Cleveland Orchestra Met the Future With a New Leader in 2016
The Cleveland Orchestra is making plans for its centennial season in 2018; in fact, the world-renown ensemble's very first performance took place two blocks from the Idea Center, on December 8, 1918, in the historic Gray's Armory building. It was the height of the Progressive Era, when some of the wealth of a burgeoning industrial Cleveland was reinvested in arts and culture, across the city. Pianist Adella Prentiss Hughes was the sparkplug behind the Orchstra's formation and became its first General Manager. She hired Nikolai Sokoloff as the first conductor.
A century later, Franz Welser Möst is behind the baton, and Andre Gremillet was hired this year as executive director. Gremillet comes to the job after stints with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony. In both cases, he helped stabilize orchestras that were in financial trouble. He attributes that to his previous experience running the Canadian pipe organ company, Casavant Freres.
Gremillet's business skills will be put to the test in Cleveland, where the Orchestra recently reported its first deficit in four years, accompanied by a 4.4% decline in its endowment. On the plus side, the organization reports that its annual fund is doing well and attendance is strong, thanks in part to special incentives for young concert goers.
ideastream listeners can catch the Orchestra in the third week of its winter season with a live broadcast of the 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert, on January 15th at 7:00 p.m. on both WCPN/90.3 and WCLV/104.9.