Franz Welser-Möst to Receive Bruckner Medal of Honor
June 16, 2011 -- At a recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Bruckner Society of America chose Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra and the General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera, to receive the Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor.
The Kilenyi Medal of Honor was created by Julio Kilenyi (1885-1959) especially for the Bruckner Society of America. The first medals were given out in 1933 to Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitsky, and Bruno Walter. Ever since those first awards were presented, the Society has continued to present them to conductors, scholars, and musicologists who have helped to further the understanding and appreciation of Anton Bruckner’s life and work.
It is for Franz Welser-Möst’s understanding, advocacy, and dedication to Bruckner’s music that the Board of Directors has chosen to present this special recognition to Franz Welser-Möst during his upcoming series of performances with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Lincoln Center Festival. The award will be presented on July 13th at Avery Fisher Hall immediately following a rehearsal on stage.
Franz Welser-Möst was singled out for recognition due to his long-standing advocacy for the music of Bruckner. In 1996, Franz Welser-Möst began conducting Bruckner symphonies with The Cleveland Orchestra and has released video recordings of Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 8, and 9 with the Orchestra in three historic venues: the Abbey of St. Florian in Linz, the Musikverein in Vienna, and at Severance Hall in Cleveland. During the 2010-11 season, Mr. Welser-Möst led the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 at Suntory Hall in Japan. From August of 2010 through July of 2011, Mr. Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra will have performed a total of 17 Bruckner symphony performances in Ohio, Scotland, Switzerland, and Japan, as well as in New York City at the Lincoln Center Festival. The Cleveland Orchestra debuts at the festival in a series of performances of Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 8, and 9, which will be presented in a single week of concerts from July 13-17, 2011.
As Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic from 1990-1996, Mr. Welser-Möst released recordings of Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7. He also released a recording of Bruckner Symphony No. 8 with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.
A list of earlier recipients of the Kilenyi Medal of Honor follows this release.
The 2011-12 season marks Franz Welser-Möst’s tenth year as Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra. His long-term commitment to the Orchestra extends to its centennial in 2018. Under Welser-Möst’s leadership, The Cleveland Orchestra offers annual series at home in the acoustically outstanding Severance Hall and at Blossom Music Center. Through a series of ongoing residencies, the orchestra also performs regularly in Miami, Vienna, Lucerne, and now at the Lincoln Center Festival, in addition to annual appearances at Carnegie Hall and international tours.
Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra have presented 12 world and 15 United States premieres. Under his direction, the orchestra has re-established its reputation as an operatic ensemble, presenting five sold-out performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka during a 2008 residency at the Salzburg Festival and an opera presentation each year in Cleveland, including acclaimed performances of fully staged Zurich Opera productions of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas. Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra have together performed Bruckner’s symphonies in concert halls around the world, notably at the Abbey of St. Florian (the Austrian monastery where Bruckner studied and served as organist) and on tour in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Concurrently with his position in Cleveland, Welser-Möst is the General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera and maintains an ongoing relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. Later this summer, he leads orchestral concerts with the Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival, and in both opera performances and in orchestral concerts at La Scala Milan. At the beginning of the year, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert, the most widely watched classical music event on television. During a decade-long tenure with the Zurich Opera, he led more than 40 new opera productions there, many of which were released on DVD.Franz Welser-Möst is an honorary member of the Vienna Singverein. He was named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2003, and is the co-author of Cadences: Observations and Conversations.