The Cleveland Orchestra announced its biggest giveaway to date on Thursday. The $ 50 million grant will contribute to the financial situation of the century-old institution as well as to its plans for the future.
Funding comes from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, based in Cleveland. Orchestra CEO Andre Gremillet said more than $ 31 million of the money would help bolster the ensemble’s endowment.
“This is by far the biggest gift the Cleveland Orchestra has ever received,” he said. “This is a clearly historic gift that is truly for the long term viability of the orchestra.”
As a thank you, the orchestra will name its main performance space the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Concert Hall. In addition, the orchestra renames Severance Hall. It will now be Severance Music Center. The change signals that the building offers more of a performance space and can accommodate various community events.
Financial support comes at a critical time as the orchestra has had to cut costs during the pandemic.
The rest of the money will support an opera festival and build digital streaming capabilities. Gremillet said the orchestra plans to install robotic cameras in the auditorium to quietly capture the performances for those who can’t attend in person. Last season, the orchestra produced a series of virtual concerts that subscribers could access through its Adella app. When asked if this experiment had proven to be financially viable, Gremillet called it a success for the time being.
“Adella did the job over the first few years making sure that our patrons, donors, subscribers got value from us, even if they couldn’t come into the room, ”he said. . “So that way it worked really well financially. But the model of the future, on which we are working, is not easy. It has to work both from a mission point of view and from a financial point of view as well. ”
Mandel Foundation CEO Jehuda Reinharz said the orchestra grant is double what has ever been awarded by his organization in its seven decades of history.
“This is essential, especially at a time when the humanities are in many cases devalued by government agencies, state agencies,” Reinharz said. “We believe that the humanities are essential in any field, and unfortunately there are not many organizations that support the humanities.”
The Cleveland Orchestra is launching its new season at the Severance Music Center on October 14.
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