Cleveland Orchestra takes over Cartwright Hall


A member of the Cleveland Orchestra plays during the performance on Friday in Cartwright Hall. 

As Symphony No. 104, “London,” drew to a close, the crowd in Cartwright Hall was quick to its feet, giving the orchestra its second standing ovation of the morning.

The Cleveland Orchestra played in a hall packed with Kent State students and alumi, as well as students from several local high schools on Friday.

Ricardo Sepúlveda is the director of the Kent Blossom Music Festival, and he was thrilled to be able to get the orchestra in Cartwright Hall.

“To have them come onto campus and to have some of those very musicians be part of our faculty is a great asset,” Sepúlveda said. “If anything, it speaks to the quality of teaching Kent State and the School of Music has, to be able to learn from the best of the best.”

Andrew Paa is a graduate student in communications and marketing assistant for Kent Blossom.

“It is an amazing opportunity that they are able to come down here and play for the students,” Paa said. “It brings the music to them so that they don’t have to go up to Cleveland to see it.”

Local area high schools such as Hudson, Stow-Munroe and Firestone were in attendance as well.

“One of our big goals when we first said we were going to have this concert was to bring in a lot of area high schools,” Paa said. “It’s often hard for them to really get this quality of music. Sometimes their families can’t make it to Severance [Hall].”

Severance Hall is where the orchestra plays in Cleveland, and it can be difficult for high schoolers to get there and afford tickets.

The orchestra was led by conductor Nicholas McGegan in playing three pieces, one of which was “London,” and the others were Overture to “Rosamunde” and Trumpet Concerto in E major.

Trumpet Concerto was performed with the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal trumpet Michael Sachs.

The orchestra came to Kent thanks to the Kent Blossom program, which is a partnership between the orchestra and Kent State’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. The partnership began on the founding of the Blossom Music Center in 1968, and it mainly consists of a summer program.

“It gives an opportunity to the students to hone their skills in the summer,” Sepulveda said. “You have to practice everyday, continuously to get better. So we provide that opportunity for them.”

Students from anywhere can apply for the program, and after an intensive selection process they are enrolled in a five-week course.

The course includes workshops, training from members of the Cleveland Orchestra and the opportunity to play with them.

“They perform side-by-side with the orchestra,” Sepúlveda said. “We are part of their regular concert season and to be able to play alongside professional musicians is a remarkable opportunity.”

A piece of the partnership is that the orchestra plays in Kent, but this is the first time since 2010 that it has actually made the trip.

“They have a very tight schedule,” Paa said. “They do a lot of work and have international tours. So it comes down to scheduling when the hall is available, when they have a program that is appropriate for the hall and when they are not traveling. So it gets complicated.”

The organizers think the orchestra coming to Kent is important because it demonstrates the program to the campus.

“It just continues to help our partnership with the orchestra,” Paa said. “It shows how committed both organizations are to keeping this partnership as lively as it has been for the last 50 years.”


Contact Owen MacMillan at [email protected].