Cleveland abuzz as principal cello bows out of a job

Cleveland abuzz as principal cello bows out of a job


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2020

Mark Kosower, principal cello of the Cleveland Orchestra has resigned his teaching post at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

The CIM has restored to the roster his predecessor, Steven Geber.

In response to our inquiry, we received the following information from the Dean: ‘As the fall semester came to a close, Mark Kosower let CIM know that he was going to step back from his teaching duties and focus on his chamber and solo career in addition to his position with The Cleveland Orchestra. We accepted his resignation, and are thrilled that Steven Geber, CIM Faculty Emeritus and former principal cello of The Cleveland Orchestra, will return to the faculty.’

Is that all? We hear otherwise.

Mark Kosower 43, is president of the Cleveland Cello Society. He’s a loss to the CIM.

Zachary Lewis on The Plain Dealer has followed up our story without credit, and without adding a single salient detail. That’s fine journalism.


  • Mick the Knife says:

    Its not normal to leave mid-year.

  • Bruce says:

    “Is that all? We hear otherwise.”

    ooooh, sounds like another juicy scandal! I can’t wait! /eyeroll

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    *Stephen* Geber—
    many years later I have not forgotten his Schelomo, a cello tone any orchestra would desire at the helm.

    Leaving in the middle of an academic year. Would wonder how the students feel

    • NYMike says:

      “a cello tone any orchesrta….” I think not.

      • Larry W says:

        8 words that prove you can’t hear.
        Or think. Or spell.

      • Gerry Feinsteen says:

        “…orchesrta” Typos reveal so much sometimes, NYMike.
        You might appreciate learning, since you’ve probably never heard Mr Geber, that he was selected by Georg Solti to be principal cellist for the World Orchestra for Peace at the UN 50th Anniversary. The concert was recorded and the Gramophone review mentions only one orchestral player:

        “… Today in one corner of Europe there is a desperate war”, wrote Sir Georg Solti towards the end of last year; “we watch it on television and do nothing. This concert is the one thing I can do.” The World Orchestra for Peace employs the talents of top-ranking orchestral players from America, Europe, Russia and Israel, most of them – including the 15 section leaders – having been chosen by Solti himself. Musically, things get off to a spectacular start with the most compelling William Tell Overture I’ve heard in years – at once tender (Stephen Geber’s lead cello is eloquent beyond words)…”

  • Karl says:

    I smell a metoo case.

  • V.Lind says:

    Nobody that includes a “we hear” hint, unattributed and unspecified, should be lobbing criticism at the sober, documented journalism of Jocelyn Gecker. This man has now been subjected to the interpretation of Karl, above, and the satirised lip-licking expressed by Bruce without the “author” of these hints coming out with a single fact. Or even accusation.

    Still, nobody confuses this blog with journalism.

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      Please explain, and what about Geber’s history?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Then why do you bother to visit this site, every single day, usually leaving several comments? Seriously, we’re interested to know. This may be your last chance to comment.

      • Emil says:

        M. Lebrecht, you keep lashing out at anyone who tries to point out how this blog can be improved. As I wrote elsewhere, Slipped Disco does do a good job of covering events in the classical world. You claim to know ‘what’s going on’ in the classical world, and by and large that is indeed the case, and SD is often an outstanding, if not the only, source of information.
        That is not to say this blog is beyond reproach – indeed, no outlet is – and it is frustrating to see recurring lapses (the focus on Yuja Wang’s dresses, for instance) that undermine the quality coverage you offer in other instances. I don’t want to speak for V.Lind (who in my opinion is one of the more insightful commenters on this site), but my thinking is that the objective of criticism is to push this blog to be better, notably by staying away from encouraging wild speculation.

        And I would echo V.Lind’s point: I wonder how these mysterious “we hear otherwise” can be squared with the broadside against AP’s fact-checked published journalism, which leaves far less room for speculation.

        • norman lebrecht says:

          Since none of you are paying to visit this site or to share its legal and administrative costs, you will have to be satisfied with – and perhaps grateful for – what we consider to be legally safe and in the public interest to report.

          It is generally considered unwise to micturate into a well from which you regularly drink. That is what V Lind and others have lately been doing.

          • Dawn says:

            The advertising displayed all over the site isn’t there for your viewing pleasure, it’s to make money off of us. When the ads go away, then you can start claiming we aren’t paying.

