Cleveland Orchestra: Small-Town World-Beater

Cleveland_OrchestraThe Cleveland Orchestra is considered as one of the “Big Five” American orchestras. As fans of classical music know, this distinction is steeped with a lot of meaning. And with a combination of history, distinct style, and historic significance, the distinction bestowed upon them is well-deserved. This article will take a closer look at what this orchestra is all about.

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded by Adella Prentiss Hughes, a pianist and impresario that traced her roots with the now-defunct Cleveland Grand Orchestra. She would handpick Nikolai Sokoloff as the principal conductor, and he would then lead this group to early prominence. Their early years were spent touring around eastern America, recording albums, and guesting in various radio shows. Their initial success has proven to be no fluke. In fact, it was apparent that all these are only a sign of bigger things to come.

It was under the leadership of George Szell that the Cleveland Orchestra will establish its identity and foothold as one of the leading institutions of American classical music. During his reign, he established a distinct European sound for the orchestra, which would later on become its trademark sound. But that change would not come easy, as it came under the heels of a mass-firing of musicians. As it turned out, it was the right choice. Throughout his leadership, the Orchestra created a bunch of recordings that helped them gain recognition all over the country.

Partly because of their prominence, they were able to secure the help of a group of prominent guest conductors. The names that played with the Cleveland Orchestra include the who’s who in conducting: Oliver Knussen, Yoel Levi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kurt Sanderling, and Louis Lane.

But perhaps more importantly, they were able to get the love and respect of the people, especially from their hometown. The people of Cleveland are very proud of their orchestra, to say the least. Even though Cleveland is the smallest city that has one of the “Big Five” orchestras, each musician who’s a part of this group is treated like royalty in this city. They are greeted by fans almost anywhere they go, and are often requested to take pictures and sign autographs after performances and even when they are met on the street. After all, it is not all that hard to be proud if your town, no matter how small it is, boasts of a world-beating group of performers.

Get Fresh Content Delivered

Join and get FREE fresh content delivered to you.

Leave a Reply