March 13, 2019

CIM to Pay Tribute to Late Faculty Richard Weiner with Honorary Doctorate at Commencement; Alumni Linda Strommen and Wesley Collins to Receive Awards

Posthumous Honorary Doctorate Richard Weiner
Posthumous Honorary Doctorate Richard Weiner

Richard Weiner, the distinguished Cleveland Institute of Music percussion faculty member and principal percussion emeritus of The Cleveland Orchestra, will be posthumously awarded an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree at CIM’s commencement May 18, 2019.

“There was no one like Rich Weiner,” said Paul W. Hogle, president and CEO of CIM. “He was legendary at CIM as a teacher and all over the world as a renowned, highly respected percussionist. We are privileged to have had his talent, his artistry, his scholarship and his wisdom at CIM for 55 years. Rich’s former students play or have played in symphony orchestras all over the world, including here in Cleveland, as well as on the Broadway stage and in Hollywood films. During his time as principal percussionist with The Cleveland Orchestra, he traveled the globe and performed on more than 175 recordings. He had a work ethic that was unmatched and instilled in every one of his students. It is for these reasons that we are thrilled to award an honorary doctor of music degree to Rich and his family.”

Jacqueline Weiner will accept the degree on behalf of her late husband and their family.

“Dean (Judy) Bundra and I are pleased to share the stage with Jackie and present her with Rich’s honorary doctorate,” Hogle said. “Rich left an indelible mark on CIM, on The Cleveland Orchestra, on his many students, on Cleveland and on the world. I’m very thankful to have known him and to call him an esteemed colleague. We miss him every day and will always keep Rich and his family in our hearts.”

Weiner died on December 30, 2018, at the age of 78.

In addition to Weiner’s honorary doctorate, two CIM alumni will be given awards of distinction.

honored alumni
Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Linda Strommen and Alumni Achievement Award recipient Wesley Collins

During Honors Convocation on Friday, May 17, Linda Strommen, professor of oboe at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, will receive CIM’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors alumni who have attained the highest stature in their field. Wesley Collins, principal violist of The Cleveland Orchestra, will accept the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes significant professional contributions to their field. Strommen and Collins will address graduates, students and community members at the annual celebration.

Bundra, CIM’s chief academic officer and dean of the Conservatory, praised Strommen and Collins as two alumni who illustrate the significance of a CIM degree.

“CIM is honored to recognize Linda Strommen and Wesley Collins, two of our many accomplished alumni who exemplify the musicianship, mentorship and community engagement that are the characteristics of a CIM education,” Bundra said. “A devoted teacher and clinician, Linda has inspired a new generation of oboists during her years of instruction at Jacobs, Juilliard, Mannes and other institutions. Her former students have gone on to careers in orchestras all over the globe. Her career as a performer culminated in a coveted position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Wes’s resume has grown exponentially since he graduated from CIM in 2007. We are so proud that he was named principal viola with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2016 after four years as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. We look forward to Linda and Wes sharing their advice with our graduates and the community at Honors Convocation.”

The Honorees

Richard Weiner served as a member of the timpani and percussion faculty (woodwinds, brass and percussion division) at CIM since 1963. Elected to the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2018, he was principal percussion emeritus of The Cleveland Orchestra. Hired by George Szell in 1963, he was appointed principal in 1968 and led the section for 43 of his 48 years as a member of the orchestra. In 2011 he received The Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award, presented annually in recognition of extraordinary service to the orchestra. He also had performed with the National, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Nashville symphonies and at the Grand Teton Music Festival.

A native of Philadelphia, Weiner received a bachelor of science in education from Temple University in 1962, a master’s degree in music with distinction from Indiana University in 1963 and was the first percussionist to be honored with the Performer’s Certificate Award. He also holds a law degree magna cum laude from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. Former teachers include Charles Owen (Temple), principal percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and George Gaber (Indiana), renowned New York timpanist/percussionist.

Weiner can be heard on many acclaimed recordings with maestros George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Robert Shaw, Christoph von Dohnányi, Franz Welser-Möst, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Riccardo Chailly, as well as serving as principal percussionist on three heralded Telarc recordings of the Cleveland Symphonic Winds conducted by Frederick Fennell. He had participated in more than 100 world and US premieres and has performed with other distinguished conductors such as André Previn, Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Arthur Fiedler, Igor Stravinsky, Henry Mancini, John Williams and George Solti among many others.

Concert tours with The Cleveland Orchestra took Weiner to Europe, Japan, the former Soviet Union, China, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America and South Korea.

Linda Strommen is a professor of oboe at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, a guest faculty teacher at The Juilliard School for the past 20 years and a faculty member of the Interlochen Arts Camp and the New York String Orchestra Seminar. A former member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera, she has held principal and assistant principal positions with Milwaukee, Honolulu (now Hawaii), New Haven, Wichita and Baton Rouge symphonies and acting principal oboe positions with the Rochester Philharmonic and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Strommen, a native of Oconomowoc, WI, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from CIM in 1978 and 1979, respectively, studying with the legendary John Mack. In addition to being a former member of the Timm and Lieurance Woodwind Quintets, she has been a regular participant in summer festivals such as the Marlboro, Bellingham, Bard, Le Domaine Forget and Masterworks. She has been on the faculties of Mannes College of Music, the Juilliard Pre-College, Yale University and Louisiana State University, among others. She has commissioned and premiered numerous works including two concerti by Eric Ewazen, “Down a River of Time” and “Hold Fast Your Dreams”. Her recording of the first concerto with the International Sejong Soloists, Sejong Plays Ewazen, can be found on Albany Records.

Wesley Collins joined The Cleveland Orchestra as principal viola with the start of the 2016-17 season. He previously served as a member of the viola section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra beginning in 2012 and was promoted to third chair viola there in 2014. Before joining the Boston Symphony, he was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 2008-12.

Collins completed his bachelor of music degree at CIM in May 2007, where he was a student of Robert Vernon, principal viola of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1973 to 2016. While in Cleveland, Collins played as a substitute musician with The Cleveland Orchestra, played in the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and City Music Cleveland, and served as assistant principal viola with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. His summer activities have included the Tanglewood Music Center, Sarasota Music Festival, Encore School for Strings and the Pacific Music Festival.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Collins began studying violin with his mother, Sandy, at the age of four. He also played trumpet under the instruction of his father, Philip Collins, former principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He subsequently switched to viola under the tutelage of Michael Klotz, violist of the Amernet String Quartet. He has served as an adjunct professor of viola at Boston University.

CIM’s Honorary Doctorate

CIM has awarded more than 90 honorary doctorates since 1965 when the practice began. Among the musical luminaries to receive this distinction are conductors Christoph von Dohnányi, Kurt Masur and Franz Welser-Möst; composers Donald Erb, Pierre Boulez and Malcolm Arnold; violinists Josef Gingold, Itzhak Perlman and Robert Mann; harpist Ann Hobson Pilot; vocalists Frederica von Stade and Tony Bennett; and pianists Van Cliburn and Leon Fleisher.

Commencement and Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is open to the public, and reservations are not required. Convocation takes place in CIM’s Mixon Hall on Friday, May 17, at 4pm.

Due to space limitations, only invited guests may attend Commencement in Kulas Hall on Saturday, May 18, at 10am. Both events will be live streamed; visit for more information and links to the live streams once they’re available.