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Ronald A. Crutcher

Academic administrator and cellist Ronald A. Crutcher was born on February 27, 1947 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Andrew and Burdella Crutcher. Crutcher graduated from Woodward High School in 1965, and went on to attend Miami University of Ohio, where he received his B.M. degree in 1969. He earned his M.M.A. degree from the Yale School of Music in 1972. Crutcher received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1972 to study in West Germany until 1977. In 1979, he became the first cellist to receive a D.M.A. degree from the Yale University School of Music.

Crutcher debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1985. He also performed around the world with a number of groups, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, the Klemperer Trio, and the Chanticleer String Quartet. In addition to his music career, Crutcher worked as an educator and school administrator. Crutcher was head of the string program at Wittenberg University School of Music from 1977 to 1979. He was then hired as an assistant professor of Music at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and was promoted to coordinator of the string area of their School of Music in 1984. In 1989, Crutcher became the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. In 1990, he joined the Conservatory at The Cleveland Institute of Music as a vice president for academic affairs and dean. He became the director of the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas – Austin in 1994. In 1999, Crutcher was hired as the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio. In 2004, he was hired as president and professor of music at Wheaton College. In 2016, Crutcher became the first African American president of the University of Richmond.

Crutcher co-founded Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) within the Association of American Colleges and Universities, where he also served on the board. He also served on numerous community and corporate boards including the board of the American Council on Education, The Fulbright Association, and multiple boards for symphonies and music associations. Crutcher has received various awards and honors for his work in higher education and music including honorary doctorates from Muhlenberg College, Colgate University, and Wheaton College. Crutcher has also received the Presidential Medal of Honor from the University of Cordoba in Spain, The Cultural Excellence Award from The Cleveland Music School Settlement, and a Certificate of Merit from the Yale School of Music Alumni Association.

Crutcher and his wife, Betty Neal Crutcher, have one daughter, Sara.

Ronald A. Crutcher was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 6, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.099

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/6/2016

Last Name

Crutcher

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Andrew

Schools

Miami University

Yale University

University of Bonn

Frankfurt State Academy

Woodward Career Technical High School

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

CRU03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Marthas Vineyard

Favorite Quote

I've been terrified all of my life but thats never stopped me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

2/27/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All food

Short Description

Academic administrator and cellist Ronald A. Crutcher (1947 – ) was the first cellist to receive a D.M.A. degree from the Yale University School of Music. He also served as president of Wheaton College before becoming the first African American president of the University of Richmond.

Employment

University of Richmond

Wheaton College (MA)

Miami University of Ohio

University of Texas at Austin

The Cleveland Inst. of Music

University of North Carolina, Greensboro

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Wittenberg University (Germany)

The Bonn School of Music (Germany)

Favorite Color

Blue

Donald White

Retired Cleveland Orchestra cellist Donald White was a native of Richmond, Indiana. The middle of seven children, White started playing the cello when he was sixteen. After he was drafted into the United States Navy in 1943, White played bass tuba and peckhorn in the Navy band while continuing his cello studies; after leaving the U.S. Navy, he earned a music degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

In Chicago, White performed with an African American orchestra and the Chicago Civic Orchestra while studying cello with a member of the Chicago Symphony. Later, White studied privately in New York with Leonard Rose and Luigi Silva; he earned a fellowship from the University of Hartford, granting him the position of assistant principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. White received his masters degree from the University of Hartford and worked four years with the University of Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

After a successful audition with Maestro George Szell, White was invited to join the Cleveland Orchestra in 1957; he was the first African American member of the orchestra. Before his retirement in 1995, White enjoyed a successful career with the orchestra, performing at Severance Hall in Cleveland and other venues throughout the world.

White and his wife, pianist, composer, and educator, Dolores White, lived in East Cleveland, Ohio, and raised two children, Diana and Darrow.

Donald White passed away on July 31, 2005, at the age of eighty.

Accession Number

A2005.015

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/13/2005

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Nicholson School

Richmond High School

Roosevelt University

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

WHI06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Rico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

7/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi

Death Date

7/31/2005

Short Description

Cellist Donald White (1925 - 2005 ) was the first African American member of the Cleveland Orchestra. After being hired by Maestro George Szell, he played with the orchestra for almost forty years.

Employment

Cleveland Orchestra

Hartford Symphony Orchestra

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald White's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald White lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald White talks about his family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald White talks about his family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald White talks about his childhood activities and friends

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his experiences and musical inspirations at Nicholson School in Richmond, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald White remembers his early musical experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald White recalls holidays with his family growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald White recalls learning to play the cello during high school in Richmond, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald White recalls his mother sending him a cello while he was training with the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald White remembers instances of racism while serving in the U.S. military during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donald White talks about his experiences in the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Donald White talks about his involvement with music while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Donald White describes playing for bond rallies in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald White remembers his friendship with Nicolai Zedeler of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald White talks about his mother's support for his musical endeavors

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald White talks about his college experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald White remembers his time studying cello in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald White remembers neighbors from his college years in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his time in New York, New York after graduating from Roosevelt College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald White shares recollections of Leon Barzin and Elayne Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald White describes his impression of Leonard Rose

