Program updates for 2020-21 season

Throughout the summer, Orchestra musicians performed for community members across Northeast Ohio and the Orchestra expanded online resources for families and children

Free educational, family-friendly videos to be released during the 2020-21 season

The Lullaby Project — a collaborative program with local agencies to combat infant mortality — continues in virtual format

Youth ensembles (Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Youth Chorus, and Children’s Chorus) continue to engage student-musicians through virtual instruction and performances

Education opportunities for adults continue with Music In Depth video series

Cleveland Orchestra musicians perform at Seidman Cancer Center, summer 2020. Photo by Denzel Washington.November 24, 2020 – The Lullaby Project. Clockwise from top left: Kathleen Collins (Cleveland Orchestra violin)  Sarah Lamb (Cleveland Orchestra community engagement manager), Antonette Combs (participant), & Alana Dennis (music therapist)

CLEVELAND – Today, The Cleveland Orchestra announced details of its ongoing education and community engagement programs, which provide families, children, and citizens across Northeast Ohio and around the world with opportunities to connect with the Orchestra and music. The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to bringing a wide range of dynamic, interactive education and community programs to the region amidst the ongoing pandemic. Across this challenging time, the Orchestra has adapted its programs to serve audiences in new ways, delivering music and educational resources using an approach that prioritizes health and safety. The Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs have reached more than four million people in the 102-year history of the institution, and in previous years have annually served more than 100,000 students and families.

“The pandemic has provided new challenges, but also many new opportunities to support a larger community with digital offerings — especially to support teachers, parents, caregivers and students wherever learning is taking place,” said Joan Katz Napoli, Senior Director of Education and Community Programs.

Recap: 2020 Summer & Early Fall

Since the early days of the pandemic in March 2020, Cleveland Orchestra musicians have worked tirelessly to continue bringing music to the Northeast Ohio community. Here are some of the ways in which the Orchestra connected and served our community this past summer:

·       As the summer began, Cleveland Orchestra musicians performed more than 30 concerts across three weeks on multiple campuses of the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth to honor the dedication of frontline workers in a program called Salute to Healthcare Heroes. The Cleveland Clinic’s CEO and President Dr. Thomas Mihaljevic tweeted, “Musicians are using the power of music to uplift and inspire our caregivers. Thank you for these beautiful concerts!” Video from one of the concerts was highlighted by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine during one of his semi-weekly coronavirus press conferences.

·       Musicians planned more than 50 socially-distant outdoor pop-up concerts around the region — in driveways, front yards, grocery stores, and parks. “The city is starved for interpersonal experiences that make us human — a lot of which revolve around music or consumption of art forms,” said Cleveland Orchestra violist Lisa Boyko. “We’re taking our music to where people are.” Photos and videos from these concerts were posted on The Cleveland Orchestra’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) and are available upon request.

·       While unable to perform together at Severance Hall, Cleveland Orchestra musicians created performance and education videos from home and outdoor locations around the region that were offered for free across social media (playlist here). A few notable video projects:

o   Cellist Alan Harrell created a pair of videos entitled Cleveland Bachs, performing the music of Bach at familiar sites across Greater Cleveland. The first video features several iconic locations, including Severance Hall, the “Cleveland” script sign near the lakefront, Playhouse Square, Public Square, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Downtown Cleveland.  The second video highlights some of Cleveland’s natural wonders, including Blossom Music Center (The Cleveland Orchestra’s summer home), Cleveland Metroparks, Holden Arboretum, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

o   Inspired by Harrell’s Cleveland Bachs videos, more than 100 musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus created the Beethoven 9 Project, performing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in public spaces across Greater Cleveland. It has become the Orchestra’s most popular video on social media this year, reaching more than 300,000 music lovers. It also received wide media coverage and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning online, WKYC TV-3 NBC, The Plain Dealer/, and others. The video is included in the Global Ode to Joy project, a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture and YouTube celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday. In addition, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine featured the video in his statewide press conference.

o   The Cleveland Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus joined with Tri-C’s Vocal Arts Mastery program for a virtual performance of the gospel favorite, “Oh Happy Day.” The video brought together more than 50 voices from across the community. Governor DeWine also featured this video in a statewide press conference.

o   Cleveland Orchestra musicians filmed educational, instructional, and family-friendly videos for students and families. These included an Ode to Joy-themed series by violist Lisa Boyko, a Music and Our Senses series by violinist Kathleen Collins, the Classical Kiddos Facebook Live series with cellist Alan Harrell, Meet the Cello by Martha Baldwin, and performances by cellist Brian Thornton and bassoonist Jonathan Sherwin. A playlist of educational videos is available through The Cleveland Orchestra’s YouTube channel.

·       Members of The Cleveland Orchestra and guests played an hour-long concert of music by Latin American composers, narrated in both English and Spanish, for Hispanic Heritage Month. The outdoor performance was part of the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center’s annual festival. A playlist of videos from the presentation can be found on YouTube.

·       As the 2019-20 school year ended, Cleveland Orchestra musicians continued teaching students in the Crescendo and Sam J. Frankino Foundation Music Mentors programs through remote instruction and socially-distanced outdoor meetings. Musicians were able to provide high-quality music instruction to more than 50 students through Mound School Strings (grades 3-4), Wade Park Brass (grades 5-6), and Cleveland School of the Arts Music Mentors program (grades 9-12). These virtual programs continue into the 2020-21 season. Crescendo is made possible by generous support from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The D’Addario Foundation, The Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund, and Third Federal Foundation. Music Mentors is supported by the Corinne L. Dodero Foundation for the Arts and Sciences.

·       The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) wrapped up its season with a virtual gathering featuring the ensemble’s young musicians and Music Director Vinay Parameswaran. You can see highlights from their virtual send-off here: Auditions for the 2020-21 season were held virtually via video submissions.

·        The Neighborhood Partners program, which began during the 2018-19 season, continues to develop and expand relationships with the Greater Cleveland community. Through “At Home” Neighborhood Residencies, from 2013 to 2016, the Orchestra visited and built relationships with residents and organizations in Gordon Square, Lakewood, Slavic Village, and Hough. With Neighborhood Partners, the Orchestra deepens its relationships with Northeast Ohio communities, building a sustainable model of engagement and strengthening these areas through long-term music programs created and implemented collaboratively based on neighborhood-specific priorities and needs. This program is generously supported by the Paul M. Angell Foundation. More details of programs connected with Neighborhood Partners can be found here:

·       The Cleveland Orchestra expanded online learning resources for students. Virtual resources include:

o   PNC Music Explorers: In each interactive episode of this web series, young people ages 3-6 (and their families) are introduced to the instruments of the orchestra one at a time, with lively and friendly hosts Major Scale and Ranger Rhythm. The Cleveland Orchestra’s Music Explorers program is sponsored by PNC.

o   More Learning Resources: A full library, including interactive video lessons for each age group, are available at

Recent and Upcoming Educational and Family-Friendly Videos

Education and Family concerts are continuing during the 2020-21 season in a virtual format. Digital Education Concerts will be offered for free to all schools, thanks to a transformational gift from Mrs. Jane B. Nord and support from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Beginning in January 2021, these concerts will be provided to students around the region in Grades 3-8, led by Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor Vinay Parameswaran. Family Concerts are also moving to a virtual format, with free videos for kids and families being released across the Orchestra’s social media channels. In place of the Orchestra’s annual Halloween Spooktacular concert, a series of “Music for Halloween” videos was presented for free online this past October — featuring performances by Cleveland Orchestra musicians in costume at Severance Hall. These included “Feed the Birds” from Disney’s Mary Poppins performed and arranged by principal harp Trina Struble, Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre” performed by associate concertmaster Jung-Min Amy Lee and keyboard/violin Carolyn Warner on piano, and Bach’s Toccata in D Minor performed by principal keyboard Joela Jones on the Norton Memorial Organ. Details of future Digital Family Concerts will be announced in 2021. The Cleveland Orchestra’s Family Concert Series is supported by the Weiss Family Foundation, with additional support from The Giant Eagle Foundation.

In response to requests from area teachers, the Orchestra released a new video series called Choose Your Instrument! Each episode features a Cleveland Orchestra musician showing kids their instrument, sharing their personal stories and passion for music, and providing tips for getting started in music-making. The goal is to encourage young people to join their school band or orchestra, or local community program, by giving aspiring musicians the opportunity to learn which instrument may be right for them.

The popular adult learning program Music Study Groups has been revamped for a new digital series. Music In Depth helps viewers to unlock the magic of orchestral music. Led by Dr. Rose Breckenridge, music-lovers experience virtual lectures and guided listening sessions from the comfort of their homes. Each video provides a deep dive into one of the pieces on the Orchestra’s In Focus series, available through the Adella digital streaming app.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Open House will take on a virtual format this season, with videos from community partners and Cleveland Orchestra musicians released in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy. Details about the repertoire, community partners, and videos will be announced in the coming months.

Lullaby Project

Through the Lullaby Projecta Carnegie Hall-inspired program, pregnant and new parents work side-by-side with Cleveland Orchestra musicians and music therapists to create, sing, and share a personal lullaby for their babies. The Lullaby Project, in coordination with organizations across Cuyahoga County that are fighting to lower the infant mortality rate, raises awareness for this important issue while supporting maternal health, aiding child development, strengthening bonds between parent and child, and offering an outlet for mothers and fathers to use their voices to make an impact in the lives of their families. The program began in the Hough neighborhood in October 2019, in partnership with the Lexington-Bell Community Center’s Mom’s First program, and continued through Spring 2020, with regular lullaby writing sessions at community centers, churches, and in participants’ homes.

This season, the program will be offered virtually to parents. The Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center has been added to the list of community partners, and participants are connected with resources for early-childhood development. An information session can be viewed on YouTube. Generous support for the Lullaby Project is provided by Wesley Family Foundation.

