I read with dismay Andy Netzel’s article “Harmony & Discord” (June 2007) about the challenges facing The Cleveland Orchestra. Having managed the St. Louis Symphony during a period of civic decline, I am acquainted with the pressures.
It was deeply disturbing to read Mr. Netzel’s speculations as to the motivations of Thomas Morris and Daniel Lewis concerning the demise of The Florida Philharmonic and any connection between those meetings and the establishment of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami residency.
Mr. Netzel’s assertions are utterly erroneous. I was the lead consultant for The Florida Philharmonic and presented my findings at the meeting cited by Mr. Netzel. If anyone “shocked the meeting” it was I. My research revealed the organization was out of touch with its realities. Mr. Morris and Mr. Lewis offered the only ray of hope — one of a clear artistic identity bolstered by a strong endowment, which Mr. Lewis proved himself willing to fund substantially. It was the failure of prospective supporters to match Mr. Lewis’ challenge that sank the Florida orchestra. Years of bad management, tepid board support and run-of-the-mill music-making all contributed to its downfall.
The entrepreneurial spirit shown by The Cleveland Orchestra in establishing a base of operations in Miami is admirable. To publish such a poorly researched and potentially destructive article about one of our nation’s cultural icons is a disgrace.
Saint Paul, MN
Cleveland Magazine spoke to three people who attended the meeting where Thomas Morris suggested the Florida orchestra fold. Each said the comments by the then-executive director of The Cleveland Orchestra shocked them and others. Morris and Daniel Lewis were asked to give their own memories of the meeting, but declined to do so.
In the May 2006 story “Living It Up In Retirement” we misspelled Vince Bondar’s name.
West Side Love
Thanks for another great “Rating the Suburbs” issue (June 2007). Northeast Ohio is fortunate to have so many impressive communities. One note: You commented in your Editor’s Column that Rocky River was the last West Side suburb to take the top spot, back in 1999. We were pleased to have Westlake awarded that distinction in 2001.
Economic Development Assistant
Department of Planning and Economic Development
City of Westlake