A Chamber Music Interlude: TCO plays Bratislava (Nov. 2013)

When the Omni Quartet was approached to perform for the US ambassador to Slovakia in Bratislava, we were not only excited about the opportunity to experience a place we’d never been, but to also reconnect our string quartet voices on what has been a rewarding and unrelenting tour both in terms of travel and the sheer girth of symphonic repertoire. Many skills used in section orchestral playing are highlighted in chamber music playing: knowing when to blend one’s sound and with whom to blend with; spontaneously reacting to how a solo line is being shaped; and also understanding when to bring out one’s own line. We knew that preparing for and performing this concert would not only be a joy in and of itself, but would also sharpen and hone the skills we use daily in the Cleveland Orchestra. Our program offering was Beethoven’s epic late String Quartet, Opus 132, chosen to parallel the Beethoven/Shostakovich festival with TCO.

Surprisingly, Bratislava is only an hour east of Vienna by car. As daylight waned, we passed through some beautiful, quaint towns, hoping each time they would be our destination. Dusk settled, and we finally found ourselves in a sprawling modern city, crowned by a brightly-lit, white castle on a hill overlooking the city. We were warmly welcomed at the Primatial Palace, and ushered up a grand staircase to our concert space, the Hall of Mirrors. After a brief sound check, the audience filled the room, and opening remarks were made. Guests included dignitaries from the US, Slovakia, TCO representatives, as well as a few of our own quartet family members. It was particularly meaningful to have the parents of our violist Joanna Patterson Zakany in attendance, (both of whom are wonderful musicians). 

As we drew the first notes of Beethoven from our instruments, it was clear that the warm and live acoustics one could only expect from a room called the Hall of Mirrors, would be a fine environment to experience the mercurial world of late Beethoven. 

After the performance, we all moved to the reception where we were treated to a beautiful array of cakes and fruit. Needless to say, touring can be quite a challenge to the waistline. It was only at the reception that we began to piece together the true significance of a TCO concert in Bratislava. The American Ambassador explained to us that Bratislava was the sister city to Cleveland. Not only that, but he himself comes from Lakewood, OH. He is a great lover of the arts, and has chosen to decorate his home with paintings by Cleveland artists on loan to him from our own Cleveland Museum of Art. There seemed to be a great deal of goodwill between our Slovakian friends and our TCO leadership. Who can say what this event will lead to, but we would be overjoyed to become better acquainted with our sister city, and to have a chance to perform there as an orchestra.


The 2013 Blossom Photo Contest

Share your photos from your Blossom Festival concert experience on the “Cleveland Orchestra Musicians” Facebook page (

Did you enjoy the concert? Care to share a few fun picnic photos? WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT! Please share your favorites now: 

*Post photos of you, your family and friends, i.e. of your Blossom Festival experience, on the picturesque Blossom grounds.

The 10 photos with the most “likes” will win a CD featuring a member of the Cleveland Orchestra. We will also showcase these select photos on our website and FB page.

Please follow these simple guidelines:

  1. 1. Post/share your photos from your 2013 Cleveland Orchestra concert at Blossom to the Cleveland Orchestra Musicians Facebook page (
  2. 2. Please title your photo “2013BPC” and add the date when it was taken (for example “2013BPC” – August 11). Any photos from the 2013 Blossom Festival will be accepted.
  3. 3. Encourage your friends to “like” your photo submissions.
“Likes” will be tallied on September 7th (at exactly 1pm ET) and CD winners will be contacted shortly after. 
*To increase your chances of winning, you may submit as many photos as you like, but we will award only 1 CD per contestant/family. Please note that taking pictures inside the Pavilion during performances is not permitted, and as such, we will be unable to consider those submitted photos for award.



David Zauder (1928/1931-2013)

Dear Friends,

Our colleague, trumpeter David Zauder, passed away earlier this week surrounded by his family. Despite being a Holocaust survivor, David kept an inspiring outlook on life (below you can find a link to an interview with him). David served in the trumpet section from 1958-1997, was the Orchestra’s Personnel Manager and Assistant Personnel Manger for 36 Seasons and a stalwart friend of the institution. He will be greatly missed. 

