May 31, 2019

Tribute to Richard Weiner, Percussion Performance in His Honor Highlight 2019 Commencement

The performance of Ionisation
Performance of Ionisation in honor of Richard Weiner

It isn’t every day when you can gather 14 of the world’s most prominent musicians from all over the country on one stage – mostly very busy CIM percussion alumni – for a dazzling performance.

But they dropped everything for Richard Weiner. He had that effect on the people who knew him best.

Weiner, distinguished CIM percussion faculty member since 1963 and principal percussion emeritus of The Cleveland Orchestra, died on December 30, 2018.

Celebrating Weiner’s love of music and teaching, 14 artists – alumni who studied with Weiner and colleagues from the CIM faculty and The Cleveland Orchestra – took the stage at CIM’s Commencement on Saturday, May 18, for a performance of Varèse’s Ionisation in his honor. It was Weiner’s favorite piece for percussion ensemble – and the performance garnered an extended standing ovation for the performers and for Weiner’s memory. (Watch here.)

The distinguished performers were:

  • Steven Blutman (MM ’06), faculty, Hofstra University
  • Marc Damoulakis, CIM faculty and principal percussion, The Cleveland Orchestra
  • William DeLelles (BM ’13), drummer, Chrome Sparks and Shlohmo and electronic percussionist known as Kazimier
  • Keith Fitch, head, CIM’s specialized studies division and composition department, the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition and director, CIM New Music Ensemble, served as conductor
  • Bruce Golden (BM ’80), faculty, Cleveland State University and percussion, Cleveland Pops Orchestra
  • Joela Jones (BM ’66), CIM faculty and principal keyboardist of The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Mark Libby (BM ’96), principal percussion, Alabama Symphony Orchestra
  • Donald Miller, percussion, The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Dylan Moffitt (BM ’10, MM ’16), principal percussion, Firelands Symphony Orchestra and director, Samba Joia
  • Alex Orfaly (BM ’96), principal timpani, California Symphony, Stockton (CA) Symphony and Sun Valley (CA) Symphony
  • James Ritchie (MM ’15), assistant principal timpani, percussion, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Thomas Sherwood, percussion, The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Brian Sweigart (BM ’05), senior associate dean and eurhythmics faculty, CIM
  • Earl Yowell (MM ’81), faculty, Shenandoah (VA) University and former principal timpani and percussion, Saint Paul (MN) Chamber Orchestra

Following the awarding of degrees to CIM’s graduating students, President and CEO Paul W. Hogle, Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Conservatory Judy A. Bundra and Board of Trustees Chair Richard J. Hipple presented an honorary doctor of musical arts degree to Weiner’s wife, Jackie Weiner, and their daughters Debbie Arnold and Stephanie Schleifer.

“What a befitting honor for a man who led such an exemplary life and who contributed so much to CIM and the students he taught over the last 50-plus years,” said Weiner’s colleague and former student Paul Yancich (BM ’75), co-head, timpani and percussion department at CIM and principal timpani of The Cleveland Orchestra, as he introduced the performance.

As he presented the honorary doctorate to Weiner’s family, Hogle said Weiner’s career was “an exquisite example of being the future of classical music, [and] we consider it fitting and in accord with the purposes and ideals of the Cleveland Institute of Music to honor Rich today.”