The MUSICAL ARTS ASSN., operating the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA, Blossom Music Ctr., and SEVERANCE HALL, has existed since 1915 as an association to support music in the community. The brainchild of impresario ADELLA PRENTISS HUGHES, who by 1915 had been managing the Symphony Orchestra Concerts in conjunction with the FORTNIGHTLY MUSICAL CLUB for more than 15 years, the Musical Arts Assn. (inc. Oct. 1915) was operated for the first 10 years as a profit organization. The activities of the Musical Arts Assn. started with the sponsorship of the Diaghileff Ballet Russe (16-18 Mar. 1916), performed at the B. F. Keith HIPPODROME THEATER. DAVID Z. NORTON served as the association's first president (1915-1921). JOHN L. SEVERANCE, primary benefactor of Severance Hall, served as president from 1921 to 1936. In Sept. 1918 the Board of Trustees of the Musical Arts Assn. authorized the organization of the Cleveland Orchestra on the basis of payment by rehearsal and concert of some 54 to 60 players. On 8 June 1919, the first season closed with 27 concerts total, 20 in Cleveland and 7 out of town. Severance Hall was the home of the Cleveland Orchestra after 5 Feb. 1931. Previously the orchestra had played at GRAYS ARMORY, the Masonic Hall at 30th and Euclid Ave., and PUBLIC AUDITORIUM. In the 1960s, in order to guarantee 52 weeks of employment to the players, the Musical Arts Assn. undertook the construction of the Blossom Music Ctr. on 800 acres of wooded land in Cuyahoga Falls, adjacent to the CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA. Peter Van Dijk was the architect for the pavilion of the center, which was named in recognition of the long-time contributions of the DUDLEY S. BLOSSOM family in the Musical Arts Assn. and formally dedicated on 19 July 1968. The Musical Arts Assn. budget for 1993-94 was over $23 million, including salaries, administration, travel, tours, music, and the maintenance of the orchestra's 2 homes, Severance Hall and Blossom Music Ctr. In 1995 Ward Smith served as president of the association.

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