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Issue Date: January 2009

Seen and Heard

Andy Netzel
As the Cleveland Orchestra resumes its residency in Miami this month, it will, for the second time in three years, take a stage upon which Florida-based musicians once expected to be playing.

The orchestra will perform with the Miami City Ballet Jan. 29 — a collaboration that comes after the ballet dismissed 45 musicians in December because of the struggling economy.

“What the ballet and eventually most arts organizations are experiencing, or are going to experience, is a result of the economy,” explains Daniel Lewis, a top Cleveland Orchestra donor and chairman of its Miami initiative. “It has no relationship to this one-time event.”

Two years ago this month, the Cleveland Orchestra began a residency in Miami at a brand new concert hall that the Florida Philharmonic once expected to call home, now known as the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts (above). Lewis was chairman of the Florida Philharmonic at the time it declared bankruptcy in 2003. A year later, he pitched the Cleveland Orchestra’s board on growing a Florida donor base by way of an annual Miami residency. The 10-year deal was announced May 9, 2005.

The Miami City Ballet received a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation last October to explore a partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra. The orchestra’s members occasionally collaborated with the Cleveland Ballet before it left town in 2000, following a major branching out to San Jose, Calif.

Orchestra officials have said that its residencies in Miami and Vienna, Austria, are meant only to ensure the financial health of one of the world’s finest orchestras. Lewis says he does “sincerely hope” the demand for classic music in Miami will lead to an expansion of that residency.

“Everything the Cleveland Orchestra is doing in Miami is attempting to build demand for classical music, and there is evidence of such success,” he says.
Friday, January 30, 2009 2:11:26 PM by Mirabelle
Either Dan Lewis is the biggest liar, or he has blinders so thick that he wouldn't see the sun shine if stared directly into it from Mars.

Dan Lewis is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the "quality" of the Cleveland Orchestra even if it means destroying the life of classical musicians and classical music outside of Cleveland. He can care less that the musicians of the Florida Philharmonic have lost their livelihood. He can care less that music students who studied with these musicians may no longer have music teachers. He can care less that the people of Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach no longer have an orchestra 12 months a year. He says he has nothing to do with the Florida Philharmonic's demise though he was the president of the board. Now he says the lost work from the Miami Ballet has nothing to do with this new collaboration with Cleveland.

In regards to classical music, Dan Lewis cares about one thing and one thing only, the Cleveland Orchestra, to hell with everything else.
Saturday, January 31, 2009 9:10:34 PM by concerned
It has been obvious to those living in south Florida as well as the author of this article, that Dan Lewis is trying very hard to bring the Cleveland Orchestra to south Florida permanently. Reports coming from parties thrown for the musicians and donors rumor that his dream is to move the orchestra just as football teams move from city to city. We the people in Cleveland should be watching every movement that Dan Lewis has control over. If he can completely destroy a world class orchestra, such as existed in south Florida for so many years, it would not be the least bit odd to see him try to move the Cleveland Orchestra out of Cleveland. I ,for one, would hate to see that. Are the Cleveland musicians and staff willing to work a 7 hour a day week (for a little less money) so that others in their business can still keep making a living, or are we at a crossroads where it’s everyman for himself. Isn’t that the politics that got this economy in the shape we are all in now? Is it really necessary for the Cleveland Orchestra to float from town to town, like scavengers, taking as much out of the local arts organizations as possible before heading back to Cleveland?
Sunday, February 01, 2009 11:48:44 AM by Anonymous
The Knight foundation should be ashamed of itself. It's efforts to bring the arts to South Florida in a significant way concluded that the best use of their money is putting local musicians out of work and bringing the Cleveland Orchestra in to take their place? How does this foster any kind of local arts scene? By spending money to put locals out of work, Knight actually achieves the opposite. This just in: if you don't have any succeeding local artists, you don't have a significant local arts scene.

If Dan Lewis and other powers that be do, in fact, have an unspoken plan to attempt to bring the Cleveland Orchestra to South Florida permanently, as one reader suggests, the citizens of Cleveland are not the only ones who should be afraid. I wonder how Mr Lewis expects to support a huge organization with top tier salaries like the Cleveland Orchestra in South Florida when he couldn't even manage to keep the Floria Phil (a much cheaper enterprise) afloat. Does he think people will be more willing to support an orchestra because it has the world-class status of Cleveland? I think the track record South Florida has with the arts would suggest otherwise. It's possible Mr Lewis could manage to ruin TWO major orchestras before he's done.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 7:02:52 AM by No Name
Seems that the Knight foundation will keep giving grants...they even share the same offiice space with the (full-time) Cleveland orchestra staff in Miami. The salaries of those three staff people is about equal to what it would cost to have a local orchestra play an entire season for the Miami City Ballet!

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