Thursday September 3, 2015
Tags for: Cleveland Museum of Art announces 2015–16 Performing Arts Series
  • Press Release

Cleveland Museum of Art announces 2015–16 Performing Arts Series

exterior of the CMA building

Tickets on Sale Now

Cleveland (September 3, 2015) Continuing its commitment to presenting the best in performing arts from around the world, the Cleveland Museum of Art announces its 2015-16 Performing Arts Series, featuring an extraordinary lineup ranging from composer Ellen Fullman in a week-long visit to the Transformer Station performing works from her Long String Instrument to appearances by two of the most exciting young American string quartets, the JACK Quartet and Calder Quartet, to the Orlando Consort’s performance of 15th-century vocal music accompanying Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film masterpiece La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, to Cleveland’s own celebrated young conductor and organist  James Feddeck, who will return to McMyler Organ in Gartner Auditorium for the first time since 2013. Tickets for individual performances are on sale now. Special student rates are available for select performances. Tickets and more details are available by calling the Cleveland Museum of Art Box Office at 888-CMA-0033 or online at

“The Cleveland Museum of Art’s performing arts series brings together thoughtful, fascinating and beautiful experiences, comprising a concert calendar notable for its boundless multiplicity,” said Tom Welsh, director of performing arts. “This year the museum looks forward to visits from old friends and new, bringing music from around the globe and spanning many centuries. Here is the place where performance is intended to explore connections of cultures, the heart, and the human spirit.”

Highlights of this season’s lineup include The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book, a multimedia work composed by Bosnian-born, Los Angeles–based accordionist Merima Ključo, which traces the highly dramatic story of one of the world’s most famous manuscripts from medieval Spain to 20th-century Bosnia. Hailed by the New York Times for its “viscerally exciting performances,” the JACK Quartet gives the world premiere of a new work by Turkish composer Cenk Ergün. Qasida is an extraordinary musical encounter between the young Sevillian cantaora Rosario “La Tremendita,” and her Iranian peer Mohammad Motamedi that explores the roots of flamenco as songs of Spanish folk poetry and Persian high art merge into a musical world in which the “Al-Andalus” of old is perhaps briefly revived. Voted Best Traditional/Folk Group by Ireland’s premier music magazine Hot Press, Dervish brings music from the West of Ireland with passionate vocals and dazzling instrumentals. Its performances range from powerful and energetic dance tunes to sublime interpretations of Irish songs and airs with vocals, fiddle, flute, accordion, bodhrán, mandola and bouzouki. The legends of gypsy brass Fanfare Ciocărlia (a fan favorite at CMA Ohio City Stages in 2013) return to Cleveland with their signature very fast, high-energy sound, complex rhythms and high-speed, staccato clarinet, saxophone and trumpet solos.

The series of adventurous music performances at the Transformer Station continues to feature improvised and composed music by some of the most remarkable artists of our time. Among the artists featured is the Calder Quartet, which after two sold-out concerts last season continues its residency with its signature dedication to discovering, commissioning, recording and performing some of today’s best emerging composers.

The CMA Performing Arts Series is made possible in part by The Ernest L. and Louis M. Gartner Fund, The P. J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund, The Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund, The Frank and Margaret Hyncik Memorial Fund, The Adolph Benedict and Ila Roberts Schneider Fund, The Arthur, Asenath and Walter H. Blodgett Memorial Fund; The Dorothy Humel Hovorka Endowment Fund, The Albertha T. Jennings Musical Arts Fund

Series Sponsors:
Medical Mutual, The Musart Society

Museum Sponsors:
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Ohio Arts Council


2015-2016 Season
All CMA performances take place in the museum’s Gartner Auditorium, unless otherwise noted; programs subject to change.

Ellen Fullman with Theresa Wong
Thursday–Saturday, September 24–26, 7:30 p.m.
Transformer Station
$25; CMA members $22

“The combined strings resemble a mechanical cobweb, and Fullman was the spider not the fly.” —Marc Weidenbaum, Disquiet

For over 30 years, composer Ellen Fullman has been developing a sound world all her own. Her “Long String Instrument” is an installation of dozens of wires fifty feet or more in length, tuned in just intonation and ‘bowed’ with rosin coated fingers. Fullman has developed a unique notation system to choreograph the performer’s movements, exploring sonic events that occur at specific nodal point locations along the string-length of the instrument. She has recorded extensively with this unusual instrument and has collaborated with such luminary figures as composer Pauline Oliveros, choreographer Deborah Hay, the Kronos Quartet and Keiji Haino. Her music was represented in The American Century; Art and Culture, 1950-2000 at The Whitney Museum, and she has performed in venues and festivals in Europe, Japan and the Americas including: Instal, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Other Minds, the Walker Art Center and Donaueschinger Musiktage. Fullman has been the recipient of numerous awards, commissions and residencies, and makes her Cleveland debut with a week-long visit to the Transformer Station. With special guest Theresa Wong, cello.


