For a decade, Cleveland Orchestra has proudly called Miami home

By Sheldon Anderson

Cleveland Orchestra Miami introduces many children to their first live symphony concert.
Cleveland Orchestra Miami introduces many children to their first live symphony concert. Cleveland Orchestra Miami

A decade ago, a handful of dedicated Miami business leaders, philanthropists and arts advocates discovered that we all shared a love for music. Together we crystallized an idea to share that love with all of Miami. By capitalizing on the city’s rising acclaim as a cultural hub by utilizing the brand-new performing arts center being built downtown and by claiming one of the world’s best orchestras as Miami’s own, South Florida could become even greater.

Onstage and throughout the community, classical music could shine brighter than ever here, with exceptional and vibrant musical performances by The Cleveland Orchestra.

No one knew if the idea could succeed.

Ten years later, we can see not only that Cleveland Orchestra Miami was indeed an idea worth pursuing, but also that it was implemented and nurtured with sufficient care that the reality has been a tremendous success for all of Miami-Dade.

Almost overnight, Miami now boasts one of the world’s great orchestras. The unique time-share ownership of the wondrous Cleveland Orchestra — led by internationally renowned Music Director Franz Welser-Möst — has made a tremendous positive impact on the city’s cultural life. The acclaim and attention that The Cleveland Orchestra has brought to Miami is matched only by the power of the musical experiences now accessible to South Florida residents.

Ten years of great orchestral performances by the world’s best musicians at the world-class Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Yes, Cleveland Orchestra Miami has delivered that, for sure. But, more important, we are fostering interest in music among young people by exposing thousands of public school students to their first live symphony concert. Cleveland Orchestra musicians also reach our city’s youngest residents through short Musical Rainbows programs, introducing families to the instruments of the orchestra. And they nurture older students intent on musical careers, with partners including the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, through master classes. Free community performances have enabled thousands to experience the transformative power of music.

All of this is fulfilling and expanding the original dream for sharing great music with our great city. In these first 10 years, we have been proud to touch the lives of over a quarter-million music lovers from across Miami; to present music programs for more than 65,000 young people across the county; to engage more than 40,000 students from 200 schools in Miami-Dade’s public school system; to collaborate with more than 75 local partner organizations and sponsoring corporations across South Florida; to share music and music-making throughout the region.

This week, The Cleveland Orchestra returns to our city for the final performances of a wonderfully successful 10th anniversary season. In addition to three evening concerts at the Arsht Center, Thursday through Saturday, we are offering a special Community Music Celebration of our first 10 years. Saturday morning, Cleveland Orchestra musicians will present 10 unique free music performances in partnership with the Miami-Dade Public Library System at 10 locations across the county. These free performances are offered as part of Cleveland Orchestra Miami’s mission to share the joy and splendor of music — and as a special thank you to everyone who has helped this dream come true. Details are online at clevelandorchestramiami.com.

We thank Miami for embracing a special idea and for stepping forward to experience and support what we offer. Come, listen, enjoy and share with us and all of Miami-Dade — 10 years is just the beginning.

Sheldon Anderson is the chairman of the Miami Music Association, the Miami-based board of directors for Cleveland Orchestra Miami.