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Richard and Emily Smucker pledge $15 million to The Cleveland Orchestra

A generous new commitment driven by a belief in the power of music to change lives

The Smuckers invite the Greater Cleveland community to join them in supporting the Orchestra’s Second Century

For release Wednesday, November 8, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio ― Richard and Emily Smucker have pledged $15 million to The Cleveland Orchestra in celebration of the Orchestra’s 100th season and launch of its Second Century. Their gift will be used to fund artistic and education programs, with an emphasis on programs for young people. A significant portion of their gift will also support funds for the Orchestra’s future, including the endowment.

Richard and Emily are designating $3 million of their total pledge as challenge grants, which will be used to inspire the Northeast Ohio community to support the Orchestra as the ensemble enters its Second Century of musical excellence and community engagement.

“Emily and I love The Cleveland Orchestra. The work these musicians do inspires audiences and young people throughout our community, across the nation, and around the world,” stated Richard K. Smucker, Board President of The Cleveland Orchestra. “From my own life experience, I know that music has the power to change lives. It has transformed how I think about the world, and I revel in the experience of sharing a performance with family and friends, all of us together. I find myself renewed through music.”

“This Orchestra has inspired me throughout my life,” continued Richard. “And I want to share that feeling and understanding. Emily and I want to encourage everyone who loves music, who loves this Orchestra, and who loves this great Cleveland community, to celebrate this 100th anniversary and to be part of the launch of the Orchestra’s Second Century. Music matters. Music makes life better.”

The Smuckers join a rich history of community leaders who have made transformational gifts to The Cleveland Orchestra, inspiring continuing and growing community support. This list of visionary leaders includes John L. Severance, who, when putting forth his own pledge in 1929, successfully challenged the community to match his support to build what is now one of the nation’s most prestigious concert halls, Severance Hall.

“The generosity of the people of Northeast Ohio and their outstanding support for the mission of The Cleveland Orchestra is unparalleled, as is their commitment to making our community a better one,” commented André Gremillet, the Orchestra’s Executive Director. “Through their deep engagement and outstanding generosity, Richard and Emily are shining examples of how this community empowers the Orchestra to be the very best it can be for the benefit of the people of Ohio.”

Emily Smucker added, “We want to help ensure that The Cleveland Orchestra continues to inspire future generations, and that this music will be shared and enjoyed one hundred years from now. It takes all of us working together to make sure that The Cleveland Orchestra can offer music to audiences of any age. Richard and I invite people from across Northeast Ohio and the world to join us not only in giving to the Orchestra but in championing the impact their extraordinary music can have on individual lives.”

“The Orchestra’s musicians and I are deeply moved by Richard and Emily Smucker’s support. Their generosity and enthusiasm for the music we offer is deeply gratifying,” said Franz Welser-Möst, the Orchestra’s Music Director. “The Cleveland Orchestra is what it is today because of the community that created it. Generations have benefited from the vision and generosity of this community. Music helps us all understand the world and view life in new and positive ways. Richard and Emily are also teachers, leading by example that sharing and working together for good is a noble and empowering act. They are deserving of thanks, not just from us today, but from future generations who will be inspired by The Cleveland Orchestra.”

About Richard K. Smucker
Richard K. Smucker was elected as the thirteenth Board President of The Cleveland Orchestra in March 2017, and has served on the Board of Trustees since 1989. He stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of The J. M. Smucker Company in 2016, after serving in leadership positions with the family-owned company for more than four decades; he now holds the title of Executive Chairman.

About The Cleveland Orchestra
Now in its 100th Season in 2017-18 and the launch of its Second Century, The Cleveland Orchestra is undergoing a renaissance. Acknowledged as among the world’s best, its musicians, staff, board of directors, volunteers, and hometown are working together on a set of enhanced goals for the Orchestra’s Second Century: to develop the youngest audiences of any orchestra; to renew its focus on fully serving the communities where it performs through concerts, engagement, and music education; to continue its legendary musical excellence; to build on its tradition of community support and financial strength; and to move forward into the Orchestra’s next century with a commitment to diversified programming. Under the direction of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, the New York Times declared Cleveland to be the “best American orchestra” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like cohesion. The Cleveland Orchestra divides its time each year across concert seasons at home in Cleveland’s Severance Hall and each summer at Blossom Music Center. Additional portions of the year are devoted to touring and to a series of innovative and intensive performance residencies. These include performances in Miami, a biennial residency at Vienna’s Musikverein, and appearances at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, New York’s Lincoln Center Festival, and Indiana University. For more information, visit