Ustatshakirt Plus
Sunday, October 4, 2:00 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$33–$45; CMA members $30–40

Music and musicians have historically played a vital role in the cultures of Kyrgyz republic and Central Asia in general. Music traditionally served not only as entertainment, but as a way to reinforce social and moral values, and musicians provided models of exemplary leadership. When these rich traditions were confronted with the withdrawal of resources and the influx of western pop following the demise of the Soviet Union, many went into decline. Nurlanbek Nyshanov, musician/composer and artistic director of Ustatshakirt Plus who was identified by the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia as a “tradition bearer,” is the prime exemplar of Kyrgyz mountain music. With an ensemble featuring traditional instruments including the choor (wood flute), the kyl kiyak (bowed, two-string instrument), komuz (three-string instrument made of the wood of an apricot tree), and the jaw harp, Nyshanov performs songs from the oral tradition as well as his own compositions as part of an exceedingly rare visit to the US.


CIM/CWRU Joint Music Program
First Wednesdays of the Month at 6:00 p.m., Free
October 7, November 4, December 2, January 6, February 3, March 2, April 6, May 4
CMA Galleries

The popular series of monthly concerts in the galleries featuring young artists from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the joint program with Case Western Reserve University’s early & baroque music programs enters its fifth season. Outstanding conservatory musicians present mixed programs of chamber music amidst the museum’s collections for a unique and intimate experience—concerts which regularly feature instruments from the museum’s keyboard collection. From standard repertoire to unknown gems, these early evening, hour-long performances are a delightful after work encounter, or the start of a night out.


Merima Ključo
The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book
Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$33–$45, CMA members $30–40

“The piece tells a powerful story, and it was dramatically realized by Kljuco, playing accordion, and pianist Seth Knopp.”—Dallas News

Composer/performer Merima Ključo’s multimedia work for accordion, piano and video traces the dramatic story of one of Jewish culture's most treasured manuscripts. Using the musical traditions of Spain, Italy, Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ključo illustrates and illuminates the Haggadah’s travels from medieval Spain to 20th-century Bosnia where it was hidden and rescued during World War II, to its restoration by the National Museum in Sarajevo after the 1992–1995 war. Inspired by the historical novel by Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks and commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, "The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book" creatively interprets this miraculous artifact as a universal symbol of exile, return and coexistence. As a concert accordionist, Ključo has performed recitals and has been a guest soloist with orchestras all over the world. She has collaborated with renowned musicians including Iva Bittová and David Krakauer, and has written music for film and theater, including "Sholom Alechiem: Laughter Through Tears," a one-man play written and performed by the legendary actor Theodore Bikel. With special guest Seth Knopp, piano. Program introduced by author Geraldine Brooks.


Calder Quartet
Monday, November 16, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.
Transformer Station
$25, CMA members $22

“The Calder takes its place as one of America’s most satisfying—and most enterprising—quartets.”
—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Since their first performance on the museum’s series seven years ago, the Calder Quartet have achieved international success while deepening their relationship with Cleveland—including performing with the Cleveland Orchestra as part of the “California Masterworks” series, and being named quartet in residence at Oberlin Conservatory. Already the choice of many leading composers to perform their works—including Christopher Rouse, Terry Riley and Thomas Adès—the group’s distinctive approach is exemplified by a musical curiosity brought to everything they perform, whether it’s Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn or sold-out rock shows with bands like The National or The Airborne Toxic Event.  Winners of the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the group continues to work and collaborate with artists across musical genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, and in venues ranging from art galleries and rock clubs to Carnegie and Walt Disney concert halls. To hear one of the most exciting string quartets at the height of its powers is a rare thrill.


James Feddeck
Sunday, December 6, 2:00 p.m., Free
Gartner Auditorium

“Musicians of this calibre are gold dust.” —The Herald

James Feddeck returns to McMyler Organ in Gartner Auditorium for the first time since 2013. He has performed recitals throughout Europe and North America, won competitions sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, and has been featured on Pipedreams, a nationally syndicated radio program. His musical training and background is unusually diverse and multifaceted. He was admitted to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in four areas—piano, oboe, organ and conducting, a rare distinction. Perhaps best known as a fast-rising young conductor, Feddeck served as Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra from 2009–2013. He is a guest conductor with orchestras around the world including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Halle Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra at the Concertgebouw and in North America the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Program to include works by J. S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Barber, Alain and Widor.


