History of the Fortnightly Musical Club

The fortnightly Musical Club of Cleveland, Ohio, held its first meeting in February 1894 at the home of Mrs. Curtis Webster. Mrs. Webster and six other Cleveland women intended "to further the interests of music in Cleveland." Mrs. Alice Cole, Mrs. William Crowell, Mrs. W. E. Cushing, Miss Myrta Jones, and Miss Sarah Walker attended the first meeting. The first elected executive board included Mrs. Cushing, Mrs. Warren Corning, Miss Jones, Mrs. Webster, and Miss Lillian Hanna. Mrs. Edward W. Morely was elected president. A quota of 100 active members and 500 associate members was filled by the second season in 1895. As there was a long waiting list of women desiring membership the quota was soon raised.

Chamber music was an integral part of the club's programs and four prominent string players were hired. The four musicians formed the Cleveland Philharmonic Quartet.

In 1901, when the first biennial festival of the National Federation of Music Clubs was held in Cleveland, it was jointly hosted by the Fortnightly Musical Club, the Rubenstein Club, and the Friday Morning Music Club. Mrs. Adella Prentiss Hughes, concert manager of the Fortnightly, was chairman of the public concerts at the festival and planned three orchestral converts with soloist Schumann-Heink and Victor Herbert conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Hughes was later responsible for founding and managing the Cleveland Orchestra.

Along with Almeda C. Adams, Mrs. Hughes proposed that the Fortnightly establish a music school in Cleveland. As a result, the Club contributed $1,000 to the founding of the Cleveland Music School Settlement. Later the same amount was donated to help establish the Cleveland Institute of Music.

The Club sponsored civic, educational, and cultural programs, including lectures by prominent musicians, scholarships to young musicians, and presented numerous opportunities for music students and local musicians to present their work to the public. Many of these presentations were charity concerts.

click here to view the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for the Fortnightly Musical Club