Say Hello to the SSO!

The Suburban Symphony is one of Cleveland’s top-shelf community orchestras. Based in Beachwood, OH, we’ve been bringing free symphonic music to greater Cleveland since it all began, way back in good old 1955.

casual group photo of orchestra members on stage

Our 70+ members are a cross-section of your community: we are doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, scientists, dog people, cat people, engineers, therapists, social workers, chefs, tailors, students, retirees, star wars fans, star trek fans and music professionals. We own a lot of black clothing and we never get to see Jeopardy on Wednesday nights.

We are your neighbors, your friends, your family. But most of all, we are hard-working, dedicated and have passion for music that we can’t wait to share with you!

Get to know the SSO!
Watch a fun tiktok video about our members’ day jobs or play the slideshow below to see what the hacker dog has learned about our members and their secrets!

Amazing Music- Free for Everyone!

Our mission is to provide a welcoming environment for community musicians to perform free concerts of the world’s greatest music for our community. Experience the magic at five free Sunday afternoon concerts per season, and an evening outdoor summer concert. 

What will you hear?

Diverse innovative programming, with something for everyone.

The classics and crowd-pleasers: Masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler never go out of style. You know them, you love them… and so do we.

Lesser-known gems: Keep it fresh! Come for the classics and go home with a new favorite. We handpick our pieces with our audiences in mind. 

Community collaborations: Visual Artists, Choral Groups – Epic things happen when community arts groups team up.

Exceptional soloists: Renowned artists, rising local talent and Young Soloist competition winners take our concerts to the next level.

Family concerts: Casual, fun, interactive programming – often with a twist. Great for seat squirmers…. and also for kids.

Orchestra performing with images drawn by child artists projected on screen above

Collaboration with Student Artists from Canterbury Elementary

More info

The Early Years

photo of orchestra from 1955

In 1955, eight friends, all amateur musicians who had played at Glenville and John Adams 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.

Orchestra Leadership:

  • 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 here,

Interested in Joining the Orchestra?

If you’re reading this, you must have some talent! If so, we’d love to hear from you! New members are accepted throughout the season, so reach out any time! 

Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings 7:30-10:00 pm at Beachwood High School late August through May. We perform five concerts per year on Sunday afternoons, with an outdoor summer concert. This season, our 70th anniversary concert will be at Severance!

Announcing auditions for our 2024-2025 Season: Sign up now for our fall audition day on Sunday, August 18th (3-6pm)!  Auditions open to all strings with prior orchestral experience. If you are not available this day, but still interested, please fill out the form and someone will contact you.

Auditions consist of two contrasting selections of your choice

(We do not have current openings in our wind/brass sections, but you can submit your info to be placed on our sub list)