Preview: "Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra takes up American, contemporary music on 2015-16 season"

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) has published a preview of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra's 2015-16 concert season, highlighting music director Brett Mitchell's increased programming focus on contemporary American works:

CLEVELAND, Ohio – When it comes to repertoire, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is giving its parent ensemble a run for its money.

In its just-announced 2015-16 season, the youth ensemble has included a notably high concentration of American and contemporary music. Higher, in fact, than that of its namesake.

"Part of the joy for me in programming for our young musicians is showing them how well contemporary music and old favorites can live side by side," said COYO music director Brett Mitchell. "[M]y aim with all these pairings is to share with our young musicians and audiences that classical music is just as relevant and meaningful to us in America in the 21st century as ever."

Over three concerts, from November to May, the orchestra and Mitchell will perform no fewer than two works by living composers, both of whom are American. Also on the programs: the rarely heard "Canticle of Freedom," by that most famous of American composers, Copland, and Bernstein's "Jeremiah" Symphony No. 1.

Not that there's anything wrong with older, European repertoire. On that front, too, COYO plans to excel, with performances of Schumann's "Rhenish" Symphony No. 3, Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances," Stravinsky's "Petrushka," and Brahms' "Schicksalslied," with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus.

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