The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra is home to some of the greatest orchestras in the world.
The orchestra has been playing for over a century and boasts an unparalleled collection of works.
We sat down with one of the orchestra’s original composers, George Chiang, to learn about his work, his experiences on the road with the orchestra, and what it takes to get the best out of your own music.
For a long time, you guys were all in one band.
Can you tell us a little bit about your history with the Cleveland Orchestra?
George: The Cleveland Orchestra started out with a very basic idea.
We wanted to have a band of musicians and we wanted to play live, but we didn’t want to just have our own orchestra.
We didn’t have the right instruments to play on the stage, and we didn: the organ, which we had a really bad reputation for playing.
We had a very limited number of instruments, and the whole idea was to have musicians who had all kinds of talents and experience.
We needed someone who could be a bit more of a conductor.
And that was George.
He was the only one who could play the trumpet.
So we called him Mr. Chiang.
He got on the phone, said, I have this idea.
And I said, Well, what’s the idea?
He said, This is a great idea.
I said okay.
And we went to rehearsal and it was just wonderful.
We started rehearsing.
It was like a circus.
And when we got to the last minute, we had an idea to change it up.
We were in the middle of rehearsals, and they were doing the same thing over and over again, and it started to feel like a choreographed performance.
I started thinking, Oh, well, if I just make up an orchestra and call it the Cleveland Symphony, that would be fun.
So I thought, Oh!
Let’s do that.
But I realized that there were so many things going on behind the scenes, that I just couldn’t do that with just my orchestra.
I didn’t think that we could get on the same stage.
It wasn’t a big deal, and I was just so grateful for the opportunity to play in front of the world and have a great orchestra.
So, I went back to the drawing board and started thinking about what we could do differently.
And the first thing that came to mind was, Let’s have a small orchestra.
It’s a very small orchestra, it’s only about 100 people.
I think that’s a lot of musicians.
But if we have 100 people and we have the chance to play together, that’s one of our strengths.
We could have more people.
But we could also have a very specific kind of music, a certain type of music that we have in our repertoire that could be played at the symphony.
And it would be something different from the typical concert orchestra, which is the type that has a lot more instruments.
And if we could have that kind of orchestra, we would be able to do that a lot better.
And then the second thing was, I had this idea that I wanted to make a large orchestra, because I wanted an orchestra that could represent the city of Cleveland in a bigger way.
I thought it would help me understand the city.
So, I thought of the Cleveland International Opera.
And then I went to the Cleveland Opera and did some auditions.
And they had a lot to do with what I wanted.
And so, I said to myself, I want to go to Cleveland and make this orchestra.
And in November of ’87, we went on our first performance.
The first performance was at the Cleveland Metroparks.
And George said, You know, I think I know what we’re going to do.
So the next performance was in downtown Cleveland.
And after that, I got the first big break.
I got a job with the Metropolitan Opera of Greater Cleveland, which was the biggest orchestra in the United States.
We put a production of Don Quixote into the orchestra.
They had the conductor, a lot.
I was the conductor and the orchestra was just unbelievable.
And there were a lot, a hundred, two thousand musicians, a very diverse group.
And of course, I played the trumpet in that orchestra.
And that was the beginning of the next big thing.
I worked with the Boston Symphony.
And finally, I did the Cleveland orchestra.
That was a big breakthrough.
It gave me the confidence to say, Okay, this is my dream job.
I can make this thing work.
And eventually, it became a great success.
But it wasn’t just the orchestra that I did.
I did everything from the production of The Tempest to the production in Chicago of The Great Gatsby.
So everything I did, I was a part of it. And now