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Franz Welser-Möst: Why Bruckner Matters

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Basketball fans know all too well that Cleveland experienced much disappointment when LeBron James, the star forward for the Cavaliers, decamped for the Miami Heat one year ago. By contrast, the Cleveland Orchestra has been a model of relative stability under the leadership of music director Franz Welser-Möst.

The Austrian conductor has been with Cleveland since 2002 and his contract has been extended through 2018. Lately, the boyish 50-year-old has been putting his stamp on the orchestra with an unusual project: championing the music of Anton Bruckner. "Bruckner's music has always been regarded as religious and churchy even," said Welser-Möst. "I think there’s so much more to it. In some ways, he’s very modern."

From Wednesday through Sunday, Welser-Möst seeks to illustrate that modern side when he brings the Cleveland Orchestra to the Lincoln Center Festival. On tap are four concerts pairing Bruckner with another master of the big orchestral sound: John Adams. Host Terrance McKnight asked him about this unusual pairing.

Championing Anton Bruckner's music:

Comparing Bruckner with Gustav Mahler:

How Bruckner resonates with a modern mindset:

On creating a legacy at the Cleveland Orchestra, and about building future audiences:


Podcast producer: Brian Wise