Pierre Boulez Receives Cleveland Orchestra's 18th Annual Distinguished Service Award
Pierre Boulez has been chosen to receive the eighteenth annual Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award, honoring a person or organization that has provided continuing exemplary service to the Musical Arts Association. The honor is awarded by Dennis W. LaBarre, President of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Arts Association, the parent organization of The Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall, and Blossom Music Center, on behalf of a committee made up of Orchestra Trustees, musicians, and staff.
Pierre Boulez has conducted The Cleveland Orchestra over a time span of nearly fifty years - the longest for any conductor throughout the Orchestra's history. Since making his American professional conducting debut with the Orchestra at the invitation of George Szell in 1965, Mr. Boulez has led the Orchestra in more than 220 concerts.
Executive Director Gary Hanson said, "This award is in recognition of our genuine appreciation for Pierre Boulez's decades of service to The Cleveland Orchestra. He has given us the gift of great music, new music, and the joy of music-making. We are grateful for what he has taught us and honored by his peerless international legacy."
In addition to Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center concerts, Pierre Boulez has led numerous tour performances, among them concerts at Carnegie Hall and in Paris and Tokyo. Works that he has conducted, by composers ranging from Giovanni Gabrieli, Rameau, Handel, and J.S. Bach to Marc-André Dalbavie and Hanspeter Kyburz, span six centuries.
Pierre Boulez was appointed the Orchestra's first Principal Guest Conductor in 1969 and served as Musical Advisor for two seasons beginning shortly after Szell's death in 1970. In 1986, he conducted the Orchestra in two weeks of "Great Composers of Our Time" concerts featuring his music.
Mr. Boulez has recorded a variety of works with The Cleveland Orchestra. These recordings have won five Grammy Awards (for works by Berlioz, Debussy, and Stravinsky). Mr. Boulez's complete recorded cycle of the nine Mahler symphonies features Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 with The Cleveland Orchestra. His most recent recordings with the Orchestra, made in February 2010, are of the Adagio from Mahler's Symphony No. 10, Mahler's Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (with soloists Magdalena Kozená and Christian Gerhaher), and both Ravel Piano Concertos (with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist). The Mahler program was broadcast for a second time on PBS stations nationally on January 1, 2014.
The Distinguished Service Award presentation will take place onstage at the beginning of the Orchestra's Thursday, February 6 concert. With great regret, Mr. Boulez is unable to come to Cleveland to conduct his planned concerts in February, due to health issues, and will not be present to accept his award. Joela Jones, the Orchestra's principal keyboardist, will speak about Mr. Boulez, on behalf of the Orchestra.