Cleveland mourns a legend

Cleveland mourns a legend


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2019

Richard Weiner, who died on Sunday, was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra for 48 years, all but five of them as principal percussion player.

He was also co-chair of percussion and co-head of the winds and percussion division at the Cleveland Institute of Music and a vibrant personality on the Cleveland music scene.




  • Norman – in your list of the 100 Milestones of the Recorded Century, number 97 was the Shostakovich Fifteenth Symphony with The Cleveland Orchestra and Kurt Sanderling. Those clean, crystalline, exquisite final pages are the work of Richard Weiner and his incomparable team. I worked in the Orchestra’s marketing department during that unforgettable week of concerts and recording, and had the opportunity to speak with Sanderling. He shared that Shostakovich had been hospitalized before writing the symphony, and that the end of the work simulated the medical devices clicking in and out around his bedside. Richard Weiner, rest well and thank you for those many years of the most musical percussion playing I know.

  • Kananpoika says:

    Many times, late at night, by the fire, with a wee dram of
    single malt, I’ve thought Kurt Sanderling’s recording of the Shostakovich 15th is the finest recording of Western classical orchestral music ever made. Thanks for putting
    Richard Weimer’s name to the sound, in that stunningly exquisite, yet enigmatic ending….

  • Gareth Morrell says:

    He was also a much-loved coach for the young percussionists of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra program, whom he treated with unfailing respect, patience and kindness.

    • Amos says:

      Mr. Morrell,

      Did he ever share with you the story regarding the snare drum part of the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra? Is it true GS had everyone in the section play it and finally opted for Mr. Duff?

      • Chester says:

        From what RW told me as a former student, Szell asked Duff to play it and that Duff deliberately played it poorly as he felt it wasn’t his job to play the part. Weiner is playing SD on the recording.