Say Hello to the SSO!
The Suburban Symphony is a Beachwood-based community orchestra serving the greater Cleveland area since 1955 and bridging the gap between the area’s renowned professional organizations and its many volunteer ensembles.
Our members come from all walks of life: music professionals, educators, physicians, attorneys, scientists, engineers, business professionals, arts professionals, students and a master tailor. They share a commitment to excellence and passion for music.
Amazing Music- Free for Everyone!
Our mission is to provide free concerts of the world’s greatest music to our community. We offer five free concerts per season on Sunday afternoons, and a bonus summer concert.
Our repertoire: Our audiences come to hear the symphonic masterworks, discover lesser known gems and enjoy our exceptional soloists. Innovative programming, family concerts, school outreach and collaborations with other groups have something for everyone.
The Early Years
In 1955, eight friends, all amateur musicians who had played at Glenville and John Adam’s High Schools, met to organize an orchestra. Their goals were to enjoy themselves while continuing to develop musically and to present music to the community free of charge. By inviting other friends to join them, the Suburban symphony Orchestra grew to 35 members by the end of the first season!
The first concerts took place at Highland View Hospital, the VA Hospital and Mayland Theater in Mayfield Heights. Before the orchestra moved to its present home in Beachwood in 1965, the concerts were presented at Byron Junior High in Shaker Heights and Wiley Junior High in University Heights. Today we are happy to continue to call Beachwood High School our home.
- Leo Esral (1955) was a classmate of the founding members and conducted the inaugural season
- Robert C. Weiskopf (1956 – 1979) a businessman who had graduated from Eastman School of Music was chosen to lead the orchestra, Under his direction, the group developed into a well-respected community orchestra . Weiskopf brought high musical standards and established strong connections with the Cleveland Orchestra
- Martin Kessler (1980-2018) was selected to lead the orchestra following Weiskopf’s death in 1979. He brought unbounded enthusiasm, high musical standards and interest in presenting challenging repertoire. Kessler was a graduate of Harvard University, was director of Harvard’s Bach Society Orchestra and Leverett House Orchestra. He studied conducting with Robert Shaw and James Levine and earned a masters degree in conducting from Cleveland State University. He served as director of music at University School Hunting Valley Campus, music director of Choral Arts Cleveland and has conducted eight productions for Lyric Opera Cleveland.
- Domenico Boyagian (2018- current) was selected to lead the orchestra in 2018 following Kessler’s retirement, bringing high energy, high levels of musicality and innovative programming ideas to the orchestra. See more below.
Say Hello to the Maestro…
Maestro Domenico Boyagian was appointed Music Director of Suburban Symphony Orchestra in 2018, following the long tenures of Robert C. Weiskopf and Martin Kessler. Maestro Boyagian, Music Director of the Suburban Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Opera Theater, has been praised as a “born conductor” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and has dedicated himself to symphonic music and opera. Producing performances of compelling artistry and beauty, Boyagian “appears to be a conductor for whom the music is the sole point of standing before musicians.” (Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer)
Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, Maestro Boyagian is the proud son of internationally renowned Metropolitan Opera Verdi Baritone, the late Garbis Boyagian, who inspired his son’s innate passion for opera and appreciation for vocal artists. In 2000 Boyagian came to the USA to further his musical studies, after receiving diplomas from Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and Conservatorio “G. B. Martini” in Bologna, Italy; and he holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and California State University, Northridge. In recognition of his burgeoning talent, Boyagian was named “one of 10 most successful Italians in the U.S.” by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in New York City, and is a “Most Distinguished Artist” Grant Recipient from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in Cleveland, Ohio.
Rising Talent Alert! Young Soloists Concerto Competition
The Young Soloists Concerto Competition is a long-standing tradition and a highlight of our season. Students grades 7-12, playing any orchestral instrument, (including piano) are invited to audition for an opportunity to perform a movement of their concerto with the SSO.
Each year, the winners dazzle the audience with their musicality and virtuosity and inspire our orchestra to rise to their level. Many past winners such as pianist Orion Weiss, and Cleveland Orchestra members Diane Mather and Eliesha Nelson have gone on to distinguished professional careers. Who will be next?
Auditions in March/Apr,
Concerts in May
Congrats to our 2021-22 winners!
Interested in Joining the Orchestra?
If you’re reading this, you must have some talent! If so, we’d love to hear from you! We are actively recruiting players for our violin and bass sections.
Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings 7:30-10:00 pm at Beachwood High School late August through mid-June. We perform five concerts per year on Sunday afternoons. New members are accepted throughout the season, so contact us any time! Give us a try for our summer concert in June.
Contact us to inquire about joining! Be sure to give some background information about what instrument you play, teachers, and prior orchestral experience. You’ll be invited to join a rehearsal or two to try us out and then asked to perform an brief audition of two contrasting selections of your choice after rehearsal.