Franz Welser-Möst, who walked out of the Vienna Opera four weeks ago over artistic disagreements, is a much happier music director at the Cleveland Orchestra. So happy he has just extended his contract to 2022, meaning he will have spent more than 20 years with the orchestra.

Press release follows:

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The Cleveland Orchestra announces extension of Franz Welser-Möst contract as Music Director to 2022

Extension confirms the continuing artistic success of the Welser-Möst/Cleveland partnership.

Franz Welser-Möst’s ongoing commitment to Cleveland provides continuity and artistic stability into the Orchestra’s second century.

Welser-Möst will lead the Orchestra even further in music education and community engagement.

 

Release Date: October 2, 2014 at 10 a.m. EDT U.S.A.

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra announced today the extension of Franz Welser-Möst’s contract as Music Director to 2022. With this extension, Mr. Welser-Möst’s tenure will reach at least 20 years, extending four years beyond the Orchestra’s Centennial Season in 2017-18. The announcement was made this morning to the Orchestra’s musicians and staff by the President of the Board of Trustees, Dennis W. LaBarre, and Executive Director, Gary Hanson.

“I am delighted that Franz will remain our artistic leader through and beyond our Centennial,” said Mr. LaBarre. “There is no more successful artistic partnership in the world today thanks to Franz’s extraordinary vision and leadership. I am confident the future will bring even greater success. Franz’s extended commitment provides artistic stability that is increasingly rare in our industry, and enables our shared goal for a Centennial that is a forward-looking foundation for the institution’s second century.”

“Franz is transforming The Cleveland Orchestra,” said Mr. Hanson, “not only artistically with ever-greater elegance and flexibility, but also institutionally through his passion for making us relevant to today’s audiences. For Franz, performing great concerts in local high schools is no less important than our celebrated international appearances. His long-term commitment to Cleveland is central to fulfilling our expanding education and community engagement mission.”

Commenting on the announcement of his extension, Mr. Welser-Möst said, “I love the spirit of The Cleveland Orchestra and there is no greater joy for me than collaborating with these musicians. Their collective dedication to excellence at every performance is inspiring and humbling. We challenge each other to greater heights with each passing season. I am very excited that we will launch the Orchestra’s second century together.”

Mr. Welser-Möst also spoke about the unique qualities of the Cleveland community, “We have a highly sophisticated audience in Northeast Ohio. I feel a special bond with them, whose enthusiasm for their hometown orchestra is matched by their understanding of the work and support required to maintain such an ensemble. And beyond Ohio, the passionate support of our Miami community motivates even further my long-term commitment to the Orchestra and those we serve.”

In recent seasons, Mr. Welser-Möst has led a comprehensive set of new initiatives for the Orchestra toward goals of greater community engagement while extending the Orchestra’s international presence and reputation. Looking ahead to the Centennial and beyond, he commented: “To remain relevant in a changing world requires that we constantly change and grow. Leading up to and beyond our Centennial, we will accelerate the pace of change, breaking more new ground with new audiences, new repertoire, and new types of concert and opera presentations.”

With his extended commitment through the 2021-22 season, Franz Welser-Möst will become the second longest tenured Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Welser-Möst was named the seventh Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra on June 7, 1999, and began his tenure in September 2002. In May 2003, his initial five-year contract was extended to 2012. In 2008, a six-year extension was announced to 2018.

Concurrently with his Cleveland appointment, Franz Welser-Möst has also served as General Music Director of the Zurich Opera up to 2010, and in the same role at the Vienna State Opera from 2010 to 2014. He is a regular guest conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic at home and on far-reaching international tours, as well as for opera productions at the Salzburg Festival.

 

 

 

Claus Helmut Drese who led the Vienna opera through the second half of the 1980s and signed up Claudio Abbado as music director, has died at the age of 88. Cue for a flood of crocodile tears.

The Viennese media, forgetting that it was they who drove him out of town, are trotting out all the usual platitudes of gratitude and lament, none more so than Die Presse, his chief tormentor. The State Opera, from which he was effectively fired, has added its own polite tributes.

Drese inherited the mess of Lorin Maazel’s departure in 1984 (after a brief morbid, interregnum by Egon Seefehlner) and turned the house round quite effectively over four years before an interfering culture minister introduced him one bright day to his designated successors. He worked out his contract until 1991, the Mozart Year, at which point Abbado also walked out and Vienna entered an epoch of mediocrity.
Not that you will read that in the Viennese papers.

