Robert Cronquist, leading Cleveland Women’s Orchestra and Lakeside Symphony

Posted on: April 12, 2017

“Robert Cronquist is in his 27th year as only the second music director of the 81-year-old Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, the nation’s oldest surviving group of its kind,” writes Grant Segall in Sunday’s (4/9) Plain Dealer (Cleveland). The orchestra performed its annual concert at Severance Hall on Sunday. “He’s also in his 47th year as the second music director of the 54-year-old Lakeside Symphony Orchestra [based in Ottawa County]. Q: Why is a man leading a women’s orchestra? A: I get a lot of questions about that. But the musicians didn’t want an all-woman’s group. They like the combination. Hyman Schandler started the orchestra in the 1930s, when women couldn’t play in major orchestras. Q: Cleveland has lots of classical groups. How is yours different? A: This is a public-service orchestra…. We do eight to 10 performances a year. Most are free. Q: What’s the [Lakeside Symphony] like? A: They’re professional musicians from all over. With Lakeside, we have three rehearsals and—bang!—we perform. We do two concerts a week for 3 1/2 weeks, all different programs. We’ve had a lot of big artists solo: Doc Severinsen, Clive Lythgoe, Jerome Hines.”

Posted April 12, 2017