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Severance-Hall-Summer“Summers @ Severance,” a new series on Friday evenings in August, will feature The Cleveland Orchestra in three performances at Severance Hall.

The Front Terrace of Severance Hall will be open before and after each 7:00 pm concert, with beverage service and seating areas available. “Happy hour” drink prices will be in force during the hour before the performances.

On Friday, August 1, Johannes Debus will conduct the Orchestra in Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess and the Piano Concerto in G with Benjamin Grosvenor as soloist. The program will conclude with Rachmanninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Jahja Ling will lead an all-Beethoven concert on August 15, including the Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Symphony No. 4 and the Choral Fantasy with pianist Orion Weiss and the Blossom Festival Chorus. The performance is an official cultural event of the 2014 Gay Games being hosted in Cleveland from August 9-16.

Franz Welser-Möst will close out the mini-series with a concert of music by Jörg Widmann (Lied and Flûte en suite with Joshua Smith) and Brahms (Symphony No. 1) on August 29, a performance in which the Orchestra is partnering with local colleges and universities to mark the kick-off to the fall semester.

by Daniel Hautzinger

MLK1In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 20, The Cleveland Orchestra honored Dr. King’s calls for universal brotherhood by hosting its annual Community Open House featuring various Cleveland performing arts groups.

Severance Hall provided warmth throughout the snowy day, with various performances and activities scheduled. The Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer was transformed into a dance floor with flashing lights and an emcee for a fun diversion between performances. Downstairs, in the Smith Lobby, guests were invited to view a display about the life of Dr. King.

Performances began at 12:15 with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. Directed by Lisa Wong, the enthusiastic high school-age singers demonstrated balance and musical maturity well beyond their years. Read the rest of this entry »

Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus

Today, The Cleveland Orchestra released details of its 2013-2014 Severance Hall season. Beginning in September, evening performances (except for the Fridays @ 7 events) will begin at 7:30 pm rather than 8:00, opera returns to Severance Hall with two performances of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in May, and three concerts will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).

Thursday, SEPTEMBER 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, SEPTEMBER 21 at 8 p.m.
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano
Maureen McKay, soprano – Cleveland Orchestra debut

  • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
  • MAHLER Symphony No. 4

Friday, SEPTEMBER 20 at 7 p.m.
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano
KeyBank Fridays@7

by Daniel Hathaway

 

We haveFranzBlossom a vision that Cleveland has more people making music than anywhere”, Cleveland Orchestra music director Franz Welser-Möst said before bringing the Orchestra’s “Make Music!” week showcase concert to a suitably festive conclusion on Thursday evening at Severance Hall. Not every music-maker in this vibrant community and region was in the spotlight last night, but everybody who regularly rehearses and performs under the roof of Severance Hall — plus the kids who make up the El Sistema @ Rainey string orchestra program under founder and director Isabel Trautwein — had the opportunity to demonstrate their wares to a large audience.

 

The two-hour concert culminated in a performance of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus from Messiah combining The Cleveland Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, Youth Chorus, Children’s Chorus, some adults from the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus — and the audience, who were invited to join in, and stood up in time-honored fashion to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Cleveland Orchestra music director laureate Christoph von Dohnányi has returned to Severance Hall this weekend to revive part of one of his pet projects, Hans Werner Henze’s opera The Bassarids, and to conduct Mahler’s first experimental venture into symphonic form. On Thursday evening, the orchestra and audience welcomed their long-time maestro back with a palpably warm reception. Dohnányi conducted the premiere of Henze’s Euripides-inspired opera at the Salzburg Festival in 1966 and led concert performances at Severance and Carnegie Halls in 1990. In 2005, at the conductor’s suggestion, Henze reshaped parts of the third act — where the action turns particularly dramatic — into an orchestral suite entitled Adagio, Fuge and Mänadentanz that covers a wide span of emotional territory in just half an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

TheBlomstedt-Herbert-3 Cleveland Orchestra never fails to play at a high level, producing results that can make even an indifferent guest conductor look good. When the orchestra collaborates with someone as inspiring as Herbert Blomstedt, the outcome can be sheer magic. The second weekend of Blomstedt’s sojourn at Severance Hall treated audiences to luminous and revealing performances of symphonies by Mozart and Dvorak so well-known and so often played that they can seem as ordinary as the furniture in your living room.

