Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Receives Rare Distinction

By David Salazar

The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus was honored with the Cleveland Orchestra’s annual Distinguished Service Award during the intermission of its performance on March 5, 2020.

The recognition being made is two-fold and marks the first time the distinction is given to a group. First off, the Chorus is being honored for individual dedication and commitment as volunteers. Secondly, the ensemble is receiving the accolade for the collective artistic achievements as a group.

The Chorus, which was formed in 1952, is one of very few all-volunteer choruses affiliated with a major Symphony Orchestra in the U.S.

“I am delighted that the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus has been named the recipient of the 2019-20 Distinguished Service Award in honor of their extraordinary and ongoing commitment to The Cleveland Orchestra,” stated Lisa Wong, Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Director in a press release. “This award honors not only the tremendous artistry achieved throughout the group’s 68-year history, but also the substantial dedication of this all-volunteer chorus. Their significant commitment is born of a love for this incredible body of music and the indescribable joy that comes in performing with one another and alongside America’s finest orchestra.  Bravi tutti to all current and former members of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.”

The award was presented by Richard K. Smucker, Board Chair of the Orchestra’s Board of Trustees.

The Cleveland Orchestra’s Distinguished Service Awards was established in 1996 by the Musical Arts Association.

Past recipients of the award include Dorothy Humel Hovorka (1996-97), David Zauder (1997-98), Ward Smith (1998-99), Christoph von Dohnányi (1999-2000), Gary Hanson (2000-01), John Mack (2001-02), Richard J. Bogomolny (2002-03), Thomas W. Morris (2003-04), Alex Machaskee (2004-05), Klaus G. Roy (2005-06), John D. Ong (2006-07), Gerald Hughes (2007-08), Louis Lane (2008-09), Clara Taplin Rankin (2009-10), Robert Conrad (2010-11), Richard Weiner (2011-12), Milton and Tamar Maltz (2012-13), Pierre Boulez (2013-14), James D. Ireland III (2014-15), Rosemary Klena (2015-16), Robert Vernon (2016-17), Dennis LaBarre (2017-18), and Franz Welser-Möst (2018-19).