As in previous years, Stéphane Denève will be spending much of this summer in the USA (and mainly outdoors too), conducting three of the USA’s most famous orchestras (often called “The Big Five”!) – the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra – as well as directing the exceptionally talented, emerging professional musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

He will be performing for the second time at Cleveland’s Blossom Music Festival and will be returning as well to Boston’s Tanglewood Festival and the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center (with the Philadelphia Orchestra).

His time at Tanglewood will once again see Stéphane line-up alongside film composer/conducting legend John Williams, and you can read some of his thoughts on this American musical icon in an upcoming post.

Tanglewood: with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and the Boston Symphony

SGreat Performances: Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebrationtéphane’s summer of music in the USA begins with his concert debut with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, in an all-Debussy programme (22 July). The Tanglewood Music Center is an intensive, advanced summer academy, run by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for emerging professional instrumentalists. Founded by the Boston Symphony’s famous music director Serge Koussevitzky in 1940, the Tanglewood Center is described as “one of the world’s most important training grounds for the composers, conductors, instrumentalists and vocalists of tomorrow”. It is estimated that 20 percent of members of American symphony orchestras (and 30 percent of all of their ‘first-chair’ players), studied at the Center! For these young musicians to perform Debussy, conducted by one of the world’s leading exponents of his music, in front of a sold-out audience in the Seiji Ozawa Hall, is surely going to be a profound experience. It is a concert debut that Stéphane is really looking forward to!

After a quick cross-state trip to Ohio (see below), Stéphane will be back in Massachusetts (on 2 August) to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the famous Tanglewood Shed auditorium. The ethereal and moving music of Strauss’  Tod und Verklärung and Poulenc’s Stabat Mater is sure to sound magical, as it carries across the beautiful, wooded parkland. The concert will also include Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No4, with Lars Vogt.

The following week (6 August), Stéphane will once again take part in the Boston Symphony’s famous ‘Tanglewood on Parade’ concert, in a star-studded line-up that also includes Keith Lockhart, Charles Dutoit and John Williams. This fireworks concert is always one of the highlights of the Tanglewood festival season and our Frenchman in the USA will, appropriately, be conducting Gershwin’s An American in Paris!

For a limited time only you can still listen to recordings of Stéphane’s Tanglewood concerts in 2012. Click here for Tanglewood on Parade and here for his concert with Yo-Yo Ma (including Elgar Cello Concerto and Shostakovich 5).

Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra


The Blossom Music Festival is a 19 concert season that has been taking place in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio for the last four decades.

Stéphane will join up with the Cleveland Orchestra and pianist Cédric Tiberghien in the very height of the summer season (Saturday 27 July) to perform an all-French programme of Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Debussy and Ravel. One of the highlights of this concert is sure to be Ravel’s orchestral masterwork, La Valse, when the Cleveland Orchestra will be joined for a special side-by-side performance with the Kent/Blossom Chamber Orchestra!

Saratoga Springs: with the Philadelphia Orchestra

From 7-10 August Stéphane will be in Saratoga Springs, conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. On 7 August the programme includes music by Dvořák and Sibelius – including his Violin Concerto, which will be performed by one of the American masters of the violin, Gil Shaham.

SPAC9 August’s ‘A Bernstein Extravaganza’ promises to be a lively evening of dance music, featuring dancers from the New York City Ballet. The programme includes Ravel’s La Valse – what else?! – and music from Poulenc’s enchanting ballet Les Biches (which, of course, Stéphane has just recorded with the Stuttgart RSO). But the highlight for the audience in Saratoga Springs is sure to be the selection of excerpts from two of Leonard Bernstein’s most popular works, Fancy Free and West Side Story.

Stéphane’s final concert of his summer in the USA reunites him with arguably the most recognised classical instrumentalist in the world, Yo-Yo Ma, performing Elgar’s hauntingly beautiful Cello Concerto. Also on the programme is a recent composition by American composer Gabriela Lena Frank (Concertino Cusqueño) and, to close the concert on the crest of a wave, Debussy’s La Mer.