Here’s a crazy story: The Cleveland Orchestra’s largest one-time donor once suggested moving it out of town. Nuts, right?
Yet Daniel Lewis recently disclosed on a national radio show that, as Miami finished building its new concert hall a half-decade ago, he asked the head of the Orchestra whether a relocation was possible.
“I called the executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra at the time and asked him if they moved orchestras like they move baseball franchises,” Daniel Lewis recalled during a January interview on public radio’s Marketplace. “He said, ‘You’re crazy. But maybe there’s an opportunity to do something.’ ”
That opportunity turned into an annual Miami residency.
We had hoped to ask Lewis about the prospects of a move for our June 2007 story “Harmony & Discord,” but the Orchestra’s public relations department declined to let him talk to us on the record. (Apparently, that was a good idea.)
Cleveland Orchestra executive director Gary Hanson told us at the time that relocation was not an option and said moving the Orchestra out of Severance Hall would be devastating to its sound and prestige.
Still, Lewis’ recent comments fired up some South Florida musicians who have been grousing of a conspiracy theory ever since
Lewis, a Cleveland native, became the head of the Florida Philharmonic’s board of trustees and presided over the group’s disbandment.
For the record, we don’t think the Orchestra is going anywhere. Of course, the notion of the Browns leaving town once seemed equally far-fetched.