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A Century of Excellence

1918

The Cleveland Orchestra is founded by impresario Adella Prentiss Hughes and the Musical Arts Association. The first concert is held on December 11 at Grays Armory with Nikolai Sokoloff conducting.

1918

 

1921

The Orchestra launches its first series of education concerts for children.

1922

The Orchestra’s first concert at Carnegie Hall, led by Nikolai Sokoloff, and its pioneering first national radio broadcast.

1924

The Cleveland Orchestra releases its first commercial recording on the Brunswick label: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

1929

Groundbreaking for the Orchestra’s permanent home takes place, with John L. Severance digging the first shovel of dirt. The building opens in 1931 and is named in memory of his wife, Elisabeth. The first piece of music played, as requested by Severance, is Wagner’s Prelude and Love-Death from Tristan and Isolde.

1933

 

1933

Under Artur Rodzinski, The Cleveland Orchestra adds fully staged operas to its regular season, performing 15 operas between 1933 and 1938.

1943

 

1946

 

1952

The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus is founded. Later, under the direction of Robert Shaw, it becomes one of the most admired choral ensembles in the country.

1953

The Orchestra performs concerts (known as the Indipops) between major-league doubleheader games at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

1957

Under the direction of George Szell, the Orchestra embarks on its first European tour, consisting of 21 concerts in 10 cities. The Orchestra’s first telecasts, over WEWS-TV5, include five Children’s Concerts.

1963

Time magazine names The Cleveland Orchestra as one of the top five orchestras in the United States.

1965

The Orchestra’s radio broadcasts are syndicated around the world through local station WCLV.

1968

Opening of Blossom Music Center

1969

First Grammy is won, for Best Classical Performance by an Orchestra. The Orchestra has received eight Grammy Awards and 31 Grammy nominations.

1970

 

1970

First tour of Asia, including concerts in Japan and South Korea.

1972

 

1980

First annual concert honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at Severance Hall.

1984

Music Director Designate 1982-84

1986

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) is founded to provide talented young musicians in Northeast Ohio with pre-professional orchestral training experience.

1990

First annual free Public Square concert performed.

2000

Severance Hall reopens following an ambitious expansion and renovation project, restoring “America’s most beautiful concert hall” and enhancing its acoustics and public amenities.

2002

 

2006

Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony launches the first series of video recordings with the Orchestra. The five-disc series is filmed live in the Abbey of St. Florian, the Musikverein, and Severance Hall.

2007

The Orchestra’s presence on the international stage continues to advance, with a series of ongoing residencies taking place in Vienna, Lucerne, Miami, and New York.

2009

Fully staged opera returns to Severance Hall with Franz Welzer-Möst conducting Mozart’s three “Da Ponte” operas over three seasons.

2010

The Orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences is established to develop the youngest audience of any American orchestra. Today, more than 40,000 children under 18 attend concerts each season.

2015

The New York Times declares The Cleveland Orchestra “the finest in America.”

2016

In partnership with The Joffrey Ballet, the orchestra performs a staged double-bill of Bartók opera and ballet, performing Bluebeard's Castle and The Miraculous Mandarin to sold-out houses.