Tag Archives: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

2022-2023 Season Announced by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

CSO_logo2We’re thrilled to welcome audiences into Music Hall.

Below is a comprehensive, all-new schedule of events, including free Digital Concerts and in-person live performances.

IMPORTANT: Please review our health and safety information and current protocols at cincinnatisymphony.org/safety.


  • Sat Sep 10, 2022 | 2:00 pm
  • Sun Sep 11, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Be our guest as the Cincinnati Pops performs the score to Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, live to the complete, beloved film! Featuring unforgettable characters and Academy Award®-winning music (Best Original Song, Best Original Score, 1991), Beauty and the Beast is a classic tale that’s been capturing hearts for generations. Now’s your chance to watch the spellbinding story unfold at Music Hall.

HEAR ME ROAR: A Celebration of Women in Song

  • Fri Sep 16, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Sep 17, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Sep 18, 2022 | 2:00 pm

JMR and the Pops open the new season with a powerful celebration of iconic divas of soul, pop, Broadway, R&B, jazz, opera and gospel that’ll blow the roof off Music Hall. Experience some of the most popular songs made famous by the likes of Adele, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Dolly Parton, Ella Fitzgerald and others. Three powerhouse singers join the Pops for an inspiring display of vocal fireworks sure to make you say, “I’m with HER!”


  • Sat Sep 24, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Sep 25, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Joélle Harvey, soprano
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo

May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director

Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony is a transformative experience of liberating power, flowing from despair to reassurance. The May Festival Chorus, approaching its 150th anniversary, plus GRAMMY-winning mezzo-soprano Kelly O’Connor and the “pure, refined tone” (The New York Times) of soprano Joélle Harvey join Louis Langrée and the CSO for an epic 22/23 Season opener.

GUSTAV MAHLER: Symphony No. 2, Resurrection


  • Fri Sep 30, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sun Oct 2, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor

Louis Langrée leads powerful farewells by two great symphonists. “I have put my whole soul into this,” Tchaikovsky said of his Sixth, a work full of drama and beauty. Christopher Rouse’s Sixth, which he knew would be his last, was commissioned by the CSO and posthumously premiered in 2019. Like Tchaikovsky’s Sixth, this is music that is highly personal and opts for intimacy, finishing in darkness. Said Rouse: “great forms and great concepts always have something new to offer.”


  • PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6, Pathetique
  • CHRISTOPHER ROUSE: Symphony No. 6


  • Fri Oct 14, 2022 | 6:30 pm
  • Sat Oct 15, 2022 | 6:30 pm
  • Sun Oct 16, 2022 | 6:30 pm
  • Sun Oct 16, 2022 | 8:30 pm

Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Daniel Wohl, composer and orchestrator
Kate Nordstrum / Liquid Music, creative producer

Inspired composer and filmmaker pairs create short-format films with new music performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with conductor and CSO Creative Partner, Matthias Pintscher. Produced in collaboration with Liquid Music as part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World RecordSun Dogs seeks to understand the natural world that can’t be touched or measured. Typically a composer responds to a director’s ideas in a film scoring capacity, or a filmmaker is given music to respond to visually, but Sun Dogs explores how stories can be told with music and film from equal footing.

Presented by the CSO and FotoFocus as part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record.

Supported by the David C. Herriman Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation.


World Premieres by:

  • Arooj Aftab and Daniel Wohl, co-composers
  • Rafiq Bhatia, composer
  • Josephine Decker, filmmaker
  • Dev Hynes, composer
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul, filmmaker


  • Fri Oct 21, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Oct 22, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Oct 23, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano

The famous ascending brass passage that opens Zarathustra is just the tip of this orchestral iceberg. Prepare yourself for a wild ride of big moments that show the range of the CSO musicians’ virtuosity. French pianist Hélène Grimaud—a virtuoso in her own right whose “performances attempt, whenever possible, to shake up conventional pianistic wisdom” (The New Yorker)—reunites with Louis Langrée for Schumann’s Piano Concerto.


RICHARD STRAUSS: Also sprach Zarathustra (“Thus Spake Zarathustra”)


  • Sat Oct 29, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Oct 30, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Michael Francis, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano

Michael Francis leads Vaughan Williams’ war-torn Sixth Symphony 150 years after the English composer’s birth. Pianist Behzod Abduraimov shares his “prodigious technique and rhapsodic flair” (The New York Times) in Rachmaninoff’s variations on an iconic melody by legendary violinist-composer Paganini—a brilliant showcase of stunning moments and orchestral thrills. Panufnik’s trumpet fanfare signals the start of the program, while Ives’ somber trumpet ponders the “perennial question of existence.”


SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
CHARLES IVES: The Unanswered Question

GET HAPPY: Judy Garland Centennial

  • Fri Nov 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Nov 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Nov 13, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Join JMR, the Pops and audience favorite Michael Feinstein for a tour through the life and songs of Judy Garland, in honor of her 100th birthday. Enjoy big screen film clips, never-before-seen photos, rare audio recordings, good humor and, of course, great music. We’ll explore Judy’s early career through her trip over the rainbow, her time on TV and the unforgettable concert years—with songs you know and love like “Get Happy,” “Over the Rainbow,” and more.


  • Sat Nov 19, 2022 | 10:30 am

Set young hearts and minds aglow! For many audience members, a lifelong love and appreciation of music began with Lollipops Family Concerts at Music Hall. Introduce someone you love to the world of orchestral music with a fun, interactive concert experience—perfect for children, ages or ability of 2-9.

Concert theme and program to be announced.


  • Fri Nov 18, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Nov 19, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Dalia Stasevska, conductor
Esther Yoo, violin

The talents of CSO musicians are on full display in Bartók’s Concerto, the epitome of an orchestra showpiece. Similarly, it’s “easy to see what all the fuss is about” (The Guardian) when guest soloist Esther Yoo performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Principal Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra Dalia Stasevska leads the program, beginning with inventive music that composer Missy Mazzoli says is “in the shape of a solar system.”

MISSY MAZZOLI: Sinfonia for Orbiting Spheres
JEAN SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto
BELA BARTÓK: Concerto for Orchestra


  • Sat Nov 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Nov 27, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Elim Chan, conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano

Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, an engine of lush melodies, churning energies and Russian romanticism, is performed by Khatia Buniatishvili, a “shining pianist at the height of her abilities.” Elgar’s Enigma Variations are sketches of his dear friends, each containing, as Elgar noted, “a distinct idea founded on some particular personality.” Elim Chan, “an impressive young conductor who makes an occasion of orchestral writing” (The New York Times), takes us through each heartfelt journey.


EDWARD ELGAR: Enigma Variations


  • Fri Dec 2, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Dec 3, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Michelle Cann, piano

Treble Voices of the May Festival ChorusRobert Porco, director

Holst’s The Planets has a gravity all its own—from the merciless rhythms of Mars to the magnificence of Jupiter. Caroline Shaw’s The Observatory acts like a musical telescope—in her words, exploring “some very large spaces…chaos and clarity.” Michelle Cann, former CSO MAC Music Innovator and featured soloist on the 20th anniversary of Classical Roots, is known for delivering “knockout” performances (Philadelphia Inquirer), and shines in music by Gershwin.

CSO Co-Commission by Caroline Shaw is made possible by Irwin and Melinda Simon.

  • CAROLINE SHAW: The Observatory [CSO Co-Commission]
  • GEORGE GERSHWIN: Rhapsody No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra
  • GUSTAV HOLST: The Planets


  • Fri Dec 9, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Fri Dec 9, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Dec 10, 2022 | 2:00 pm
  • Sat Dec 10, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Dec 11, 2022 | 2:00 pm
  • Sun Dec 11, 2022 | 7:00 pm

It’s not the holidays until it’s Holiday Pops! Experience the splendor of Music Hall decked out like a winter wonderland, and feel the warmth as JMR and the Pops perform beloved holiday classics. The Annie Moses Band, who wowed Pops audiences at Riverbend last summer, adds to the joy that makes Holiday Pops the perfect tradition.

STAR WARS: The Force Awakens

  • Thu Dec 29, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Fri Dec 30, 2022 | 7:30 pm

30 years after the defeat of the Empire, a new threat has arisen. The Resistance and unlikely heroes are the galaxy’s only hope at thwarting a new reign of evil. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the full forces of the Cincinnati Pops performing John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score live to the complete, acclaimed film.


