In depressed Ohio, an orchestra delivers boom

In depressed Ohio, an orchestra delivers boom


norman lebrecht

September 27, 2019

From the Cleveland Orchestra:

The Cleveland Orchestra recently commissioned a study by research firm Kleinhenz & Associates and Case Western Reserve University to examine its economic and social impact on the local and regional areas the ensemble calls home. Driven by a commitment to enrich lives by creating extraordinary musical experiences at the highest level, The Cleveland Orchestra continues to foster a culture of excellence, integrity, and artistic innovation.  The economic study, conducted during the Orchestra’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 Centennial Season, analyzes the financial influence this renowned institution has on Northeast Ohio.  Focusing on a variety of factors, including performances held at Severance Hall and summer concerts at Blossom Music Center — both classical programming by the Orchestra and rock shows presented by Live Nation — the study concludes that The Cleveland Orchestra is responsible for generating $135.4 million of annual sales across Northeast Ohio’s seven-county region.

In addition, activities at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center supported by The Cleveland Orchestra created 1,292 jobs that are directly accountable for $60.8 million of annual payroll income.  Not surprisingly, the study determined that the Orchestra remains an integral thread woven through the very fabric of this community, and the economic areas most affected by its influence are performing arts, dining and restaurants, hotel, and travel.



  • anon says:

    But is it economic power that is ethical?

    I refer to the oft cited example of the Cleveland Orchestra threatening to withdraw advertising purchases from the local newspaper unless it shut its chief classical music critic up because he was being consistently critical of Welser-Most.

    And it worked, the music critic was fired soon thereafter, and FWM is still music director.

    • Shimi says:

      What does the study and impact of an orchestra on the community have to do with FWM?

    • Stereo says:

      I am reminded that when he was associated with the LPO in London he was known in the profession as “Frankly Worst than Most”

      • Mick the Knife says:

        But the Brits have a rather keen sense of humour don’t they?

      • Bruce says:

        I read an interview with him where the interviewer asked about that. He laughed, shrugged, and said “Well, they used to call Solti ‘the Screaming Skull,’ so it doesn’t bother me too much.”

      • Jack says:

        Ah, I was waiting for this not-so-clever putdown to reemerge. Funny how FWM is still around conducting major orchestras in major venues, isn’t it.

    • Novagerio says:

      There is a difference between writing common and constructive criticism and committing direct defamation and personal persecution.
      The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the Plain Dealer’s major advertisers, so they had to deal with/against the damage.

  • The View from America says:

    Two observations:

    #1. “Depressed Ohio” — really? Where did that judgment come from?

    #2. The methodology of economic impact studies can be structured to deliver pretty much any result you desire. That this analysis was commissioned by TCO itself makes the findings and conclusions best taken with a pretty big pinch of salt.

    • Jack says:

      Studies like this are commissioned by groups like TCO in an effort to learn and grow, not to create media moments to pat themselves on the back. If you had been watching, you’d know that this is one of the most innovative arts organizations on the scene today. That they have been so financially successful in spite of hailing from what some would call not a major market speaks to their creativity and resilience as an arts enterprise.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    A unique orchestra, both for its quality and also for its location. The greatest orchestra of North America comes from Ohio. Amazing.

  • A pianist says:

    “both classical programming by the Orchestra and rock shows presented by Live Nation”

    Hmmm…a revenue breakdown along those lines might have been more informative than this puff piece.