The Cleveland Orchestra Story
“Second to None”
- Hardcover, 700 pages, 6.3 x 9.3 inches
- ISBN: 978-1-886228-24-5
One of the very best books ever written about a symphony orchestra. Tim Page, 1997 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his writings on music for the Washington Post.
The definitive story of one of the world's great arts institutions.
How did a late-blooming midwestern orchestra rise amid gritty Big Industry to become a titan in the world of Big Art? This groundbreaking book tells the complete story of the people and events that shaped the Cleveland Orchestra into a classical music legend.
It's a story of indomitable founders like iron-willed impresario Adella Prentiss Hughes (the first woman to manage a symphony orchestra) and shrewd, wealthy patrons like industrialist John L. Severance. Of dedicated musicians and driven conductors—like colorful Artur Rodzinski (who packed a loaded pistol during every performance) and authoritarian genius George Szell, who drilled into his orchestra the awesome precision for which it is still renowned (and who even told his players how to dress and the cleaning ladies at Severance Hall what brand of toilet paper to stock).
These musicians, maestros, managers, and patrons fought relentlessly to earn and maintain a reputation for near-perfect performance—in a true virtuoso performance.
Donald Rosenberg taps the most authoritative sources and tells a complex, sweeping success story in very human terms, with an eye for its telling details and a feel for its true drama. Told with plenty of anecdotes and intriguing behind-the-scenes details.
Illustrations: 103 black-and-white photographs
Manages to be both crammed full of facts and a good, fast-paced read . . . it's about as comprehensiveand entertaininga history of a great musical organization you're likely to encounter. The Boston Herald
A meticulously researched, in-depth, eloquently told account, and quite possibly the finest of its kind ever written, at least in English . . . A gripping story that the reader, once engaged, can put aside only with the greatest difficulty . . . Fascinating anecdotes, quips, stories, facts and events are found on nearly every page . . . Will fascinate not only Cleveland Orchestra fans but anyone interested in how a great orchestra is created and how it operates on a daily basis. Schwann Opus Magazine
[A] fascinating and carefully researched history. Boston Globe Online (boston.com)
It is ambitious, but Mr. Rosenberg, an engaging and often eloquent writer, succeeds in making this a human story. The result is a readable, colorful and fascinating chronicle that is an indispensable addition to any orchestra lover's library. Cincinnati Enquirer
Much more than a history of one of the finest U.S. orchestras . . . Donald Rosenberg has written a fascinating account of music, musicians, politics, unbridled egos, and business that engages the reader like a good mystery novel . . . thoroughly researched, well documented, and very well written. Library Journal
Absorbing reading, not merely a reference piece. Nor is it a lazy view of the subject from the rear of the balcony . . . Irresistible, tremendously informative and a just plain good read. And yes, it should be in the library of every lover of symphonic music and certainly every collector of books on music. Period! New Music Connoisseur
Absorbing. The New Yorker
A fascinating history of the tangled but sometimes fruitful relationship between politics and the arts in Americaa story written with admiration, respect and affection, but also with a candor and detail . . . Highly detailed and informative, but written with ease and authority and dramatic immediacy . . . A frank, detailed account of how an important performing company operates in a large American city. The Plain Dealer
Although [t]his history weighs in at an impressive 550 pages, it never seems overlong. This is mainly because of the many larger-than-life characters that crowd the pages, and the skillful way in which Rosenberg balances all the myriad factors that have determined the growth of one of America's finest orchestras . . . Rosenberg writes in an easy, readable style. It is the best kind of American critical writing: clear and to the point. His account is well structured and finely edited. International Record Review
A gripping, complex, sweeping, highly recommended story of true drama and high achievement . . . “Must” reading for anyone who has admired this American music institution as well as the men and women who made it possible. Midwest Book Review
A tour de force and will be the standard for many years. Rosenberg never loses sight of the human element in the orchestra's history . . . It is long, but it is a wonderful read. The Weekly Villager
Portrays fascinating details in a balanced account . . . This book is a must for music lovers. Before reading this work, I never realized the struggles, frustrations, infighting and financial worries of the courageous men and women who made this orchestra happen and develop into what it is today. Music Clubs Magazine, National Federation of Music Clubs
It is a story well worth the telling and he tells it well . . . The story of what can happen to an orchestra when a community decides it wants a winner. The Toronto Star
About Donald Rosenberg
Donald Rosenberg is a classical music critic for The Plain Dealer and vice president of the Music Critics Association of North America. He was formerly music and dance critic of the Akron Beacon Journal and the Pittsburgh Press. His writing has appeared in Symphony Magazine, Opera News, Opera (London), Musical America, and other publications. An accomplished French horn player, he has performed at the prestigious Aspen and Marlboro music festivals. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music (Bachelor of Music degree) and the Yale School of Music (Master of Music and Master of Musical Arts degrees). He was born in New York City and lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio. More About Donald Rosenberg
Contains References to:
Blossom Music Center, Classical Music, Cleveland Public Auditorium, Cleveland String Quartet, George Szell, Gray's Armory, John L. Severance, Lorin Maazel, Music History, Nikolai Sokoloff, Severance Hall,