On July 1, Susanna Mälkki will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in the opening concert of the Blossom Music Festival with a captivating program centering around the theme of community.

The first half of the concert will showcase works by two of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. William Grant Still’s emotionally rich composition, Mother and Child, explores the profound bond between a mother and her child. Following that, Samuel Barber’s evocative piece, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, will transport the audience to a nostalgic summer evening, vividly portraying a bygone era.

Joined by the Blossom Festival Chorus and a quartet of exceptional vocal soloists—soprano Felicia Moore, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, tenor Issachah Savage, and bass Soloman Howard— the concert will culminate with Beethoven’s exhilarating 9th Symphony which features the infamous setting of Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”.

Photo: Marica Rosengard