The Cleveland Orchestra Announces 2019-20 Season

The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-M st announced details of their 2019-2020 season which encompasses 76 concerts over 26 weeks. One significant highlight includes a festival designed to explore music and art that was banned, marginalized, and destroyed during the Nazi's Degenerate Art movement, and the continuing impact of censorship on creative expression in society today. The festival will center on Alban Berg's Lulu, one of the 20th century's most influential operas, and includes partner programming with the area's notable arts institutions.

The upcoming season also features a continuation of Welser-M st's rediscovery of rarely performed symphonies by Schubert and Prokofiev, Cleveland Orchestra debuts by eight guest artists, first-time Orchestra performances of a dozen works, and the world premiere of two compositions commissioned by the Orchestra from Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow Bernd Richard Deutsch and Oded Zehavi. In addition, the Orchestra will present works by six other contemporary composers John Adams, Thomas Ad s, Louis Andriessen, John Harbison, Olga Neuwirth and Michael Tilson Thomas and 20th century works by American composers George Antheil and Florence Price.

As we look ahead to the 102nd Cleveland Orchestra season, The Cleveland Orchestra is more committed than ever to serving and engaging its Ohio communities, says Andr Gremillet, Cleveland Orchestra President & CEO. This is the 18th season of the acclaimed partnership with Music Director Franz Welser-M st, and we are all looking forward to a 2019-20 Severance Hall season that includes favorite masterworks, intriguing new music as well as neglected major works from the past, powerful education offerings, and an exciting roster of favorite and new guest artists. I am particularly excited about the festival that Franz has created around Alban Berg's Lulu, which includes collaboration with distinguished arts organizations from Northeast Ohio across the genres of visual art, film, and literature.

Franz Welser-M st, Cleveland Orchestra Music Director: The Cleveland Orchestra always tries to achieve the extraordinary. This pursuit brings joy to our work and also makes this institution so alive. We never rest on our laurels. We are pushing ourselves constantly.

One of the highlights of this next season is the opera, Lulu. It is an intense piece and a challenging work both musically and in its subject matter. Yet this kind of programming is successful in Cleveland because we have such an extraordinary, adventurous, and open audience. Each season, we program to challenge those of us on stage, but also to challenge the audience to deepen their curiosity and to develop their interest in discovering new things. Just as we did a year ago with Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, we are creating a festival around Berg's Lulu. Together we will look at the relationship of art and politics in Berg's lifetime of how certain music in the 1920s and '30s was politically abandoned and prohibited. We are featuring works by Schulhoff, Krenek, and others works that the Nazis labeled 'Entartete Musik' or Degenerate Music. It was a period of autocratic, authoritarian regimes who condemned any artistic expression outside of their narrow view with a heavy hand. Artists and their work were prohibited through censorship. Just as the character of Lulu is abused and abusive in her own way, we will look into how music and art can be abused by a system and how a system can turn people on one another. These are important topics, not only from the past, but in today's world.

We live in a time where angst is more and more a part of everyday life all over the world. One of the key elements of political populism is that there must always be a scapegoat there is always someone, a group of people, or an idea to blame. For instance, Berg's score to Lulu includes jazz elements and jazz at the time of the 1920s and '30s was not widely accepted as 'real' art. Jazz musicians, black musicians, and minority composers were too often viewed as not having any value for society. So with this festival we are featuring jazz music, and other music, including a classical piece by the African-American composer William Grant Still. What we are doing is looking at great music, at great art, that was marginalized for all the wrong reasons.

Franz Welser-M st on Schubert and Prokofiev: It is important that we continue to perform works that are too often neglected or have been forgotten. I am pairing works of Schubert and Prokofiev because I feel both of them are well-known composers, yes, but there is also so much of their music that remains unknown. These masterpieces should be rediscovered. Next season, we will perform Schubert's Third and Fourth Symphonies, as well as Prokofiev's Third and Sixth Symphonies. These are all absolute jewels, which audiences should experience.

