Cleveland Orchestra halves its Miami residency

It appears the Miami donors are not coughing up.

Report here.

 

This is the official Cleveland release:

Cleveland, OH – The Cleveland Orchestra has announced details of the Orchestra’s 12th year in Miami.  Concerts will take place in January and February led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst featuring symphonies by Beethoven and Mahler at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County’s John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall.  The Adrienne Arsht Center has been the presenting partner of the Orchestra’s Miamiconcerts since the annual residency began in 2007.  Praise of The Cleveland Orchestra under the artistic leadership of Welser-Möst includes The New York Times calling the ensemble “… American’s most brilliant orchestra,” and The Wall Street Journal stating that the Orchestra is “… magnificent.”

“I’m looking forward to great performances in Miami with the enthusiastic and devoted audience who join us each year on a musical journey,” said Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra. “In our increasingly complex modern world, music continues to act as an incredible tool for good — to inspire creativity, engage the imagination, and foster learning and understanding.”

On January 26 and 27 Franz Welser-Möst conducts Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the composer’s breathtaking, last completed symphony, which is considered to be a meditation on the beauty of life.

On February 2 and 3 the Orchestra’s all-Beethoven program explores the composer’s iconic Symphony No. 5, his joyful Symphony No. 8, and the tragic and dramatic Overture to Coriolan.

“The coming year is an exciting time for The Cleveland Orchestra, as the ensemble marks its 100th season,” said André Gremillet, Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director. “We are excited to bring extraordinary and emotionally-charged musical experiences to our wonderful Miami audience in 2018. As The Cleveland Orchestra begins its Second Century, we look forward to continuing our annual residency in Miami in the years ahead.”

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    • We did play Mar-a-Lago a few years back! We were not allowed to use the front entrance, had to enter where the kitchen staff does. No, we weren’t allowed on any golf course! We played on a cheap platform in a gilded convention hall-style room. A strange experience.

      B. Stees, Assistant Principal Bassoon, The Cleveland Orchestra

      • I’m reminded of a show years ago on the NY St. Regis Hotel top floor showroom with Barbara Cook and a string quartet which I led. The management told us to go up in the service elevator in which soiled bedclothes, linen and garbage was moved. I told them that while wearing a tux and carrying my 18th century Italian violin, I would use the passenger elevator or not play. The show went on.

        • “Basso Andrew Foldi, who was doing Die Fledermaus with the San Francisco Opera, was stuck with a dressing room on the third floor. One day, when the stage manager called for places, the elevator was packed with equipment. Stepping back as the door closed, Foldi yelled, “They can schlep garbage or they can schlep Foldi, but garbage and Foldi they cannot schlep.”

          — ‘Obie’s Opus’ by Obie Yadgar via Google Books

          I could have sword I had read it Scott Beach’s ‘Musicdotes’ though.

  • Mr. Stees reminds of a tale told me by a “significant” supporter of a big city museum, who, retired, quietly indulged his love of music as a string player in a chamber group.

    This little volunteer orchestra was engaged by the museum for a fund raiser. The players were instructed to come & go by the trade entrance only (not the big front marble steps available to the public) and then not only forbidden from touching the post-concert buffet but actually from Speaking to any members of the audience who had gathered there.

    • 50 years or so ago, the Miami Philharmonic existed. I knew several NY musicians who uprooted their freelance lives to move there both to play in the orchestra and to teach at the University. Unfortunately, the orchestra came to an end through lack of funding and outreach.

  • The demise of the Florida Philharmonic, arrival of Cleveland in Miami, and now the beginning of the end of CO in Miami all have two words in common: Dan Lewis.

  • Like the old joke: a guy dies, goes to heaven and meets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says: “What was your occupation on earth? Guy says: “I was a musician.” St. Peter says: “In that case, I’ll let you into heaven but you’ll have to go through the kitchen.”
    (rim shot)

  • I have been asked about the just announced, dramatically reduced Cleveland Orchestra Miami residency. Given that Cleveland Orchestra Miami was my idea, I founded and led Miami-Dade’s supporting efforts from inception until 2014, I am the most qualified to explain how the current circumstance came about.

    After 4 years of Cleveland Orchestra Miami (which started in 2007), when it was proven there was enough demand and support for the 3 weeks The Cleveland Orchestra was in residence in Miami-Dade County, beginning January 2012 when Bruce Coppock was Cleveland Orchestra Miami’s Managing Director, the Miami Music Association (MMA) board developed a vision to guide planning. The festival and education activities envisioned, required working with The Cleveland Orchestra (TCO), as well as with other people and organizations.