CIM Organ Studio Concert
Sunday, February 14, 2:00 p.m., Free
Gartner Auditorium

Outstanding conservatory musicians present an afternoon recital of works for solo organ on the museum’s McMyler Memorial Organ.


JACK Quartet

  • Georg Friedrich Haas: String Quartet no. 3 “In iij. Noct.”
    Tuesday, March 1, 2016
    7:30 p.m.
    $25, CMA members $22
  • Cenk Ergün world premiere
    Wednesday, March 2, 2016
    7:30 p.m.
    Gartner Auditorium
    $33–$45, CMA members $30–$40

“The string quartet may be a 250-year-old contraption, but young, brilliant groups like the JACK Quartet are keeping it thrillingly vital.” —The Washington Post

For this unique mini-residency in Cleveland, the JACK Quartet will perform concerts on successive nights in two museum venues. On March 1, they will perform Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet no. 3 “In iij. Noct.”—a work performed in complete darkness, with the musicians playing from memory in different parts of the room. And on March 2, the quartet presents a world premiere by composer Cenk Ergün. JACK Quartet, the recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning and spread of new string quartet music. The quartet has led workshops with young performers and composers at Princeton University, Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, Columbia University, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, June in Buffalo, New Music on the Point and at the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. The JACK Quartet electrifies audiences worldwide with "explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe) and "viscerally exciting performances" (New York Times). David Patrick Stearns (Philadelphia Inquirer) proclaimed their performance as being "among the most stimulating new-music concerts of my experience."


Friday, March 11, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$53–$69, CMA members $48–$62

“Its integrity makes the group a formidable heir to the throne abandoned by The Bothy Band, if not a serious contender for The Chieftains’ international space.” —The Irish Times

“Dervish are simply brilliant…They carry Irish history with them.” —The Guardian

The Sligo Borough Council’s decision to award Dervish the Freedom of the Borough of Sligo cemented the group’s position as preeminent band in Ireland’s Wild West. It raised them into the exalted company of poet W.B. Yeats, who was the first person to be awarded the freedom of Sligo. Built upon two sturdy pillars—the hauntingly charismatic vocals of Cathy Jordan and the dazzling virtuosity of award-winning instrumentalists like Tom Morrow on fiddle, Liam Kelly on flute, and Shane Mitchell on accordion, Dervish is a solid structure of a band, its foundation in legendary pub sessions, its shape the result of years of international touring. In 2005, Ireland’s premier music magazine Hot Press voted the band Best Traditional / Folk Group. The solid rhythm playing of Brian McDonagh and Michael Holmes drives the band, whose concert performances are a myriad of tones and moods ranging from high energy tunes, played with fluidity and intuitiveness, to beautifully measured songs, from charming lyrics of life and love, to inspiring melodies that lift audiences from their seats. All the elements are drawn together by Cathy Jordan’s masterful stage presence. Her stories to the songs and her interaction with the audience draws people into the music in a way very few performers can achieve. Dervish is a band that both celebrates Irish music and has been instrumental in bringing it to a worldwide audience.


Rosario “La Tremendita” & Mohammad Motamedi
Flamenco meets Persian classical music
Wednesday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$53–$69, CMA members $48–$62

“The Qasida project, one of the highlights of the third Netherlands Biennale, pursued a vital dialogue of traditions, involving the melismatic vocal techniques of Rosario La Tremendita and Mohammad Motamedi from Iran. The contrast between the sheer beauty of flamenco’s distilled, passionate outpourings of the heart and the more inward, mystical philosophies of Persian poetry met exquisitely in a host of styles that searched for common ground.”—Songlines

Spanish poet Federico García Lorca described the cante jondo—deep flamenco song—as a “rare example of primitive songs whose notes contain the naked and horrific emotion of the first oriental civilizations.” A test of Lorca’s words might be the Qasida project, an extraordinary musical encounter between the young Sevillian cantaora Rosario “La Tremendita” and her Iranian peer Mohammad Motamedi. In Qasida the singer explores the roots of flamenco in the richly varied poetic songs and improvisations of Motamedi, the young rising star of Iranian classical music. Songs of Spanish folk poetry and Persian high art merge into a musical world in which the “Al-Andalus” of old is perhaps briefly revived.


