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Dennis LaBarre to be honored with Cleveland Orchestra’s twenty-second annual Distinguished Service Award

Award to be presented at Cleveland Orchestra concert on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Photo by Roger Mastroianni

For release October 5, 2017

CLEVELAND ── On Thursday, October 5, 2017, Dennis LaBarre, current Chairman of the Board of The Cleveland Orchestra, will receive The Cleveland Orchestra’s twenty-second annual Distinguished Service Award. The Musical Arts Association, the governing non-profit organization of The Cleveland Orchestra, established the annual Distinguished Service Award in 1996 to recognize ongoing and extraordinary service to the Orchestra. Mr. LaBarre will receive the award at the start of the Orchestra’s Thursday evening concert at Severance Hall on October 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“Everyone at The Cleveland Orchestra is deeply grateful to Dennis LaBarre for his commitment, dedication, and tireless work,” says André Gremillet, Executive Director of The Cleveland Orchestra. “During a highly successful tenure as Board President, Dennis strengthened the institution, helped steer the Orchestra through the difficult economic times of the Great Recession, and fostered increased collaboration between all constituents within the organization.”

“I believe that in any institution or group, it is important to recognize and celebrate the people who make things happen,” says Richard K. Smucker, Board President of The Cleveland Orchestra. “The annual Distinguished Service Award does just that, publicly acknowledging the extraordinary efforts and talent that make The Cleveland Orchestra possible. Recipients across the years represent the broad range of people and personalities who drive the Orchestra forward, from musicians to board members to community leaders, volunteers, and staff members.”

Dennis LaBarre was first elected to The Cleveland Orchestra’s Board of Trustees in 1987. He became a Vice President in 2000, then First Vice President and President-Elect in 2008. He was elected President in 2009, leading the institution for the next seven years. From March 2017, his work continues in the role of Board Chairman.

During Dennis’s presidency, The Cleveland Orchestra made tremendous strides. His leadership helped navigate through the Great Recession, stemming a drop in the Orchestra’s Endowment and tirelessly pushing forward with efforts to increase that fund for the future. He worked closely with the board and with staff leadership to implement rigorous and transparent financial discipline and management, to help encourage and enable balanced budgets across multiple years. His determination to couple strong artistic vision with community service and financial strength continues in his new role as Chairman.

Knowing the importance of building a cohesive and collaborative culture, Dennis strongly advocated a new era of embracing all viewpoints and inviting The Cleveland Orchestra’s musicians into a closer and more open relationship with the board, staff, and community. Dennis was directly involved with many labor contract negotiations, approaching each with an open mind, integrity, flexibility, and an appreciation for advancing the institution through cooperation, collaboration, and shared knowledge of the financial realities for continuing forward as a great Orchestra. He appointed musicians onto many board committees, fostering new understanding of the common values that make The Cleveland Orchestra’s greatness possible.

Dennis’s view of leadership embraces the value of continuity balanced against change and innovation. He has tirelessly advocated for the institution’s advancement, supporting new ideas and urging that new programs and initiatives be launched to continue the Orchestra’s work in a changing world. As a temporary steward of a timeless institution, he worked to ensure seamless transitions of leadership. He extended Franz Welser-Möst’s contract, ensuring that the incredible artistic partnership between Franz and the Orchestra can continue forward. At the same time, he oversaw the transition of staff leadership, hiring Executive Director André Gremillet, followed by his own hand-off of the presidency to help propel the Orchestra he loves onward into a new era.

In recognition of his dedicated, unstinting, proactive, and visionary leadership in service to The Cleveland Orchestra, for his constant drive toward supporting the Orchestra’s mission with financial strength to best serve the Greater Cleveland community through music, education, and collaboration, the Musical Arts Association is extraordinarily pleased to present Chairman Dennis W. LaBarre with its highest award for distinguished service.

About Dennis LaBarre
Born in Scarsdale, New York, Dennis La Barre received a B.A. degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from the University of Virginia. His career was spent as a partner in Jones Day, leading its corporate practice and expansion into New York and internationally. He and his wife, Camille Dickinson LaBarre, have been active in supporting arts, educational, and philanthropic initiatives in Cleveland and New York, where Camille serves as a Managing Director of the Metropolitan Opera.

Dennis LaBarre was first elected to The Cleveland Orchestra’s board of trustees in 1987. He became a Vice President in 2000, then First Vice President and President-Elect in 2008. He was elected President in 2009, leading the institution for the next seven years. From March 2017, his work continues in the role of Board Chairman.

History of the Distinguished Service Award
The Musical Arts Association established the annual Distinguished Service Award in 1996 to recognize ongoing and extraordinary service to The Cleveland Orchestra. Recipients are chosen from written nominations reviewed by a committee currently chaired by Musical Arts Association Trustee Marguerite B. Humphrey. Previous Distinguished Service Award recipients are: Dorothy Humel Hovorka (1996-97), David Zauder (1997-98), Ward Smith (1998-99), Christoph von Dohnányi (1999-2000), Gary Hanson (2000-01), John Mack (2001-02), Richard J. Bogomolny (2002-03), Thomas W. Morris (2003-04), Alex Machaskee (2004-05), Klaus G. Roy (2005-06), John D. Ong (2006-07), Gerald Hughes (2007-08), Louis Lane (2008-09), Clara Taplin Rankin (2009-10), Robert Conrad (2010-11), Richard Weiner (2011-12), Milton and Tamar Maltz (2012-13), Pierre Boulez (2013-14), James D. Ireland III (2014-15), and Rosemary Klena (2015-16), Robert Vernon (2016-17.)