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by Mike Telin

CHO-JinjooCleveland based violinist Jinjoo Cho has been named one of six contestants to be advanced to the final round of the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Cho, who is currently in her second year of Professional Studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, on Wednesday, September 17, with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra. On Friday, September 19, she will perform Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 with the Indianapolis Symphony. Both performances are under the direction of Joel Smirnoff.

Final rounds begin at 8:00 pm eastern time. Click here for live broadcast information. Click here for live streaming.


by Zsolt Bognár, Special Contributor


In a highly anticipated and much-publicized special event last Wednesday at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the young pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov premiered his own First Piano Concerto with the CIM Orchestra, as a benefit to the school’s scholarship fund.

Already known to the musical world for his appearances with most of the world’s major orchestras and for his winning streak in the Rubinstein, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky Competitions, Trifonov’s prolific musical activities have increasingly entered the realm of composition, with several works for solo piano. The Piano Concerto (2014), composed in France, the Dominican Republic, and in Cleveland under the guidance of his teachers Keith Fitch and Sergei Babayan, is his largest work to date. It is an impressive achievement. Read the rest of this entry »

by Guytano Parks

CIM-SEV-032814-SmirnoffBeethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in d (“Choral”) stood alone on the program as a symbol of brotherhood and joy in a concert entitled A Celebration of Community at Severance Hall last Friday evening, March 28. Cleveland Institute of Music president Joel Smirnoff conducted the CIM Orchestra with the combined forces of vocal soloists from CIM and the community, Cleveland School of The Arts instrumentalists (Dianna Richardson, department head and director of the orchestral program) and chorus (William B. Woods, choir director), The Singers’ Club of Cleveland (Dr. Melvin P. Unger, choral director) and members of The Antioch Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir.

The free concert drew a capacity audience, and those who were unable to obtain a pass were able to enjoy it over the radio in a live broadcast on WCLV 104.9 FM.

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by Carlyn Kessler, special contributor

CIM-Mahler-2bThe Cleveland Institute of Music will present its second “Celebration of Community” on Friday, March 28 at 8:00 pm in Severance Hall, when CIM president Joel Smirnoff will lead the CIM Orchestra and vocalists, the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) Chorus and Instrumentalists, the Singers’ Club of Cleveland, and the Antioch Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir in Beethoven’s monumental Symphony No. 9.

The concert features soloists Catheryne Shuman, soprano, Samantha Gosard, mezzo-soprano, CIM faculty member Vinson Cole, tenor, and Brian Johnson, baritone.

The concert is a public manifestation of CIM’s commitment to the Cleveland community. “Culture is the spontaneous emanation of community interaction,” Joel Smirnoff said in a recent conversation. “There is no culture without community.”

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by Daniel Hathaway

Dick-RobertComposer and flutist Robert Dick got energized about contemporary music at Yale in the early 1970s, where he was part of a small group of students who worked in a classic electronic studio even before the birth of the synthesizer.

Dick left school after undergraduate and graduate studies with a big vision. “I thought I would have the possibility of a huge international solo career playing new music. I really thought that the best music in the best performances would win the day and overcome the reluctance of people to listen to things that were unfamiliar to them,” Dick told us in a telephone conversation.

The size of everything turned not to be what I dreamed. Music that really asks something of the listener is challenging, and the mass audience is not willing to take that challenge. The person who actually loves the experience of really listening to music is rare.”

Dick attributes the demise of active listening to changes in education. “In the 1970s, music was stripped out of the public school curriculum all over the country, which is probably the single root cause of why things are the way they are today.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

Joel Smirnoff, CIM president, makes his Ohio conducting debut with CityMusic Cleveland

On a dark and windy night, with dire predictions of a major winter storm on its way (didn’t quite happen), what better refuge than a warm, brightly lit church and a free concert of some of Mozart’s most charming small orchestra music? Several hundred people thought so, packing Fairmount Presbyterian Church from narthex to chancel for Joel Smirnoff’s Ohio conducting debut with CityMusic Cleveland.

After a greeting from Fairmount pastor Louise Westfall, who led a charming, color coded tour through the deciduous program booklet’s coupons, surveys, concert handbills and donation forms, soloists Nathan Olson and Jessica Oudin came on with Maestro Smirnoff to give us the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra, K.364.

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When thirteen is your lucky number. Evgeny Brakhman (Russia) gets to put off his first round performance until Wednesday afternoon. Behind (L-R) WCLV's president, Robert Conrad, CIPC board president Rand Curtiss, jury chairman Peter Frankl and CIM president Joel Smirnoff. Photo: Sam Hubish

CIPC executive director Karen Knowlton looked relieved a few minutes after five o’clock on Monday when thirty-two of the thirty-three contestants were neatly arranged on chairs on the Mixon Hall stage at CIM, ready to draw for their slots in the competition schedule.

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