Thursday August 22, 2019
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces 2019–2020 Performing Arts Series. Tickets on Sale Now.
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces 2019–2020 Performing Arts Series. Tickets on Sale Now.

exterior of the CMA building

Programs feature some of the most original and acclaimed performing artists from around the world.

Cleveland, OH (August 22, 2019)—The Cleveland Museum of Art features some of the most acclaimed performing artists representing a variety of traditions in its 2019–2020 Performing Arts Series, October 2019 through May 2020. As ever, the museum’s series continues its exciting schedule with a range of internationally renowned artists, the ever-popular Sunday organ recitals, and the collaboration with the Cleveland Institute of Music offering music in the galleries. The series also includes the second year in which internationally known composers create original compositions inspired by works of art from the museum’s collection—part of a major commissioning program co-sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program.

“With the launch of our 2019–20 Fall Performing Arts Series, the Cleveland Museum of Art continues its more than century-long commitment to presenting the finest performances in the unique context of the museum,” said Thomas M. Welsh, the CMA’s director of performing arts. “The remarkable range of ideas and traditions old and new from all the corners of the globe makes for an always-exciting concert series unlike any other in the region.”

Highlights of the 2019–20 season include performances by Fretwork and the Zohn Collective with La Coperacha Puppet Company from Mexico, traditional Iraqi maqams by Hamid Al-Saadi, classical Indian music by Zakir Hussain, and contemporary African music by Fatoumata Diawara. The museum’s commissioning series continues the CMA’s partnership with the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program, this year presenting world premieres by Aleksandra Vrebalov (Serbia) and Luciano Chessa (Sardinia).

Organists Pierre Queval and Nicole Keller perform on the McMyler Memorial Organ in Gartner Auditorium; Sarah Davachi, Dan Lippel, and Mak Grgic perform at Transformer Station; and the spotlight turns to local artists in the monthly series featuring young artists from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the joint program with Case Western Reserve University’s early and baroque music programs.

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 ticket center at 888-CMA-0033 or online at

2019–20 Performing Arts Series

All CMA performances take place in the museum’s Gartner Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change.

Performing Artists from Around the World

Another season of performances celebrating the remarkable range of classical music and global music traditions that appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Sarah Davachi
Sunday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.

Transformer Station
$25, CMA members $22
As a composer and performer of electroacoustic music, Sarah Davachi presents a solo program that continues the museum’s ongoing commitment to presenting extraordinary, forward-looking, and unclassifiable artists in the intimate and vibrant acoustic space of the Transformer Station. Davachi is primarily concerned with the delicate psychoacoustics of intimate aural spaces, utilizing extended durations and simple harmonic structures that emphasize subtle variations in overtone complexity, temperament and intonation, and natural resonances. Her sound is informed by minimalist tenets of the 1960s and 1970s, baroque leanings toward slow-moving chordal suspensions, and experimental production practices of the studio environment.

Zohn Collective with La Coperacha Puppet Company 
Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.

$25, CMA members $22
This evening-length concert brings together two literary-based contemporary musical works dramatized through puppetry. Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon is a Mexican-American composer and chair of the composition department at Eastman School of Music. His Comala was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Staged with the Mexican puppet company La Coperacha, this production is based on distinguished Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago’s stunning sculpture project 2501 migrants; it premiered at the Festival Cultural de Mayo in Guadalajara in 2018. 

Over its 39 years of existence, La Coperacha has established itself as one of the most relevant and groundbreaking cultural institutions in Mexico. Their work draws inspiration from folktales, contemporary pictorial work by Mexico’s leading painters and cartoonists, and diverse musical genres. Also on the program is a new work composed especially for this project by Zohn Collective pianist and composer Daniel Pesca. Conducted by Tim Weiss.

Wednesday, October 23, 7:30 p.m.

$33–45, CMA members $30–40
This year Fretwork, the world’s leading consort of viols, celebrates 30 years of performing music old and new; at the CMA they perform a program inspired by the exhibition Michelangelo: Mind of the Master. Michelangelo would have been very aware of the massive changes in music during his lifetime, including the arrival of printed music and the emergence of the newly developed violas da gamba. In 1501 Ottaviano Petrucci published the Harmonice Musices Odehecaton, or One Hundred Harmonic Pieces of Music (there are in fact only 97), and achieved results that were ahead of their time by more than a century. This outstanding book contains works by all the major composers of the time, mostly vocal pieces, but without text. Each ranging from three to six parts, they offer a smorgasbord of contemporary music. This illuminating concert features works from this book by Marbriano de Orto, Johannes de Piñarol, Josquin Desprez, and more.

Hamid Al-Saadi with Safaafir
Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 p.m.

