Pierre Boulez has been awarded the Cleveland Orchestra’s eighteenth annual Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his nearly 50 year artistic partnership with the orchestra.
The award honors a person organization who exhibits enduring exemplary service to the Musical Arts Association and is awarded by Dennis W. LaBarre, President of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Arts Association which is the parent organization The Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall, and Blossom Music Center and is made up of orchestra trustees, musicians and staff.
For nearly fifty years, Mr. Boulez has conducted The Cleveland Orchestra which is the longest tenure for any conductor in the Cleveland Orchestra’s history. Pierre Boulez made his conducting debut in 1965 after being invited by George Szell and has since led the orchestra in over 220 concerts.
Executive Director Gary Hanson said, “This award is in recognition of our genuine appreciation for Pierre Boulez’s decades of service to The Cleveland Orchestra. He has given us the gift of great music, new music, and the joy of music-making. We are grateful for what he has taught us and honored by his peerless international legacy.”
Along with the concerts conducted at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center, Pierre Boulez has conducted the orchestra while on tour including concerts at Carnegie Hall as well as in Paris and Tokyo. His conducting has included the works that range from such composers as Giovanni Gabrieli, Rameau, Handel, J.S. Bach, Marc-André Dalbavie and Hanspeter Kyburz and span six centuries in time.
In 1969, Pierre Boulez was appointed the Cleveland Orchestra’s first Principle Guest Conductor and was the Musical Advisor for two seasons shortly aster George Szell’s death in 1970. He conducted the orchestra for two weeks in 1986 during a series of “Great Composers of Our Time” which featured his compositions.
His recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra have won five Grammy Awards while performing the works of Berlioz, Debussy, and Stravinsky. He also completed the recording of the nine Mahler symphonies with the Cleveland Orchestra that featured Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 and in 2010 the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Mahler’s Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with soloists Magdalena Kozená and Christian Gerhaher) as well as both Ravel Piano Concertos that featured Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist.
The Musical Arts Association established the Distinguished Service Award in 1996 to recognize ongoing and extraordinary service to the Orchestra. Written nominations are reviewed by a committee currently chaired by Musical Arts Association Trustee Marguerite B. Humphrey.
Previous Distinguished Service Award recipients are: Dorothy Humel Hovorka (1996-97), David Zauder (1997-98), Ward Smith (1998-99), Christoph von Dohnányi (1999-2000), Gary Hanson (2000-01), John Mack (2001-02), Richard J. Bogomolny (2002-03), Thomas W. Morris (2003-04), Alex Machaskee (2004-05), Klaus G. Roy (2005-06), John D. Ong (2006-07), Gerald Hughes (2007-08), Louis Lane (2008-09), Clara Taplin Rankin (2009-10), Robert Conrad (2010-11), Richard Weiner (2011-12), and Tamar and Milton Maltz (2012-13).