Well The Cleveland Orchestra for me is a
symbol of fantastic orchestra music. Fantastic orchestra playing. I grew up
with hearing this Orchestra over the radio when I was a student in Sweden.
That was the American Orchestra I admired most when I heard recordings
played on the radio. And we had just a small small and Telefunken box about
this big with a with a dial that you could put back and forth and you could
hear you suddenly you heard some wonderful music and sometimes I heard
“this is The Cleveland Orchestra” “The Cleveland Orchestra” -Oh! Another time I put the dial and I heard-
you heard Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresdner under directed by Karl Böhm
and their Mozart Variation by Max Reger. Oh! I was thrilled with those kinds of
sounds. And later I heard that the Dvořák Slavonic Dances -The Cleveland Orchestra!
Directed by George Szell! Oh that made some ideal picture for me over here.
“This is what it can be!” Very important for for young people to get models like
that. I remember once on tour in Japan. We’re
playing in new concert hall and I went to my hotel afterward and when I
standed in the lift and wanted to go up in the lift, there was a young Japanese
boy running after me, he had been running all the way from the concert hall. And he
was out of breath [pants] and he wanted to say something and what did he say? He
said, “All my life until now I was just interested in rock music! I was
fascinated by that and it was wonderful! It completely filled my
person. But this was completely different!” He heard a symphony orchestra for the
first time. And he said, “This is the expression of the whole soul!” he said. And that was not what he had heard in the other kind of music he was so
interested in it that was this whole soul came through in the playing of the
orchestra. There’s a great orchestra what they can do. The Cleveland
Orchestra can show that it’s a music filled with spirit, not only profession-
not dazzling virtuosity only but it carries a message- a message from heart
to heart. An artist has to have lots of self-confidence in order to-to produce
music. He cannot go on stage thinking, “Will I make it? Will I make it? How
shall I do it tonight?” He has to have lots of self-confidence. But the moment
it goes too far that he thinks, “I can make no mistakes, I’ll show you that I am
the best.” Then he cannot develop any further. He has locked some doors and I
feel that the Cleveland Orchestra has not locked any of those doors. They know
they are praised all over the world as one of the top orchestras in the world,
perhaps even the best if there is such a thing. Of course, music is no Olympics so
we never take such a label seriously. But we know that we have a high quality but
we also know that it can be still better. So as long as we have this longing for-for
improving pushing the boundaries still further away from us I think we-there’s
no limit to how far we can go. The Cleveland Orchestra certainly has gone
very far and when I come to conduct it, I feel that that this is a powerhouse.
Not only a hundred virtuoso musicians but the spirit is there that wants to
unite these hundred people into something that is bigger
than the sum of a hundred musicians. It’s I think this is one of the reason why you
attract so many guests and attract much public because public is an
intelligent group of people. They know and when they hear something superb they-they know how to-to appreciate it Orchestras have no easy time today in
the time of economies that are falling apart. But I think with superb music-making like that that we have The Cleveland Orchestra that is the-the strongest case you can build for for classical music. The reputation of the
orchestra in Europe where I reside is very great and we always look forward to
The Cleveland Orchestra’s visits in Europe. But, of course, their home base is right
here. And if the home base is not supporting them enough, the reputation of
the only the orchestra but of the whole city is in danger. This is what Cleveland
is known for in the rest of the world. It has wonderful art, has wonderful
hospitals I know, wonderful people, but the label that you see here everywhere is
The Cleveland Orchestra. I congratulate the orchestra on this wonderful standing
and wish you a wonderful future. Keep that kind of spirit you have: a pride
that is paired with humility. Only like that way you can-you can
a future as bright as you wish.