Cleveland Orchestra slashes 2018 Arsht residency with no explanation to Miami

By Lawrence A. Johnson


Despite previous denials that it was planning to shut down its Miami residency, the Cleveland Orchestra is cutting its 2018 Arsht Center concerts in half with no explanation given to the media or to its Miami audiences.

The orchestra, which is playing its final Arsht concerts of this season tonight and tomorrow, will perform just two programs in an abbreviated 2018 season. Music director Franz Welser-Möst will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 on January 26 and 27 and an all-Beethoven program February 2 and 3 (Symphonies Nos. 5 and 8 and the Coriolan Overture).

Rumors have been swirling for months that Cleveland Orchestra is on the verge of shuttering its Arsht residency due to its expense and a decline in Miami financial support. Last December, the orchestra announced a $2.4 million budget deficit, and it has reportedly lost the support of several deep-pocket Miami donors.

When asked about those reports several weeks ago, the Cleveland Orchestra’s director of public relations Justin Holden denied any knowledge about the orchestra reducing its Miami commitment and said that they are preparing their future seasons “as usual.”

The Cleveland Orchestra’s brief press release about its 2018 Miami season contains no statement or explanation about why the orchestra has shortened its season or even any acknowledgement that it is doing so. Nor is there any indication about the future of the residency beyond next season–only canned platitudinous statements about the success of the orchestra’s Miami residency by Welser-Most, Cleveland Orchestra executive director André Gremillet and Arsht vice-president of programming Liz Wallace.

Neither the Cleveland Orchestra nor the Arsht Center responded to requests for a statement about the status of the orchestra’s Miami residency or the reason why the season has been cut in half. “I don’t have anything to add,” said Holden, the orchestra’s director of public relations.

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10 Responses to “Cleveland Orchestra slashes 2018 Arsht residency with no explanation to Miami”

  1. Posted Mar 24, 2017 at 11:53 am by Mario

    Well, between the current state of affairs in DC and South Florida’s lack of love for classical music (the Herald doesn’t even print the reviews anymore), I suspect that this will be the norm now, with most cultural organizations that have nothing to do with a car or boat show leaving altogether.

    Also, their programming is quite lackluster. 50% of their next season here is yet another piece that was done within the last couple of years – Mahler’s 9th. Aren’t there several more symphonies from this master that need to be heard?

  2. Posted Mar 25, 2017 at 7:59 am by Gonzalo Giraldo

    After the splendid concert of last Friday, which concluded with four deserved ovations by the public, it was a cold shower to read the handout telling me that only 2 concerts will be performed next season. What a depressing goodbye to the current season! Furthermore, the programming looks dull with only warhorses and no soloists!

  3. Posted Mar 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm by Dexter

    Surprise, surprise. The money dries up so the Cleveland Orchestra cuts their time in Miami. The CO has no connection to Miami other than financial. Now that the deep-pocket local donors are less, they pack their violin cases and go home.

    Miami deserves a full-time professional symphony orchestra and let’s hope the local community steps up to the plate to make that happen. The Miami Symphony Orchestra is bringing our city innovative programming and community outreach as well. MISO deserves greater support to become the hometown resident orchestra of Miami.

  4. Posted Mar 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm by Jan R Lewis

    My deep appreciation to the Miami Board of the Miami Music Association and the Cleveland Orchestra. In my opinion, It’s not the failing of its supporters or the
    Miami board.

    Jan R. Lewis

  5. Posted Mar 26, 2017 at 11:05 pm by Susan Courey

    As wonderful as the Cleveland Orchestra is, it never had any place here in South Florida. There are local world class orchestras and some of the finest musicians right here in our own backyard that deserve to get the attention and funding from donors. There is no reason to give funding to orchestras from other cities. SUPPORT OUR LOCAL ORCHESTRAS AND MUSICIANS!!!

  6. Posted Mar 27, 2017 at 8:37 am by Jim Svetsket

    Dexter, MISO becoming that orchestra is ridiculous. Nu Deco, sure, they have some sane a reasonable hiring practices and, oh yeah, decent musical products.

    Perhaps if you scratch Marturet and all of the undergraduate musicians from fringe schools and replace them with professionals, MISO would be fine. But that can’t happen seeing as the orchestra has ruined all ties with all professionals in this area.

    Regarding Cleveland – it’s like an MD – 10 years is plenty and it’s time for them to move on to make room for another orchestra.

  7. Posted Mar 27, 2017 at 11:36 am by Gloria

    Although Cleveland Orchestra is a great orchestra, I agree that Miami needs to nurture and support its own hometown band, the MSO. Orchestras are built and flourish when their audiences appreciate and attend their concerts. That’s how an orchestra improves. Keep your dollars at home and support the artistic jewels in your own back yard.

  8. Posted Mar 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm by Daniel R. Lewis

    This is my informed explanation for Cleveland Orchestra Miami (COM) reduction to 1+ from 4 weeks. COM’s 2014-2015 earned revenue was $150,000 per concert, and $3,500,000 in contributed revenue from more than 600 donors.  It was the best paying travel gig any symphonic orchestra has anywhere. 

    The Miami board (MMA) supporting COM, began planning for additional activities, that required working with The Cleveland Orchestra (TCO) and others. TCO objected to everything other than supporting TCO, so MMA stopped, and lost the support of me and others. Contributed revenue dropped dramatically. The behavior of TCO’s board and managers caused the MMA relationship to deteriorate to the point that in December 2016, the MMA board, voted 17 to 2 to not support COM after this season.
    Miami is not the problem.  ITD, Miami has contributed more than $24,000,000 to The Cleveland Orchestra (TCO). Miami remains an under-developed opportunity for great music performed by the best musicians.
    Daniel R. Lewis

  9. Posted Mar 29, 2017 at 9:27 am by LIZ SAGE

    The kind of money Mr Lewis is speaking about will only work if South Florida supports its own professional orchestra. The education component alone could never be done with an orchestra whose loyalty was to Cleveland. TCO is now moving to another city in CA to suck up the money from that community. Until the leaders like Mr. Lewis got folks to buy into TCO because they had financial problems and that is where he is from. It seems that the Miami Community was more interested in Saving the Cleveland Orchestra than truly serving all of South Florida communities not just the elite

  10. Posted Jan 18, 2018 at 10:58 pm by Gilbert B Norman

    If “this is it” for COM, then “what a way to go” with Mahler’s Ninth. This magnificent work can only truly be appreciated with a live orchestra – and a World Class at that.

    I’ve been “coming down” for COM since ’12. I was “tipped off” by a musician last year that the residency was “on thin ice”.

    Should it be the case, I’ll miss it.

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