For Mozart’s second g-minor symphony (No. 40), the 84-year old Swedish-American maestro scaled down the string section by one-half to two-thirds, discarded both baton and podium and led the ensemble from memory at stage level. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

TheNoseda-&-La-Rosa Risorgimento that united the Italian peninsula’s crazy-quilt of city states and regions into a single nation during the nineteenth century will be reenacted in a small way at Finney Chapel in Oberlin and Severance Hall this weekend, when guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda (born and raised in the North near Milan) and Cleveland Orchestra principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa (a native of Sicily) join together in Nino Rota’s Trombone Concerto. (Also on the program, Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6).

It gets even better with an Italian composer in the mix. “Two Italians in Cleveland playing music by an Italian composer,” Noseda said. “The ingredients are intriguing.” “When I found out that my solo debut would be conducted by Mr. Noseda,” La Rosa recalled, “I immediately thought to myself that the Rota concerto would be the right thing to share with our audiences.” There are also parallels between composer, conductor and soloist. Both Rota and Noseda were born in Milan, and the first performance of the concerto took place in 1974, the year La Rosa was born. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

TheUchida Mozart second in Dame Mitsuko Uchida’s new cycle of Mozart concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra features live performances of Nos. 9 and 21 recorded last April 5-7 in Severance Hall (the first recording in the series, including concertos Nos. 20 and 17 won a 2011 Grammy Award for best classical performance).

In his review of one of those live performances last season for this publication, Nicholas Jones wrote, “Sensitive and confident, utterly secure in passage work, energetic and lyrical by turns, she packed these familiar concertos with beauties, pleasures and surprises … Uchida’s rapport with the orchestra shone through the performances, which she conducted from the keyboard. Her style was part of the music’s rhythmic energy — playing a phrase, shooting up from the piano bench, her hands a-flutter as if they were finding notes in space in the active passages or, in the sombre parts, turned palm upwards as if imploring the gods (or the musicians?)”  Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

pink-martiniPortland’s “Little Orchestra,” Pink Martini, made a big impression when they first appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra in March of 2010. The ensemble, anchored by the inimitable pianist Thomas Lauderdale and the charismatic vocalist China Forbes (back after a successful operation on her vocal chords) returned to spread a lot of sophisticated holiday cheer last night at Severance Hall with The Cleveland Orchestra as its distinguished backup band. The delectable program, stylishly conducted by James Feddeck (and to be repeated on Wednesday evening), was enhanced by two special guests with Portland roots: NPR commentator Ari Shapiro and clarinetist Norman Leyden, whose performances added special personality to some of the nearly twenty songs — music both for the season and for all seasons. Read the rest of this entry »

by Alexandra A. Vago

The ClevelandFLECK-Bela Orchestra’s KeyBank Fridays@7 concert series began in 2009 as a way to create a new concert experience for new patrons and introduce current patrons to musics of the world. As part of this season’s series, Giancarlo Guerrero led the Cleveland Orchestra in an exhilarating exhibition of American music for a nearly sold-out Severance Hall on Friday, December 7.

Fridays@7 is really three concert experiences in one. The 6:00 pm pre-concert in the Reinberger Chamber Hall featured folk music from Eastern Europe performed by Harmonia. The main event highlighted American music with Short Ride in a Fast Machine by Adams, An American in Paris by Gershwin, and Béla Fleck’s Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra. The Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer housed the after-party, which showcased contemporary music from New Orleans performed by Mark Mullins, trombone; Roland Guerin, bass; and Johnny Vidacovich, drums. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Let’s facepink-martini it, people have ideas everyday, but not all of them are good. In 1994 in Portland, Oregon, the politically active Thomas Lauderdale had grown tried of attending fundraising events that featured music he found to be “underwhelming, lackluster, loud and un-neighborly.” Lauderdale, a lover of music from around the world, decided to form a band that would perform music that wove together the genres of classical, jazz and old- fashioned pop. The band would “provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks.” Above all, both liberals and conservatives would enjoy the music. Eighteen years later, its clear that Lauderdale’s idea to form the “little orchestra” Pink Martini, was a good idea.

