Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Announces Details for Free “LIVE FROM MUSIC HALL” Streamed Concerts This Fall and Musicians’ Contract Extensions

CSO_POPS logos

CSO Music Director Louis Langrée and Pops Conductor John Morris Russell to Lead Seven All-New Programs Inspired by Current Times;
Featured Artists include Angel Blue, Sharel Cassity, Aaron Diehl,
Adia Dobbins, Damon Gupton, Augustin Hadelich, Anthony McGill,
Awadagin Pratt and the Catalyst Quartet

Newly Ratified One-Year Musicians’ Contract Calls for Cost Savings
and Creates Significant Scheduling Flexibility

Free Access to All Seven Concerts Enhanced by Simulcasts
in Washington Park and Fountain Square

CINCINNATI, OH (September 14, 2020) – The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Cincinnati Pops have announced detailed plans for seven Live From Music Hall concerts to be digitally streamed for free this autumn in lieu of live, in-person performances. The concerts are being recorded at Cincinnati Music Hall in accordance with strict safety protocols and will be broadcast throughout the fall on Saturday evenings at 8pm. The live-streamed programs will be free on the Orchestra’s website and social media channels and will also be simulcast for a live, socially distanced audience in downtown Cincinnati on large screens in Fountain Square and Washington Park.

Since the COVID 19-related cancellation of the Orchestra’s planned spring, summer and fall concerts at Music Hall, the organization has addressed budget shortfalls through a three-pronged plan of expense cuts and salary reductions for staff, executive and artistic leadership; special fundraising; and a draw from the organization’s cash reserves. Further, the staff has realigned around digital innovation and a newly announced DE&I plan to position for long-term growth. The streamed events are made possible due to a one-year agreement with the Orchestra’s musicians that allows greater scheduling and work rules flexibility made necessary due to restricted public gathering guidelines and increased safety measures.

Music Director Louis Langrée will conduct four CSO programs, September 26, October 24, November 21 and December 5. Program highlights include soprano Angel Blue singing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; the Catalyst Quartet joining the Orchestra for Jesse Montgomery’s Banner; Augustin Hadelich performing a violin concerto of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; Anthony McGill as soloist in Anthony Davis’s You Have the Right to Remain Silent; and Awadagin Pratt performing a Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K.414/385p. Western & Southern is the CSO Season Sponsor.

“We are living through challenging times, but music has the ability to elevate us, heals us and unite us,” said Louis Langrée. “We have chosen repertoire this fall that reflects our current sensitivities and sensibilities and we have invited guest artists who are not only great musicians but important voices in our collective consciousness.”

Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell will conduct three Pops programs. October 3 focuses on American jazz “classics” from early ragtime to a new reduced orchestration Rhapsody in Blue with Aaron Diehl as soloist and a celebration of Charlie Parker’s 100th birthday with saxophonist Sharel Cassity and vocalist Adia Dobbins. October 31 is Halloween and autumn-themed with highlights including movie music from Psycho, Us, and a Harry Potter suite; tunes celebrating Dia De Los Muertes; and, Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton will narrate The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And, on December 12, a special digital version of the beloved Holiday Pops will center around the theme Home for the Holidays. PNC Bank is the Pops Series Sponsor.

“In reprogramming the fall season, we’ve done a deep dive into amazing musical wonderments from Hollywood, popular classics and the panoply of American pop that can be performed on a more intimate scale,” said John Morris Russell. “We’ve discovered hot tunes from the Jazz Age and smoldering classics from the Be-bop era, eclectic music for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, and a charming collection of exquisite Holiday gems. And, we’re really excited about two world premiere orchestrations–The Legend of Sleepy Hollow we commissioned from James Stephenson III and a new reduced scoring of Rhapsody In Blue from Tim Berens. We can’t wait to share it all with Pops fans around the corner and across the globe!”

In addition to its virtual presence, the CSO and Pops is increasing its robust schedule of neighborhood and community events with the expansion of CSO In Your Neighborhood, pop-up concerts throughout Greater Cincinnati featuring small ensembles of CSO musicians.

“To achieve this re-creation of our season required greatly increased flexibility in scheduling and work rules, and we are grateful to our musicians for understanding the need to incorporate these into a new one-year contract,” said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. “Both COVID and societal issues around inclusiveness and equity have forever changed the CSO’s landscape. In addition to mitigating the financial implications caused by concert cancellations, our three-pronged financial stability plan includes a realigned staff structure around our elevated priorities: our presence in the digital space, and our rededication to a CSO that fully serves our community.”

The ability to produce the seven Live From Music Hall events as well as ongoing CSO In Your Neighborhood concerts is achievable due to a newly ratified one-year contract extension with the CSO’s musicians. Modifications to the contract include a 10% across-the-board wage reduction; much greater scheduling flexibility; the ability to deploy smaller groups of musicians for community and education activities; a hiring postponement for current vacancies in the Orchestra complement; and, increased presence of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows as extra and substitute musicians. Additionally, in tandem with similar initiatives being undertaken by the CSO board and staff, the contract specifies the creation of a task force to review hiring, contracting and compensation practices to ensure fairness and equity.

“This agreement opens the door for adjustments that all Orchestras may need to consider given the uncertainties of COVID and its long-term implications. It represents a decades-long tradition of collaboration based on the understanding that the Cincinnati community has supported its symphony orchestra since 1895,” said Paul Frankenfeld, President of the Cincinnati Musicians’ Association, Local 1 AFM and CSO Associate Principal Viola. “We thank the orchestra committee and particularly co-chairs Ted Nelson and Jennifer Monroe for their thoughtful consideration of what was best for the musicians and for our community. We thank our attorney Barbara Jaccoma for contributing to our ongoing conversation since 2001. And, we thank the Board and management for continuing to honor the contract by providing our current salary and benefits despite the suspension of all concert activity since March 12.”

“I’m proud of the creative way our artistic leaders, musicians and staff have worked over the past several months to keep the Cincinnati Symphony in the hearts and minds of our loyal audiences. If there is anything we’ve learned from this experience, it’s that the post-COVID world we eventually operate in will be different, and so we have taken this opportunity to better position ourselves for what lies ahead,” said CSO Board Chair Rob McDonald. “Music and art and are vital to our well-being, and, thanks to unwavering support from sponsors and donors, Live From Music Hall will help us continue to make meaningful connections with our audiences, our community and well beyond Cincinnati this fall.”

In addition to the Orchestra’s longstanding support from the Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, ArtsWave, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, the CSO is sponsored by Western & Southern Financial Group.

“Western & Southern is committed to the arts in Cincinnati and is proud to support the CSO’s innovative digital concerts this fall. Like everyone at the CSO, we look forward to returning to Music Hall, but until then, we are glad to make these live streams possible,” said John Barrett, Chairman, President & CEO of Western & Southern.

Since mid-March, when the pandemic forced the suspension of large public gatherings, the CSO and Pops have remained connected with local and global audiences through the creation of new digital content and physically distanced pop-up concerts and events with musicians from the Orchestra under the CSO In Your Neighborhood umbrella. This fall, in addition to the seven large-scale concert events, the CSO will continue to create and curate original content for its social media platforms and for Orchestra at Home, an array of performances and aggregated resources on Orchestra at Home provides links to virtual concerts on May 16 and July 4 as well as other live streamed experiences produced since the beginning of the pandemic; performance and educational videos by CSO musicians (including a series of world premieres catalyzed by The Fanfare Project); education programs supplementing and supporting home learning and schools as they acclimate to adjusted teaching environments; and a collection of archived CSO and Pops videos, podcasts and recordings.

Educational programming will support schools, educators and students in the region with free Young People’s Concerts, in-school programs and educator professional development activities available virtually. And, Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras will provide modified in-person activities and supplemental virtual activities available to all students.

Subscribers to the CSO or Pops’ 2020-21 season who have tickets to fall 2020 concerts have been contacted directly by the Box Office with their options. Questions can be directed to the CSO Box Office at (513) 381-3300.

The complete schedule follows.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée, Music Director
Cincinnati Pops, John Morris Russell, Conductor
Live From Music Hall, Fall 2020

Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Washington Park and Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Angel Blue, soprano
Catalyst Quartet, string quartet

Jessie Montgomery                                       Banner, for Solo String Quartet
(b. 1981)                                                             and Chamber Orchestra

Samuel Barber                                                 Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24
(1910-1981)                                                                     Angel Blue, soprano

Aaron Copland                                                 Suite from Appalachian Spring      (1900-1990)                                                                 (1944 original orchestration)

Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor
Aaron Diehl, piano
Sharel Cassity, saxophone
Adia Dobbins, vocalist

American jazz classics, from ragtime to a celebration of Charlie Parker’s centenary. Works by Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, James Reese Europe, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter and Harry Warren & Mack Gordon.

Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Charles Ives                                                                   The Unanswered Question

Joseph Bologne,                Chevalier Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra
de Saint-Georges               in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2
(1745-1799)                                Allegro moderato
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Igor Stravinsky                                      Pulcinella Suite (1949 revision)
(1882-1971)                                             I. Sinfonia
II. Serenata
III. Scherzino
IV. Tarantella
V. Toccata
IV. Gavotta con due variazioni
VII. Vivo
VIII. Minuetto
IX. Finale
The appearance of Augustin Hadelich is made possible by Mace Justice.

Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor
Stefani Matsuo, violin
Damon Gupton, narrator

A celebration of autumn, Halloween and Dia De Los Muertes. Featuring Stefani Matsuo as soloist in “Autumn” from Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires; movie music including selections from Michael Abels’ Us, Bernard Hermann’s Psycho and John Williams’ Harry Potter; the traditional La Llorona; and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a special orchestration by James Stephenson III and narrated by Cincinnati Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton.

Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Anthony McGill, clarinet

Julia Perry                                              Homunculus C.F.

Richard Wagner                                     Siegfried Idyll

Anthony Davis                                         You Have the Right to Remain Silent
(b. 1951)                                                                   Interrogation
Dance of the Other
Anthony McGill, clarinet

Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
Louis Langrée conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Awadagin Pratt, piano

Marianna Martines                                                Overture in C Major
(1744-1812)                                                                   Allegro con spirito
Andante ma non troppo
Allegro spiritoso

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart                              Concerto No. 12 in A Major for
(1756-1791)                                                          Piano and Orchestra, K.414/385p
Awadagin Pratt, piano

Maurice Ravel                          Five Nursery Songs (Suite) from Ma mère l’oye
(1875-1937)                                     (Mother Goose)
Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty
Tom Thumb
Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas
Conversations of Beauty and the Beast
The Enchanted Garden

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier               Movement III, Rondo, from Concerto for
de Saint-Georges             Violin and String Orchestra in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2
(1745-1799)                               Augustin Hadelich, violin
ed. Badley

The appearance of Augustin Hadelich is made possible by Mace Justice.

Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Free at
Simulcast at Fountain Square
John Morris Russell conductor

Holiday Pops—Home for the Holidays
The Cincinnati Pops presents a special digital version of its beloved annual Holiday Pops concerts, featuring seasonal music and a few surprises.

Supported by Graeter’s Ice Cream.

Programs and artists subject to change.


About the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
With a rich tradition that dates back 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is considered one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles. Led by Music Director Louis Langrée, Matthias Pintscher will be the Orchestra’s Creative Partner beginning with the 2020-21 season. The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, founded by Erich Kunzel in 1977. John Morris Russell has been Pops Conductor since 2010 and Damon Gupton is Principal Guest Conductor.

Since its beginnings, the CSO been a proponent of the music of its time, performing the American premieres of works by important composers including Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók, and commissioning many works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including two iconic works by Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra continues to commission works, amplifying new voices from a diverse array of backgrounds.

With groundbreaking initiatives including CSO Proof, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY and the MusicNOW Festival collaboration, the Orchestra champions innovation. As an ambassador for Cincinnati, the region, and for the U.S., the CSO has toured extensively, most recently to Asia and Europe in 2017. The CSO was the first American orchestra to be featured on a national radio broadcast and continues to reach millions of listeners across the country and around the world through the airwaves, digital streaming and commercial recordings on the CSO’s own Fanfare Cincinnati label. The Orchestra also performs, records and tours as the Cincinnati Pops and elevates Cincinnati’s vibrant arts scene by serving as the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet.

Committed to inclusion and relevance and to enhancing and expanding music education for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. Education and outreach programs currently serve more than 80,000 individuals annually. The groundbreaking CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, a nationally recognized program in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, provides Masters degree-level education and professional development and performance opportunities for extraordinary young musicians from historically underrepresented populations in classical music.

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