After Karel Paukert retired in 2004, the departments of Musical Arts and Performing Arts merged to become the department of Performing Arts, Music, and Film, with Massoud Saidpour as director. As the museum’s renovation and expansion project got under way in summer 2005 and the primary performance space (Gartner Auditorium) became unavailable, Saidpour shifted his programming into Cleveland’s architectural landmarks and performance halls. He named the new series VIVA! & Gala Around Town, combining the beloved Gala Music Series and the VIVA! Festival of Performing Arts series and staging them in venues throughout Cleveland. In February 2010, the renovated Gartner Auditorium reopened and the VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts series returned to the museum. Gallery concerts, presented in conjunction with the museum’s special exhibitions, complement the annual concert series.
The department does not maintain a historical collection of musical instruments. It does, however, own a number of pianos (two Steinways and one Bösendorfer), organs (the 4,014-pipe McMyler Memorial Organ and two positives), harpsichords (two French doubles, one Italian, and one German double), fortepianos (an original Broadwood and a fortepiano after Walter), and other keyboard instruments that are frequently used in performances. The film program, curated by John Ewing, is a year-long presence at the museum. Since July 1986, Ewing has presented at least two different feature films every week (on Wednesday nights and Friday nights or Sunday afternoons). The 90 screenings shown annually cover a wide-range of international films from all eras. Films sometimes complement exhibitions. Ewing’s selections tend to be outside of the mainstream and often come from important traveling film exhibitions on tour in the United States for a limited time.