Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra (also called Cleveland Philharmonic) is an American orchestra based in Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded in 1938 and its current music director (since 2007) is Victor H. Liva.

The Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra which was founded in 1938 by three Cleveland area musicians — bass clarinetist Alfred Zetzer, oboist Robert Zupnik, and cellist Irving Klein — who all went on to professional careers. Initially, the orchestra was formed as a young people's symphony, to give concerts and to serve as a training ground for those who were interested in professional careers as orchestra musicians.

The Orchestra comprises about 60 musicians and performs six concerts each season at Cuyahoga Community College Metro, Parma, and Highland Hills campuses. A modest ticket price enables families and seniors to afford programs which are comparable to the quality of significantly more expensive offerings.

The Cleveland Philharmonic's current Music Director, Victor H. Liva, begins his first season with the orchestra as it celebrates the 70th concert season in 2007-2008.

The Philharmonic has traditionally presented outstanding Cleveland area musicians as well as artists of international stature in its roster of soloists.[citation needed] Annually, since 1973, the Philharmonic has sponsored the Frieda Schumacher Young Artist Competition. This statewide competition is open to music students of high school age who audition for a cash award and the opportunity of performing a full length concerto with the Orchestra at one of its regular season concerts. Over the years, Cleveland, American, and world premieres of new music have been presented by the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra.

Beyond the regular season, the Philharmonic has become involved in various community activities. It was the first symphonic group in Cleveland to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This annual concert has been a tradition at Cuyahoga Community College attracting capacity audiences for many years. The Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, which was formed during the 2002/2003 season, consists of players from within the CPO and performs for welcoming and enthusiastic audiences in Cleveland area churches and at other community venues.

SYMPHONIC JOURNEY, Con Amore, a History of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra was published in 2003. It was written by Robert Finn, former music critic of The Plain Dealer, freelance writer, teacher, lecturer and arts advocate. The book recounts the orchestra's 1938 founding and history in detail and contains many photographs and reproductions of early Philharmonic programs and newspaper reviews. There are extensive appendices that list players, conductors, repertory and winners of the orchestra's Young Artist Competition through the years.

The Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra Mission Statement reads as follows:

  • To provide amateur and professional musicians the means and opportunity to explore, learn and perform symphonic music.
  • To regularly feature renowned professional and outstanding student musicians as soloists in collaboration with the orchestra.
  • To perform concerts which make musical enrichment accessible to all in the Greater Cleveland area.[citation needed]

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