The Blossom Music Festival will continue its mission of offering something for everyone this summer with movie nights, a classical guitar concerto performance, appearances by pop stars and the concert staging of a full musical.
The season will kick off June 29 and 30 with the film "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," with the orchestral score performed live by the Cleveland Orchestra. It's an earlier start to the festival season and a fresh choice to begin with a blockbuster movie concert before the holiday festivities launch July 3 and 4 with the Blossom Festival Band.
"We thought, 'What better way to do that [kick off the season] than with something as family friendly and as great as Harry Potter?' " said Ilya Gidalevich, artistic administrator for the Cleveland Orchestra.
The second movie performance, "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," will end the season Aug. 30 through Sept. 1. It follows last year's "Star Wars: A New Hope," which more than 30,000 people attended over three evenings.
Pop music legends who will grace the festival stage include Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, who will perform the entire album "Pet Sounds" with bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin Aug. 11. Paul Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey of the iconic folk group Peter, Paul and Mary will perform with the orchestra July 7 in a concert that will reflect on their enduring anthems of social change.
"We're inviting people who were monumental in their genre," Gidalevich said.
The 20-concert season will welcome 17 artists making their Blossom Musical Festival debuts. Rising stars this season include American conductor Roderick Cox, who won the prestigious Georg Conducting Award last year. He'll lead a program July 5 and 6 including the beloved "1812" Overture by Tchaikovsky and Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront," celebrating the composer's 100th birthday.
Also on that program, rising jazz superstar Aaron Diehl, a 33-year-old pianist who hails from Columbus, will perform Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."
Another young talent will be renowned American pianist and composer Conrad Tao, 25, who will debut with the Cleveland Orchestra July 13 playing Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. Rising European classical stars on the bill include Finnish conductor Klaus Makela, 23, and 17-year-old Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich, who will make their Cleveland Orchestra debuts July 20. Child prodigy Lozakovich, who has been making a splash in Europe, will perform Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1.
"We like to invite these kinds of people early and give our audiences an opportunity to hear them" in the early stages of their careers, Gidalevich said.
Legendary Spanish classical guitarist Pepe Romero will perform with the orchestra July 21 for the first time since 1966, in Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, with Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado. Other classical highlights will include star cellist Gautier Capucon of France performing Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto No. 1 July 27, the great crowd-pleaser Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") Aug. 3 and Cleveland Orchestra violinist Jung-Min Amy Lee as soloist in Barber's Violin Concerto Aug. 10.
Finally, in a Blossom first, the full Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music" will be performed in concert Aug. 24 with singers from the Baldwin Wallace University Music Theatre program.
"Right next door to us is one of the best [musical theater] programs in the country," Gidalevich said. "I think it's incredibly important for us to be collaborating with other institutions in our community."
The last time the Blossom Musical Festival presented a full musical in concert was "Girl Crazy" in 1987.
Rising Baldwin Wallace seniors Kailey Boyle will star as Maria, Nadina Hassan as Liesl, Charlie Ray as Rolf and Veronica Otim, Sydney Howard and Caroline Didelot as featured nuns. The roles of the Mother Abbess, Captain von Trapp, Elsa and Max will be cast with opera and Broadway professionals, said director Victoria Bussert, head of the Baldwin Wallace program. The performance will be conducted by Andy Einhorn, who was musical supervisor for "The Sound of Music" national tour.
"It truly is thrilling for all of us," Bussert said. "The Cleveland Orchestra is the best orchestra in the world. To have this art form of musical theater embraced by the Cleveland Orchestra, I don't know, it was hard to get my brain around it when the idea first came up, it's so wonderful."
2019 Blossom Music Festival
June 29-30, 7:30 p.m.: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” film with live orchestral score. The Cleveland Orchestra; Justin Freer, conductor; Blossom Festival Chorus.
July 3-4, 8 p.m.: Salute to America with Sousa marches, show tunes, Armed Forces Salute and more. Blossom Festival Band; Loras John Schissel, conductor. Fireworks, weather permitting.
July 5-6, 8 p.m.: Bernstein, Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront"; Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue; Stravinsky, "Suite from The Firebird"; Tchaikovsky, “1812” Overture. The Cleveland Orchestra; Roderick Cox, conductor; Aaron Diehl, piano. Fireworks, weather permitting.
July 7, 7 p.m.: Noel “Paul” Stookey and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary; the Cleveland Orchestra; Lucas Richman, conductor. Songs including "If I Had a Hammer" and "Puff the Magic Dragon," reflections on their impact on civil liberties and memories of Mary Travers.
July 13, 8 p.m.: Mussorgsky, “Dawn on the Moskva River” from Khovanshchina; Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 3; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4. The Cleveland Orchestra; Jahja Ling, conductor; Conrad Tao, piano.
July 20, 8 p.m.: Kodaly, Dances of Galanta; Bruch, Violin Concerto No. 1; Sibelius, Symphony No. 5. The Cleveland Orchestra; Klaus Makela, conductor; Daniel Lozakovich, violin.
July 21, 7 p.m.: Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio espagnol; Rodrigo, Concierto de Aranjuez; Debussy, Images. The Cleveland Orchestra; Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor; Pepe Romero, guitar.
July 27, 8 p.m.: Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; Saint-Saens, Cello Concerto No. 1; Elgar, Enigma Variations. The Cleveland Orchestra; Bramwell Tovey, conductor; Gautier Capucon, cello; Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra (with pre-concert program at 7 p.m.).
July 28, 7 p.m.: Tribute to Aretha Franklin. The Cleveland Orchestra; Lucas Waldin, conductor; Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw, vocalists; Blossom Festival Chorus.
Aug. 3, 8 p.m.: Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Zemlinsky, Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid). The Cleveland Orchestra; Andrey Boreyko, conductor; Francesco Piemontesi, piano.
Aug. 10, 8 p.m.: Liszt, Mazeppa, Symphonic Poem No. 6; Barber, Violin Concerto; Brahms, Symphony No. 1. The Cleveland Orchestra; Asher Fisch, conductor; Jung-Min Amy Lee, violin.
Aug. 11, 7 p.m.: Music from “Pet Sounds” and other Beach Boys hits, with Brian Wilson. Blossom Festival Orchestra; Lucas Richman, conductor; Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, vocalists.
Aug. 17, 8 p.m.: Ives, “Decoration Day” from A Symphony: Holidays; Bernstein, Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”); Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances. The Cleveland Orchestra; Vinay Parameswaran, conductor; Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano.
Aug. 24, 8 p.m.: “The Sound of Music” in concert. The Cleveland Orchestra; Andy Einhorn, conductor; Victoria Bussert, director; members of the Baldwin Wallace Music Theater program.
Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.: “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” film with live orchestral score. The Cleveland Orchestra; Sarah Hicks, conductor. Fireworks, weather permitting.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj