Kent Blossom Faculty Member Joela Jones to Retire from The Cleveland Orchestra

Joela Jones performing in Ludwig Recital Hall
Kent, OH — After 54 seasons, Kent Blossom Music Festival faculty member and Principal Keyboardist Joela Jones is set to retire from The Cleveland Orchestra this fall. Jones—now the longest-serving principal player in the orchestra’s history—is the 2021 recipient of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her outstanding artistic achievements and contributions to music and education throughout the region. The award was presented by Richard K. Smucker, chair of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Board of Trustees, during a ceremony at the Oct. 14 concert. Her final performance as principal keyboardist of The Cleveland Orchestra is Sunday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. 

Jones has a long history with Kent Blossom Music Festival, having attended as a Young Artist at its inception in 1968 and again in 1969. She joined the Festival faculty in 1989 and currently serves as the chair of keyboard studies. Over the past 32 seasons with Kent Blossom Music Festival, Jones has taught and mentored countless young pianists who now teach at esteemed music institutions and perform in ensembles, as chamber musicians and as soloists around the world.

“Joela’s dedication to the Festival and our Young Artists is unparalleled,” said Ricardo Sepúlveda, director of the Kent Blossom Music Festival. “Each season, she gives a great deal of individual attention and time to our visiting pre-professional musicians. On behalf of the Festival, I send my sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Joela, and I look forward to working with her on our summer 2022  season.”

The Cleveland Orchestra traces her history with the ensemble in a special feature. See below for a short documentary of Jones’ distinguished career produced by our partners, The Cleveland Orchestra. 


POSTED: Saturday, October 16, 2021 04:35 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 04:17 PM
Andrew Paa |