Ensemble HD

A couple of years ago, Joshua Smith, principal flute of The Cleveland Orchestra, met Sean Watterson, who had recently returned to his hometown of Cleveland after a career in international finance. In an unlikely professional swerve, Watterson was now a proprietor of Happy Dog, an old corner bar on Cleveland’s gritty, less culturally endowed West Side, situated at the edge of a once crime-ridden neighborhood, recently transformed into the Gordon Square Arts District. Smith and Watterson got talking–not about the saloon’s menu (hot dogs with a choice of fifty different toppings)–but about its live music program. At the time, Happy Dog booked local rock acts and polka bands. “What about classical music?” said Smith. “Why not?” said Watterson. Such was the beginning of what has become a beautiful friendship between some of Cleveland’s finest classical musicians and a whole new legion of fans, most of whom are young and unexpectedly susceptible to the charms of classical music.