George Szell's Reign: Behind the Scenes with the Cleveland Orchestra

November 1, 2020
George Szell's Reign: Behind the Scenes with the Cleveland Orchestra

George Szell was the Cleveland Orchestra's toweringpresence for over a quarter of a century. From the boardroom to thestage, Szell's powerful personality affected every aspect of amusical institution he reshaped in his own perfectionistimage.Marcia Hansen Kraus's participation in Cleveland's classicalmusical scene allowed her an intimate view of Szell and hisachievements. As a musician herself, and married to an oboist whoworked under Szell, Kraus pulls back the curtain on this storiedera through fascinating interviews with orchestra musicians andpatrons.Their recollections combine with Kraus's own to paint a portraitof a multifaceted individual who both earned and transcended histyrannical reputation. If some musicians hated Szell, others lovedhim or at the least respected his fair-minded toughness. A greatmany remember playing under his difficult leadership as the highpoint in their lives. Filled with vivid backstage stories, GeorgeSzell's Reign reveals the human side of a great orchestra and howone visionary built a premier classical music institution.Marcia Hansen Kraus is a musician and composer in Cleveland,Ohio.