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The Cleveland Orchestra Launches 2nd Set of TCO Classics Concerts

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The Cleveland Orchestra Launches 2nd Set of TCO Classics Concerts

Today, the Cleveland Orchestra launches its second collection of concert audio recordings on TCO Classics, featuring performances recorded live at Severance Hall during the Orchestra's celebrated Prometheus Project - a festival dedicated to the exploration of Ludwig van Beethoven's music that closed out the ensemble's Centennial Season in 2018. The TCO Classics series of free, on-demand concert recordings offers music-lovers around the world a new opportunity to enjoy Great Performances from the Orchestra's extensive archives. Selected from across six decades of live concert recordings, the series can be listened to at

With this set of concerts, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst provides a renewed interpretation and perspective on many of Beethoven's groundbreaking works, rooted in a studied understanding of the composer's philosophy of politics and art. The Prometheus Project examines Beethoven's music through the metaphor of Prometheus, a daring Greek Titan who defied Zeus to bestow the gift of fire on humanity. For Beethoven, this gift of fire represented the beginning of human civilization, the spark of creativity that has powered the imagination of generations, the warmth of justice and goodness, the fight for right and individual freedoms. Although these concerts were a celebration of Beethoven's genius paired with the incomparable artistry of The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst, they also ask us to re-examine familiar music in context of what it means in today's challenging times.

"With The Prometheus Project, we explored Beethoven's thinking behind writing these works, at his belief in humanity's betterment, at what he wrote inside of his music, and between the notes," said Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. "I used the story of Prometheus as a metaphor and lens for what Beethoven was writing, not just in his symphonies, but across his lifetime, and throughout all of his music. With Prometheus as a focus, with this earnest and thoughtful approach, we engage in a new way with audiences. When studying an exceptional figure like Beethoven, it is essential that we constantly look at new approaches to his work, to enliven and deepen our understanding of his genius."

For this second collection in the TCO Classics series, Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams not only showcases these extraordinary concerts, featuring Welser-Möst leading The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in all nine of Beethoven's symphonies, four Beethoven overtures, and Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, but he also extends the theme of Promethean hero by including a pair of performances from one of the ensemble's recent celebrations honoring modern-day hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - selecting memorable presentations of Mendelssohn's "Lord God of Abraham" with bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green and George Walker's Lyric for Strings. In addition, Williams highlights the Promethean spark of creativity in youth by including a collaborative video featuring students from the Cleveland School of the Arts and Cleveland Orchestra musicians. This grouping of performances is accompanied by a video overview from Williams, updated curriculum for students focusing on Prometheus in today's world, and exclusive written content exploring Beethoven's music and worldview.

"The Prometheus Project was a major initiative across our Centennial Season," said Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams. "The festival's thoughtful examination of Promethean heroes makes this an important time to revisit these concerts and the subject of hero making. These are extraordinary performances that will provide listeners with room for reflection as we live in a time when we have to be our own heroes to make the world better."

TCO Classics Series:

During this time when the Orchestra is unable to present in-person performances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, TCO Classics offers Cleveland Orchestra audiences a new way to experience the ensemble's unique artistry and music-making. The programming for TCO Classics is curated by Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams, who is drawing a monthly selection of offerings from the Orchestra's extensive archive of recorded concerts. While a number of the series' concerts were heard via live radio broadcasts at the time, some have never been heard by the public before - and the musical selections from the radio broadcasts have often not be available since they were first aired. For the complete listing of the second monthly edition of the series, see the program information section below.

"This new series of live sound recordings gives audiences the opportunity to hear the extraordinary artistry of The Cleveland Orchestra across a range of years and repertoire, in some cases with recordings that have never before been heard outside of the concert hall," said Williams. "Music lovers will have a special opportunity to look back in a new way at the remarkable history of this Orchestra by listening to a selection of carefully chosen concerts each month."