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald White remembers his opportunity to audition with George Szell for the Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald White recalls being hired to play cello for the Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald White remembers his experiences integrating the Cleveland Orchestra in the late 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald White remembers encountering racism while performing with the Cleveland Orchestra

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald White comments on George Szell's political outlook and offers his opinion of the Iraq War

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald White details his timeline with the Cleveland Orchestra

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald White talks about Sphinx Organization

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his family members' musical careers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald White reflects upon his retirement from the Cleveland Orchestra in 1995

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald White recalls his teaching experiences and friendship with opera singer John Fleming

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald White reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald White narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

4$10

DATitle
Donald White remembers his time studying cello in Chicago, Illinois
Donald White recalls being hired to play cello for the Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association
Transcript
Once he [Karl Fruh] had, once he wasn't able to play a string quartet engagement in the South Side [Chicago, Illinois], a very, very big hall for music lovers and all of that. And he got me to play in his place. And I, when I finished, they--there was an envelope, they gave each one of us, and I opened it when I got home. It was fifty dollars. In those days, that was a very big amount of money. And I was flabbergasted. I was, and I called Fruh--he died about two or three years ago. And the girl wrote her notes in that [HistoryMaker] Donald White was one time a pupil of Karl Fruh. And it was in his obituary, or things that they had done. And he was a very good friend. I studied also with the principal cellist for the Chicago Symphony [Orchestra], Dudley Powers, and he gave me a scholarship for a year in the orchestra. And then I, I had--I benefited from that. He gave me long lessons and everything, and it was--and I was in the orchestra, and we used to have sectional rehearsals for cellos alone where everybody would--and violins and cellos and so forth, and I--he took up a lot of time with me, and I was--there was a lot of cellists who were much better than me, but I was, I was--I didn't have a car. I couldn't drive in Chicago [Illinois], and I went from all over town with the cello in a cloth cover in cold weather and everything, you know. And then I, North Side and to the South Side, I was everywhere. I lived in such a bad neighborhood, but in those days, it wasn't, wasn't vicious. And everything--I used to get off the subway and go and walk home. It was about six blocks from, to my home, and I would say I was--on the North Side playing a session or something, you know, and guys wouldn't bother me. I, I never was harmed. And it was not a very good neighborhood.$Anyway, I went, I took the audition, and he [George Szell] asked me all the things that were most cellists had to go through in auditioning. And he was tough. And half way between the audition and when it was over, he was asking me questions and, oh what kind of cello did I have, where did I get my experience and all that. And so then it was--it went on for the audition. And then the audition was over with, and he said, "Thank you very much. We'll let you know." That was it. So I, I had so many auditions like that where the conductor (unclear) from the Midwest and New York [New York], everywhere. And so I said, well, that's the end of that. And so that was about--I went back to Hartford [Connecticut], but I didn't tell [Moshe] Paranov anything. I just said I was sick or something, and forgot about it. And so, and I--about three or four days later, I got a telegram from the Cleveland Orchestra [Musical Arts] Association, said that I'd been hired. I still, I get tears in my eyes when I think about it. I get tears in my eyes that I, I had been hired as the Cleveland Orchestra's cellist, but that time, the Cleveland Orchestra had gone on a tour of Europe before. This was the fall, but in spring, they went to Europe, and they were, they were world's famous orchestra. They were, you've read about it when they were, they were fantastic and everything. And so I, I went back and with the fellow that I worked for in Hartford, Connecticut, he always made me remember that he, he had done me a favor because a lot of guys in his position wouldn't hire, wouldn't think of hiring a Negro. And he, he threw that up to me, and I didn't like it, but I didn't say anything. And so, but, and so when I went back, I told him, I told him the day that I was out from the orchestra rehearsal and everything is that I went down to Cleveland [Ohio]--down to New York, and auditioned for Cleveland Orchestra. And I said, this morning I got it, yesterday, and I was sitting in his office in the morning. I said, and I got a wire from the Cleveland Orchestra (unclear) and said that I had been hired, and you should have seen his face. He was, he was--he smoked a pipe, no, a cigar, pipe. And he, he lit the cigar about five times--pipe about four or five times. And he said he couldn't, he couldn't believe it. He said, he was, he would talk about George Szell in the Cleveland Orchestra. It was, every year the Cleveland Orchestra would go to Hartford on southern--on the eastern tour, and he said, George Szell, the (unclear) the Cleveland Orchestra. And I was in, and he, he was dumbfounded. He was, he said, finally, he said, asked me questions and everything. And I said, "Well, yeah, I'm going to leave in a few days." And we lived in a low-rent apartment on the edge of town, and I, I didn't have a car. I told you that. I didn't--I couldn't drive. And so I got, I got that session with George, with Paranov was over, and I was going to work in the morning and I said, with my friend, and I said, I won't be riding with you much longer because I got a job in the Cleveland Orchestra. And he put on the brakes. And he says, "My God, you're going to be in the same orchestra with Marc Lifschey," and didn't say anything about Szell. But Mark Lifschey was a fantastic oboist.