In Gary Henson’s “Perspectives from the Executive Director” he writes, “I remember David as a leader who faced every challenge with good humor and good judgment. And no matter how difficult the situation, you were always aware of his love for the institution, and for the people around him. He cared about everyone and no occasion in the lives of his colleagues was too small to go unrecognized.” 

David’s obituary from the Plain Dealer 

Article from an International Trumpet Guild Journal. Frank Kaderabek interviews David Zauder 

David’s daughter, Karen Z. Brass, has written a descriptive book on David’s survival of four concentration camps, entitled, “I am a Standupster” and is available at More information about David’s life may be found at



Shamrock 10m Run (St. Patrick’s Day, 2013)

(By Jack Sutte, Trumpet)
    I’m up, jarred awake by the unwanted chime of my watch alarm. It’s still dark; the blackout curtains are
closed. It’s 4:37am–uggh. My smart phone alarm joins the chorus of unwanted sounds. Was it necessary
to set two alarms? The Ultra Fest—a 24-hour techno music rave—is in full swing throughout downtown
Miami and has spilled over into the hotel. Maybe someone should design noise-out curtains? It’s a good
thing I banked a full night’s sleep two nights before. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Time to get dressed for the
race. It’s chilly and breezy; temperatures are in the low 60s. Brrr. How warm will the temperatures get in
Florida? I wait to put my contacts in; my eyes are tired. The coffee brews while I make sure I have food
and water packed; it’s going to be a good day.
    Less than twenty minutes later I find Barry Stees, who will be doing the driving, waiting downstairs.
Rich King is prompt at 2 minutes prior to 5 bells. After load in is complete, we begin the drive to Lake
Worth, Florida, which is a straight shot on I-95N past Fort Lauderdale. Our race destination is the 37th
Annual Shamrock 10 Miler at John Prince Park.
    We are punchy, silly and goofy. It’s early, and the open-faced sandwiches consisting of warm, crunchy
peanut butter on high protein bread pale in comparison to the idea of a restaurant breakfast. But with
cups of hotel room coffee and a solid rental car we push toward the starting line. The good company
and gemütlich feel in our red rental car round out the early morning conversation, sparking and charging
the energy we will need for the race. We are in the HOV lane just after 5am. King notices that the race
promotion materials asks that you hydrate properly, and we spend the next few minutes joking about the
fact that there is no “please” before the “hydrate properly.” (We have run many distance races, and are
familiar with the importance of proper pre-race food and drink.) Barry next interjects a story from his
Boston Marathon experience. He happens upon a running partner for a few miles (one of the registered
26K) with an interesting and funny T-shirt message, “Neither of us is going to win.” How is it possible all
the great one-liners are either on T-shirts or bumper stickers?
    Twenty minutes into our drive we come to a complete stop. An accident—perhaps Ultra Fest related?
Four cars are piled up with their front ends smashed. Luckily we’re only stopped for five minutes before
we are cruising north once again.
    As we drive we take note of our favorite parts of running and participating in races:
Rich King: “Love the T-shirts! I’ve been running for so many years, I don’t know why I like doing races.
When I started doing triathlons, I liked being anonymous. I have no expectations, which is in contrast to
the on the job pressures of ‘great expectations.’ I love the anonymity.
Barry Stees: “I love running and being out on country roads by myself; it clears the head. Races are fun
and people are there to have a good time and to have fun.”
Jack Sutte: “I like working towards an event. Today is my first race in over a year, and it is a treat to think
about racing again following a knee injury. In training for today I have remembered how much I enjoy the
physical adaptation with dedicated work. It’s a lot like the necessary practice involved with instrumental
music. I also like that the feel and excitement of race day is contagious among the participants.”
    We arrive at the race site and the first thing on the agenda is packet pick up. It’s cold and breezy here too,
so we pull out our long sleeved technical running shirts. The port-a-potties are sanitary; there is nothing
better than a clean port-a-potty, a simple race day pleasure. We joke that when one of us is in one, the
other two will knock him over in it. We hydrate in preparation for the race and wait in the car. I finally get
my contacts in and prepare the yellow lenses in my sunglasses. Hydrate again. Bathroom again.
    We pin our race numbers on the front of our singlets. Now it’s 7:00am it’s time to do a light jog to get the
system moving. The sun miraculously comes up so we take a few pictures and the long sleeve t’s come
off. We walk from the registration area over to the starting line, joining hundreds of new running friends
in a sea of leprechaun inspired green and white run garb.
7:30: The master of ceremonies remarks there may be some PR’s (personal records). It’s perfect running
weather. The air horn sounds, and we are off. The course is flat in and around the park, most of which is
on running paths. We settle into our respective rhythms. All of our training has paid off.
Post-Race Comments:
King: Great! Really fun. Narrowly missed an age group trophy! (1:26:43)
Stees: Nice to be a part of the Shamrock celebration! Great day, great race! (1:12:20)
Sutte: Beautiful course and well supported race! Lots of green, and some Leprechaun-ish costumes.