Claus Helmut Drese who led the Vienna opera through the second half of the 1980s and signed up Claudio Abbado as music director, has died at the age of 88. Cue for a flood of crocodile tears.

The Viennese media, forgetting that it was they who drove him out of town, are trotting out all the usual platitudes of gratitude and lament, none more so than Die Presse, his chief tormentor. The State Opera, from which he was effectively fired, has added its own polite tributes.

Drese inherited the mess of Lorin Maazel’s departure in 1984 (after a brief morbid, interregnum by Egon Seefehlner) and turned the house round quite effectively over four years before an interfering culture minister introduced him one bright day to his designated successors. He worked out his contract until 1991, the Mozart Year, at which point Abbado also walked out and Vienna entered an epoch of mediocrity.
Not that you will read that in the Viennese papers.

Tomorrow night sees a new ritual launched on German television, After the ineluctable Dinner for One, a 1920 British comedy skit that somehow feels traditional to Germans, the main channels split for a smackdown New Year’s ratings race.

ARD, the first channel, will carry a live concert from Simon Rattle’s orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. ZDF, the second channel, will transmit live from Dresden, with Christian Thielemann. Classical music, which rarely gets a main-channel look-in, will saturate the screens at high cost to both channels and no strategic benefit. This battle is all about bruised egos.
It used to be ZDF that carried the Berlin concert while ARD got on with public revelries. Last year, Berlin demanded more money for a contract renewal and ZDF pulled out – only for the premier channel to pay up and take over for three years. Rattle’s media managers rejoiced.  
That went down in Mainz, where ZDF lives, like a keg of stale beer. Barely was the ink dry on the Berlin-ARD deal than ZDF signed a five-year agreement with national hotshot Thielemann at his new post in Dresden. With one of those arm-twists by which TV schedulers earn their pay, Berlin kicks off at 5.15 pm, quarter of an hour ahead of Dresden. Which channel is paying most has not yet been disclosed.
Die Welt calls the contest absurd – the more so since both channels will lose out massively next morning to the Vienna Philharmonic, whose New Years Day concert is watched by 45 million people in 71 countries. There is an added frisson to this year’s Vienna event since it is conducted by the new Vienna Opera chief, Franz Welser-Möst. A fourth New Years concert will be beamed from Venice, conducted by Daniel Harding. By the time that glut is over, music lovers will be reaching for sugar-free Schoenberg and Xenakis.

Tomorrow night sees a new ritual launched on German television, After the ineluctable Dinner for One, a 1920 British comedy skit that somehow feels traditional to Germans, the main channels split for a smackdown New Year’s ratings race.

ARD, the first channel, will carry a live concert from Simon Rattle’s orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. ZDF, the second channel, will transmit live from Dresden, with Christian Thielemann. Classical music, which rarely gets a main-channel look-in, will saturate the screens at high cost to both channels and no strategic benefit. This battle is all about bruised egos.
It used to be ZDF that carried the Berlin concert while ARD got on with public revelries. Last year, Berlin demanded more money for a contract renewal and ZDF pulled out – only for the premier channel to pay up and take over for three years. Rattle’s media managers rejoiced.  
That went down in Mainz, where ZDF lives, like a keg of stale beer. Barely was the ink dry on the Berlin-ARD deal than ZDF signed a five-year agreement with national hotshot Thielemann at his new post in Dresden. With one of those arm-twists by which TV schedulers earn their pay, Berlin kicks off at 5.15 pm, quarter of an hour ahead of Dresden. Which channel is paying most has not yet been disclosed.
Die Welt calls the contest absurd – the more so since both channels will lose out massively next morning to the Vienna Philharmonic, whose New Years Day concert is watched by 45 million people in 71 countries. There is an added frisson to this year’s Vienna event since it is conducted by the new Vienna Opera chief, Franz Welser-Möst. A fourth New Years concert will be beamed from Venice, conducted by Daniel Harding. By the time that glut is over, music lovers will be reaching for sugar-free Schoenberg and Xenakis.

The conductor Franz Welser-Möst has a busy weekend. Saturday morning he will be presiding over the annual Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Day concert. Sunday he will appear on WQXR’s Mad About Music, telling Gilbert Kaplan some of his darker secrets.

As well as airing his reflections on hostile music critics – a must-hear for misery hacks – the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera gets to pick a wild-card record, one that you wouldn’t expect to appear among his personal favourites. What can I tell you? It’s not a Strauss waltz or a Bruckner dirge (Franz is from Linz, like Bruckner and the other famous Austrian, name escapes me). 

