How Miami blew its best orchestral residency

How Miami blew its best orchestral residency


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2017

Daniel R. Lewis, founder of the Cleveland Orchestra residency in Miami, has written to Slipped Disc, detailing how his successors let it all fall apart.



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.

Read his account of the full debacle here.




  • Alan says:

    Miami does not need an “orchestral residency”. Miami needs a permanent professional symphony orchestra. Miami has this in both the opera and ballet, now it’s time again for a Miami symphony orchestra. Mr. Lewis says it best: “Miami is not the problem. In my opinion, Miami remains an under-developed opportunity for great music performed by the best musicians.”

    The local community needs to support building a great symphony orchestra here. Miami is a totally different city since the Florida Philharmonic folded, our global status has never been stronger. We deserve a symphony orchestra we all can be proud of.

    • bratschegirl says:

      Hear, hear! Carpetbaggers begone.

      • Steve P says:

        Best of luck. If I lived nearby I would support your local orchestra. Hope Miami makes a thriving orchestral music scene happen.

    • William Safford says:

      You beat me to it.

      Miami, create your own orchestra. Let the Cleveland musicians stay at home with their families. Take the money you used to bring the Cleveland there, and make your own.

      You even have fine Florida colleges who produce excellent musicians. I know several. None of them are currently in Florida, because the jobs aren’t there. Create an orchestra, and keep your talented musicians in Florida!

      • Elaine Rinaldi says:

        I posted this in the earlier post “Cleveland Orchestra Halves its Residency” and would like to respond here as well:
        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.

        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 to discuss this issue further. Thank you to everyone reading for being passionate about music and supporting the arts in your local communities.

        Elaine Rinaldi
        Founder & Artistic Director, Orchestra Miami

  • Martin Bookspan says:

    Elsewhere in this thread mine is one of 16 other comments along similar lines: Bring back the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra!

  • Martin Bookspan says:

    My earlier comment is here under the title “Cleveland Orchestra halves its Miami residency”.

  • Caetano Lopes says:

    I don’t know about the financial health of the Miami Residence of the Cleveland Orchestra but I have been a subscriber since its first season. I’ve always considered it a privilege to be able to attend the performances of one of the best orchestras in the world in Miami. However, I believe Miami isn’t worth of an ensemble of this caliber. The audience here is uncultured and unprepared for top quality concerts. People applaud in between movements of a piece, creating an awkward moment that should be devoted to silence. Worst of all, when applause is due at the end of the concert, half the audience starts leaving the auditorium, leaving perplexed musicians and their conductor wondering what’s going on. This is not just stupid, it’s plain rude. Perhaps the Cleveland Orchestra is right in searching more sophisticated audiences who can better appreciate their art.