    That initiated a change in MMA’s stated mission and tax status, from being a TCO ‘support organization’, to ‘existing for the benefit of Miami-Dade County’, and a letter agreement negotiation with TCO as to the terms of the working relationship. MAA (Musical Arts Association – TCO’s parent organization) Board President dragged out the negotiation, with no apparent intent of agreeing to anything, until the day before the MMA board was going to vote to no longer support Cleveland Orchestra Miami. Then he signed the agreement. TCO objected to MMA doing anything other than supporting TCO. As the vision and planning developed, it became clear that it needed to be done outside MMA, to avoid TCO’s lack of aligned interests, and implied threat to obstruct. The vision committee recommended, and the MMA board approved on September 23, 2014, to end MMA’s vision work, and I resigned from being MMA board chairman and from the board, to continue working on and towards the vision.

    The 2014-2015 fiscal year ended with earned revenue of about $150,000 per concert, and $3,500,000 in contributed revenue ($375,000 per concert) from more than 600 donors. Inception-to-date, per MMA’s current Board Chairman, Miami has contributed more than $24,000,000 to TCO. It was, and may still be, the best paying travel gig any orchestra has anywhere.

    I have been an outsider since September 2014, so I don’t know what has happened to attendance or earned revenue. Contributed revenue has dropped dramatically, including all contributors at $100,000 & more a year, and MMA lost its #1 fundraiser, me. The behavior of Board President, the past and current Executive Directors, and other TCO managers, caused the relationship with MMA and the Arsht Center to further deteriorate to the point that in December 2016, the MMA board, with TCO Executive Director present and making the case for MMA support, voted 17 to 2 to not support Cleveland Orchestra Miami after this season.

    After the vote, TCO’s efforts to gain money for the just announced limited schedule, the MMA board didn’t guarantee $400,000 in board funding for the upcoming season. The Arsht Performing Arts Center refused to collaborate with TCO under the conditions TCO required, but will continue to rent the Knight Concert Hall to TCO.

    The eroded TCO board and management culture is reflected in a January 15, 2011 meeting I had with the MAA Board Chairman and President. Among other issues, I criticized TCO management information. The Board President said to me “I think the data we have and use is fine, but I will take another look at it. Trust me, if it is good enough for me, it will be good enough for you.” I have never seen his report on MAA management information. He is a lawyer. I managed Progressive Corporation’s control and analysis twice, including having developed and implemented its most important internal management system. Despite that year’s reported $4,000,000 TCO deficit, the Board President was arrogant, dismissive, and not interested in my assistance.

    On March 29, 2013, the Board Chair of the Finance Committee told me he didn’t trust the numbers management was producing. Later that day, the Board President told me he thought the Executive Director needed to leave. I asked him to move quickly, because of the difficulty with working with TCO managers, and the risk of continued damage to the Miami Residency. The Executive Director remained in the job another 31 months.

    These are examples of terrible governance. Board and management culture needs to change. Don’t assume it will change because the Board President is now the Board Chairman, and there is a new Board President. The new Board President was first elected to the MAA board in 1989.

    Miami is not the problem. In my opinion, Miami remains an under-developed opportunity for great music performed by the best musicians. It has been The Cleveland Orchestra’s board and management that has caused Cleveland Orchestra Miami’s deteriorating relationships and financial results, and the reduction in TCO’s time and performances in Miami.

    Daniel R. Lewis

    • [REVISED] This is my informed explanation for Cleveland Orchestra Miami (COM) reduction to 1+ from 4 weeks. COM’s 2014-2015 earned revenue was $150,000 per concert, and $3,500,000 in contributed revenue from more than 600 donors.  It was the best paying travel gig any symphonic orchestra has anywhere. 

      The Miami board (MMA) supporting COM, began planning for additional activities, that required working with The Cleveland Orchestra (TCO) and others. TCO objected to everything other than supporting TCO, so MMA stopped, and lost the support of me and others. Contributed revenue dropped dramatically. The behavior of TCO’s board and managers caused the MMA relationship to deteriorate to the point that in December 2016, the MMA board, voted 17 to 2 to not support COM after this season.
       
