by Daniel Hathaway
Nearly a quarter-century ago, composer-conductor Edwin London founded the Cleveland Chamber Symphony at Cleveland State University. With the directive of performing “music of our time that dares to explore”, CCS developed a reputation and a dedicated following for offering professional performances and recordings of new works, and, along the way, copped an impressive list of awards including a Grammy.
After London retired, a series of hosting, leadership and funding vicissitudes left the organization essentially homeless but doggedly determined to keep itself alive through new relationships with the Cleveland Music School Settlement and Baldwin Wallace University. Its “Meet the Composers” and “New and Emerging Composers” series have continued on an annual basis, and last season CCS teamed with Verb Ballets for performances at Cleveland Public Theater.
The Verb Ballets relationship will be renewed on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium at Baldwin Wallace, when music director Steven Smith will conduct the premiere of James A. Hirt’s Chromatophores, Clint Needham’s Urban Sprawl, and Michael Leese’s Harp, Percussion and Strings. Also on the program is Smith’s own String Quartet. Smith talked about some of the repertory by phone from his home in Richmond, VA, where he serves as music director of the Richmond Symphony. [Read more…]