Orchestra – A Love Story

(By Martha Baldwin, Cello)

    Solo playing, chamber music, orchestra, teaching – I loved them all in college but at some point, we all must start to narrow our focus and work to establish a career that is dominated by one or two of these. I think the most often over-looked aspect of choosing what direction to take your musical talents (insert LeBron goes to Miami joke here), is thoughtful consideration of the daily life. Happiness in life and career is so often not determined by money or status but by how closely our lives conform to our personal ideals and individual quirks. Young cellists often ask me “Why did you choose to play in an orchestra?” This is my answer.

    I’m a planner. I am happiest with a stable structured day with a decent amount of routine and lots of predictability – but with some variety. Our weeks at the Cleveland Orchestra are very often the same – rehearsals Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Concerts Thursday, Friday, Saturday, many Sundays and the odd Saturday morning or Friday afternoon rehearsal thrown in for good measure. We get our schedule up to a year in advance – I can tell you today what I’ll be playing and where I’ll be on a Wednesday morning in May 9 months in advance and that suits me. 

    I have a remarkably short attention span. No, I don’t mean I can’t concentrate for long periods (although some days that’s more true than others) but I LOVE the fact that every week we play a new and different program. If we are playing music I don’t enjoy I just have to wait a few days – next Tuesday it will be all different!

    I love stability and predictability. (While these aren’t words currently associated with many American orchestras, I’m optimistic that orchestras will stabilize again and this will continue to be a benefit of our profession.) I’ve had years that were lean financially and years that were better – what works for me is knowing what’s coming. I like to know that I’ll have a steady paycheck and exactly how much will be in it– large or small, I can make it work so long as I can plan for it.

    I love variety. I love that with my job I can teach and play some chamber music. I absolutely adore my students and I love that I can teach at the Cleveland Institute of Music right around the corner from the concert hall and that I can perform chamber music with my colleagues. I like getting to do a little bit of everything. It’s a privilege I feel grateful for every week.

    I love to travel. Touring is both one of the best and worst parts of my job. I love traveling and I treasure the time I get to spend on the road with my colleagues playing in wonderful concert halls, exploring beautiful cities, bonding over late-night dinners. On the other hand, touring takes me away from my family which is sad and hard on us all sometimes. Luckily, with my job we are rarely away from home more than 9 or 10 weeks a year so it is manageable – the best of both worlds perhaps. 

    I love and admire my friends. Music has always been a social outlet for me and I’m lucky to get to go to work every day with my closest friends. We spend holidays together, travel together, play together – it’s a wonderfully warm and social life. I’m lucky – my fellow cellists in the section are remarkable players and musicians. I honestly feel challenged daily to strive for their level of excellence and they serve as a constant inspiration to me.

    I have a baby. As a new mother I’m especially grateful for my mom-friendly schedule. Almost half my work (concerts) is in the evening after my little one is in bed already. I will be able to drop her off and pick her up from school, be there to help with homework, and still be able to work full time.

    This is not to say that playing in an orchestra is the best job in the world, it’s just that it is the right job for me. Before you decide how and where you want to play your cello take a moment to consider the kind of life you want to live every day. There’s a way to fit your cello into it no matter what your answer is!

(“Orchestra – A Love Story” was originally posted to on Jan 27, 2013)



Minnesota Orchestra Lock-Out

    The musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra wish to express solidarity with the members of the Minnesota Orchestra.  We are donating $10,000 to help support the efforts of our friends and colleagues who aim to preserve artistic excellence, and in so doing join many other orchestras for whom keeping high quality orchestral music alive and well in Minnesota is a top priority.

For more information, please visit: