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S46 Ep12

The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration

Premiere: 1/11/2019 | 00:00:30 | Closed Captioning Icon

Celebrate the orchestra’s centennial with a gala concert conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, featuring pianist Lang Lang, and works by Mozart, Strauss, and Ravel, with vignettes of past music directors.



About the Episode

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 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).

Music Selections:

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 24
  • Richard Strauss – “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” Symphonic Fantasy
  • Maurice Ravel — La Valse (The Waltz) 

Notable Talent:

  • Frank Welser-Möst, conductor, music director of The Cleveland Orchestra for 17 years
  • Lang Lang, Grammy-nominated pianist

Noteworthy Facts:

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.

Production Credits:

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.

Series Overview:

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.

About WNET

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


-Next on 'Great Performances'... ♪♪ ...the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra, led by Franz Welser-Most, celebrates its 100th birthday in a special concert starring piano virtuoso Lang Lang performing Mozart's 'Piano Concerto No. 24.'

♪♪ And a 'Symphonic Fantasy' by Richard Strauss... ♪♪ ...and Ravel's 'La Valse.'

♪♪ ♪♪ -There's something special that happens when they all get together and make music.

-When I look to the next hundred years, what I would love is that it keeps being a vibrant, lively, innovative, exciting institution.

-Join the festivities for The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -We are actually an orchestra which looks for the subtleties, which looks for the details, looks for intimacy in the music, and that defines our sound.

♪♪ -The Cleveland Orchestra has sustained its tradition of greatness for 10 decades, honing its signature sound.

Through the years, there have been seven music directors, beginning with its first conductor, Kiev-born Nikolai Sokoloff, who was recruited in 1918 by the orchestra's founder, Adella Prentiss Hughes.

After Sokoloff came Artur Rodzinski, then Erich Leinsdorf from 1943 to '46, and musical adviser Pierre Boulez from 1970 to '72.

Lorin Maazel was a musician of exceptional and early talents who had first conducted the orchestra in 1943 at age 13.

Three decades later, he was chosen to be Cleveland's music director.

Maazel held the position from 1972 to 1982.

♪♪ Christoph von Dohnányi followed Maazel from 1984 to 2002 and was named the first-ever music director laureate of The Cleveland Orchestra upon his retirement in 2002.

♪♪ But it was the tireless, forward-thinking George Szell who, from 1946 to 1970, drilled into this orchestra the warmth, precision, and clarity for which it is still famous, forging what became 'the Cleveland sound,' rivaling older, more established European orchestras.

-There must be something in the way we play that goes beyond perfection, brilliance, something that comes from the heart.

-Today leading The Cleveland Orchestra is Franz Welser-Most.

-When I came 16 years ago, I had an artistic vision where I wanted to take the orchestra, and I found the level of technical quality, ensemble precision always has been extremely high, but I wanted a warmer sound, a more singing sound.

-The partnership between Franz Welser-Most and this orchestra is, I believe, unique, and I think it's based first and foremost on a deep respect for one another.

So, Franz is the greatest admirer of this orchestra, and I think this orchestra has an incredible respect for this man, and it's just a great partnership.

Like any great partnership, there's chemistry there.

There's something special that happens when they all get together and make music.

♪♪ -I think for The Cleveland Orchestra, I think there are so many wonderful artists within it, and then to harness all of those powers together to achieve that sense of unity, that's very exciting.

You know, when it's really together, it's thrilling, 'cause it's powerful, it's immediate.

The effect is astounding.

♪♪ ♪♪ [ Instruments tuning ] [ Applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Applause ] [ Applause continues ] [ Applause continues ] [ Applause continues ] [ Film reel clicks ] ♪♪ -Great art doesn't die.

If we look at Shakespeare, if we look at Beethoven, Rembrandt, Picasso, you name it, great art is there to be experienced.

♪♪ -A century has passed since the founding of The Cleveland Orchestra, now considered among the finest in the world.

It was started by a woman known as 'The Mother of The Cleveland Orchestra,' pianist and impresario Adella Prentiss Hughes.

With her eye on the future, Hughes saw the need to create an orchestra in Cleveland worthy of those in Europe and other big American cities.

Through her persistence and leadership, The Cleveland Orchestra was formed, and Adella Prentiss Hughes became the first woman ever to found a successful orchestra.

Within a decade, the orchestra grew in size, repertoire, and reputation.

It was so successful, many felt it deserved a permanent home that would do it justice.

Hughes again rallied forces to build Severance Hall.

-The Cleveland Orchestra is truly a unique institution.

It's a real ambassador for our community.

It's the only art form that can travel the world and take the Cleveland name around the world for us and does a wonderful job of doing that.

It's just a special institution with a special history and extremely bright future.

-You know, with the legacy of this orchestra, the great tradition this orchestra has, part of it is actually that you don't rest on your laurels.

When I look to the next 100 years, what I would love is that it keeps being a vibrant, lively, innovative, exciting institution.

♪♪ ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] [ Applause ] [ Applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪ -'Mr. Higgins suggested as a title 'The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra,' indicating that the orchestra is being established for all the people of the city,' Adella Prentiss Hughes, MAA Board minutes, 1918.

♪♪ -I believe very strongly that this relationship between the citizens of Cleveland and The Cleveland Orchestra has to be as close as possible.

♪♪ -Since its founding in 1918, leadership at The Cleveland Orchestra has a long history of presence in local neighborhoods and schools.

-Since the formation of the orchestra in 1918, one of the first things that we did was to start an education program.

As a matter of fact, historically, I think you'll find out that part of the reason that the orchestra was formed in the first place was to bring good musicians in who could teach music to the kids in the Cleveland school system.

-Every kid should be touched by classical, great music.

Beethoven 5 is about humanity.

It's about freedom.

♪♪ -We have approximately 20,000 kids a year come on a school day on the school bus to hear The Cleveland Orchestra live.

And we have a lot of other programs, so our music director, Franz, is very committed to making sure that every child in Cleveland is exposed to music and has music in their lives.

♪♪ -The Cleveland Orchestra is passionate about its commitment to community engagement.

Its unique neighborhood residency initiative provides a week of performances and events free of charge.

-All the activities are sort of centering around a full orchestra concert in a large venue in that community, but we do a lot of school visits.

We do a lot of chamber music sort of what we call pop-up performances, just showing up in a bakery or a coffee shop or sort of an unconventional venue, where we have a chance to meet the people in that community and interact with them.

-People that had never been to Severance Hall before, people that had never gone to Blossom Music Center.

It was so accessible.

It made the orchestra right there, readily available to them.

And I saw people with tears in their eyes.

They were so excited that their neighborhood was chosen for this.

As much international touring as we do, we are The Orchestra.

♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Applause ] [ Applause ] -To find out more about this and other 'Great Performances' programs, visit

Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[ Applause continues ] ♪♪


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