Cleveland Orchestra Kicks Off 2014 Blossom Music Festival Season Today

Cleveland Orchestra Kicks Off 2014 Blossom Music Festival Season Today

The Cleveland Orchestra previously announced the 2014 Blossom Music Festival season. The Festival comprises 18 concerts - including 15 by The Cleveland Orchestra, two Blossom Festival Band concerts, and one concert by the Blossom Festival Orchestra - at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park from today, July 3 - August 31.

For the 41st consecutive year, the Blossom season begins with traditional Salute to America concerts by the Blossom Festival Band. Highlights of the season include the Festival opening concert featuring Dvo?ák's "New World" Symphony conducted by Jaap van Zweden, the return of conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, a concert featuring Yo-Yo Ma as soloist in the Elgar Cello Concerto, a performance of Orff's Carmina Burana, "A Beatles Tribute: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Their U.S. Arrival," and two different programs to close the season on Labor Day weekend, beginning with "Family Funfest at Blossom" featuring the Blossom Festival Orchestra performing tunes from The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz, Frozen, and other movie favorites, plus family-friendly pre-concert activities, and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst conducting The Cleveland Orchestra in the final program of the season, a European Festivals Tour send-off concert. The tour performances will be announced at a later date.

In addition to Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, conductors returning to Blossom are Johannes Debus, Jack Everly, Andrew Grams, Richard Kaufman, Michael Krajewski, Jahja Ling, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and Bramwell Tovey. Asher Fisch, Matthew Halls, and John Storgårds make their Cleveland Orchestra debuts. Jeffrey Kahane, who has appeared with the Orchestra numerous times as piano soloist, makes his Cleveland Orchestra conducting debut. Conductor Jaap van Zweden and Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Brett Mitchell make their Blossom Music Festival debuts. Returning guest soloists include pianist Stephen Hough, soprano Kristen Plumley, violinist Karen Gomyo, and vocalists Ben Crawford, Whitney Claire Kaufman, and Ted Keegan. Debut artists include soprano Nadine Sierra, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, baritone Brian Mulligan, pianist Francesco Piemontesi, and violinists Renaud Capuçon and Isabelle Faust. Tenor Christopher Pfund, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and narrator Pat Sajak make their Blossom Music Festival debuts.

A wide variety of popular music will be featured at Blossom this summer, including a "Sci-Fi Spectacular" program with music from the major science fiction TV shows and movies, under the direction of Jack Everly. Broadway stars will take the stage in a Broadway Standing Ovations program, also led by Jack Everly. Hollywood maestro Richard Kaufman conducts Hollywood under the Stars, a blockbuster tribute to music from many favorite movies.

Franz Welser-Möst Conducts: Music Director Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Orchestra's closing night concert at Blossom on Sunday, August 31, with a European Festivals Tour send-off performance featuring Brahms's Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 along with Jörg Widmann's Con brio: Concert Overture for Orchestra.

Orchestral Masterworks: The Orchestra takes the spotlight at Blossom in performances of great orchestral masterpieces from the classical, romantic, and twentieth-century eras. Jaap van Zweden conducts Dvo?ák's "New World" Symphony and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Renaud Capuçon as soloist in his Cleveland Orchestra debut. Asher Fisch makes his debut in a program including Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with soloist Isabelle Faust, also making her debut. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducts Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony and a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 marking the debut of soloist Francesco Piemontesi. John Storgårds makes his debut in a program including Sibelius's Symphony No. 2. Jeffrey Kahane leads a program including Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 ("Italian"). Franz Welser-Möst conducts Brahms's Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4.

Cleveland Orchestra musicians appearing as soloist at Blossom this season include: Principal Trumpet Michael Sachs in "With Malice Toward None" from Lincoln and First Associate Concertmaster Peter Otto in Haydn's Violin Concerto No. 1.

A Beatles Tribute: A Beatles Tribute: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Their U.S. Arrival relives the greatest hits of the Beatles when The Cleveland Orchestra is joined by the hit tribute band Classical Mystery Tour to perform the original orchestrations of favorites including "Penny Lane," "Yesterday," "Eleanor Rigby," and "With a Little Help From My Friends," among many others.

Blossom Festival Band: In a tradition now entering its fifth decade, the Blossom Festival Band, conducted by Loras John Schissel, celebrates Independence Day with A Salute to America on Thursday, July 3, and Friday, July 4. The program features music by Bernstein, Gershwin, and Sousa, and the explosive Tchaikovsky "1812" Overture, followed by fireworks.

Kent/Blossom Music: Celebrating its 47th season in 2014, 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 26, participants will perform with The Cleveland Orchestra in a side-by-side concert and also present a pre-concert program of music by Ravel and Wagner, conducted by Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Brett Mitchell, 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 Music Festival concert again this season. Nearly 50,000 young people have attended Blossom Music Festival concerts since the "Under 18s Free" ticket program began at Blossom in 2011.

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.