Möst Impressive 

The Cleveland Orchestra's new music director lands a prestigious award.

Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon at the Agora's - Nitemare Before Christmas. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon at the Agora's Nitemare Before Christmas.

Celebrated Cleveland Orchestra conductor Christoph von Dohnányi cast a shadow the size of the Terminal Tower, but his successor, Franz Welser-Möst, has wasted no time in building a legacy of his own. The orchestra's new music director was just named Musical America's 2003 Conductor of the Year at a ceremony held at New York City's Carnegie Hall. The Austrian conductor, who most recently served as music director of the Zurich Opera and who has been nominated for several Grammys, will lead the Cleveland Orchestra on an East Coast tour beginning in January.

The Rubber City Rebels -- the storied Akron punks who are proving to be almost as durable as their namesake -- have signed with Smog Veil Records. The Rebels are finishing up a debut album for the label, due out in mid-2003, and they plan to tour around that time. Smog Veil is also readying several other Northeast Ohio releases, including a Clepunk.com compilation and discs from local favorites California Speedbag and the Pink Holes.

A benefit show for former U.S. Metal frontman Ed Fasy, who died in a recent car crash, will be held on Sunday, December 22, at Ramon's night club (289 Darrow Road in Akron). On the bill will be the Sickness, featuring Judas Priest frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens, Godz and Friends, Slam 7, and World Gone Mad.

Since their recent sold-out gig at the Odeon, Gatlin has reportedly been contacted by Elektra, MCA, J Records, Arista, Island/Def Jam, Hollywood, and Capitol. Let the bidding war begin.

Local promoter Terrance Coughlin and his cohorts in Basement Love Underground, who were named Best Goth/Industrial Act at the 2002 Scene Music Awards, are relocating to Chicago. We hope Coughlin & Co. hit it as big there as they did at their farewell bash at Peabody's last week.

The folks at Youngstown's Undergroundmusicnews.cjb.net are launching their own independent label, which will cater to heavy music. If you're in a band looking for a label and have gonads the size of grapefruit, e-mail Josh at battleofbands_underground@yahoo.com.

A new local hard rock/metal compilation is in the works. Fifteen area bands will be selected for a disc to be shopped to various labels. No recording expenses will be paid, but you can't put a price on exposure. Well, actually you can. If chosen, bands will have to cough up $100. Find out more by e-mailing ExtremeHazzard@aol.co.

The North Coast Men's Choir kicks off its 15th season this Saturday at CSU's Waetjen Auditorium, where more than 90 singers will debut the choir's holiday show, We Wish You the Merriest. Also premiering that evening at the Palace Theatre will be One Silent Night . . . starring Cleveland rock guitarist Neil Zaza. Backed by what's dubbed the Cleveland Rock Orchestra, Zaza will inject all the traditional Christmas standards with some modern flair -- i.e., lots of kick-ass solos hot enough to melt ol' Frosty.

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