Home > National Discussion, Pete Vriesenga, Symphonic/Classical > Collaboration and COLLUSION in Miami

Collaboration and COLLUSION in Miami

The 6th Season of the Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency began on January 27, casting a dark shadow on memories of the former Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. The FPO’s final concert was played on May 9, 2003 following an apparent ploy by the orchestra’s board chair Daniel Lewis that was obviously designed to fail. Lewis claimed that the orchestra could face bankruptcy by early May if the public failed to raise $20 million, which naturally never happened. Daniel Lewis is now the Cleveland Orchestra Miami Board Chairman, and yet he still files the annual, corporate reports to keep the Florida Philharmonic name alive … and out of business.

In the years following the FPO bankruptcy, Daniel Lewis’ nefarious business dealings became even more evident. Collusion between Cleveland Orchestra Miami, the Miami City Ballet and the Knight Foundation has been so open and deliberate that Dan Lewis doesn’t even bother to cover his own tracks … or lies. A December 10, 2008 story in the Associated Press reported that the Miami Ballet was forced to “forgo a live orchestra and will perform to recorded music for the second half of its 2008-09 season to save money. Blaming the economy, ballet officials said Tuesday that they cut the orchestra because of declining ticket sales and donor contributions. Live music for a full season would cost $480,000, but only $188,280 had been raised so far. Musicians will play during ballet performances through January”

I expect the Ballet had some explaining to do when readers from Cleveland to Miami then pointed to the Knight Foundation’s press release just ten day before, announcing a $250,000 award to Miami City Ballet. The award was given to “To support an artistic collaboration between the Cleveland Orchestra and the Miami City Ballet.” Daniel Lewis and Mike Eidson were listed as applicants for the award. Mike Eidson is a former president and chairman of the Miami City Ballet.

These examples of deliberate intent are easily traced back long before Miami City Ballet’s false claims of poverty in December. In June of 2008, the Cleveland Orchestra announced: “Beginning in 2009, The Cleveland Orchestra will begin a multi-year artistic collaboration with the Miami City Ballet under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst and Miami City Ballet Artistic Director Edward Villella.” It’s too bad that neither the Miami musicians or Miami City Ballet contributors had access to Maestro Welser-Möst’s crystal ball. They would have at least had a fair chance to put up some resistance.

And it only gets worse. At the very time that local musicians were handed their walking papers, the Knight Foundation was moving quickly to provide comfortable digs for Cleveland Orchestra managers. A January 8, 2009 press release from the Knight Foundation reveals a $130,000 award to “provide office space in Miami for the Cleveland Orchestra from 2009 up to 2012.” In just a few short weeks, the Cleveland Orchestra Miami relocated to the 33rd floor of the Wachovia Financial Center in Miami. Now, Dan Lewis need only walk down the hall to pick up his checks from the Knight Foundation … also located on the 33rd floor of the Wachovia Financial Center.

How convenient.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.