Venue Details

Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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Quotes & Highlights

“Regarded as the most virtuosic orchestra in America, an orchestra capable of playing anything and playing it superbly.” —
There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:00pm by Pre-concert lecture by John Santana.



Dvorak: Symphony No. 5 in F major, Op. 76

Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

Long considered one of America’s great orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra stands today among the world’s most-revered symphonic ensembles. Whether in concerts at home in Severance Hall, at Blossom, on tour, in radio and television broadcasts, or in its critically-admired discography, The Cleveland Orchestra continues to set standards of performing excellence and imaginative programming that serve as models for audiences and performers alike.

Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Most began his tenure as the seventh Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra in September 2002. He first conducted the Orchestra in 1993, and returned to Severance Hall as a guest conductor on a regular basis, leading the ensemble in more than 70 concerts.

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918 under the direction of Ukrainian-American conductor Nikolai Sokoloff, who initiated an extensive domestic touring schedule, education concerts, commercial recordings, and radio broadcasts. The Orchestra performed concerts at Grays Armory during its first season, after which it moved to Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium. In 1931, the Orchestra moved to its new permanent home, Severance Hall, in Cleveland’s University Circle area. This magnificent facility was primarily the gift of John Long Severance (Musical Arts Association President, 1921-1936) and his wife, Elisabeth Dewitt Severance, to the people of Cleveland, who provided generously for the Hall’s endowment. It also became a memorial to Mrs. Severance, who died just before the new hall’s groundbreaking. Severance Hall was among the first concert halls in America designed and built with radio broadcasting capability.

Artur Rodzinski served as Music Director from 1933 to 1943. Highlights of his decade in Cleveland included the presentation of 15 fully-staged operas at Severance Hall, increased radio broadcasts, and a renewed recording schedule (after a hiatus during the Depression).

Erich Leinsdorf served as Music Director from 1943 to 1946. Due to his service in the United States Armed Forces during World War II, much of his directorship was in absentia. During this time, guest conductors filled the podium frequently, one of whom was a Central European conductor named George Szell.

Under George Szell, named Music Director in 1946, The Cleveland Orchestra entered a new period of dramatic and sustained growth. Both the number of Orchestra members and the length of the season were increased, international tours were inaugurated, the recording schedule increased, and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus was established (Robert Shaw was engaged to direct the group). In 1968, the opening of Blossom Music Center on an 800-acre site halfway between Cleveland and Akron made possible the expansion to a year-round season.

Pierre Boulez began his association with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1965; after Szell’s death in 1970, Boulez served as Principal Guest Conductor and Musical Advisor until 1972. Lorin Maazel began a decade as Music Director with the 1972-73 season. He continued the Orchestra’s international touring and recording schedule, while broadening the ensemble’s repertoire with more 20th-century compositions.

Christoph von Dohnanyi’s tenure as the Orchestra’s sixth Music Director (1984 to 2002) included a distinguished series of concerts at home in Cleveland each year. In addition, the Orchestra and Mr. Dohnanyi made frequent domestic and international concert tours, including regular return engagements at Austria’s prestigious Salzburg Festival.

Adding to the Cleveland discographies of earlier music directors, Mr. Dohnanyi created an extensive discography of digital recordings with The Cleveland Orchestra, including the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann; symphonies by Berlioz, Bruckner, Dvorak, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky; music of Bartok, Lutoslawski, Ives, Smetana, Webern, and Varese; and the first two operas in Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung cycle. A series of discs with The Cleveland Orchestra has been recorded in recent years under the direction of Pierre Boulez (Deutsche Grammophon and Philips), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Decca), and Oliver Knussen (Argo and Deutsche Grammophon).

Christoph von Dohnanyi oversaw Severance Hall’s $36-million renovation and restoration project, which included the construction of a new concert stage, the refurbishment and re-location of the Hall’s original E. M. Skinner Organ (the Norton Memorial Organ), expanded backstage support facilities, enhanced technical capabilities, and increased patron amenities. Mr. Dohnanyi became Music Director Laureate of The Cleveland Orchestra in September 2002, following the end of his tenure as Music Director.

Franz Welser-Most’s appointment as Music Director, announced in June 1999, provided for a seamless transition in the artistic leadership of The Cleveland Orchestra with the 2002-03 season. At home in Severance Hall, the Orchestra begins a new era under Mr. Welser-Most’s guidance, while maintaining a steadfast commitment to its long-held traditions of artistic excellence, educational outreach, and community service.

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