In May 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-M st will present a festival centered around the opera Lulu, which German composer Alban Berg wrote during the Nazi rise to power in the early 1930s. Looking at both the abusive and oppressive subject matter of the opera itself and how government censorship halted the work's premiere, this festival is designed to explore the ways in which music and composers in this era were damaged by the prejudice, propaganda, censorship, political control, and hate that surrounded what became known as the Degenerate Art and Music movement.

A week-long series of concerts at Severance Hall will showcase the opera alongside other pieces primarily from the 1920s and '30s, including compositions by Mary Lou Williams, Bohuslav Martin , George Antheil, Ernst Krenek, and Erwin Schulhoff. The festival also features a piece commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra in 1944 from American composer William Grant Still. Although the festival will expose audience members to banned works from an earlier time, the performances are intended to inspire introspection and discussion about the role music and art can play in contemporary society.

The term Degenerate Art and Music (Entartete Kunst und Musik) refers to a movement that was instigated across Germany during the decade before the Second World War. In addition to banning artworks, musical performances, and literature that didn't conform to the Third Reich's idea of classical beauty, the Nazi Party held a series of widely-attended public exhibitions providing examples of art and music it believed was harmful or decadent due to Jewish, Communist, African American, Modernist, and other minority influences.

For this festival, The Cleveland Orchestra is collaborating with distinguished arts organizations from across Northeast Ohio, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland School of the Arts (Cleveland Metropolitan School District), Cleveland Public Library, and Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, to co-present associated programming, film screenings, and education programs. These partnerships will form a city-wide festival to inspire reflection and dialogue around Degenerate Art and Music and the effects of weaponizing art today. The events will illustrate how artists and their work were affected by stringent political control, prejudice, and propaganda during the years around the Second World War and to what extent these conditions continue to exist in present-day society. Further details about these projects, events, programs, and exhibitions will be announced later in 2019.

Festival Presentation | May 16, 29, 22: Alban Berg's Lulu at Severance Hall
Berg's ground-breaking opera Lulu is based on two German Realist plays. Its controversial storyline about victimization and oppression centers on the title character of Lulu: a Viennese woman whose life runs a dramatic course through marriage, adultery, incest, violence, destitution, prostitution, fame, and murder. (The plays' author, Frank Wedekind, also wrote Spring Awakening, which was turned into a successful, but controversial, Broadway musical about teenage angst in 2006.) Following Hitler's rise to power, Berg was scrutinized by the Nazi Party for studying with Jewish composer Arnold Schoenberg and for his use of twelve-tone serialism technique. After working on Lulu for six years, he learned that a production of the opera's first two acts could not be presented in Germany due to the country's cultural and political climate. Instead, it premiered in Switzerland in June 1937.

The Cleveland Orchestra will perform Lulu (two-act version) in concert on May 16, 19, and 22, 2020. This will be the Orchestra's first time presenting the work, with a cast featuring acclaimed international vocalists: soprano Barbara Hannigan (Lulu), tenor Rainer Trost (Painter) in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, baritone Bo Skovhus (Dr. Sch n), tenor Norbert Ernst (Alwa), bass John Tomlinson (Schigolch) in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano (Countess Geschwitz). Between 1929 and 1935, Berg completed the first two acts of Lulu, one of the most influential operas of the 20th century. Based on the plays Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box by Frank Wedekind, the story vividly illustrates Lulu's tumultuous and entangled relationships with her admirers, including her physician husband, a painter, her lover Dr. Sch n, an old man named Schigolch, Countess Geschwitz, and Dr. Sch n's son Alwa.

Festival Concert | May 15: Jazz and Dadaist Art Film Martin and Antheil at Severance Hall
In Germany during the 1930s and '40s, jazz music and musicians who championed the art form were subject to prejudice and intolerance. The May 15 program focuses on works by jazz composers or works influenced by jazz, including selections from Mary Lou Williams's Zodiac Suite (1945), additional solo jazz and classical works with pianist Aaron Diehl, Martin 's Jazz Suite (1928), and a performance of the music and film Ballet m canique, composed by American George Antheil (1923-24). The corresponding Dadaist and semi-abstract art film was created by Fernand L ger in collaboration with moviemaker Dudley Murphy with cinematographic input from Man Ray.

