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The Cleveland Orchestra Announces 2020 Blossom Music Festival

The Cleveland Orchestra Announces 2020 Blossom Music Festival

The Cleveland Orchestra announces its 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, presented by The J.M. Smucker Company. Nineteen concerts will be part of the Blossom Music Festival, taking place from Fourth of July through Labor Day weekends (July 3 - September 6). This year marks the 10th anniversary season of the Orchestra's innovative Under 18's Free ticket program for families and children which provides free tickets for young people to all Blossom Music Festival concerts.

"Each summer, we strive to offer something for everyone," said Cleveland Orchestra Artistic Administrator Ilya Gidalevich. "This season is no exception. From conducting legends like Herbert Blomstedt and Edo de Waart, to long-welcomed members of The Cleveland Orchestra's family like Jahja Ling and Brett Mitchell, audiences can expect terrific classical music played at the highest possible level. In addition to classical concerts, our friends and fans across Northeast Ohio come to the Blossom Music Festival to enjoy music from Broadway shows, blockbuster films, classic rock, and more."

Program highlights include the following:

Three titans of the conducting world take the podium to lead music by genius composers of the classical world. Edo de Waart conducts music by Beethoven on August 9, plus a song cycle by Berlioz featuring frequent Cleveland Orchestra guest, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Herbert Blomstedt returns August 15 for a suite from Grieg's Peer Gynt, including the classics "Morning Mood" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King," closing with Dvořák's Symphony No. 8. The record-holder for the most Blossom Music Festival appearances, Jahja Ling, marks his 119th Blossom performance in an all-Brahms program on August 22. The evening including Brahms's Violin Concerto performed by Sayaka Shoji in her Cleveland Orchestra debut.

Two female conductors make debuts during classical programs this season. On July 25, Elim Chan (chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra) leads The Cleveland Orchestra for the first time in concerts featuring music by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, as well as Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Benjamin Grosvenor. On August 23, Jane Glover (music director of Music of the Baroque) makes her Blossom Festival debut, leading the Orchestra and Blossom Festival Chorus in works by Handel and in Mozart's iconic Symphony No. 40.

On August 1, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, hailed as "one of the best pianists in the world," will perform Aaron Zigman's Tango Manos. This piano concerto, written specifically for Thibaudet, was premiered by him in 2019. This Fabien Gabel-led program continues the Orchestra's partnership with the Kent Blossom Music Festival, featuring a side-by-side performance with the Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra of Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole and a suite from Roussel's Bacchus et Ariane.

Two classical programs highlight music from popular American composers. An evening of songs by George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein on July 5 will be led by Bramwell Tovey and feature soprano Tracy Dahl. The concert on July 11 sees the return of former Cleveland Orchestra associate conductor Brett Mitchell - now music director of the Colorado Symphony -leading the Orchestra in Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety") with virtuosic pianist Kirill Gerstein. The program closes with music by Aaron Copland, including a suite from his evocative and enduring Appalachian Spring.

In Not Our First Goat Rodeo on August 8, an astounding group of virtuosos - Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin - reunite live for the first time in nearly a decade. Joined by featured vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, the lively talents of these exceptional artists come together on stage to create a singular sound that's part composed, part improvised, and uniquely American - music so complex to pull off that the group likens it to a "goat rodeo", airplane pilots' nickname for a situation in which many different things need to go right to avoid disaster.

Music from theater icons Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Leonard Bernstein, and Frederick Loewe is featured in an evening of Broadway Legends on July 26 with conductor Richard Kaufman. Broadway's best will perform the songs: Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee Christiane Noll, and Phantom of the Opera star Hugh Panaro.

An Independence Day tradition, Salute to America is back this season with the Blossom Festival Band led by Loras John Schissel, band conductor since 1998. This patriotic celebration concludes with Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture and a spectacular fireworks display.

The Classical Mystery Tour stops at Blossom, with a tribute to The Beatles on Labor Day Weekend, September 5 & 6. Hear "Penny Lane" with a live trumpet section, experience the beauty of "Yesterday" with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, enjoy the classical/rock blend on "I Am the Walrus," and relish the cascading crescendos on "A Day in the Life."

These highlights join the previously announced films featured during the 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert (July 17-19) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM in Concert (August 29 & 30). Update: the start time for Harry Potter has been moved to 7:00 p.m. Individual tickets are on sale now for these two concerts; ticket information is included below.

