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Modern music dominates new season for Cleveland Orchestra

John Eldridge

Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Focus
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Cleveland Orchestra conductor Franz Welser-Möst leads the group through a grueling performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony last year. This year will offer performances of even more radical works from the last century.
Media Credit: Roger Mastroianni
Cleveland Orchestra conductor Franz Welser-Möst leads the group through a grueling performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony last year. This year will offer performances of even more radical works from the last century.
[Click to enlarge]
As we draw further into the 21st century, the musicians at Severance Hall are drawing further into the 20th for this year's concert schedule. The Cleveland Orchestra will open its 2010-11 season at Severance Hall on Thursday, Sept. 23 with a performance of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps ('The Rite of Spring') under the baton of music director Franz Welser-Möst, who returns for his eighth year at the helm of the prestigious orchestra.  The evening's kickoff concert program will also include Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and J.S. Bach's Mass in F Major, the latter featuring the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.

This season features an array of modern work. Nearly half of the orchestra's programmed material is from the twentieth or twenty-first centuries,  a departure from seasons past when audiences were lucky to hear a fraction of the contemporary music slated for this year.  For instance, last season modern pieces made up only 20 percent of their programmed material.

Among the new music are three premieres: Jörg Widmann's Con Brio and Toshio Hosokawa's Woven Dreams, to be presented for the first time on U.S. soil, as well as the world premiere of Widmann's flute concerto, which will feature soloist and principal flautist for the orchestra, Joshua Smith, on the very last concert rotation of the season (May 26-28).

Fans of older music, however, should not be afraid.  The orchestra will still perform many 'tried and true' classics, including symphonies by Romantic-era favorites (Beethoven, Brahms, Dvo?ák, and Tchaikovsky) as well as the more bombastic turn-of-the-century types (Bruckner and Mahler).  Several outstanding concerti for violin and piano will be presented, including Rachmaninov's famed Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, and audiences will even hearsuch beloved pieces as Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Holst's The Planets.
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