Festival Concert | May 23: African American and Czech Composers Still, Krenek, Schulhoff at Severance Hall
The arrangement of works on the May 23 concert draw connections to Degenerate Music through the lens of racial, ethnic, and religious persecution. William Grant Still, considered the dean of African-American composers, wrote his Poem for Orchestra in 1944 on a commission by The Cleveland Orchestra from the Kulas American Composers fund. Still's wife, Verna Arvey, said it was inspired by the concept of a world being reborn spiritually after a period of darkness and desolation.'' Czech composer Ernst Krenek's Die Nachtigall (1931), which includes text of Karl Kraus's poem by the same name, will be performed by The Cleveland Orchestra for the first time with soprano Barbara Hannigan. Also to be performed by The Cleveland Orchestra for the first time is Erwin Schulhoff's Symphony No. 5 (1938-39). Of Czech and Jewish heritage, Schulhoff's Symphony No. 5 has been called . . . a full palette of musical passages suggesting tension and forebodings, and, in keeping with the aesthetic of socialist realism, an overriding sense of hope for the future.

Mitsuko Uchida in Recital
November 3, Cleveland Orchestra guest artist and frequent collaborator, pianist Mitsuko Uchida, will perform a solo recital of three Schubert Piano Sonatas: A minor, D. 537; C major, D. 840; and B-flat major, D. 960. A longtime artistic partner, Ms. Uchida has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra more than a hundred times since her 1990 debut, in a range of repertoire from Mozart and Beethoven to Schoenberg and Messiaen.

Commissions, Premieres, Works by Living Composers
Austrian composer Bernd Richard Deutsch continues as The Cleveland Orchestra's tenth Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow in the 2019-20 season. As part of his existing fellowship, Okeanos (for organ and orchestra) will receive its United States premiere performances on March 14, 15, 16, and 17, 2019. In addition, Deutsch will participate in rehearsals and educational activities serving the Northeast Ohio community. For the 2019-20 season, the world premiere of a new work by Deutsch will be performed under the direction of Franz Welser-M st alongside Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Igor Levit, and Mussorgky/Ravel's Pictures at an Exhibition on May 28, 29, 30, and 31. The Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow program began in 1998. Works by the composers are commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra through the Young Composers Endowment Fund, which was established a year earlier by a generous endowment gift from Daniel R. Lewis and Jan R. Lewis. For more information about Bernd Richard Deutsch, please visit

World Premieres
The 2019-20 season features a pair of world-premiere performances of two Cleveland Orchestra commissions: Piccolo Concerto by Oded Zehavi (April 30 and May 2) with Cleveland Orchestra principal piccolo Mary Kay Fink, and a new work by Bernd Richard Deutsch (May 28, 29, 30, and 31). Deutsch began his first year as The Cleveland Orchestra's tenth Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow during the 2018-19 season.

Cleveland Orchestra Premieres
The 2019-20 season features a dozen works performed for the first time by The Cleveland Orchestra, five of which were written by living composers: Olga Neuwirth's Masaot/Clocks without Hands conducted by Franz Welser-M st (September 26 and 28); Thomas Ad s's Piano Concerto conducted by Alan Gilbert (October 11 and 12); Louis Andriessen's Agamemnon with conductor Jaap van Zweden (October 17, 18, and 19); John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls (November 14, 16, and 17); Michael Tilson Thomas conducts his new work (February 20, 21, 22, and 23); Krenek's Static and Ecstatic under the baton of Franz Welser-M st (March 5, 7, and 8); Prices's Symphony No. 4 (April 16, 17, 18 and 19); Martin 's Jazz Suite and Antheil's Ballet m canique (May 15); Berg's opera Lulu conducted by Franz Welser-M st (May 16, 19, and 22); and Krenek's Die Nachtigall and Schulhoff's Symphony No. 5 led by Franz Welser-M st (May 23).

Cleveland Orchestra Family of Artists
The 2019-20 season features conductors and guest artists with longstanding collaborative connections with the Orchestra, including pianists Yefim Bronfman, Kirill Gerstein, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang; violinist, Leila Josefowicz; cellist Truls M rk; vocalists Dashon Burton, Jennifer Johnson Cano, Barbara Hannigan, and Martina Jankov ; and conductors Herbert Blomstedt, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hr a, Jahja Ling, Nicholas McGegan, Matthias Pintscher, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.

