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Arts & Culture

The Cleveland Orchestra Prepares to Celebrate its 100th Season

photo of Franz Welser-Most and the Cleveland Orchestra
Music director Franz Welser-Möst has led the orchestra for the last 15 years. His contract with the orchestra was recently extended to 2022."

The Cleveland Orchestra is turning 100 years old, and it’s planning concerts, tours, and educational programs to celebrate.

One of the season’s highlights will be a series of educational concerts and a two-week Beethoven festival, which will include all nine Beethoven symphonies. It’s being called The Prometheus Project.

According to Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from heaven to bring enlightenment to humanity. The myth inspired Beethoven’s only ballet, “The Creatures of Prometheus.”

photo of the cunning little vixen
The Cleveland Orchestra will take its high-tech production of "The Cunning Little Vixen" to Europe next season.

Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst hears that creative fire, as well as themes of justice and liberty, in all of Beethoven’s music.

“Beethoven’s music is really philosophy put into music,” he says.

Orchestra audiences will get see two operas next year. Leoš Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” will be back to open the season after earning rave reviews last year. And in the spring, Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde” will bring one of the world’s most acclaimed Isoldes to Severance Hall: Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.

Hear an interview with music director Franz Welser-Möst:

Franz Welser-Möst talks with Phil de Oliveira about The Cleveland Orchestra's 100th season.

Among the familiar favorites, there will be two premieres of new music. One of the orchestra’s former composers-in-residence, Johannes Maria Staud, and Salzburg Prize-winner Salvatore Sciarrino, are both writing pieces for the orchestra.

Welser-Möst says orchestras “have to be in touch with our time,” and that classical music remains relevant.

The orchestra is doing something different instead of its neighborhood residencies. Over the last four years, the orchestra has performed in Gordon Square, Lakewood, Slavic Village and Hough. Next year, the orchestra—and its chorus and youth ensembles—will travel and perform all over northeast Ohio.

The orchestra’s season in Miami, Fla., will be announced in the coming weeks.