Classical Sass

Spunky ladies do orchestra the X-chromosome way.

Soilent Green metal Skeletonwitch
The world's oldest women's orchestra is celebrating its 73rd year with sassy renditions of Schubert, Liszt, and Beethoven at Severance Hall this afternoon. Formed in 1935, the Cleveland Women's Orchestra offered a rare opportunity for female musicians, and continues to flourish long after similar groups disbanded during World War II. "We're one of Cleveland's best-kept secrets," says longtime member Janet Hall, who's played second violin since 1984. "Look at me! I'm 71, behind me is a 17-year-old on her violin, and we're both sawing away!" For the anniversary, the ladies will take on Liszt's "Les Préludes," Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony," and a lively Beethoven concerto under the able baton of director Robert Cronquist. They'll also share the spotlight with local soloists Regina Mushabac on cello, pianist Emanuela Friscioni, and 15-year-old violinist Caroline Goulding. "A young soloist has very little opportunity to perform with a full symphony, so we work hard to provide this chance for our musicians," says orchestra veteran Joan Ferst, a CWO violinist for 25 years. "For many of us, this is a way of fulfilling a dream." The orchestra's 73rd-Anniversary Concert is at 3:30 p.m. today at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Tickets are $10 to $20. For more information, call (216) 231-1111 or visit
Sun., April 27, 3:30 p.m., 2008
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