Details of the 2020 Blossom Music Festival season, including the full list of Cleveland Orchestra and Festival soloist and conductor debuts, are available online at

Under 18s Free is a signature program of The Cleveland Orchestra's Center for Future Audiences. The Center, created with a lead endowment gift from the Maltz Family Foundation, was established in 2010 to fund programs to develop new generations of audiences for Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Northeast Ohio. Under 18s Free continues to develop young audiences by making attending Orchestra concerts affordable for families, once again offering free Lawn tickets to young people (17 and under) for every Blossom Music Festival concert this season.

After 10 successful years of the Center for Future Audiences and 10 seasons of Under 18s Free, The Cleveland Orchestra has one of the youngest audiences of any major American Orchestra. Approximately 20% of the Orchestra's classical concert audience is under the age of 25. As part of the Under 18s Free 10th season celebration, a special activity book will be available for all children attending Blossom concerts. Prizes will also be offered to kids attending select concerts. More details will be announced soon.

"We are proud to be leading the charge on young audience development," says Ross Binnie, Cleveland Orchestra Chief Brand Officer and Director of the Center for Future Audiences. "Ten years after launching the Under 18s Free program at Blossom, we are well on the way to creating the next generation of Cleveland Orchestra fans. We expect to welcome our 200,000th young person for free this summer. It's wonderful to see the results from such a simple idea: families of six can hear world-class music, have a picnic in a national park, and spend time together - all for less than the price of a movie and popcorn."

At Blossom Music Festival, Under 18s Free lawn vouchers (two per regular-priced adult paid admission) are offered to any Blossom Music Festival subscription concert each summer. Under 18s Free tickets are also available as part of Lawn Book purchases. More ticket information below.

The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to providing a world-class guest experience for all visitors to Blossom Music Center. Every year, Blossom audiences eagerly await a summer of picnics on the lawn, gatherings with friends and family, and incredible music under the stars. Amenities at Blossom that create a top-notch experience include:

· Image Magnification (IMAG) will return for the entire 2020 Blossom Music Festival series, produced through the Orchestra's longstanding partnership with ideastream. In 2018, state-of-the-art LED screens were installed in the pavilion of Blossom Music Center. IMAG - an on-screen display of live footage from the concert - will be offered for all non-film performances during Blossom Music Festival. The Cleveland Orchestra and ideastream are committed to collaborating on projects that can transform lives through the power of music, including weekly Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts on WCLV 104.9 ideastream, co-producing nationally distributed television specials, and live-streaming community concerts online.

· The Tasting Room - a new bar space located steps away from the Lot A entrance to Blossom - opened in 2019. With seating extending to Eells Gallery, this spot offers guests plenty of room to relax and spend time with friends and family before or after a concert. The menu includes a full bar with a wide variety of liquor, beer, and wine options. After the concert, dessert service is available, allowing guests a comfortable space to lounge and dine while avoiding post-concert crowds.

· Want a picnic without having to shop or load up the car? Gourmet picnic packages can be pre-ordered on and picked up on-site for all Blossom Music Festival concert evenings.

Subscription renewals are currently underway with Premier Subscriptions, Create-Your-Own Series packages, and Lawn Ticket Books are now available for purchase. Concert schedules and series renewals are being mailed to subscribers of last year's Festival, and new series packages are currently available for purchase. For all subscription offerings, contact the Severance Hall Ticket Office in person, at 216-231-1111 or 1-800-686-1141, or purchase online at

Individual concert tickets are available for the two film concerts: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert (July 17-19) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTM in Concert (August 29 & 30). Individual tickets for the rest of the Blossom Music Festival season go on sale to the general public this April. Tickets start at $26. The Blossom Box Office opens for the season beginning on Saturday, May 30, and will be open throughout the summer on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. through intermission on festival performance days.

The 2020 Blossom Music Festival features two four-concert "Classics" series and a four-concert "Pops" series. Ticket packages, on sale now, offer approximately 20% savings off individual-ticket prices. Ticket packages start at $80, which includes free Lot B parking and access to Kulas Plaza. Box-seat ticket packages include complimentary parking in First Energy Lot A behind the main Box Office in addition to access to Kulas Plaza.

A Create-Your-Own Series package is being offered again this season. When purchasing four or more concerts, there is a savings of approximately 10% off the individual ticket prices. There is no limit to the number of Create-Your-Own Series purchases. All subscribers receive free parking in Lot B.

Lawn Ticket Books Include Two Pavilion Upgrades and Under 18s Free Vouchers
Lawn Ticket Books, a great way to save on tickets for the entire Blossom Music Festival season, include vouchers for children 17 and under. Each book has 10 adult vouchers and two free pavilion upgrade passes - plus 20 Under 18s Free vouchers - all for $175.

Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Call the Cleveland Orchestra Group Sales Office at Severance Hall at 216-231-7493 for information.

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