The Oberlin Review

Cleveland Orchestra Fails to Provide Diversity in Repertoire

Matthew Bickett, Contributing Writer

September 21, 2018

James Oestreich of The New York Times says the Cleveland Orchestra “may (quietly) be America’s best.” But what does it mean to be one of the best orchestras? For the players on stage, it means performing with exquisite sensitivity and responding to the scores and conductors in front of them with unparalleled skill. For the artistic direction, it means leading the ensemble down the path to irrelevance and eventual obscurity. Oestreich is wrong; the Cleveland Orchestra is not one of the best. In fact, they’re hardly an orchestra at all. Rather than an orchestra, I’d say they’re an ensemble specializing in the performance of music by European men. In much the same way that eighth blackbird plays only contemp...

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