Orlando Consort
Presents live vocal music for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc
Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$33–$45, CMA members $30–$40

“Hauntingly and mellifluously sung by the four (but sometimes solo) voices of the Orlando Consort, this music still sounds as flavoursome as it must have done 650 years ago.”—The Daily Telegraph

Formed in 1988 by the Early Music Network of Great Britain, the Orlando Consort rapidly achieved a reputation as one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing a repertoire from the years 1050 to 1550. Their work successfully combines captivating entertainment and fresh scholarly insight; the unique imagination and originality of their programming together with their superb vocal skills has marked the Consort out as the outstanding leaders of their field. The Consort has performed at many of Britain’s top festivals (including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival) and has in recent years made visits to France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the USA and Canada, South America, Singapore, Japan, Greece, Russia, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Spain. During their show at the CMA, Orlando Consort will be performing Voices Appeared: La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc.


Fanfare Ciocărlia
Wednesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$53–$69, CMA members $48–$62

“If it’s a fireball of brass you’re after, these are the men to call.”—The Independent

Fanfare Ciocarlia, a 24-legged brass beast whose eastern funk groove has torn up halls and festivals across the planet, is one of the world’s greatest live bands. Fanfare Ciocărlia—the brass orchestra from the “hidden” village of Zece Prajini in northeastern Romania—has an energy and ingenuity that has won them fans from Melbourne to Memphis, Tokyo to Toulouse. Having learnt their craft at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers, Fanfare's members proudly approach every concert as a challenge to both entertain audiences and keep the true spirit of Gypsy music alive. Fanfare Ciocarlia went on to conquer the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. The Gypsies may only have spoken their local Romany dialect but their music spoke an international language and audiences responded to their fierce Balkan funk by turning concerts into parties. Fanfare Ciocarlia played was something new. The Times of London described it as "a heavy, heavy monster sound" and Fanfare's recordings have taken their eerie Balkan groove into dance clubs across the planet. Having debuted in Cleveland in 2013, to tremendous acclaim on the museum’s Ohio City Stages summer series, Fanfare Ciocărlia returns for its first-ever appearance in Gartner Auditorium.


Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound
Friday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$33–$45, CMA members $30–$40

Using resonance as its governing principle, ElSaffar’s 17-member ensemble incorporates elements of maqam modal music of the Middle East with jazz and other contemporary musical practices to create a unique microtonal musical environment that moves beyond the notions of style and tradition into a realm of uninhibited musical communication. The ensemble features musicians from all over the world and a broad spectrum of traditions, from maqam to American jazz.   


Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams El-Din
Wednesday, April 27, 7:30 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium
$33–$45, CMA members $30–$40

“Tarek’s playing is controlled, fluid, virtuosic and dynamic whilst the interplay with the riqq is mesmerising and sure-footed”—fROOTS

The wasla is a particular expression of a musical suite developed by different Arab traditions—the type nuba in Africa or fasl in Syria. Besides its primary definition meaning “connecting,” the term wasla also refers to the specific Egyptian tradition which was practiced between the last third of the nineteenth century until the 1940s (nowadays referred to as the “classical musical suite”). This period called Nahda is considered the “Golden Age,” not only of this musical tradition, but also the art of Egyptian oud solo. His latest recording Wasla is a creation developed by Tarek Abdallah proposing to renew the relationship with the Golden Age of this musical tradition through a personal approach to composition, interpretation, and improvisation in the Egyptian musical suite.

Tarek Abdallah and Adel Shams El-Din, both from Alexandria, have lived in France for many years. However, they did not meet until very recently, in spring 2013, but what a meeting! Fluent in the language of Egyptian classical tradition, the duo evokes the fascinating history of this music while extending it with spirited and contemporary-inspired compositions. The shape of the duo offers these interpreters happy freedom.


Otomo Yoshihide
Monday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.
Transformer Station
$25, CMA members $22

“With each object, a new door opened in the texture of the sound or a new key emerged. . . Mr. Otomo found a balance between disciplining the sound and letting it be unruly.”—The New York Times

In 1990, Otomo formed the groundbreaking, solo electronics band, Ground-0 (later Ground Zero). The group first played outside Japan in 1991, then in Hong Kong later that year with two local musicians (bass and drums) in the “Best of Indies” concert. In December ’91 he also played in Berlin with Koichi Makigami (vocals), Yuji Katsui (violin), Hiroshi Higo (bass), David Moss (percussion) and Frank Schulte (turntables). Yoshihide’s bands Celluloid Machine Gun and Mosquito Paper were eventually absorbed by Ground Zero, when the band launched its monumental work, Revolutionary Pekinese Opera. Otomo’s sound has evolved with current projects including I.S.O., his trio with Yoshimitsu Ichiraku (drums, electronics) and Sachiko M (sampler); and Filament, his duo with Sachiko M. The sound, which tends to embrace simplicity, minimalism and texture much more than dynamism and instrumental performance, contrasts sharply with the extreme chopping and plunderphonics (“plagiaristic” sampling) which used to characterize Otomo’s style.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261