This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
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.
South African soprano Golda Schultz was a journalism major at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, when she began her music studies. She earned a graduate degree in music at the University of Cape Town, and spent two years with the Cape Town Opera. She later successfully auditioned at The Juilliard School, through which she was then admitted to the Young Artist Program at the Bayerische Staatsoper. She subsequently joined the ensemble of Stadttheater Klagenfurt. Since that time, she has appeared throughout Europe, including performances at the Glyndebourne Festival, Musikfestival Heidelberger Frühling, Rheingau Musik Festival, Salzburg Festival, Staatsoper Hamburg, and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Ms. Schultz’s schedule this season includes debuts at the Dutch National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Highlights of recent seasons have included concert appearances with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Schultz made her Cleveland Orchestra debut earlier this month in performances in Cleveland of Haydn’s The Seasons. Visit goldaschultz.com for additional information.
German tenor Maximilian Schmitt sings a wide variety of operatic roles, in concert, and in recital throughout Europe. He discovered his love for music as a young member of the Regensburger Domspatzen Boys’ Choir, and soon began studies at the Berlin University of the Arts. He began his career as a member of the Young Ensemble of Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, starting in 2005. While there, he also made his debut in Salzburg singing Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. He subsequently became a member of the ensemble of the Nationaltheater Mannheim for four years. His repertoire ranges from Monteverdi and Mozart to Mendelssohn and Mahler. Recent performances have included Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde at the Zermatt Festival, his debut in the title role of Mozart’s Idomeneo in Strasbourg, and his Vienna State Opera debut as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, as well as concert engagements in Nuremberg singing in Bach’s B-Minor Mass and in Haydn’s The Seasons at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and singing in recital at London’s Wigmore Hall. His discography includes albums for BR Klassik, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Oehms Classics, and Phi. He first sang with The Cleveland Orchestra in April 2013 and returned last year to sing the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion. Visit maximilianschmitt.com for more information.
American bass-baritone Christian Van Horn has appeared in many of the great opera houses of the world, from Chicago, Santa Fe, and San Francisco to Salzburg, Munich, and Rome. His schedule this season includes his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Julio in the American premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel as well as productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Puccini’s La bohème. He also returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Méphistophélès in Faust and to the Canadian Opera Company as the Emperor in Stravinsky’s Le rossignol. His concert repertoire ranges from works by Beethoven and Mozart to Michael Tippett and other contemporary composers. Mr. Van Horn has recorded the title role of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for Sony Classical and also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcast of Verdi’s Falstaff. He earned a master’s degree in music from Yale University and is a graduate of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His many awards include winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2003. He made his Cleveland Orchestra debut with Haydn’s The Seasons earlier this month in Cleveland. Please visit christianvanhorn.com for more information.
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus is one of the few professionally trained, all-volunteer choruses sponsored by a major American orchestra. Founded at the request of George Szell in 1952 and following in the footsteps of a number of earlier community choruses, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus has sung in hundreds of performances at home, at Carnegie Hall, and on tour, with its artistry also captured on more than a dozen recordings. Chorus members hail from nearly 50 Cleveland-area communities, and together contribute more than 15,000 volunteer hours each year.
Lisa Wong was appointed acting director of choruses for The Cleveland Orchestra with the start of the 2017–2018 season. She had become assistant director of choruses for The Cleveland Orchestra in 2010. With the 2012–2013 season, she took on the added position of director of The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. In addition to her duties at Severance Hall, Ms. Wong is an associate professor of music at the College of Wooster, where she conducts the Wooster Chorus and the Wooster Singers, and teaches courses in conducting, choral literature, and music education. She previously taught in public and private schools in New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Active as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator, she serves as a music panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Recent accolades have included work at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, as a part of Tunaweza Kimuziki, and as a conductor for Conducting 21C: Musical Leadership for a New Century in Stockholm, Sweden. Ms. Wong holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from West Chester University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from Indiana University.
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.