2009 Blossom Festival is programmed to build and to broaden audiences

March 15, 2009
Press Release


Press Release

Blossom Festival

March 15, 2009



2009 Blossom Festival is programmed to build and to broaden audiences


Eleven classical programs performed by The Cleveland Orchestra feature greatest hits of the orchestral repertoire, including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, and Ravel’s Boléro

Blossom to serve dance audiences as The Cleveland Orchestra and The Joffrey Ballet renew a partnership begun in 1972, restoring the Festival's 17-year ballet tradition   

Six family-friendly summer pops programs feature music by Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin, a Sci-Fi Spectacular, Salute to America, and a new edition of the Bugs Bunny at Blossom program

New for 2009:  Children 12 and under free with adult ticket purchase for select concerts, Blossom Festival becomes non-smoking, and 1,500 Pavilion seats offered at low general admission prices


CLEVELAND, March 15, 2009 [embargoed] – The Cleveland Orchestra has announced its 2009 Blossom Festival season at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.  The season runs from July 3 through September 6 on Labor Day weekend. 

Summer Season of Greatest Hits
            During the 2009 Blossom Festival, The Cleveland Orchestra will perform 11 concerts encompassing blockbuster favorites of the orchestral repertoire with program highlights to include Music Director Franz Welser-Möst appearances leading Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with soloist Nikolaj Znaider, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.  Additional works to be performed are Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, Ravel’s Boléro, Schumann’s Piano Concerto and Symphony No. 2, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. 

Ballet Returns to Blossom for First Time in More Than 20 Years
            The Blossom Festival will present ballet performances for the first time since the 1988 season on August 22 and 23, when The Joffrey Ballet performs four signature works: Kettentanz, with choreography by Gerald Arpino and set to music by Johann Strauss Sr. and Johann Mayer; Cloven Kingdom, choreographed by Paul Taylor to music by Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell, and Malloy Miller, combined by John Herbert McDowell; Mobile, choreographed by Tomm Ruud to music by Aram Khachaturian; and Carousel (A Dance), a salute to the Richard Rodgers musical, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon.  Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Tito Muñoz will conduct the performances.  The Joffrey Ballet previously performed at Blossom during the 1972 and 1979 seasons.

            Ballet performances with The Cleveland Orchestra performing in the orchestra pit at Blossom were presented from the opening season in 1968 through the 1984 season.  In addition to The Joffrey Ballet, companies performing with the Orchestra during that period include the New York City Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet (during its first North American Tour), Harkness Ballet, National Ballet of Washington D.C., Pennsylvania Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, and the Feld Ballet.  Rudolf Nureyev appeared onstage with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1985 and 1988, and Baryshnikov & Company performed at Blossom in 1987 (not accompanied by The Cleveland Orchestra).  Other dance companies performing at Blossom have included the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Erick Hawkins Dance Company. 

Pops Concerts Include Cleveland Orchestra, Blossom Festival Band 30th Anniversary,
and Blossom Festival Orchestra
            The Blossom Festival Band and conductor Loras John Schissel will open the 2009 season with traditional Fourth-of-July Band Concerts on July 3 and 4.  The concerts, which will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Blossom Festival Band, will include music by the Band’s conductors throughout its history – Meredith Willson, Leonard B. Smith, and Loras John Schissel – in addition to a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces, Sousa marches, Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, and fireworks (weather permitting).

            The Blossom Festival Band developed from the tradition of presenting Fourth-of-July band concerts at Blossom Music Center that began with the venue’s second season in 1969.  The well-received concerts prompted the creation of a symphonic band and concert program, organized by one of this country’s most recognized band directors, Leonard B. Smith, who led band concerts at the Blossom Festival from 1972 to 1997.  In 1998, he was succeeded by Loras John Schissel, now in his twelfth year as conductor of the Blossom Festival Band. 

Loras John Schissel will also lead The Cleveland Orchestra in a Blossom Festival concert for the first time on July 25, with a program that features the original version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with piano soloist Inon Barnatan in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, and Cleveland Orchestra Principal Clarinet Franklin Cohen in Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, for Solo Clarinet and Jazz Ensemble.

Jack Everly, principal pops conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, will make his Cleveland Orchestra debut leading a Sci-Fi Spectacular concert with actor George Takei of Star Trek fame in his Cleveland Orchestra debut as narrator, on August 16.