Cleveland Orchestra Members Featured as Soloists
Two members of the Orchestra will be featured soloists during the 2019-20 season. Principal trumpet Michael Sachs will perform Hummel's Trumpet Concerto in E Major on November 21, 22, and 23, and principal piccolo and flutist Mary Kay Fink will play the world premiere of Oded Zehavi's Piccolo Concerto on April 30 and May 2.

Cleveland Orchestra Choral Ensembles
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, one of the few professionally trained, all-volunteer choruses sponsored by a major American orchestra, will be featured in a variety of performances throughout the season. Its members hail from nearly fifty Cleveland-area communities and together contribute more than 25,000 volunteer hours to the Orchestra's music-making each year. In addition to performances in December for the annual Christmas concerts, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus as well as members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus and Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus sing as part of Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls on November 14, 16, and 17. The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus also performs as part of Mendelssohn's Second Symphony ( Lobgesang ), March 5, 7, and 8.

Guest Conductors
Acclaimed guest conductors leading the Orchestra during the 2019-20 season include Herbert Blomstedt (conductor laureate, San Francisco Symphony), Alan Gilbert (chief conductor, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra), Jakub Hr a (chief conductor, Bamberg Symphony), Jahja Ling (conductor laureate, San Diego Symphony Orchestra), Susanna M lkki (chief conductor, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra), Nicholas McGegan (music director, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale), Matthias Pintscher (music director, Ensemble Intercontemporain), Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider (music director designate, Orchestre National de Lyon), Michael Tilson Thomas (music director, San Francisco Symphony; founder and artistic director, New World Symphony), and Jaap van Zweden (music director, New York Philharmonic; music director, Hong Kong Philharmonic).

Cleveland Orchestra Debuts
Eight guest artists are making their Cleveland Orchestra debut during the 2019-20 season, including conductors Philippe Herreweghe, Dima Slobodeniouk, Thomas S nderg rd, and Lorenzo Viotti; soprano Christina Landshamer; tenors Julian Pr gardien and Rainer Trost; and bass John Tomlinson. In addition, violinists Augustin Hadelich and Vilde Frang, and pianist Aaron Diehl make their Severance Hall debuts.

The Fridays@7 series was created a decade ago to provide an entry point for attracting new audiences, and it continues to evolve and appeal to first-time Cleveland Orchestra attendees featuring an early start time, no intermission, and an after-party. The 2019-20 season includes three Fridays@7 concerts: November 22, February 14 and April 17, each with a 7:00 p.m. start time. Previous Fridays@7 activities have included pre-concert conversations with guest artists, an after-party with a live band, and trivia nights with Cleveland Orchestra musicians.

Holiday Festival for 2019
The 2019 Holiday Festival features The Cleveland Orchestra's annual Christmas concerts, including beloved seasonal music with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, and guest choral ensembles all in the splendor of Severance Hall. This year's festival will take place on December 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22, with a dozen concerts led by conductor Richard Kaufman.

At the Movies
The popular At the Movies concert series will continue in the 2019-20 season. During these presentations, The Cleveland Orchestra performs film soundtracks live as the movie is projected on a giant screen above the Severance Hall stage. Complete details for the upcoming series will be announced in April.

The Cleveland Orchestra International and Domestic Touring and Residencies
New York's Carnegie Hall in October 2019
The Cleveland Orchestra makes its 225th and 226th appearances at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium in October 2019. This will be the third time The Cleveland Orchestra has launched Carnegie Hall's season with the opening night gala; previously the Orchestra opened the season in 2000 and 2006. The Orchestra first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1922, and last performed in Stern Auditorium in January 2018 as part of the Orchestra's Centennial Season. On October 3, Music Director Franz Welser-M st and The Cleveland Orchestra will kick off Carnegie Hall's season-long celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, pianist Yefim Bronfman, and cellist Lynn Harrell in a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C Major. Ms. Mutter will also be featured in Beethoven's Romance for Violin and Orchestra in G Major. In addition, the program includes the overture to Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier Suite. Welser-M st and the Orchestra return the following evening, on October 4, with Mr. Bronfman as soloist in Trauermarsch, a piece written expressly for the pianist by J rg Widmann, holder of Carnegie Hall's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, and Mahler's Symphony No. 5.

