Our History

History of Music from the Western Reserve

The history of Music from the Western Reserve began with a wistful idea of John E. Perry over 30 years ago.  Perry was the manager of the National Public Radio affiliate WKSU-FM when he  toured Akron, Ohio’s most famous residence, Stan Hywet Hall.  Built by Goodyear founder F.A. Seiberling, the manor house and its gracious Music Room became a destination for grand dinners and performances attracting marquee artists of their day.

Perry soon began to explore the idea of reviving the grandeur of the Music Room by staging chamber concerts there and broadcasting the performances on WKSU-FM.  He consulted a group of music enthusiasts that included Robert Henke, manager of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Lola Rothmann, concert manager of the Tuesday Musical series and others from Stan Hywet and WKSU-FM.  In less than six months, a board was formed headed by Dr. Bruce Rothmann to advance the music series that became known as Music from Stan Hywet.

The first concert of Music from Stan Hywet was held in September 1983.  The Music Room  became a cultural destination for chamber music lovers for the next nineteen years.  The last concert at Stan Hywet was held in the spring of 2002 after 115 exquisite performances.

The board of Music from Stan Hywet voted unanimously to move the series to the chapel on the campus of Western Reserve Academy in picturesque Hudson.  The series was soon renamed Music from the Western Reserve (MfTWR).

Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, MfTWR added Christ Church Episcopal as its performance venue.  The first concert at Christ Church Episcopal was held in September 2010 featuring a chamber ensemble from Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra.  In addition to Apollo’s Fire, quality programming has continued through the 2010-2012 season featuring such first class performances as the Alameda Trio, Miami String Quartet and renowned pianist, Sergei Babayan.

As we celebrate our 32nd anniversary season, recognition for the success of the music series goes to the civic minded people committed to fostering high quality performances by outstanding musicians from Northeast Ohio for the benefit and enjoyment of residents. The leaders who have guided Music from the Western Reserve over its 32 year history include four of the original Board members, Lola Rothmann, Robert Henke, Bill Blair and Sherry Yoke, who remain actively involved on the current board.  Past presidents of MfTWR who have shaped the professional path of the music series include the late Bruce Rothmann, Walter Watson, Alison Clegg, Margaret Hunter, Richard Buffet, John Warner and current president Nancy Dotson.

Excerpted from Music from the Western Reserve, The Stan Hywet Years by Abe Zaidan.