Preview: Brett Mitchell's final concert with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and outgoing music director Brett Mitchell kicked off this season with a momentous program pairing: a commissioned work by Roger Briggs with Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and outgoing music director Brett Mitchell kicked off this season with a momentous program pairing: a commissioned work by Roger Briggs with Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) has published a preview of Brett Mitchell's final concert as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra:

This weekend marks more than just the end of another season.

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra's concert Friday marks both the group's season finale and its final performance with conductor Brett Mitchell, music director since 2013.

"It's hard for me to even talk about," said Mitchell. "I will never have another relationship with an orchestra like the one I have with COYO. It's going to be very hard to say goodbye."

After four years with Mitchell, future music director of the Colorado Symphony, the group is more than ready to present a season finale featuring Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5, the Ravel G-Major Piano Concerto (with pianist Catharine Baek) and Joan Tower's "Made in America."

And that's just the capstone. Under Mitchell's watch, COYO grew by leaps and bounds, taking on such challenges as Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, several contemporary scores and a tour of China. The group soon to be inherited by conductor Vinay Parameswaran will be one capable of just about anything.

For COYO, Mitchell said, what matters most isn't excellence in any one piece but rather a supportive culture. "We have to play for each other. It's not just about playing together. I'm a big fan of everybody being in it for everybody."

Mitchell, for his part, said he's just glad to be going out with Prokofiev's Fifth. If he'd programmed a work that ends with a long note instead of a bang, "I'd be tempted to hold it for five minutes," he said. "I wouldn't want to let go."

To read the complete preview, please click here.