CLE Orchestra creates young adult networking “Circle”

Maria Fazal, Staff Reporter

The Cleveland Orchestra has recently created a group targeted toward “young professionals.” This innovative new group is known as “The Circle” and welcomes youthful business-inclined individuals who are passionate about music and the Cleveland Orchestra.

The fee to join the budding new group is $15 per month for one membership or $20 per month for two, and new members join for a minimum of six months. Membership in “The Circle” comes with bimonthly tickets and opportunities to network with some of Northeast Ohio’s cultural business frontrunners.

The Cleveland Orchestra states, “The objectives of ‘The Circle’ are to increase engagement opportunities for young people ages 21 to 40 and to help develop future volunteer community leaders.” Additionally, members will be able to interact firsthand with musicians and mingle in Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center.

An opening reception was held for the newly formed group on Jan. 17th. The ceremony was followed by an artful performance by the Cleveland Orchestra of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony and a United States premiere of Jörg Widmann’s “Teufel Amor.” The performance featured Yefim Bronfman and was conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.

President of “The Circle” and Program Management Specialist for Forest City Enterprises Mackenzie Hutton says, “‘The Circle’ is a great addition to the Cleveland Young Professionals scene and will provide an unparalleled opportunity to become involved with a world-class orchestra and a true cultural gem.”

A launch event was held for the group in December at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Hutton called this event “the perfect way to introduce our new group.”

It’s evident “The Circle” is yet another method the orchestra is hoping to reach out to young people, perhaps to instill a thirst for classical orchestral music in the younger generations. The establishment of this new group is not surprising coming from the Cleveland Orchestra when given its track record.

For instance, consider the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), a group consisting of over 100 talented young musicians from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Founded and originally directed by Jahja Ling, the group rehearses weekly at Severance Hall and is trained by members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

These blossoming masters have even toured and performed across the world; past concerts having taken place in New York, Vienna, Prague and Salzburg. The orchestra, which is comprised from middle to high school age students, is currently directed by Brett Mitchell.

Additionally, the Cleveland Orchestra has integrated younger members of the community into several programs. One of these inventive methods targets children ages 3-6. These events are known as the PNC Musical Rainbow Concerts and appeal to kids with interactive activities.

The PNC Musical Rainbow Concerts are not only enjoyable for children, but are also enlightening, with music-related trivia questions and performances by the Cleveland Orchestra. According to the Cleveland Orchestra, “Children have the chance to sing, clap and move to the music as they have fun learning all about orchestral instruments.”

The Cleveland Orchestra also performs family concerts, which are targeted toward slightly older children. These concerts are narrated, only an hour long and feature “young musicians, mimes, dancers, actors and more.” Additionally, prior to the concert, children have the opportunity to participate in free hands-on Instrument Discovery.

With all of these youth-oriented events, it’s apparent an adoration for classical music will be burning in the hearts of many generations of Clevelanders to come. “The Circle” is a new way to focus on and aid a still-youthful age bracket.

Already, several promising young men and women are getting involved with this new opportunity. Some leaders of “The Circle” are Kristen Grabenstein, Forest City Enterprises; John Pal Siemborski, Ernst & Young LLP; Mary LaVenia, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Sherry Yu, a Case Western Reserve Medical Student.

The group instructs those interested in joining “The Circle” to email in order to join a future event as a prospective member.