The hills will once again come alive with music when the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival returns to his picturesque summer residence.
Set on 800 acres of rolling hills adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the outdoor venue hosts the world-renowned orchestra festival on multiple days from July 4 weekend through Labor Day weekend .
“We always think of our audience first – whether they enjoy the show or not,” said Michael Gandlmayr, artistic administrator of the Cleveland Orchestra. “The quality of the musicians involved and the quality of the music itself are also always in the foreground. This is always where we start when we think of popular programming.
This summer’s lineup includes many popular concerts targeting the general public who may not be regular visitors to Severance Hall, but who will make the effort to attend a Blossom Music Festival date.
In addition to opening on weekends “Hail America” featuring music from Sousa, Copland, John Williams, Sara Curry and Florence Price and fireworks, there’s also the “Paul Simon Songbook” on July 10 and “Broadway Legends: Webber, Sondheim, Bernstein and More “July 31.
“In collaboration with Baldwin Wallace University, we are performing one of the most beloved musicals in ‘The sound of music’ September 3 and 4,” Gandlmayr said. “Of course Baldwin Wallace has one of the best musical theater programs in the country, so we’re going to be working with the next stars with Broadway in our production. We’re really excited about it.
Speaking of famous films, the summer schedule offers two film presentations.
The fun begins with the Cleveland Orchestra—along with the Blossom Festival Chorus and the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus—presenting the score of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” July 22, 23 and 24.
A month later, on August 20 and 21, spectators will be transported to Hogwarts with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” with music from the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus.
“During the pandemic, we all really realized the power of live music,” Gandlmayr said. “With movies, it’s really special to hear the movie with an orchestral accompaniment. It brings music to life in a whole different way than just watching on your screen at home or in a movie theatre.
“We have two blockbusters. They please the crowd with simply magnificent scores. It’s going to be a really wonderful time.
The summer schedule also includes many dates for the most demanding classical music lovers.
Gandlmayr pointed out that the Cleveland Orchestra presented Beethoven Symphony No. 9 August 7 and Trifonov plays Rachmaninoff August 13. The former features the much-loved ‘An Ode to Joy’, with the latter seeing pianist Daniil Trifonov return to northeast Ohio.
“One of the programs I’m most looking forward to is Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Trifonov,” Gandlmayr said. “It’s a great crowd pleaser with these stunning melodies. The second half of the program is a bit more off the beaten path.
“Perhaps people won’t immediately recognize it, but it’s ‘Harmonielehre’ by composer John Adams. He is a master of minimalist composition. It is a perfect example of this style of music. It’s a really neat piece.
Relatively new to his position at the Cleveland Orchestra, Gandlmayr is looking forward to scheduling his first Blossom Music Festival next year.
“We are going to have a great season next summer, full of exciting music, film scores, popular programs and classic programs,” Gandlmayr said. “We try to find things that speak to a very broad audience so they’ll be surprised and thrilled when they come out in Blossom.”
Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival
When: From July 2 to September 4 (variable hours).
Where: Blossom Music Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls.
Tickets: Prices vary per show.
Information: 216-231-1111 or Clevelandorchestra.com.