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. 

casual group photo of orchestra members on stage

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, passion for music and an acceptance of never seeing Jeopardy on Wednesday nights.

Get to know the SSO!
Watch a fun 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 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.

Orchestra performing with images drawn by child artists projected on screen above
Collaboration with Student Artists from Canterbury Elementary

The Early Years

photo of orchestra from 1955

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.

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 below.

Interested in Joining the Orchestra?

If you’re reading this, you must have some talent! If so, we’d love to hear from you!  

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. New members are accepted throughout the season, so reach out any time! 

Contact us! 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.

We are actively recruiting bassoon.