The Happy Dog

A lot of what works at The Happy Dog, located in the Gordon Square Arts District, admittedly sounds weird at first, but after giving it a try, it ends up making a quirky sort of sense. Like the staff’s suggestion to add chunky peanut butter to your hot dog. Or having a classical music group play live at the rockin’ West Side bar.

In fact, the place is usually filled to capacity when Joshua Smith, principal flute of The Cleveland Orchestra, and members of his Ensemble HD (Happy Dog/High Definition) perform a selection of the classics in this classically comforting setting. But, when Ensemble HD played at The Happy Dog on Wednesday, Aug. 15, the hose classically rocked.

In addition to Smith, Ensemble HD includes Cleveland Orchestra members Amy Lee, violin; Joanna Patterson-Zakany, viola; Frank Rosenwein, oboe; and Charles Bernard, cello, adding pianist Christina Dahl, who is an associate professor at Stony Brook University. Whether you were enjoying the concert on the radio or at the Dog, you heard a cornucopia of classical compositions from Dvorak, Debussy, Ravel, Britten, Dohnanyi, Arvo Part and Bolcom.

The broadcast is hosted by 90.3’s Dan Polletta, with classical color commentary by WCLV’s Mark Satola. Listeners will also get exclusive insight from Smith and the following scheduled guests: Sean Watterson, co-owner of the Happy Dog; author and arts advocate Charles Michener; and Tom Welsh, Cleveland Museum of Art’s associate director of music.

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