George Cleve (1936-2015)

George Cleve

One of the world's most persuasive Mozart interpreters, George Wolfgang Cleve led top orchestras in North America and Europe in performances of the music of Mozart. He led a triumphant run of the opera Idomeneo, a co-production with Opera San Jose and the Packard Humanities Institute, which received international critical acclaim. Other Mozart operas include Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le Nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte . He also conducted Mozart's Requiem as the grand finale of the International Festival Mozartiana in Moscow and Mozart's Jupiter Symphony with the National Philharmonic of Russia.

Maestro Cleve conducted a wide range of other operas, including Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Verdi's Don Carlo, La Traviata, and Rigoletto, Puccini's La Boheme and Madama Butterfly, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex. He made his debut at the San Francisco Opera with Bizet's Carmen and also conducted a concert version of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice with the Boston Symphony.

Sought after as a guest conductor, George Cleve led the Singapore Symphony, the ABC Symphonies of Australia, the New Zealand Symphony, the Mozarteum Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Russian National Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela.

In the USA and Canada, George Cleve appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, and Montreal Symphony. He also performed at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival and at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony. In addition to his tenure as music director of the San Jose Symphony from 1972-1992, he was a frequent guest conductor at Symphony Silicon Valley, San Jose, New York City Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet.

Maestro Cleve was awarded the rank of Officier in the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France in recognition of his performance of French music. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Santa Clara, the Gold Medal of Honor of Austria, the Silver Medal from the city of his birth, Vienna, Austria, for his role in founding the Midsummer Mozart festival.