Features music director Franz Welser-Möst and Lang Lang at Severance Hall, home of The Cleveland Orchestra
Premieres Friday, January 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Streams beginning January 12 on pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps.
Great Performances: The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration commemorates the centennial of the orchestra’s founding with a gala concert conducted by music director Franz Welser-Möst featuring works touching on more than a century of Viennese musical traditions. World-renowned, Grammy-nominated pianist Lang Lang joins the orchestra in a special performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. The concert also features “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” (The Woman Without a Shadow), Symphonic Fantasy by Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel’s viscerally cataclysmic “La Valse (The Waltz),” which dramatically evokes the changing artistic worlds between the 19th and 20th centuries.
This Great Performances episode also includes three special segments produced by WVIZ/PBS ideastream. Each includes a historical look at The Cleveland Orchestra. The first segment features “The Mother of The Cleveland Orchestra,” Adella Prentiss Hughes, who was the first female founder of a successful orchestra. The second highlights the Orchestra’s seven music directors, including Kiev-born Nikolai Sokoloff; the tireless, forward-thinking George Szell who is famous for forging what became known as “The Cleveland Sound;” and Franz Welser-Möst, whose collaborative relationship with the Orchestra is widely-acknowledged among the best orchestra-conductor partnerships of today. The final segment showcases the Orchestra’s long legacy of community engagement in Northeast Ohio neighborhoods and schools.
The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration joins a month-long set of classical music programming from Great Performances and Great Performances at the Met, including Orphée et Eurydice (January 18), Aida (January 20), Doubt from Minnesota Opera (January 25) and Marnie (February 1).
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 24
- Richard Strauss – “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” Symphonic Fantasy
- Maurice Ravel — La Valse (The Waltz)
- Frank Welser-Möst, conductor, music director of The Cleveland Orchestra for 17 years
- Lang Lang, Grammy-nominated pianist
This is the Cleveland Orchestra’s fourth appearance on Great Performances. Previously, music director Franz Welser-Möst conducted the orchestra in Great Performances: Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2006, Christoph von Dohnányi conducted a performance from 2000, and Lorin Maazel conducted a concert from the 1975–76 season.
The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration is a co-production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, WVIZ/PBS ideastream, The Cleveland Orchestra and Clasart Classic. The co-production is in association with international broadcasters NHK (Japan), BR/3Sat (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and YLE (Finland). Directed by Michael Beyer. For Great Performances, John Walker is producer; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for Great Performances is provided by The Eric and Jane Nord Family, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Abra Prentice Foundation, public television viewers and PBS.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.
About The Cleveland Orchestra Print
Founded by Adella Prentiss Hughes, The Cleveland Orchestra’s inaugural concert took place on December 11, 1918. Under the leadership of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, The Cleveland Orchestra has become one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world, setting standards of extraordinary artistic excellence, creative programming and community engagement. The New York Times has declared it “… the best in America” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color and chamber-like musical cohesion. The 2017-18 season marked the Orchestra’s 100th year of concerts, and the beginning of a Second Century of extraordinary music making, dedicated service to its hometown and worldwide acclaim.
Strong community support from across the ensemble’s home region is driving the Orchestra forward with renewed energy and focus, increasing the number of young people attending concerts, and bringing fresh attention to the Orchestra’s legendary sound and committed programming — including annual opera presentations in innovative stagings and pairings. Recent acclaimed productions have included Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande (May 2017), a double bill of Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard’s Castle (April 2016) presented in collaboration with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet and an innovative presentation of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (May 2014, with encore performances in Cleveland and Europe during the autumn of 2017). The 2017-18 season also featured in-concert performances of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (April 2018).
The partnership with Franz Welser-Möst, begun in 2002 and entering its 17th year with the 2018-19 season, has earned The Cleveland Orchestra unprecedented residencies in the U.S. and around the world, including one at the Musikverein in Vienna, the first of its kind by an American orchestra. It also performs regularly at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals. The Orchestra’s 100th season in 2017-18 featured two international tours, concluding with the presentation on three continents of Welser-Möst’s Prometheus Project featuring Beethoven Symphonies and overtures; these Beethoven concerts were presented in May and June 2018, at home in Cleveland, in Vienna’s Musikverein and in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
The Cleveland Orchestra has a long and distinguished recording and broadcast history. A series of DVD and CD recordings under the direction of Mr. Welser-Möst continues to add to an extensive and widely praised catalog of audio recordings made during the tenures of the ensemble’s earlier music directors. In addition, Cleveland Orchestra concerts are heard in syndication each season on radio stations throughout North America and Europe.
Seven music directors — Nikolai Sokoloff, Artur Rodziński, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi and Franz Welser-Möst — have guided and shaped the ensemble’s growth and sound since its founding in 1918. Through concerts at home and on tour, via radio broadcasts and a catalog of acclaimed recordings, The Cleveland Orchestra is heard today by a broad and growing group of fans around the world. For more information, visit clevelandorchestra.com.
About ideastream Print
ideastream serves the people of Northeast Ohio as a trusted and dynamic multimedia source for illuminating the world around us. Publicly supported and locally owned, ideastream is indispensable and highly valued for its unique ability to strengthen our community. ideastream is the consolidation of WVIZ/PBS, with five channels of public television service (WVIZ/PBS-HD, WVIZ/PBS Ohio, WVIZ/PBS World, WVIZ/PBS Create and WVIZ/PBS Kids); 90.3 WCPN, Northeast Ohio’s NPR news and public affairs radio station; WCLV 104.9, Northeast Ohio’s classical music radio station; ideastream Education, with educational resources, services and the award-winning children’s series NewsDepth; and management of The Ohio Channel and the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau on behalf of all Ohio’s public broadcasting stations. For more information about ideastream’s rich legacy of innovation and credible content, visit ideastream.org.