Choose the Conductor for The Cleveland Orchestra

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Tonight at 8 pm, WQXR brings you from Carnegie Hall a live broadcast of the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by its current music director, Franz Welser-Möst. For our Showdown today, we offered Cleveland Orchestra performances conducted by three previous music directors -- George Szell, Lorin Maazel and Christoph Von Dohnanyi -- of this great American orchestra.

You chose Szell as the person you wanted to hear on the podium today. At noon we played him leading the Cleveland Orchestra in Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, "The Great."


More about Cleveland's music directors

George Szell: the Hungarian conductor was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1946 to 1970, during which time he molded it into one of America's finest ensembles, acclaimed for its precision, clarity and chamber-like balances. A notorious taskmaster on the podium, he was noted for his recordings of Austro-German classics from Haydn to Richard Strauss, as well as modern composers like Bartok and Prokofiev. Read a biography.

Lorin Maazel: Well before his recent directorship of the New York Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel served as the Cleveland Orchestra's fifth music director, from 1972 to 1982. He favored a more lush, emotive sound in contrast to Szell's crisp precision. Among his accomplishments was the first complete recording of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Read a biography.

Christoph von Dohnányi: During the German conductor's directorship, from 1984 to 2002, he brought together elements of Szell's precision with Maazel's romantic leanings. His recordings with Cleveland spanned the music of Mozart, Brahms and Schubert to that of Ives and Lutoslawski. Read a biography.