The 2009 Blossom Festival season will conclude on Labor Day weekend with September 5 and 6 concerts titled Bugs Bunny at Blossom! – Celebrating 20 Years of Bugs Bunny On Broadway.  This new program will feature Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters in their most memorable musical moments, with favorite cartoon scenes projected on large screens and with their musical scores performed live by the Blossom Festival Orchestra.  In addition to cartoon classics such as “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “The Rabbit of Seville,” the program will include “Tom and Jerry In the Hollywood Bowl,” “A Scent of The Matterhorn,” and “Jumpin’ Jupiter,” among others.  The concerts will be conducted by George Daugherty, who made his Cleveland Orchestra debut at Blossom in August 2004 in a Bugs Bunny On Broadway concert and most recently conducted last summer’s season-ending concerts titled Blossom Night at the Movies – Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of Warner Bros.  George Daugherty is an Emmy-nominated and Emmy Award-winning creator whose professional profile includes major credits as a director, writer, and producer for television, film, concerts, and live theater.  The concerts will be followed by fireworks, weather permitting.

Cleveland Orchestra Conductors and Soloists; Blossom Festival Chorus
            In addition to Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, who conducts Blossom Festival concerts on July 18 and 19, other members of the Orchestra’s conducting staff will lead performances throughout the summer.  Robert Porco, now in his eleventh season as Director of Choruses, will conduct a concert featuring Copland’s Old American Songs and highlights from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on July 5.  Jayce Ogren, in his third and final season as Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor, will lead the Orchestra in an all-Mozart concert including Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41 and the Piano Concerto No. 25, K503, with David Fray as soloist in his Cleveland Orchestra debut on August 15.  Tito Muñoz, in his second season as Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor and League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow, will conduct The Cleveland Orchestra in the opening work of its July 5 program, and also will lead the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra in the first portion of the August 2 concert.

            Prepared by Cleveland Orchestra Director of Choruses Robert Porco and Assistant Director of Choruses Betsy Burleigh, the Blossom Festival Chorus will appear with the Orchestra in Copland’s Old American Songs and highlights from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on July 5.  Members of the Blossom Festival Chorus will appear with the Orchestra in the Bravo Broadway concert on July 12.

Blossom Guest Artists
Jahja Ling, resident conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1985 to 2002 and Blossom Festival Director from 2000 to 2005, who is now in his fifth season as music director of the San Diego Symphony, will return for a pair of concerts.  On August 2, he will conduct a program featuring Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 (for which The Cleveland Orchestra will be joined by the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra).  On August 9, Mr. Ling’s program features Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Garrick Ohlsson as soloist. 

Lionel Bringuier, assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will make his Cleveland Orchestra debut with a concert on July 11 featuring Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, as orchestrated by Ravel, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Simon Trpčeski as soloist in his Cleveland Orchestra debut. 

James Gaffigan, who served as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra from 2003 to 2006 and became associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony with the 2006-07 season, will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in a concert on August 29 that features Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand Alone, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist.
Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, who is serving as music director designate of the Nashville Symphony during the 2008-09 season, will conduct the Orchestra on August 30 in a program of music by Bizet, Falla, Ginastera, Lalo, and Ravel. 

David Zinman, music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich and music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, returns to the Blossom Festival to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and the Schumann Piano Concerto with soloist Ingrid Fliter.  Through a collaboration between The Cleveland Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival and School that began in 2001, The Cleveland Orchestra has invited an American Academy of Conducting participant to debut with the Orchestra at the 2009 Blossom Festival.  David Zinman will share the podium on August 1 with Aspen Academy Conductor James Feddeck, who will lead the opening work on the program.  Mr. Feddeck has just been appointed as an Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, beginning with the 2009-10 season.

In addition to conductors Lionel Bringuier and Jack Everly, other guest artists who will debut with The Cleveland Orchestra during this Blossom season include pianists Inon Barnatan, David Fray, and Simon Trpčeski; tenor Rodrick Dixon; baritone Lester Lynch; vocalists Joe Cassidy, Aaron Lazar, William Michals, and Kristen Plumley; and narrator George Takei.  Soprano Angela Brown will make her Blossom Festival debut.