Distinctly unique from other Cleveland Orchestra digital and physical recording releases and its long-running radio broadcast series, TCO Classics features a broad range of performances from across the Orchestra's recorded history. Each month, a selection of five to eight complete Cleveland Orchestra concerts will be available to stream, focusing on a specific aspect of the ensemble's music-making. The offerings will be available for listening for one month, with a new group released on the third Thursday of each month.

"We have many avenues to explore in the months ahead," said Williams. "I look forward to including a Best of Blossom grouping of concerts later this summer."

Since its first recording session in 1924, The Cleveland Orchestra has been among the most acclaimed and recorded orchestras in the world. Through successive eras and music directors, the Orchestra's profile and renown have grown with each wave of new technological advances. Long-playing records and the advent of stereo sound were instrumental in bringing international attention to the ensemble's growth and evolving artistry during George Szell's tenure. Lorin Maazel helped Cleveland pioneer early digital recording technology, while the number of albums produced under Christoph von Dohnányi's baton secured the Orchestra's boast as "the most-recorded orchestra in America" during the 1990s. Guest conductors including Pierre Boulez also added to The Cleveland Orchestra's extensive and widely-admired discography. As the economics of the recording industry shifted, the Orchestra also issued a series of private label, limited editions, celebrating the ensembles 75th anniversary (1993), Szell's 100th birth year (1997), Dohnányi's tenure (2002), and Robert Shaw's work as the Orchestra's choral director (2004) - all drawn from decades of radio broadcast recordings that were heard throughout the United States and internationally, and which continually documented Cleveland's rising artistic finesse and artistry.

In the first decades of the 21st century, The Cleveland Orchestra has continued expanding its catalog of recordings, sharing the art of music with new audiences through traditional disc sales, radio broadcasts, and online purchase and streaming. Franz Welser-Möst has led the ensemble through two series of widely-praised video recordings of symphonies by Anton Bruckner and the major works of Johannes Brahms. In addition, Mitsuko Uchida recorded a series of Mozart's piano concertos and Pierre Boulez, prior to his death, led the Orchestra in a series of recordings of works by Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and others. Across all these eras, the Orchestra's recordings have received nine Grammy Awards, along with prize ratings around the world and inclusion in many best-of-year lists.

With the launch of its own label in 2020, The Cleveland Orchestra adds to its longstanding recording legacy, sharing new and old repertoire with fans and music aficionados around the world. New albums released each year are being offered alongside its continuing annual series of radio broadcasts (launched in 1965) on Cleveland's WCLV Classical 104.9 ideastream (available worldwide via the internet) and the Orchestra's touring, which make the ensemble available in an international concert schedule unrivalled by any other major American orchestra.

Series Description: The Cleveland Orchestra's archive of concert recordings is an extensive storehouse of performances never released to the public and available only through a limited number of radio broadcasts each season. Through TCO Classics, the Orchestra is offering compelling monthly selections from this archive, personally chosen by Mark Williams, leader of the Orchestra's artistic planning team, for music-lovers to hear online - available for a limited time, free, as full-concert recordings. Visit the site on the third Thursday of every month to listen to a new curated collection:

Video featuring students from the Cleveland School of the Arts
Recorded music from Columbia/Sony, 1967
The Cleveland Orchestra
Louis Lane, conductor
Demetrius Lee, dancer

BEETHOVEN Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

Concert Date: January 14, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone

MENDELSSOHN "Lord God of Abraham" from Elijah
WALKER Lyric for Strings

Concert Date: May 10, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

BEETHOVEN Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica")

Concert Date: May 11, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

BEETHOVEN Overture to Egmont
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

Concert Date: May 12, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

BEETHOVEN Overture to Coriolan
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 8
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5

Concert Date: May 13, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral")
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3

Concert Date: May 19, 2018
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Erin Wall, soprano
Jennifer Johnston, mezzo-soprano
Norbert Ernst, tenor
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Cleveland Orchestra Chorus

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 ("Choral")

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