Wednesday, November 30, 2011
800 Words: Cleveland Orchestra Signs With Miami!!!
The nation is reeling from collective shock as the Cleveland Orchestra announced tonight that they are leaving Cleveland to make Miami, their city of residence every January, into their full-time residence. Long thought of as the King of American Orchestras, it is thought that the Cleveland Orchestra has has done this as a determined bid to increase fundraising so that they can gain status to reach the top of the Gramophone Magazine standings as the greatest of all American orchestras.
In an hour-long primetime press conference on PBS, the orchestra of Rodzinski, Szell and Dohnanyi ended weeks of speculation during which New York, Chicago, Cleveland, New Jersey and Los Angeles all made competing bids to bring the distinguished orchestra to their cities. The competition to sign the orchestra was so fierce that many cities enlisted famous help: the city of New York made a movie to attract the Cleveland Orchestra that featured Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, while the city of Chicago enlisted the help of President Obama who declared in no uncertain terms that "The Cleveland Orchestra would be a great fit for Chicago." The speculation that the orchestra wanted to leave their longtime home turned out to be well-founded. Longtime concertmaster William Preucil commented during the press conference: "We did not want to leave Cleveland, but it's time to move on."
The move is widely seen as a concerted effort to challenge the hegemony of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. An orchestra that is thought to not quite match the Cleveland Orchestra in talent, but far exceeds the Clevelanders in drive. Many conductors describe the Los Angeles Philharmonic as brilliant but difficult and arrogant in the extreme. Their longtime Music Director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, recently published a memoir in which he referred to the LA Phil as "unconductable."
After Tuesday's announcement that Miami had also signed the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Louvre, the city was widely seen as the favorite to sign the Cleveland Orchestra and build a cultural 'superteam.' The city of Cleveland, however, is far from understanding. The Cleveland Orchestra's music director, Franz Welser-Most, wrote a scathing open letter in which he blasted the Cleveland Orchestra for what he called a 'shocking act of disloyalty' and a 'cowardly betrayal.' This carefully engineered all-star cultural team is widly seen to be the work of NBA legend Pat Riley, who is now rumored to be considering moving down from the front office onto the podium and replacing Welser-Most as the Cleveland Orchestra's Music Director.