The Cleveland Orchestra in Orlando

posted by Jeff | Monday, February 5, 2024, 3:00 PM | comments: 0

I think it was grade five that my class had a field trip to Severance Hall, home to the Cleveland Orchestra. We generally had at least two major field trips in those days, and I believe it was the same year that we saw some kind of performance in the Ohio Theater downtown. It was a pretty big deal, those trips, and it's one of those things where you just assume that everywhere is like where you live. Everyone has one of the world's best orchestras, exquisite concert halls and theaters (and huge amusement parks like Cedar Point). Of course, when you grow up, you discover that's not the case, and so those outings become a bigger deal in your memory.

Fast forward to 2007, when Diana and I on one of our first few dates go to Blossom Music Center, another iconic venue, to see the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by John Williams. That was one of the great things about "our" orchestra, was that you could see them inexpensively with lawn tickets. They were not out of reach for people.

Of course, I couldn't imagine at that time that we'd be married in less than two years. But to really stretch the imagination, one could never think that we would see this orchestra play in Orlando, in a building that hadn't been built yet, where we would be active donors, Diana would work for nearly a decade, and by the way, that building would be one of the most acoustically sophisticated in the world. In Orlando.

But that's the way the math worked out, and here we are. I was not familiar with the pieces that they played, but part of what made it so interesting was the way different instruments, especially the woodwinds, had a conversation. The flute would respond to the oboe, the clarinet to the saxophone. In that room, you could hear every bit of nuance. If you closed your eyes, it was like having headphones on but better. The spacial placement of sound was not a trick, it was what was really happening around you.

Not surprisingly, we talked to several people who were also from Cleveland, and a few that even return there in the summer (wealthy east-siders, unsurprisingly). It's always amusing how many people here are originally from Ohio.

That place has brought me so much joy over the last few years. I was kind of indifferent about the construction of Steinmetz Hall, I guess because it's not where the Broadway tours play, but it turns out we've seen a ton of stuff there. Our gigantic local community orchestra and choir played in there, as well as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, which is itself pretty good for such a young orchestra. The London Philharmonic Orchestra played a residency series in the building, and we saw them with Beck and Sutton Foster. But also, we've had social events in there, with the floor seats flipped underneath into gala mode. I love to see and hear things in that beautiful place.


No comments yet.

Post your comment: