

Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Lucas Waldin, conductor
Capathia Jenkins, vocalist

Program to include:
GERSHWIN Fascinating Rhythm
KERN All the Things You Are
GERSWHIN Summertime

A treasure trove of American songs overflowing with the very best of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Oscar Hammerstein. “Sweet, smart, and sassy” (Chicago Tribune), Broadway star and audience favorite Capathia Jenkins returns to sing these classics and more.

From The New World

Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Rafael Payare, conductor (Cleveland Orchestra debut)

Program to include:
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”)

An outsider’s perspective on the beauty of America. Dvořák came to the U.S. in the 1890s — and was thrilled by the sounds and sights of this wild new country. He admired the beauty of African American spirituals, and was fascinated by Native American traditions. When describing his New World symphony, he said “I tried to write only in the spirit of those national American melodies.” Yet, in the end, his Ninth is a glowing expression of both the Old World and the New.

Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony

Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor

Program to include:
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

One of Beethoven’s greatest and most admired symphonies, the Seventh is loved by audiences for its energy and beauty, and its lilting dance rhythms are some of the stormy composer’s most delightful moments. The somber and dignified second movement of this symphony brings magic to the soundtrack for the film The King’s Speech.

Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute To The Beatles

Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Martin Herman, conductor (Cleveland Orchestra debut)
with 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 Orchestra, performing all of The Beatles’ greatest hits from their early music to the solo years in original orchestrations. “Penny Lane,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” and so much more!

Tchaikovsky’s Fourth

Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Karina Canellakis, conductor (Cleveland Orchestra debut)

Program to include:
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4

He sought refuge in music when his life was in ruins. Tchaikovsky’s life was in disarray; he entered into a marriage that only lasted six weeks. Nearly mad with passion, he poured out his feelings into his Fourth Symphony, and the act of writing the music itself helped to rebalance his sanity — saying of the finale “rejoice in the happiness of others and you can still live.”

Romantic Brahms

Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Jahja Ling, conductor

Program to include:
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3

Enjoy a romantic evening with Brahms’s gorgeous Third Symphony. Filled with passion and longing, it has directly inspired artists today — the third movement was “borrowed” for the 1951 pop song “Take My Love,” recorded and co-written by Frank Sinatra, and is a favorite of Carlos Santana who used it as inspiration for “Love of My Life.”

Enigma Variations

Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Elim Chan, conductor (Cleveland Orchestra debut)

Program to include:
ELGAR Enigma Variations

A lovely tribute — and a musical riddle. Elgar’s Enigma Variations was, in effect, his version of a mixtape: each movement was gifted as a tender portrait of a personal friend. These powerful and emotional tokens of friendship have become extraordinarily popular — the “Nimrod” variation is often used as a song of national mourning and was played at Princess Diana’s funeral. Not content with writing a beautiful piece, Elgar claimed that there was a musical mystery hidden deep in this work. Many claimed to have solved it but no one knows for certain.

Hollywood Under The Stars

Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Richard Kaufman, conductor

From tender love stories to blind obsessions, serene tranquility to pulse-pounding excitement, movie scores are essential for transforming images to powerful stories and emotions. Now, Richard Kaufman, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after film score conductors, leads the Orchestra in a program filled with blockbuster favorites, including works by John Williams from films like Superman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, E.T. and much more.

All programs and artists are subject to change. Additional repertoire and artists will be announced in May.