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Franz Welser-Möst is among today’s most distinguished conductors. The 2017–2018 season marks his 16th year as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, with the future of this acclaimed partnership now extending into the next decade. Under his direction, The Cleveland Orchestra has been repeatedly praised for its innovative programming, support for new musical works and innovative opera productions, and success in attracting a new and, notably, younger audience through a series of groundbreaking programs involving students and families.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Welser-Möst enjoys a close and productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, including repeated appearances with it in opera productions at the Salzburg Festival. He also maintains relationships with a number of other European orchestras and opera companies. His 2017–2018 schedule includes concerts with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Milan’s Filarmonica della Scala, as well as a gala at the Shanghai Grand Opera House.
Mr. Welser-Möst served as general music director of the Vienna State Opera from 2010 to 2014, and previously led the Opernhaus Zürich for a decade. His recordings and videos have won major awards, including a Gramophone Award, Diapason d’Or, and Japanese Record Academy Award, as well as two Grammy nominations. With The Cleveland Orchestra, his recordings include DVDs of live performances of five of Bruckner’s symphonies and a multi-DVD set of major works by Brahms, featuring Yefim Bronfman and Julia Fischer as soloists. A new DVD of Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem was released in 2017.
This past summer, Mr. Welser-Möst was awarded the 2017 Pro Arte Europapreis for his advocacy and achievements as a musical ambassador. His other honors and awards include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ring of Honor for his longstanding personal and artistic relationship with the ensemble, as well as recognition from the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, honorary membership in the Wiener Singverein, appointment as an academician of the European Academy of Yuste, a Decoration of Honor from the Republic of Austria for his artistic achievements, and the Joseph Kilenyi Medal of Honor from the Bruckner Society of America.
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 2017–2018 season marks the orchestra’s 100th year of concerts, as it begins 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. Recent productions have included Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (May 2017); a double bill of Bartók’s The 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 in fall 2017). The 2017–2018 season also features in-concert performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (April 2018).
The partnership with Franz Welser-Möst, begun in 2002 and entering its 16th year with the 2017–2018 season, has earned The Cleveland Orchestra unprecedented residencies in the US and around the world, including an ongoing series of biennial residencies at Vienna’s Musikverein, 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 2017–2018 features two international tours, concluding with the presentation on three continents of Mr. Welser-Möst’s Prometheus Project, featuring Beethoven symphonies and overtures; these Beethoven concerts will be presented in May and June 2018 in Cleveland, at 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, The Cleveland Orchestra concerts are heard in syndication each season on radio stations throughout North America and Europe. Visit clevelandorchestra.com for more information.