          • Bruce says:

            Norman’s got a point. It’s his blog, to run as he sees fit. We all know that, of course.

            His prickliness in response to criticism is also well-established. He does change posts now and then, if someone points out a factual error, so it’s clear that he does pay attention to the comments. And keep in mind that many “oh no, another misleading headline” or “oh no, not another story about Yuja Wang’s dress” comments do get through, so he’s obviously not so thin-skinned as we make him out to be. But at the same time, he’s obviously not interested in changing the way he runs things, and since we the readers don’t have control over what he does, we are left with a choice of what we do have control over, i.e. our response to it. As I see it, we basically have 3 options: put up with it, put up with it but criticize within acceptable limits (as defined by the lord of the blog), or quit reading.

        • Mick the Knife says:

          I’m sorry that you are a man who doesn’t appreciate an attractive, talented woman in a skimpy skirt. Please allow the rest of us to enjoy the simple pleasures. You have to realize that everyone has topics that they are more and less interested in. No blog’s content is going to please everyone.

      • Andrew R. Barnard says:

        It’s a great one stop source for classical news. That’s why I visit. Many posts are great. Some leave some things to be desired. Isn’t fair to acknowledge the success of the blog while critiquing individual posts and statements?

      • Kokispoki says:

        last chance to comment ? This is not very nice !
        Doesn’t make this site more serious ….

    • Karl says:

      I did take ‘we hear otherwise’ to mean some anonymous source. But if you have followed my posts you know I don’t take metoo allegations seriously. I believe that most are from a wave of mass hysteria similar to the ritual satanic abuse moral panic of children in the 80s -90s. Suddenly just touching someone on the shoulder has become sexual harassment, so now many women are rethinking all interactions they have had in the past and reclassifying them as abuse.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      Both JG and NL, in this case, are relying on anonymous sources. The difference is JG used these sources to smear Domingo and NL hasn’t smeared anyone with “we hear otherwise”.

      • Bill says:

        Really? Someone resigns, insinuations are made that more unflattering information is coming (“is that all? we hear otherwise”), and you don’t think that many will draw the conclusion that NL has heard something more about the person who resigned but is keeping it to himself for now? Is that not smearing?

  • Peter Polar says:

    I heard from a very credible source that it’s metoo related. Truly makes no sense on any level to simply “decide” to leave an institution midyear.

  • Schweig und Tanze says:

    If you have something to say, Norman, then spit it out.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Maybe he just got tired of re-treading the same ground with every new student.

    You have to love repeating yourself to love teaching.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Oh bull, he died three years ago, what good is that going to do them to fire a ghost!?

  • Emil says:

    “we hear otherwise”

    What are you hearing? Is there any point in teasing this if you’re not going to tell? Is that not just leaving wild speculation running?

  • Ben R says:

    The blog is purposely screening the comments so that the truth remains “mysterious.” Comments have been submitted that tell the real story, but SD apparently won’t post them. So, if you want to know, just ask someone in the orchestra. They all know. It is not a secret.

  • anon says:

    CIM has had some serious MeToo problems in recent years, largely due to overlooking obvious problems. I think the school is now much more diligent. If this turns out to be another MeToo issue at CIM, I hope Norman will keep on it and keep us posted.

  • Ben R says:

    People should note that this is not a case of #MeToo, just #MeDumb

  • TCOplayer says:

    Few in the #metoo quell have “broken any laws”
    We await his departure from the TCO as this is now our precedent. And, there are more among us. Look to the current holder of the baton..

  • K.T. says:

    I know what happened and was a student at CIM. I heard from teachers and it’s true. Kosower [redacted] let the student sub with the orchestra for 6 months. Mark very rarely, and I mean rarely let any of his students sub with TCO. If Kosower let you, you would have had to already played with accomplished orchestras. The student had none of this. I never thought Kosower would do something like this. I used to look up to him very much.

  • DanGerous says:

    The updated story at now includes a quote from Mr. Kosower. Kosower said the decision was one he’d been contemplating some time. He said he still enjoys teaching but has decided he needs now to focus on other things.

    “It has been my life mission to get out and perform all over the world,” Kosower said. “I always feel very inspired traveling across this country and foreign lands alike experiencing different environments, people, culture, and food.

    “These experiences move me on a spiritual level, enriching what I have to offer as a musician….While still young and in good health I want to direct more of my energy in this direction.”