It will be a season of celebration in 2014-2015 for the Cleveland Orchestra.
Two weeks of concerts in January will celebrate the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez, who has led the Cleveland Orchestra in more than 220 performances over nearly 50 years.
“Pierre Boulez is the pre-eminent composer/conductor and he is one of the greatest living musicians and he has a deep history with the Cleveland Orchestra,” said Mark Williams, director of artistic planning. “He’s been loved in this area and he’s been especially beloved within the walls of Severance Hall, so this is such an honor for us.”
For the birthday celebration, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will conduct three programs that feature Boulez’s own music and works he has led to acclaim in performances with the Cleveland Orchestra. They include Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter” and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe Jan. 8-10; Webern’s Variations for Orchestra, Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird and Boulez’ sur Incises Jan. 15; and Ryan Wigglesworth’s world premiere work (yet to be named) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 “Tragic” Jan. 16-17.
Boulez recorded the Ravel piece with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1970, a recording the Musical Arts Association reissued in 1993 for the orchestra’s 75th anniversary. Audiences also will enjoy Boulez’s 1996 sur Incises for three harps, three pianos and three percussionists.
Williams said the orchestra chose a world premiere work by Wigglesworth, in his second year as the Cleveland Orchestra’s eighth Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow, because Boulez “has always been a great proponent of new music and celebrated young musicians.”
For another orchestra celebration, piano superstar Lang Lang will return for a gala performance Oct. 11, an all-Tchaikovsky concert that will feature him as soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 1 and will include Act II of The Nutcracker.
That will precede the return of the Joffrey Ballet for seven holiday performances of The Nutcracker at PlayhouseSquare Nov. 26-30.
“Just seeing one of the world’s greatest dance companies and one of the world’s greatest orchestras together is just special,” Williams said.
Other season highlights will be violinist Hilary Hahn playing Bach violin concertos Nos. 1 and 2 in October, and pianists Jeremy Denk and Marc Andre Hamelin in their Cleveland Orchestra debuts in April and May 2015. Charles Dutoit and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos also will return as guest conductors for the first time in more than 30 years.
Finally, the orchestra also will emphasize operatic and choral repertoire with the semistaged Strauss opera Daphne in May 2015, as well as celebrations of Bach’s Mass in B minor in October.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or email@example.com.