Pin your ears back, it’s a klezmer whirl.
He also gets to pick the music for his funeral. Simon Keenlyside, check your diary. He’s booking you for Schubert songs, date to be advised.

The conductor Franz Welser-Möst has a busy weekend. Saturday morning he will be presiding over the annual Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Day concert. Sunday he will appear on WQXR’s Mad About Music, telling Gilbert Kaplan some of his darker secrets.

As well as airing his reflections on hostile music critics – a must-hear for misery hacks – the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera gets to pick a wild-card record, one that you wouldn’t expect to appear among his personal favourites. What can I tell you? It’s not a Strauss waltz or a Bruckner dirge (Franz is from Linz, like Bruckner and the other famous Austrian, name escapes me). 

Pin your ears back, it’s a klezmer whirl.
He also gets to pick the music for his funeral. Simon Keenlyside, check your diary. He’s booking you for Schubert songs, date to be advised.

The Vienna Philharmonic’s having a rocky ride with its Japan tour. First, Seiji Ozawa fell ill. He was replaced by Andris Nelsons and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Now Salonen has pulled out.

Looks like Franz Welser-Möst, the new Opera chief, will fly in to save the tour along with the ever-willing Georges Pretre.

Salonen’s Vienna concert is being taken over by Andres Orozco-Estrada.

Who’s that? He’s 33, a hot young Colombian at the Tonkünstler orchestra of Lower Austria, as well as the Basque symphony orchestra in Spain. Looks like he’s going places. Fast.

 See pictures here: http://orozcoestrada.com/gallery.php#

 

 

The Vienna Philharmonic’s having a rocky ride with its Japan tour. First, Seiji Ozawa fell ill. He was replaced by Andris Nelsons and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Now Salonen has pulled out.

Looks like Franz Welser-Möst, the new Opera chief, will fly in to save the tour along with the ever-willing Georges Pretre.

Salonen’s Vienna concert is being taken over by Andres Orozco-Estrada.

Who’s that? He’s 33, a hot young Colombian at the Tonkünstler orchestra of Lower Austria, as well as the Basque symphony orchestra in Spain. Looks like he’s going places. Fast.

 See pictures here: http://orozcoestrada.com/gallery.php#

 

 

Results just in from a tight finish at the flexi-rules Solti Conducting Competition.

The winner is José Luis Gomez Rios, 32

Second is Kevin Griffiths, 27, a Londoner

Third, and most experienced, is Tito Munoz, 27, US-born and assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra.

A product of the Venezulean Sistema, J-L Gomez Rios studied at the Manhattan School of Music and is now a Spanish citizen. Griffiths put in his apprenticeship with Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, Lothar Zagrosek and David Zinman. Munoz is a Franz-Welser-Möst protege.

No women made it to the finals. Nor did the disputed free-pass second-round candidate.

Here’s the Frankfurt-live report (in German):

http://cms.frankfurt-live.com/front_content.php?idcat=5&idart=45416

Results just in from a tight finish at the flexi-rules Solti Conducting Competition.

The winner is José Luis Gomez Rios, 32

Second is Kevin Griffiths, 27, a Londoner

Third, and most experienced, is Tito Munoz, 27, US-born and assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra.

A product of the Venezulean Sistema, J-L Gomez Rios studied at the Manhattan School of Music and is now a Spanish citizen. Griffiths put in his apprenticeship with Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle, Lothar Zagrosek and David Zinman. Munoz is a Franz-Welser-Möst protege.

No women made it to the finals. Nor did the disputed free-pass second-round candidate.

Here’s the Frankfurt-live report (in German):

http://cms.frankfurt-live.com/front_content.php?idcat=5&idart=45416

A hilarious blog by Gareth Davies, principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, tells what really happens when a conductor is unwell. In this instance, Sir John Eliot Gardiner was puking in Paris five minutes before curtain and the players were trying to remember Plan B.

Read it here.

Happily, conductors are made of sterner stuff than tennis aces – witness Rafa Nadal wussing out of the Australian Open – and Beethoven is better at concentrating the mind than another set against Andy Murray. The end result was that the piccolo player got a free beer (she often does, I hear, and well deserved).

I once heard Franz Welser-Möst heaving his guts out in the interval of a Tokyo concert. He returned from the flush to give a Beethoven Fifth of reckless intensity, so edgy that no-one’s insides were safe. That’s music – you feel something, and you share it with others.