The Cleveland Orchestra announced its Centennial Season at a grand celebration with more than 1,200 people in attendance at Severance Hall.
A reception in the Smith Lobby prior to the presentation in the concert hall featured libations and hors d’oeuvres by Marigold Catering, and music performed by members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra. The first of three videos highlighted 100 years of the orchestra’s illustrious history before remarks by Executive Director Andre Gremillet who recognized Richard Bogomolny, board of trustees chairman emeritus, and immediate past president, and Dennis LaBarre, now chairman, before introducing newly-elected president Richard K. Smucker. Mr. Smucker, who also will serve as chairman of the Second Century committee, said, “ We are announcing the kick-off over the next 18 months of Centennial events not only here but across the state, country and in Europe and in Asia.”
Cleveland Orchestra musicians Massimo La Rosa, Martha Baldwin and Joshua Smith spoke briefly about their experiences, ultimately stating “we’re all here for the music.” Then Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra member Redd Ingram introduced Franz Welser-Most, music director of The Cleveland Orchestra since 2002.
“I’ve never met better working circumstances than here,” he said. “The audience is part of the performance, and I have never experienced a more sophisticated audience than in Cleveland.”
He announced highlights of the celebratory season that will include two operas, “The Cunning Little Vixen” in September 2017, and “The Ecstasy of Tristan and Isolde” in spring, 2018 to be followed by “The Prometheus Project” featuring all of Beethoven’s symphonies and overtures scheduled in a two-week, season-closing festival. With education of paramount importance, The Cleveland Orchestra will expand that commitment as well as continuing to offer musical programs throughout community neighborhoods.
The evening concluded with a dessert reception with music by The Cleveland Bluegrass Orchestra, featuring several members of The Cleveland Orchestra. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATHRYN RIDDLE