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The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918.  Over the ensuing decades, the ensemble quickly grew from a fine regional organization to being one of the most admired symphony orchestras in the world.  Seven music directors have guided and shaped the ensemble’s growth and sound:  Nikolai Soko­loff, 1918-33; Artur Rodzinski, 1933-43; Erich Leins­dorf, 1943-46; George Szell, 1946-70; Lorin Maazel, 1972-82; Christoph von Dohnányi, 1984-2002; and Franz Wel­ser-Möst, since 2002.

The opening in 1931 of Severance Hall as the Orchestra’s permanent home brought a special pride to the ensemble and its hometown.  With acoustic refinements under Szell’s guidance and a building-wide restoration and expansion in 1998-2000, Severance Hall continues to provide the Orchestra an enviable and intimate acoustic environment in which to perfect the ensemble’s artistry.  Touring performances throughout the United States and, beginning in 1957, to Europe and across the globe have confirmed Cleveland’s place among the world’s top orchestras.  Year-round performances became a reality in 1968 with the opening of Blossom Music Center.

Today, concert performances, community presentations, touring residencies, broadcasts, and recordings provide access to the Orchestra’s acclaimed artistry to an enthusiastic, generous, and broad constituency at home throughout Northeast Ohio and around the world.  

The Cleveland Orchestra is today hailed as one of the very best orchestras on the planet, noted for its musical excellence and for its devotion and service to the community it calls home.  The 2019-20 season marks the ensemble’s eighteenth year under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst, one of today’s most acclaimed musical leaders.  Working together, the Orchestra and its board of trustees, staff, and volunteers have affirmed a set of community-inspired goals for the 21st century — to continue the Orchestra’s legendary command of musical excellence while focusing new efforts and resources toward fully serving its hometown community throughout Northeast Ohio.  The promise of continuing extraordinary concert experiences, engaging music education programs, and innovative technologies offers future generations dynamic access to the best symphonic entertainment possible anywhere.



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