Musician Spotlight: Sarah Pearson

Sarah Pearson has a fascinating resumé with spectacular credentials as a conductor, but her most recent role is exciting for our community.   Pearson is the Founding Music Director and Conductor for The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus of Tennessee, which holds shows right here in Cleveland, Tennessee. 

In the Spring of 2016, Sarah set out to start the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus of Tennessee. Even with all of her current professional roles (she holds a stunning list of current conducting roles, including our town’s own Cleveland Pops), she knew of many musicians that didn’t have the opportunity to share their musical gifts as a part of an orchestra. 

“There’s no orchestra for the community. What does the community really have?,” Pearson asked herself in regards to orchestral music in the area. As an advocate of music education, she sees music as a great way to foster opportunity and enrichment in our community.

“Music speaks to people, it’s a universal language. It speaks to you at all levels and reaches you where you didn’t think you needed it,” said Pearson.

Pearson didn’t set out to start an orchestra and never saw herself starting one. Her passion and her attitude of “making great things happen where we’re at” drove her to use her years of conducting experience and the shadowing of other conductors to work towards creating an orchestra for our community.

While passion and experience are great assets, Pearson credits Cleveland State Community College and its President Dr. Bill Seymour for all that they have done to support the orchestra, which provides rehearsal and venue space.

“They are one of our big supporters,” said Pearson.


Pearson moved forward with starting the Cleveland Orchestra. The orchestra started with a core group of 35 musicians to leave a musical legacy here in Cleveland, Tennessee. The orchestra is finishing their second season on May 5th, 2018 with An Evening of Broadway and the Screen at the George R. Johnson Cultural Center Theatre at Cleveland State Community College, which will showcase some of Broadway’s and Hollywood’s most iconic works. Learn more about the upcoming gala concert on our community calendar listing of of the event.

The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus of Tennessee’s goal is to promote excellence and creativity in the arts communities of Cleveland and Bradley County, in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation. To learn more about Cleveland Orchestra, visit