European Tour in 2020
In spring 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra will embark on its 53rd international tour, travelling to Europe for concerts. This is the twentieth international tour with Music Director Franz Welser-M st. Details about this tour will be announced later in 2019.

Cleveland Orchestra in Miami 2020
For the fourteenth year, The Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-M st will travel to Florida in January 2020 for a residency program and a series of concerts at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The Orchestra's domestic touring also features a January performance in Naples at Artis-Naples' Hayes Hall. For details about the 2020 Miami residency, including education and community programs, please visit

Concerts for Families and Community: A Lifelong Musical Journey Begins in Childhood
The Cleveland Orchestra has a long and proud history of sharing the joys and benefits of music with citizens across Northeast Ohio. Franz Welser-M st leads the Orchestra into its second century with a renewed commitment to music education and community engagement, based on his belief that every child should be touched by music, the arts are critical to a well-rounded education, and learning never ends. The Cleveland Orchestra has introduced more than four million young people to symphonic music through live concert experiences and performances over the past ten decades. Today, with the support of many generous individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental funding partners, the Orchestra's education and community programs reach more than 60,000 young people and adults annually, helping to foster a love of music for a lifetime.

At Severance Hall, the Under 18s Free program offers complimentary tickets (one per regular-priced adult paid admission) to young people ages 7-17 for the Orchestra's Family Concert Series supported by the Weiss Family Foundation, PNC Music Explorers (ages 3-6), and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra concerts. Further details will be announced in the spring of 2019.

In the summer of 2019, Star-Spangled Spectacular, the Orchestra's annual, free community concert, will take place in downtown Cleveland. Details will be announced in the spring of 2019.

In January 2020, the 40th annual free Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert in recognition of the life and legacy of Dr. King takes place at Severance Hall. Details about the ticket lottery, concert program, Severance Hall Open House, and Day of Music will be announced later in 2019.

Center for Future Audiences, Young Audience Development
The Cleveland Orchestra's Center for Future Audiences was established to fund programs to develop new generations of audiences for Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Northeast Ohio. The Center was created in 2010 with a $20 million lead endowment gift from the Maltz Family Foundation, and its programs focus on addressing economic and geographic barriers that may prevent young people from attending Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center. The programs include research, introductory offers, targeted discounts, student ticket programs, and integrated use of new technologies. For more information, please visit

More young people than ever are attending Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall and at each summer's Blossom Music Festival. More than 20 percent of the classical concert audience is now made up of patrons 25 years old and under, up from only eight percent before the expansion of programs made possible by the Center's funding. The Center for Future Audiences programs include Under 18s Free, Members Club, The Circle, Student Advantage Program, and Frequent Fan Cards. For more information, please visit

Under 18s Free, which is the cornerstone program of The Cleveland Orchestra's Center for Future Audiences, continues to foster young audiences by making attendance at orchestra concerts affordable for families, offering free tickets to young people age 17 and under for select Severance Hall concerts again this season. For more information, please visit

Subscription and Ticket Information
Subscriptions for the 2019-20 season are on sale now and start at only $54 for a three-concert package. Subscribers receive seating priority, ticket exchange privileges, and other benefits, including savings of up to $34 off individual-ticket prices.

Cleveland Orchestra Memberships can be purchased at any time during the year. Memberships are designed to offer convenience and value for patrons who want to experience more Cleveland Orchestra concerts each season and include access to year-round concerts at both Severance Hall and the Blossom Music Festival. In exchange for a monthly membership fee of $35 (billed automatically), members can reserve a single ticket for $10 to any concert at any time. For more information about the Members Club, please visit and watch the following video:

Tickets to individual performances go on sale in mid-August 2019. For more information about the variety of subscription packages offered, or for other questions, call Cleveland Orchestra Ticket Services at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141, or visit

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