50th Blossom Music Festival season in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

11/02/2017

Blossom Music Festival Marks 50th Anniversary

1718-blossom-announcement The Cleveland Orchestra has announced the 2017 Blossom Music Festival season, it’s fiftieth, at Blossom Music Center, its summer home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. In 1968 the festival opened with George Szell conducting, and has featured distinguished guests ever since. Current music director Franz Welser-Möst will lead three concerts, including Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 2 and 7, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, music of Milhaud and Roussel, and an evening of orchestral and vocal opera excerpts with soprano Erin Wall.

The festival has often served as a proving ground for up-and-coming conductors, and this summer will see a number of new faces on the podium. The most anticipated will be the Cleveland Orchestra debut of the acclaimed young Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko – currently music director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in England and the Oslo Philharmonic in Norway – in a program that includes Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Other debut conductors include Robert Trevino (Tchaikovsky Fifth), Juraj Valčuha (Strauss Rosenkavalier Suite), Fabien Gabel (Ravel Bolero) and Christian Măcelaru (Holst The Planets).

The orchestra’s former resident conductor (and former festival director) Jahja Ling will return for Gershwin Piano Concerto in F, Robert Russell Bennett’s arrangement of selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

While symphonic chestnuts abound, a few more enterprising items will appear along the way, including Franz Welser-Möst leading the samba-drenched score to Darius Milhaud’s absurdist ballet, Le Boeuf sur le Toit. Fabien Gabel will lead the even more rarely heard Florent Schmitt tone poem Le Palais Hanté, which takes its inspiration from the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Haunted Palace.” Other rare visitors include music of Roussel (Bacchus et Ariane Suite No. 2), Rota (La Strada Suite) and Lalo (Cello Concerto).

This summer’s line-up of soloists will include David Fray (Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24), Stefan Jackiw (Korngold Violin Concerto), and Augustin Hadelich (Dvorak Violin Concerto), as well as pianists Aaron Diehl, Behzod Abduraimov and Juho Pohjonen, violinist Eli Matthews, and cellist Johannes Moser.

Pops concerts will include traditional, star-spangled concerts with the Blossom Festival Band; favorites of beloved singer/songwriter Carole King performed by the Cleveland Orchestra and vocalists; a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in celebration of her 100th birthday; and a movie night, with Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, shown in HD with John Williams’s score performed live. Fireworks will follow selected concerts, weather permitting.

A complete calendar of festival concerts can be found at: http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/Tickets/full-schedules/full-schedule-Blossom/

Mark Sebastian Jordan

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