Severance Hall: Home of the Cleveland Orchestra
Not long ago, a Catholic American
college student studying in Paris went to
"Where in America are you from?" the priest asked.
When the girl said she was from Cleveland, Ohio, the priest was impressed.
"Ah," he said, "The Cleveland Orchestra!"
If music is the universal language,
The Cleveland Orchestra speaks it fluently. Called
"the best band in the land" by Time magazine,
Cleveland's symphonic ensemble is world renowned,
ranked behind only the Vienna and Berlin
Philharmonics. As of January 2000, Cleveland's
cultural ambassador to the world has a home worthy
of its musical reputation. Severance Hall was
acclaimed as one of America's premiere concert
halls when it opened in 1931, but time took its
toll, preventing the hall from keeping pace with
the quality of the performances inside its
But in December 1999, a $36
million restoration was completed, and, one month
later, a newly refurbished Severance Hall was
unveiled. The New York Times etched its praise in
ink, saying "Visually the new stage is stunning
Severance Hall sounds as seductive as it looks." In
reviewing the opening night performance, the London
Financial Times said "Severance Hall's old
analytical clarity was unimpaired and new warmth
had been added."
In January 2001, the Norton Memorial
Pipe Organ, created by E.M. Skinner in 1930 and
silent for a quarter century, was unveiled, adding
the finishing touch to the restoration.
The 2001-02 season promises to be
historic since it marks the final season for Music
Director Christoph von Dohnanyi whose tenure as
conductor began in spring 1982. The twenty-year
partnership between Dohnanyi and the orchestra is,
in the words of the Washington Post, "the most
magnificently coordinated and mutually
complementary teaming since Herbert von Karajan's
best days with the Berlin Philharmonic."
As always, the season promises
something for all musical tastes. Carl Orff's
masterpiece "Carmina Burana" is slated for a series
of performances in late October, and Mozart's final
three symphonies are on tap early in the New
Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's
Apprentice," best known for its appearance in
Disney's Fantasia, will be given the Cleveland
Orchestra treatment, and there will be several
premieres, including James Macmillan's
"Magnificat." Guest artists will include Gil
Shahom and the phenomenal Midori.
A complete concert schedule is available online at
where individual tickets can be ordered as of September 4.
Like The Cleveland Orchestra,
Severance Hall is a source of great pride to the
citizens of Cleveland, Ohio, but like music itself,
it belongs to the world. As the orchestra's own
marketing campaign suggests, when in Cleveland,
Ohio, come hear what the world is talking
Severance Hall is located at 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
Brian W. Fairbanks