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The Cleveland Orchestra receives unexpected gift of $9.3 million from the estate of Dr. Jean Hower Taber

CLEVELAND, Ohio ― The Cleveland Orchestra has announced that it is receiving a gift of $9.3 million from the estate of Dr. Jean Hower Taber (1922-2017). This extraordinary and generous gift was outlined in Dr. Taber’s written estate plans, and revealed to the Orchestra only after her death. In addition to being a member of the Orchestra’s Heritage Society, she gave generously to the Orchestra’s annual fund every year and attended Cleveland Orchestra concerts regularly over the decades. 

Dr. Taber’s gift will enable The Cleveland Orchestra to strengthen its commitment to the future as the ensemble enters its Second Century, dedicated to musical excellence, sharing the power and passion of music, inspiring future generations, and serving the Northeast Ohio community. The Saturday, August 11 Blossom Music Festival Cleveland Orchestra concert, featuring conductor Vasily Petrenko and pianist Simon Trpčeski performing works by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Liadov, will be dedicated to Dr. Taber. Details of the concert may be found at this link

“I cannot possibly express how grateful we all are at The Cleveland Orchestra for this extraordinarily generous — and completely unexpected — gift,” says André Gremillet, Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director. “Jean Hower Taber truly loved The Cleveland Orchestra and believed in the power of music to change lives. She was a loyal donor for many years, but had not hinted to us just how generous her final gift might be. On behalf of all of us at The Cleveland Orchestra, and the many people around the world like Jean who love this institution, we extend our heartfelt gratitude.”

“Jean cherished her experiences at Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center over many years,” said Dr. Taber’s brother, James Hower. “The Cleveland Orchestra was a meaningful part of Jean’s life, and she felt the Orchestra was especially important to the Cleveland community – the Orchestra’s exemplary artistry and commitment to education and community resonated strongly with her.”

The Cleveland Orchestra receives estate gifts every year and launched its Heritage Society in 1994 to help broaden and promote planned giving support from its many fans. Over 600 people are currently members of the Heritage Society, having declared that the Orchestra is in their estate plans. These meaningful gestures, made through a variety of specific legacy initiatives, will each benefit the Orchestra going forward by helping to ensure that the institution’s financial position continues to grow – making possible ongoing performances and service to the community. In addition to her estate gift, Dr. Taber created a charitable gift annuity with the Orchestra in 2001, which provided her with ongoing income during her lifetime. This annuity distributed approximately $500,000 to the Orchestra following her death. 

“Almost every day someone tells me that they love The Cleveland Orchestra and that they wish they could do more to support its future but feel like they don’t have the means,” said Dave Stokley, who manages Planned Giving programs at the Orchestra. “In fact, The Cleveland Orchestra has many options for planned giving, so everyone can make impactful gifts that comfortably fit within their financial plans. Every gift makes a difference, no matter the size or amount. Each contribution has a meaningful impact on the Orchestra’s mission to share the power of music and inspire future generations.”


About Dr. Jean Hower Taber

Dr. Jean Hower Taber was the great granddaughter of John H. Hower, one of the founders of the Quaker Oats Company, originally based in Akron, Ohio. Throughout her life, Dr. Taber was known for her generosity with her time and wealth. In addition to her philanthropy, she spent much of her time volunteering at the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Society of the Blind, and Meals on Wheels. In her youth, she was a research technician at University Hospitals, graduated from the Hathaway Brown School, received a degree from Colby Sawyer Junior College, and, in 2004, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Akron. During her lifetime, she provided the University of Akron with over $7.7 million, supported The Cleveland Orchestra, and served as a Trustee for Life with the Cleveland Natural History Museum.


Planned Giving with The Cleveland Orchestra

For information on bequests or to speak about options for including The Cleveland Orchestra in a will or estate plan, contact Dave Stokley, JD at 216-231-8006 or For more information online, visit


About The Cleveland Orchestra
As the celebrations, performances, and successes of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Centennial Season continue toward their conclusion, looking towards the start of its 101st Season in 2018-19 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

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