Default Image Blossom Image

Mission & History

In performances at home and around the globe, The Cleveland Orch­estra remains one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world and Northeast Ohio’s most visible international ambassador.  In concerts at its winter home at Severance Hall and at each summer’s Blossom Music Festival, in residencies from Miami to Vienna, and on tour around the world, The Cleveland Orchestra sets standards of artistic excellence, creative programming, and active community engagement.  With the 2013-14 season, Franz Welser-Möst enters his twelfth year leading the ensemble, with a commitment extending to the Orchestra’s centennial in 2018.  This artistic partnership continues to move the ensemble forward through a series of new and ongoing initiatives, including:

  • expansion of education and community programs in Northeast Ohio to feature music as an integral and regular part of everyday life for more people, including the launch this past spring of an “At Home” neighborhood residency program that brings The Cleveland Orchestra to a single neighborhood or town for an intensive week of special activities and performances, as well as the broadening of the Orchestra’s ongoing education and community engagement initiatives to include Make Music!, a program of active and participatory experience and learning;
  • the establishment of residencies around the world, fostering creative artistic growth and an expanded financial base — including ongoing residencies at the Vienna Musik­verein (the first of its kind by an American orchestra) and in Florida under the name Cleveland Orch­estra Miami (featuring an annual series of concerts and community  activities, coupled with educational presentations and collaborations based on successful programs pioneered at home in Cleveland);
  • creative new artistic collaborations with arts institutions in Northeast Ohio, including staged works, concerts, and chamber music performances;
  • a concentrated and successful effort to develop future generations of audiences for Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Northeast Ohio, through research, targeted discounts, social media promotion, and student ticket programs, with demonstrated results at Severance Hall and Blossom;
  • a variety of new concert offerings (including KeyBank Fridays@7 and Celebrity Series at Severance Hall as well as movie, themed, and family presentations at Blossom) to play more music for more people;
  • the return of ballet as a regular part of the Orchestra’s presentations, featuring ongoing collaborations with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet;
  • continuing and expanded educational partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities across Northeast Ohio and beyond;
  • concert tours from coast to coast in the United States, including regular appearances at Carnegie Hall;
  • ongoing recording activities, including new releases under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst, Mitsuko Uchida, and Pierre Boulez, as well as a series of acclaimed DVD concert presentations of symphonies by Anton Bruckner led by Welser-Möst.

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918 by a group of local citizens intent on creating an ensemble worthy of joining America’s ranks of major symphony orchestras.  Over the ensuing decades, the Orchestra quickly grew from a fine regional organization to being one of the most admired symphony orchestras in the world.  The opening in 1931 of Severance Hall as the Orchestra’s home brought a special pride to the ensemble and its hometown, as well as providing an enviable and intimate acoustic environment in which to develop and refine the Orchestra’s artistry.  Year-round performances became a reality in 1968 with the opening of Blossom Music Center, one of the most beautiful and acoustically admired outdoor concert facilities in the United States.  


Nikolai Sokoloff  1918-33
Artur Rodzinski  1933-43
Erich Leinsdorf  1943-46
George Szell  1946-70 
Lorin Maazel  1972-82
Christoph von Dohnányi  1984-2002
Franz Welser-Möst  2002-present



An annual report detailing The Cleveland Orchestra’s artistic and financial activities is published each year by the Musical Arts Association, the non-profit organization that oversees and promotes The Cleveland Orchestra.

Download a copy of our 
most recent Annual Reports:

2013-14 Annual Report  (Dec 2014)

2012-13 Annual Report  (Dec 2013)

2011-12 Annual Report  (Nov 2012)



Please Support Great Music 
in Northeast Ohio

Your gift to The Cleveland Orchestra helps to ensure great music  at Severance Hall, this season and for generations to come.
Donate Today