Artists returning to the Blossom Festival include conductors George Daugherty, James Gaffigan, Giancarlo Guerrero, and David Zinman; pianists Ingrid Fliter, Garrick Ohlsson, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; violinist Nikolaj Znaider; cellist Johannes Moser; vocalist Christiane Noll; and The Joffrey Ballet.

New General Admission Seating Offers More Opportunity to be Seated in the Pavilion and
VIP Benefits for Box-seat Subscribers Include Easy-access Parking
Beginning this summer, approximately 25% of the seats in the Pavilion will become “general admission,” available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone attending the performance.  New General Admission tickets replace the former Lawn Tickets and will be priced at $130 for a book of 10 tickets or individually at $19 or $21 for most concerts.  Once at Blossom, patrons holding these tickets may sit on the lawn or can choose from among 1,500 seats at the rear of the Pavilion that are being changed from reserved to general admission status.  This change will be welcomed by the thousands of concertgoers who value Blossom’s low lawn prices but also love the comfort and shelter of the Blossom Pavilion. 

VIP subscriber benefits are offered at Box-seat level pricing and include the closest available parking and access to Kulas Plaza, adjacent to the Pavilion, with pre-concert dining, intermission refreshments, and dedicated restrooms.  The Blossom Festival is supported only in part through ticket sales.  For more information about contributing to support the Blossom Festival, please call (216) 231-7521.

The 2009 Blossom Festival season features a four-concert Saturday evening “Weekend Classics” series and a five-concert “Weekend Classics” series on Sunday evenings; a four-concert “Celebrations” series on Saturday evenings; and a four-concert “Pops” series on Sunday evenings.  Subscription packages range from $88 to $185.  Box-seat subscriptions are priced at $272 and $340.  The renewal deadline for returning subscribers is April 24.  New subscription inquiries should be directed to the Cleveland Orchestra Subscription Office at (216) 231-1111 or 800-686-1141.  New subscriptions also can be purchased online at www.clevelandorchestra.com.

Individual concert Pavilion tickets range in price from $19 to $82.  Lawn/General Admission tickets for most Blossom Festival concerts are priced at $19 or $21.  Children 12 and under are admitted free with adult ticket purchase for select concerts.  Children 5 and under are admitted free on the lawn.  Individual tickets go on sale by telephone, in person at the Severance Hall Ticket Office, and online at www.clevelandorchestra.com on Tuesday, May 26.  The Blossom Box Office opens for the season on Friday, May 29, and will be open throughout the summer on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. through intermission on concert days.

            Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more.  Call the Cleveland Orchestra Group Sales Office at Severance Hall at (216) 231-7463 for more information.

* * *
            Blossom Music Center, which opened in 1968 as the summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra, is located 25 miles south of Cleveland just north of Akron, Ohio.  The Center’s name honors the Dudley S. Blossom family, major supporters of The Cleveland Orchestra throughout its history.  Blossom is situated on 800 acres of rolling hills surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which protects 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland.  Blossom lies within the city limits of Cuyahoga Falls, an Ohio community first settled in the early 1800s, at 1145 West Steels Corners Road.  Blossom reopened in 2003 following the completion of the Blossom Redevelopment Project, which featured a highly-acclaimed renovation of the facility and improved patron amenities.  The Blossom Redevelopment Project was the first major capital improvements project in the history of the facility, which serves more than 400,000 visitors each summer. Beginning in July 2009, the Blossom Festival will be a smoke-free environment.  Smoking is not permitted at concerts and other events during the Blossom Festival.

The Cleveland Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the following generous organizations whose sponsorship makes possible the summer’s Blossom Festival concerts and presentations.

Akron Community Foundation
Baker Hostetler
Blossom Women's Committee
Consolidated Graphics Group, Inc.
The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation
Mary and Dr. George L. Demetros Charitable Trust
Dix & Eaton
Eaton Corporation
Ernst & Young LLP
Ferro Foundation
Fifth Third Bank
FirstMerit Bank
Forest City Enterprises, Inc.
Frantz Ward LLP
GAR Foundation
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Hudson Blossom Women’s Committee
The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation
NACCO Industries, Inc.
National City, now a part of PNC
Ohio Arts Council
Parker Hannifin Corporation
The Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation
The Sherwin-Williams Company
The Sisler McFawn Foundation
Lloyd L. and Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation
The J.M. Smucker Company
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P.