Youth Ensembles

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) will continue during the 2020-21 season, with coaching and meetings offered virtually. The student-musicians are currently being offered a virtual curriculum involving sessions with Cleveland Orchestra musicians, music director Vinay Parameswaran, and guest artists. Recently, COYO musicians were given a special opportunity to speak with composer Gabriela Lena Frank, whose music is among the repertoire programmed for the ensemble. Video from that conversation can be viewed here.

COYO is supported by a generous grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and by gifts from many other donors across Northeast Ohio. Endowment support is provided by The George Gund Foundation and Christine Gitlin Miles. COYO touring is supported by an endowment gift from the Jules and Ruth Vinney Family. Anthony and Patricia Lauria recently endowed the Principal Viola chair of COYO. More information about COYO is available here:

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus (COYC), Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus (COCC), and Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Preparatory Chorus (COCPC) have also taken on a virtual format this season, with young people gathering digitally and receiving coaching online. Daniel Singer continues to direct COYC, along with assistant director Adam Landry. New choral directors Alexander Looney (director, COCC) and Jelani Watkins (assistant director, COCC; director, COCPC) began their first seasons with Cleveland Orchestra choral ensembles. Support for the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus is provided by the Edward and Ruth Wilkof Foundation. Details about choruses can be found here:

Mindful Music Moments

Mindful Music Moments, an innovative musical tool for social-emotional wellbeing created through a partnership with The Well, provides students with a four-minute daily dose of classical music coupled with mindfulness techniques delivered through participating schools’ morning announcements. Involvement in this program creates a calm, focused start to each school day that reduces anxiety, fosters a positive learning environment, nurtures a positive association with classical music, and expands access to music on a regular basis through recordings by The Cleveland Orchestra. Now in its fourth year, thousands of students across Northeast Ohio hear The Cleveland Orchestra every school day. For an example, visit Mindful Music Moments is supported by The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation. Details can be found here:

For more information about Education and Community Engagement programs and learning resources, visit

Cleveland Orchestra Education and Community Engagement Vision
The Cleveland Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs are part of its bold vision for the future. The Orchestra recognizes its responsibility to reimagine the music education landscape in Northeast Ohio — for the region’s children and for our collective future. These programs and offerings move the Orchestra closer to accomplishing four key goals:

1.      Expand access and remove barriers so that every child in Greater Cleveland can experience The Cleveland Orchestra.

2.      Enable more children — from all walks of life — to play music and reap the lifelong cognitive, academic, and social-emotional benefits that music study provides.

3.      Advocate for why music matters, raising awareness for the well-documented benefits of music for people of all ages and for the essential role music and the arts play in society.

4.      Unite our diverse community through music, connecting people to each other through the power of music.

The Cleveland Orchestra’s Education and Community Programs Serving Northeast Ohio
The Cleveland Orchestra’s commitment to education and community service was central to the establishment of the Orchestra in 1918, and has never been more important. Over the past hundred years, The Cleveland Orchestra has introduced more than four million young people to symphonic music through live concert experiences. Today, with the support of many generous individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental funding partners, the Orchestra’s education and community programs in recent years have reached more than 100,000 young people and adults annually, helping to foster a lifelong relationship with music. As Music Director Franz Welser-Mӧst leads the Orchestra into its second century with a renewed commitment to music education and community engagement based on his belief that every child’s life should include music, he continues to emphasize that the arts are critical to a well-rounded education and that learning is a lifelong pursuit and journey.

As we look to the future, we strive to be Cleveland’s Orchestra, engaging our diverse citizenry and building community through music, removing barriers to participation, advocating for and helping to facilitate equitable access to comprehensive music education in schools, nurturing the next generation of musicians and audience members, and harnessing the life-changing power of music to make the world a better place through new initiatives developed for even greater impact.  For more information visit

In addition to those listed above, The Cleveland Orchestra is grateful to the following individuals and organizations for their annual support of our education programs:

The Abington Foundation

The Bruening Foundation

Mary E. & F. Joseph Callahan Foundation

The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation

The D’Addario Foundation

Corinne L. Dodero Foundation for the Arts and Sciences

Ernst & Young LLP

The Sam J. Frankino Foundation

The Harry K. and Emma R. Fox Charitable Foundation

Muna & Basem Hishmeh Foundation

Pamela Jacobson

Jones Day

Ms. Eileen Sotak and Mr. William Kessler

The Laub Foundation

Anthony T. and Patricia A. Lauria

The Lubrizol Corporation

The Nord Family Foundation

Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation, Inc. (Miami)


The Reinberger Foundation

The Albert G. and Olive H. Schlink Foundation

The Sherwin-Williams Company

Richard & Emily Smucker Family Foundation

The Veale Foundation

The George Garretson Wade Charitable Trust

The Thomas H. White Foundation

Edward and Ruth Wilkof Foundation


The programs detailed in this release are supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the residents of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.