$33–45, CMA members $30–40
The Iraqi maqam (melodic mode), one of Iraq’s richest cultural offerings, features sophisticated melodies, infectious rhythms, and eloquent poetry. Hamid Al-Saadi, Iraq’s foremost purveyor of this centuries-old tradition, is renowned for his powerful voice and highly ornamented style, as well as his comprehensive knowledge of the intricate details of the music and poetry of Iraq. He is joined by Safaafir, the only US-based ensemble dedicated to performing the Iraqi maqam in its traditional format. The group is led by Amir ElSaffar (santur—zither) and Dena El Saffar (joza—bowed stringed instrument, violin) of Iraqi descent and features Tim Moore on percussion.

Monday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.

Transformer Station
$25, CMA members $22
Contemporary guitar duo FretX (Mak Grgic and Daniel Lippel) formed in 2015. Their concert in the Transformer Station includes a program of works by Helmut Lachenmann, Agustin Castila Avila, Courtney Bryan, and Gity Razaz.

Fatoumata Diawara
Wednesday, February 26, 7:30 p.m.

$33–45, CMA members $30–40
Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, Fatoumata Diawara is boldly experimental yet respectful of her roots. Her spectacular 2011 debut album made the Malian singer and guitarist the most talked-about new African artist on the planet. Hers is the voice of young African womanhood—proud of her heritage but with a vision that looks confidently to the future and with a message that is universal.

Zakir Hussain 
Wednesday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.

$43–59, CMA members $38–53
The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A national treasure in his native India, he is one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, renowned for his genre-defying collaborations. Hussain presents an evening of Indian classical music, with guests with Kala Ramnath (violin) and Jayanthi Kumaresh (veena).

Creative Fusion: Composers Series

The second year of the Creative Fusion: Composers Series program, part of the Cleveland Foundation’s ongoing Creative Fusion program, features premieres of commissioned works by two artists.

Aleksandra Vrebalov
Friday, March 27, 7:30 p.m.

Ames Family Atrium
Free; no ticket required
Aleksandra Vrebalov’s music ranges from concert music and opera to music for modern dance and film, and has been performed by Kronos Quartet, Serbian National Theater, English National Ballet, Belgrade Philharmonic, and many others. Vrebalov’s string quartet . . . hold me, neighbor, in this storm . . . was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by Kronos Quartet. The world premiere of Vrebalov’s newest work is commissioned by the CMA in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, inspired directly by the museum’s collection. 

Luciano Chessa
May 2020, date, pricing, and location to be announced

The remarkable Sardinian composer/artist Luciano Chessa stretches the boundaries of music and performance, with groundbreaking works such as A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with original video by Kalup Linzy, and his opera Cena oltranzista nel castelletto al lago, a work merging experimental theater with reality TV that required from the cast over 55 hours of fasting. Chessa has been commissioned multiple times by the Performa Biennial, and in 2014 he presented three events at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the exhibition Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe. The world premiere of Chessa’s newest work is commissioned by the CMA in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, inspired directly by the museum’s collection.

Sunday Afternoon Organ Series
The series of traditional Sunday organ recitals will feature programs by artists performing for the first time at CMA as well as a collaboration with the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Pierre Queval
Sunday, November 3, 2:00 p.m.

Free; no ticket required
Organist Pierre Queval studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris under Olivier Latry, and was awarded degrees in organ performance and improvisation. He has performed in many of the great churches of France, and is the head organist of the great Cavaillé-Coll / Haerpfer-Ermann organ of the Saint-Ignace Church in Paris since November 2014.

CIM Organ Studio
Sunday, March 1, 2:00 p.m.

Free; no ticket required
Outstanding conservatory musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s studio of acclaimed organist Todd Wilson present an afternoon recital of works for solo organ on the museum’s McMyler Memorial Organ. Program to be announced.

Nicole Keller
Sunday, April 26, 2:00 p.m.

Free; no ticket required
Organist Nicole Keller, associate organist at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) of Cleveland and faculty member at Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of Music, has concertized all over the world in venues including St. Patrick Cathedral in New York, Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris, and the Kazakh National University for the Arts in Astana, Kazakhstan.  

Chamber Music in the Galleries
Free; no ticket required; program and concert locations to be announced 

The series of monthly chamber music concerts continues, featuring young artists from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the joint program with Case Western Reserve University’s early and baroque music programs. Outstanding conservatory musicians present mixed repertoire ranging from the standard to unknown gems in the museum’s galleries for a unique and intimate experience. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 6:00 p.m. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 6:00 p.m. 

Wednesday May 6, 2020, 6:0The Musart Society

Museum Sponsors:

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Ohio Arts Council

The Cleveland Museum of Art is supported in part by Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

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