On December 18 & 19 at 8:00 pm, Pink Martini returns to Severance Hall for a holiday celebration with The Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of James Feddeck. Described as a “globally-inclusive holiday concert for the 21st century,” the concert features the band’s popular favorites along with holiday classics such as “White Christmas,” “Santa Baby,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “We Three Kings,” and more. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

The ticketsFLECK-Bela touted American in Paris, the publicity focused on Bela Fleck and his new Banjo Concerto, but the centerpiece of Thursday evening’s Cleveland Orchestra concert at Severance Hall led by guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero was Aaron Copland’s wonderful ballet suite from Billy and the Kid, first played by Rodzinsky and the orchestra at subscription concerts in 1943 but thereafter mostly relegated to educational concerts and summertime at Blossom.

Somehow, the Brooklyn-born Copland — paralleling the background of New York-born cowboy Wiliam Bonney, the subject for Lincoln Kirstein’s 1938 ballet — managed to evoke the wide open spaces and the joys and sorrows of the Wild West in music that is unmistakeably and iconically “American”. The suite is a terrific piece of orchestral choreography full of stories, scenes, moods, colors and rhythms that creates its own brilliant scenario without a dancer in sight. Read the rest of this entry »

 by Daniel Hathaway

Martin Kesslerkesslerphoto will conduct the Suburban Symphony Orchestra in a special Severance Hall concert on Sunday, November 18 at 4:00 pm based around Robert S. Cohen and Herschel Garfein’s Alzheimer’s Stories. The performance is a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cleveland and the University Hospitals Neurological Institute. How Cohen and Garfein’s piece came to be written and how it came to be performed in Cleveland are interesting narratives of their own.

An anonymous member of Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley Chorale made a donation in 2007 toward commissioning a piece dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in honor of his parents, who had both died of that irreversible neurological condition. A blog was set up in cooperation with Garfein (the librettist for Elmer Gantry and Rosenkranz and Guildenstern are Dead) to collect stories from chorus and community members who had dealt with the disease. The work was premiered in October, 2009 at the Weis Center at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, along with works by Cohen’s teacher, Ron Nelson, and was recorded for radio and television by PBS. (Read the libretto and listen to excerpts here). Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian condutor Bernard Labadie conducts the Cleveland Orchestra in Rameau, Neruda and Handel this weekend (April 29-May 2). We reached him in Quebec City to talk about his debut with the Orchestra.

Mike Telin: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk and congratulations on all of your successes during the past few months.

Bernard Labadie: Thank you very much, and it has been a very good year.

MT:  In addition, you will be making your Cleveland Orchestra debut next week.

BL: Yes, absolutely. It is quite exciting actually.

MT: You also made your Metropolitan Opera debut this season.

BL: Yes and I also did my Concertgebouw debut as well.

MT: We must not forget the rave reviews you received for your New York performances of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and the Bach ‘Christmas Oratorio’ with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Quebec.

BL: Yes, the performances went very well.

MT: Regarding the program for next week, I see you are doing Handel’s ‘Water Music’. Will that be the complete or just one or two of the suites.

BL: We’ll be doing all three suites, so that will be the whole second half. It is actually a very substantial second half.

MT: The first half will be the Neruda ‘Trumpet Concerto’ with Michael Sachs as well as your own arrangement of a suite from Rameau’s opera ‘Dardanus’. Can you tell me a little bit about the Rameau? Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Hathaway
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Mike Telin
executive editor
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James Flood
J.D. Goddard
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