David Cerone, Violinist and Teacher


If anyone has earned some time on a golf course near a beautiful Florida home, it’s David Cerone. He played a lot of golf while growing up in Syracuse, and whenever his hectic schedule would allow, throughout his career as a concert violinist and teacher.

He and his wife Linda, also a concert violinist and teacher, fell in love with Florida when they vacationed there, so it was a natural place to relocate for retirement, especially after many years in Cleveland. “It’s raining in Cleveland in the spring? No!” he jokes on the other end of the phone in the Sunshine State.

“Seriously, though, I loved Cleveland, Oberlin and the Northeast Ohio community and all the great musicians there and the audiences,” he says. “We have many great friends there.”

During his time here, Cerone had a significant impact on music and music education in Northeast Ohio. He served as president of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) from 1985 to 2008.

Cerone began his violin studies with his father, who also worked in radio electronics, but the latter quickly realized that his extremely gifted son needed more advanced teachers.

At the age of nine, David auditioned for the acclaimed concert master Mischa Mischakoff and went on to study at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music with the great pedagogue, Ivan Galamian. In 1967, he made his New York recital debut at Town Hall.

Cerone was Professor of Violin at Oberlin Conservatory from 1962 until 1971, and served as chairman of the string department and Kulas Professor at CIM from 1971 to 1981, when he left to become head of the violin department at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, on whose faculty he had also served since 1975.

In 1985, however, he faced a difficult decision, when CIM contacted him and offered him the chance to head the institute. “I could have easily stayed on the faculty at Curtis, which is a great institution, and been very comfortable there,” Cerone recalls. “But I chose to come back to Cleveland to help a struggling organization of which I was extremely fond, and it also occurred to me it would lead to more personal and professional growth. It did all that, and more!”

Under his leadership, the Cleveland Institute of Music increased its enrollment and broadened its international standing, while Cerone spearheaded the extensive efforts to build a new concert hall for CIM. An active chamber musician, Cerone toured extensively with the Canterbury Trio from 1984 to 1989, under Columbia Artist Management, and he and his wife Linda co-founded the Cleveland String Seminar and the ENCORE School for Strings in Hudson, Ohio.

Scheduled to retire in 2007, Cerone agreed to stay on as president for another year so he could oversee the completion of the institute's exciting new state-of-the-art Mixon Hall performance space. The splendid opening ceremony featured performances by David and Linda—and surpise appearances by several of their students who had gone on to distinguished careers and played their hearts out in tribute to their beloved teachers, the Cerones.

“That was an amazing day,” Cerone recalls. “And Mixon Hall is just an incredible, gorgeous place with exceptional acoustics. So, it was a fitting way to retire.”

Since stepping down he has served as a juror for many prominent national and international violin competitions, performed in the St. Bart’s Music Festival for three seasons, and given master classes around the world. He is an auxiliary director of the International Board of the Suzuki Association. His extremely popular recordings of the Suzuki Violin Method Books I through IV have been reissued by Alfred Publishing. In addition, Cerone presented a series of master classes, lectures and a recital for the Talent Education Research Institute’s Teachers Convention in Hamamatsu, Japan, becoming the first foreigner to address this illustrious group. 

Cleveland Arts Prize
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