In Memory

Dennis Cleveland VIEW PROFILE

Dennis Cleveland was an outstanding musician and teacher who, with 3 colleagues, formed the Audubon String Quartet, incorporating it into a going business concern.

The quartet, initially based at Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, gained international stature. It won first prize for interpretation of contemporary music at Evian, France and other awards in Rio de Janeiro and Portsmouth, England.  They were invited to play during a working peace session between President Carter, and Prime Minister Begin of Israel President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.  They also played on national television, and were regularly in residence at the "Music at Gretna" summer music festivals in Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Oberlin, Dennis attended Julliard.  He also studied chamber music with many masters.

  For several years, he was the principle violinist for the Atlanta and the Columbus, Ohio string quartets.

Dennis was born in Terra Haute, Indiana.  He was married twice, the first time to Catherine Hall, our classmate.


Thanks to Michael Smith, Dennis' first year roommate for seeking out information about him.

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06/05/17 12:34 PM #1    

Sheryl Greenbaum (Genco)

Dennis was an amazing violinist, very talented and focused! He was rather quiet from what I remember. I always admired his technique!

05/23/18 12:13 PM #2    

Priscilla Fritter (Peterson)

I have always remembered Dennis with great appreciation for helping me get through our Keyboard Harmony class (a requirement for performance majors), which was very scary for both of us because we were the only two students in the class who were not piano majors!  There were six pianos in the classroom and 12 students; Dennis and I were assigned to sit together, making matters even worse since neither of us knew what we were doing!  Every time the teacher would call on us to play chord progressions or whatever, for the rest of the class, we were both angst-ridden, but Dennis had a terrific sense of humor and would cajole me out of my misery.  Periodically we had to get together outside of class to practice together on an assigment, and while I was amazed by his light-hearted attitude, I was grateful for his reminders that I didn't have to take the class so seriously!  Somehow, we both managed to pass the course; he became a professional violinist, I became a professional flutist, and I still think of him whenever I see a piano!

10/05/20 02:07 PM #3    

Paul Safyan

We are fortunate to hear today (October 5, 2020) from one of Dennis' colleagues in the Audobon Quartet, cellist Clyde Shaw add some more information about Dennis and correct a couple of errors in our previous posting.

The Audubon Quartet (AQ was formed in 1974 by Greg Fulkerson and Clyde Shaw.  Dennis replaced another Oberlin violinist Ronald Copes (AQ member from 1975-1976).

 Dennis was first violinist in AQ from 1976 - 1982.  He was a member when the Audubon Quartet incorporated as a non-profit 501c corporation.

 Dennis was first violinist in 1977 - 1979, when the AQ won prizes at international string quartet competitions in Brazil, England and France.

 Dennis was first violinist in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter invited the AQ to perform at the White House (July 1977).

Dennis was also first violinist in 1979 when CBS Sunday Morning Show featured the AQ - the first American string quartet to receive that honor

Dennis was still first violinist in 1981-82 when the Ministry of Culture invited the AQ to perform in Beijing and Shanghai, making it the very first American string quartet to be invited to perform in Mainland China - this was historic!

 Dennis was first violinist in 1981 when the AQ became the quartet in residence at VPI (Virginia Tech).

 After Kathy Hall (his first wife), Dennis married Karen Cussick in Scranton, PA in 11/24/1979.  11/24 was also his birthdate!

Dennis left the AQ in 1982 and served as concertmaster of the ABT (American Ballet Theater Orchestra)

Dennis passed away October 25, 1991

Dennis and Karen had a daughter named Jennifer. Jennifer has red hair just like Dennis and she looks like him! Karen still lives in Pennsylvania.



10/05/20 02:13 PM #4    

Paul Safyan


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