CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra has announced the 2013 Blossom Music Festival season. The Orchestra will present 19 concerts at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park from July 3 – September 1. Continuing a 40-year tradition, the Blossom season opens with Salute to America concerts with the Blossom Festival Band.
Music Director Franz Welser-Möst conducts three programs at Blossom, including opening night for The Cleveland Orchestra. Highlights of the season are The Joffrey Ballet’s return under the direction of Tito Muñoz and the Blossom Music Festival premiere of Pixar in Concert with conductor Richard Kaufman.
The Blossom season showcases the Orchestra in nine programs and features three principal musicians as soloists: Joshua Smith, flute, Mark Kosower, cello, and Franklin Cohen, clarinet. Conductors Nicholas McGegan, Stéphane Denève, Bramwell Tovey, Jahja Ling, and David Afkham return to Blossom, and Kirill Karabits makes his Cleveland Orchestra debut. Returning guest artists include pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, soprano Christine Brewer, bass Alan Held, and violinist Gil Shaham. Debut artists include soprano Luba Orgonášová, pianist Cédric Tiberghien, violinist Ray Chen, and pianist Martin Helmchen.
A wide variety of popular music will be featured at Blossom this summer, including a premiere performance of the music of Simon & Garfunkel under the direction of Michael Krajewski. Broadway stars will take the stage in a Broadway’s Leading Men program, led by Jack Everly. Cleveland Orchestra conductor Robert Porco will conduct highlights from the Gershwins’Porgy and Bess, and Bramwell Tovey leads an evening of the music of popular song, including music by Cole Porter and Jerome Kern.
Franz Welser-Möst Conducts
Music Director Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Orchestra’s opening night at Blossom on Friday, July 5, with a program featuring soprano Luba Orgonášová in her Cleveland Orchestra debut performing as soloist in Strauss’s Four Last Songs, followed by Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8.
Mr. Welser-Möst will lead Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge for string orchestra, Liszt’s Totentanz for piano and orchestra with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”) on Saturday, July 6. A commemoration of the 200thanniversary of Wagner’s birth will be presented Saturday, July 13. Mr. Welser-Möst will conduct selections from Tristan and Isolde, Die Walküre, and Die Götterdämmerung. Soprano Christine Brewer and bass Alan Held will join the Orchestra in excerpts from the final scene of Die Walküre. Ms. Brewer will also sing the “Liebestod” from Tristan and Isolde and Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene from Die Götterdämmerung.
The Joffrey Ballet Returns
The Cleveland Orchestra and The Joffrey Ballet continue an ongoing collaboration in two performances on Saturday, August 17, and Sunday, August 18, featuring Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the work’s shocking Paris premiere in 1913. The production is a reconstruction (currently on tour across the country) created by the Joffrey in 1987, of Vaslav Nijinsky’s original choreography and the costumes designed by Nicholas Roerich. In addition toThe Rite of Spring, the programs will include Interplay, choreographed by Jerome Robbins to music by Morton Gould, an energetic and brightly colored ballet full of youthful playfulness, and John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, reminiscent of classical ballets such as Swan Lake, but distinctly contemporary, with choreography by Stanton Welch.
Pixar in Concert
Pixar in Concert premieres at the Blossom Music Festival on Saturday, August 31, and Sunday, September 1, on Labor Day weekend. The Cleveland Orchestra will perform selections from all 13 smash-hit Pixar films with visually stunning clips projected on large screens. The clips capture the essence of each film, including their beloved characters and the popular music. The films are: A Bug’s Life, Brave, Cars and Cars 2, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and 3,Ratatouille, Up, and WALL·E. The concerts will be followed by fireworks, weather permitting.
The Orchestra takes the spotlight at Blossom in performances of masterworks from the classical, romantic, and twentieth-century eras. Nicholas McGegan will lead a performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 (“Drum Roll). Stéphane Denève leads Debussy’s La Mer, Ravel’s La Valse, and Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Cédric Tiberghien in his Cleveland Orchestra debut. Conductor Kirill Karabits makes his debut in a program including Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Bramwell Tovey will conduct Holst’s The Planets. Violinist Ray Chen, in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, joins conductor Jahja Ling for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. David Afkham will conduct Schubert’s Symphony in C major (“The Great”). The program also includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with debuting guest artist Martin Helmchen.
Cleveland Orchestra principals appearing as soloists at Blossom this season are: Joshua Smith in Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1, Mark Kosower in Barber’s Cello Concerto, and Franklin Cohen in Navarro’s II Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.
Popular Favorites and Broadway Hits
The smooth sounds of Simon & Garfunkel will be revisited onstage at Blossom in a tribute by vocalists AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle, conducted by Michael Krajewski. Chart-topping songs on the program include “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Sound of Silence,” “The Boxer,” “America,” and “Mrs. Robinson.”
Highlights from the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess return to the Blossom stage conducted by Robert Porco. Acclaimed for her recent portrayal of Bess at the San Francisco Opera, soprano Laquita Mitchell will be joined onstage by Leontyne Price Vocal Competition winner Eric Greene, baritone, as Porgy, Broadway star Rodrick Dixon, tenor, as Sportin’ Life, and the Blossom Festival Chorus.
Four of today’s most talented Broadway leading men, along with one leading lady, join conductor Jack Everly and the Orchestra for great moments in musical theater history, including selections by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. The hits include “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man, “Maria” from West Side Story, and a medley from Les Misérables.
Blossom Festival Band
Continuing a 40-year annual tradition, the Blossom Festival Band, conducted by Loras John Schissel, celebrates Independence Day with A Salute to America on Wednesday, July 3, and Thursday, July 4. The program features music by Gershwin and Sousa, and the explosive Tchaikovsky “1812” Overture, followed by fireworks.
Celebrating its 46th season in 2013, Kent/Blossom Music began under the direction of George Szell when The Cleveland Orchestra and Kent State University launched a partnership in 1968, the year Blossom Music Center opened. Kent/Blossom Music’s advanced training program brings more than 40 musicians from around the world to Ohio each summer for professional training in chamber music and orchestral studies. Participants receive lessons, coachings, and masterclasses with members of The Cleveland Orchestra and other elite faculty for five weeks in June and July. On Saturday, July 27, participants will perform with The Cleveland Orchestra in a side-by-side concert and also present a pre-concert program, conducted by Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor James Feddeck, prior to The Cleveland Orchestra’s concert at the Blossom Music Festival.
Twenty Cleveland Orchestra musicians serve on the faculty at Kent/Blossom Music. Twenty alumni of Kent/Blossom Music are now members of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Family-friendly “Under 18s Free” tickets continue at every Blossom Music Festival concert
The Cleveland Orchestra continues its mission to offer free tickets to young people 17 and under for every Blossom concert again this season. More than 26,000 young people attended Blossom Music Festival concerts through the “Under 18s Free” ticket program in 2011 and 2012.
The “Under 18s Free” initiative is an integral part of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences, which was created to provide broader access for the Northeast Ohio community and is endowed through the leadership and generosity of the Maltz Family Foundation.