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Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Undergoes Cancer Treatment

After having a cancerous tumor removed, Franz Welser-Möst will undergo further treatment amidst his concerts over the next year


Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst, 62, became the seventh music director of the Cleveland Orchestra in 2002 when he succeeded Christoph von Dohnányi.

With his contract extended to 2027, the three-time Grammy Award nominee is the longest-serving musical leader in the orchestra’s history. 

Due to a recent removal of a cancerous tumor, Welser-Möst has canceled his conducting performances from late October through the end of the year, as he receives further treatments. 

While his treatment plan will begin in late October for a 12 to 16-month-period, he remains scheduled to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra’s opening season starting on September 28, 2023.

He will also conduct the performances of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 from October 5–7, plus Mahler’s Song of the Night on October 12, 2023; and has plans to resume his performances as of January 2024.

From January 11–13, he is set to conduct Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and Prokofiev’s Symphonies No. 2 and No. 5 from January 17–18.

“Regrettably, Welser-Möst must withdraw from all engagements from late October until the end of the year,” wrote the orchestra in a statement. “His doctors are confident of a full recovery.”


To date, Welser-Möst has completed 20 international tours with the Cleveland Orchestra. Also a guest conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, he has often appeared at the Salzburg Festival where he has led a series of acclaimed opera productions. 

His many accolades include the Gold Medal in the Arts by the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts; Cleveland Orchestra’s Distinguished Service Award; two Cleveland Arts Prize citations; Vienna Philharmonic’s “Ring of Honor,” recognition; plus honorary membership in the Vienna Singverein; appointment as an Academician of the European Academy of Yuste; and the Kilenyi Medal from the Bruckner Society of America.

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