Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Stream Now
Click Here for More Articles on Stream Now

The Cleveland Orchestra Launches Third Edition of TCO CLASSICS Concerts


The collection features performances by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and more.

The Cleveland Orchestra Launches Third Edition of TCO CLASSICS Concerts

Today, The Cleveland Orchestra is launching its third collection of full-length concerts on TCO Classics, Summer Nights, highlighting some of the ensemble's most memorable performances across its first half-century at Blossom Music Center. Recorded live at the Orchestra's summer home, these concerts remind us how it feels to hear great music on a warm evening beneath the stars. The collection features performances by several of the most celebrated guest contributors in the Orchestra's 102-year history, including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, clarinetist Benny Goodman, pianist Van Cliburn, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. 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 is available for a limited time until September 17, at

Curated by Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams, this new set of concerts features extraordinary Orchestra performances recorded live during Blossom Music Festival. The presentations are designed to spark memories and help us recall the experience of hearing this gifted ensemble play music at their magnificent summer home. Beginning with a performance led by George Szell in 1968 from Blossom's inaugural season, the concerts showcase presentations from across the first half-century of the Orchestra's annual Blossom Music Festival in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Among the highlights are concerts featuring Leonard Bernstein's only appearance conducting The Cleveland Orchestra, legendary choral conductor Robert Shaw taking the baton for a performance commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Szell's death, and a presentation with Aaron Copland leading Benny Goodman in Copland's own Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.

In addition to demonstrating the breadth and depth of the Orchestra's artistry, the Summer Nights edition of TCO Classics features musicians who contributed to the overall growth and success of Blossom Music Festival. The collection is bookended by performances with music directors George Szell and Franz Welser-Möst, and also highlights the Orchestra's work with guest conductors, including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Josef Krips, and Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos, and former Cleveland Orchestra Director of Choruses Robert Shaw, former Blossom Music Festival Director Leonard Slatkin, former Blossom Music Festival Director Jahja Ling, and former Cleveland Orchestra resident conductor Louis Lane. This group of offerings also features Cleveland Orchestra collaborations with some of the most celebrated musicians in history, including Van Cliburn performing piano concertos by MacDowell and Rachmaninoff; Benny Goodman playing a pair of works for clarinet; performances by vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Lorna Haywood, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Roberta Peters, Christa Ludwig, Luba Orgonášová, and William Stone; an interpretation of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 by Leonidas Kavakos; pianist Alicia de Larrocha performing works by Turina and de Falla; and Itzhak Perlman playing Brahms's Violin Concerto in D major.

"Every year playing at Blossom Music Center is a special highlight for The Cleveland Orchestra and our Northeast Ohio community and I know now we're all missing our beautiful summer home," said Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams. "In putting together this latest collection for TCO Classics, I asked myself which Blossom Music Festival concerts I wish I had been able to attend. There's an incredible treasure trove of performances, and I chose a cross section of conductors and performers who were very important to the Festival. During Benny Goodman's famous concert with Aaron Copland, he plays Copland's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra - a piece that sounds like being outside in the summertime. We've also included the only concert in which Leonard Bernstein conducted The Cleveland Orchestra. And there's a 2013 presentation where Franz Welser-Möst leads [soprano] Luba Orgonášová and the Orchestra in Strauss's Four Last Songs. It was an absolutely extraordinary performance that brought tears to my eyes and those around me."

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 been available since they were first aired. For the complete listing of the third 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.

"There's a lot to explore in the months ahead," said Williams. "I'm looking forward to a set of concerts that feature composers who conduct some of their own music."

The Cleveland Orchestra Recording and Radio Broadcast History
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 ideastream/WCLV Classical 104.9 (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.

TCO Classics Program Listing
Program Information for Third Edition
Available for a limited time, free on-demand online streaming, beginning Thursday, August 20, 2020 through Thursday, September 17, 2020.

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:

Concert Date: July 26, 1968
The Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell, conductor
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano

HAYDN Symphony No. 93 in D minor
STRAUSS Ruhe, meine Seele
STRAUSS Meinem Kinde
STRAUSS "Wiegenlied"
MAHLER Symphony No. 4 in G major

Concert Date: August 3, 1968
The Cleveland Orchestra
Louis Lane, conductor
Van Cliburn, piano

CRESTON Introit for Orchestra
GINASTERA Concerto for Strings
MACDOWELL Concerto No. 2 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra
RACHMANINOFF Concerto No. 2 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra

Concert Date: August 17, 1968
The Cleveland Orchestra
Aaron Copland, conductor
Benny Goodman, clarinet

BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide
COPLAND Suite from Appalachian Spring

WEBER Concertino in E-flat major for Clarinet and Orchestra

COPLAND Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra

IVES The Unanswered Question
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Haydn

Concert Date: July 27, 1969
The Cleveland Orchestra
Josef Krips, conductor
Roberta Peters, soprano


R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspeigel's Merry Pranks

R. STRAUSS Grossmachtige Prinzessin from Ariadne auf Naxos

STRAUSS JR. Overture to The Gypsy Baron

STRAUSS JR. Emperor, Waltzes
STRAUSS BROS. Pizzicato Polka

STRAUSS JR. Perpetuum mobile
STRAUSS JR. Voices of Spring, Waltzes
STRAUSS JR. Fledermaus: Audition Song
STRAUSS JR. On the Beautiful Blue Danube

STRAUSS SR. Radetzky March

Concert Date: July 9, 1970
The Cleveland Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Lorna Haywood, soprano
Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Blossom Festival Chorus

MAHLER Symphony No. 2 in C minor "Resurrection"

Concert Date: August 8, 1970
The Cleveland Orchestra
Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos, conductor
Alicia de Larrocha, piano

ARRIAGA Los Esclavos: Overture
TURINA Rapsodia Sinfonica for Piano and Strings

DE FALLA Nights in the Gardens of Spain for Piano and Orchestra

DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8 in G major

Concert Date: July 14, 1990
The Cleveland Orchestra
Robert Shaw, conductor
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
William Stone, baritone
Blossom Festival Chorus

BRAHMS Ein deutsches Requiem

Concert Date: July 10, 1993
The Cleveland Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Itzhak Perlman, violin

ROUSE The Infernal Machine

SCHULLER The Twittering Machine from Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee

ADAMS Short Ride in a Fast Machine
PISTON Symphony No. 2
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D major

Concert Date: August 5, 2000
The Cleveland Orchestra
Jahja Ling, conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra
Women of the Blossom Festival Chorus
Akron Symphony Chorus (women)

DEBUSSY "Clair de lune" from Suite Bergamasque (orchestrated by Caplet)
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor

HOLST The Planets

Concert Date: July 5, 2013
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Luba Orgonášová, soprano

R. STRAUSS Four Last Songs

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 8 in C minor

Related Articles

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You