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April 11, 2017

CIM’s Own Viola Virtuoso Robert Vernon to Address 2017 Graduating Class


Robert Vernon viola faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, in Mixon Hall

The Cleveland Institute of Music is thrilled to announce viola virtuoso, pedagogue and orchestra icon Robert Vernon as its 2017 commencement speaker. Vernon will share his life and career with the 2017 graduating class as one of the top orchestral performers of our time with an impressive legacy of former students who sit in nearly every major orchestra in the country. Vernon currently serves as co-head of the viola department at CIM and served as principal viola of The Cleveland Orchestra for 40 years, the longest-tenured string principal in the Orchestra’s history.

Vernon has collaborated with Valery Gergiev, Pierre Boulez, Georg Solti, Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Franz Welser-Möst and Christoph von Dohnányi, among others.  He has appeared as soloist in seventeen different works in over 120 concerts in Severance Hall, including three works commissioned for him by The Cleveland Orchestra.  His solo recordings include Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Strauss’s Don Quixote and Schoenfield’s Viola Concerto, as well as many chamber music recordings.

More than just a performer, Vernon remains a dedicated teacher, having taught at CIM for decades. His former students serve in nearly 50 orchestras in Europe, Canada, Asia and the US, from Boston, to Detroit, to Chicago to Los Angeles. The Cleveland Orchestra viola section alone consists of eight former Vernon students led by CIM alumnus Wesley Collins, who was appointed principal viola this past fall.   

CIM Commencement Weekend will kick off on Friday, May 19 with its Honors Convocation Ceremony where alumnus Mark Williams (BM ’02 King/Solis) will receive the Alumni Achievement Award.  The Honors Convocation Address will be given by CIM faculty and alumnus Jason Vieaux (BM ’95, Holmquist) who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at Commencement the following day.

The 2017 Commencement Ceremony will be broadcast live online.