      Miami is not the problem.  ITD, Miami has contributed more than $24,000,000 to The Cleveland Orchestra (TCO). Miami remains an under-developed opportunity for great music performed by the best musicians.
       
      Daniel R. Lewis

  • While Daniel Lewis is in a great position to write an informed version of what happened, I think it’s fair to say that he’s not in the best position to give an unbiased view.

    I have a hard time believing that TCO provides examples of “terrible governance,” although even good boards can make mistakes. It does seem clear that TCO is focusing more on its international reputation and presence than it did when the Miami residency began. That’s not necessarily a mistake, even if doing so provides less revenue in the short term (which is not necessarily the case either.)

  • Whatever grievances have contributed to the fracturing of the relationship between the Cleveland Orchestra and Miami, the fact remains that the almost ten years of that relationship have brought Miamians some memorable musical experiences…but at the cost of the demise of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Under its inspired Conductor, James Judd, the Florida Philharmonic season after season was becoming an admirable and polished ensemble on a very high level, so good, in fact, that an internationally respected record label contracted the Orchestra to record all the Mahler Symphonies. Unfortunately only the First Symphony was recorded before the Orchestra was forced to disband.

    Many of the players in the former Florida Philharmonic have remained as free-lancers here in the Miami area, and as far as I know James Judd still maintains a residence here. What a joy it would be to welcome back a reconstituted Miami Philharmonic/James Judd alignment to American musical life!

    • I am in complete agreement with you Mr. Bookspan. As Secretary to the Music Director, I received your calls many times during my years at the Florida Philharmonic. In 2008, James Judd founded the very successful Miami Music Project. Please visit their very informative web site. You will be pleasantly surprised!

      Sue Schierer

    • I agree Martin. I lament the loss of the Florida Philharmonic. The Cleveland residency did fill a gap but living without our own world class orchestra has been a sad testimony to what really matters culturally in this community- the sun and sand.

  • To all of the people who have commented in regards to the hope that a “new” Florida Philharmonic orchestra will arise, I would like you to know that we are already here. Orchestra Miami was founded in 2006 in direct response to the bankruptcy of the the former Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. I started Orchestra Miami with 2 former FPO musicians;our mission is to build community and to educate through high quality classical music performances using our highly talented and experienced local professional musicians. Over the last 10 years, we have introduced over 23,000 elementary school students to classical music for free; we have the only concert series in South Florida dedicated to introducing children and their families to classical music (the Family Fun Concerts at Pinecrest Gardens), our “Discover Miami Through Music” concert series Brings music into historic venues with appropriately themed concerts (and has contributed directly to the renovation and renaissance of the Miami Scottish Rite Temple) and we were the first to bring concerts back to the parks with our annual “Beethoven on the Beach” free outdoor concert series in Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach and Pinecrest.

    While the Cleveland Orchestra is a great orchestra,it is a fact that their residency in Miami has prevented any musical organization (mine included) from developing into a full-time ensemble. The arts community here is well aware of this fact. I invite those of you who would like to support an excellent local orchestra to attend Orchestra Miami’s final concert of our 10th Anniversary season on Sunday, April 23rd at Temple Israel of Greater Miami. We will perform Marvin David Levy’s “Atonement”, a cantata in 3 movements with soloists Elizabeth Caballero (soprano) and Michael Hendrick (tenor) paired with Bernstein’s Overture to Candide. http://www.orchestramiami.org/atonement

    It is time for Miami to have its own great orchestra- all of the ingredients are here. The only thing that is missing is your support. I invite you to contact me directly at erinaldi@orchestramiami.org to discuss this issue further. Thank you to everyone reading for being passionate about music and supporting the arts in your local communities.

    Sincerely,
    Elaine Rinaldi
    Founder & Artistic Director, Orchestra Miami

  • I am in complete agreement with Martin Bookspan. I”m surprised that it is not more commonly known that James Judd formed in 2008 the very successful Miami Music Project. Talented young students — many in depressed areas of Miami and neighboring communities — receive musical instruments and tutoring free of charge in their respective schools. Some details may have changed since I was involved, but Miami Music Project under James Judd’s direction is alive and well and should be explored.

    As executive assistant of the Florida Philharmonic, I saw much that led to the orchestra’s demise. I sensed what was coming, but was unsuccessful in getting this message across. James Judd did his best to pave the way for his replacement, but it just wasn’t in the cards!

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