Sat Dec 31, 2022 | 8:00 pm

Damon Gupton and the Pops give the holidays an afterglow and keep the celebration going into the New Year! Quiana Lynell, “a vocalist comfortable and commanding in styles including pop, jazz classics and the blues” (DownBeat), makes her Cincinnati Pops debut with timeless classics from the Billie Holiday songbook—songs like “I Cover the Waterfront,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “In My Solitude.”


  • Fri Jan 6, 2023 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Jan 7, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Thomas Søndergård, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin

It’s no surprise to Cincinnati audiences that “the essence of Hadelich’s playing is beauty” (The Washington Post). Experience the inimitable violinist’s return in Britten’s Violin Concerto along with esteemed Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård’s CSO debut. Themes of Sibelius’ Second Symphony coalesce into sparkling waves of sound for the work’s breathtaking finale.


ETHEL SMYTH: On the Cliffs of Cornwall
JEAN SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2


  • Fri Jan 13, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Jan 14, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Pekka Kuusisto, violin

Camilla Tilling, soprano (Solveig)
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director
Concert Theatre Works, Bill Barclay, director

A Norwegian fairy tale comes to life in Music Hall with a concert staging of Grieg’s enchanting score to Ibsen’s play, created and directed by Bill Barclay, former Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe. Louis Langrée leads the Orchestra and cast, including soprano Camilla Tilling and the May Festival Chorus. Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto opens the program with whimsical whistling by soloist Pekka Kuusisto, for whom the concerto was written.


  • DANÍEL BJARNASON: Violin Concerto
  • EDVARD GRIEG:Peer Gynt [concert-staged production]


  • Sat Jan 21, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Jan 22, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Randall Goosby, violin

Julia Perry’s Homunculus C.F. starts off whisper-quiet, tinkering in a laboratory of percussion. The program’s crescendo builds with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and acclaimed American soloist Randall Goosby—an artist with “exquisite tone and sheer virtuosity” (The New York Times). The concert reaches its zenith in Prokofiev’s Third Symphony as the muscle of the Orchestra is unleashed to its brassy and boisterous max.


  • Wed Jan 25, 2023 | 8:00 pm

Gabriel Kahane, composer and voice
Nathalie Joachim & Alex Sopp, flute and voice
Holcombe Waller, guitar and synth

Do you remember your brain before the internet? Before you became tethered to a tiny computer that travels on an infinite loop from nightstand to pocket to purse to your hand and back again? Were your dreams different? Did you wander the streets of a strange city, and did you delight in the terror of getting lost? In a new song cycle, Gabriel Kahane examines our cultural and economic obsessions with convenience and efficiency, and the debts that accrue as a result: debts to labor, to the planet, to privacy and, increasingly, to our free will.

These CSO Proof performances are supported by The Haile Foundation, Irwin & Melinda Simon, and the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


  • Fri Jan 27, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Jan 28, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Jan 29, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Romantic themes that stand the test of time? Check. Epic moments so powerful they give you goosebumps? Oh, absolutely. Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton leads a spectacular orchestral mixtape featuring some of Tchaikovsky’s greatest hits, including Romeo & Juliet, selections from Swan Lake, and of course, the 1812 Overture.


  • Fri Feb 3, 2023 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Feb 4, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Louis Langrée leads works inspired by a fusion of cultures. Qigang Chen and GRAMMY-nominated Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian discover new sounds through the combination of Eastern and Western styles. Ravel, who cherished Liszt’s music, pulls from his Basque heritage for Rapsodie espagnole. French Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, celebrated for playing with “both clarity and freedom” (The New York Times), returns for Liszt’s jubilant Second Concerto.


  • Sat Mar 4, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Mar 5, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Elizabeth Freimuth, horn

Richard Strauss conducted Death and Transfiguration at Music Hall in 1904. More than a century later, Louis Langrée and the CSO once again bring Strauss’ vivid musical image of the infinite to Music Hall. The program features Elizabeth Freimuth, the CSO’s Principal Horn, and an expansive world premiere by ascendant American composer Samuel Adams.


  • Fri Mar 10, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Mar 11, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Mar 12, 2023 | 2:00 pm

In 2018, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther quickly became a global sensation and cultural phenomenon, showing a new dimension of what superhero films could be. Rolling Stone raved, “The film lights up the screen with a full-throttle blast of action and fun. That’s to be expected. But what sneaks up and floors you is the film’s racial conscience and profound, astonishing beauty.” Now you can relive the excitement of T’Challa becoming king and battling Killmonger all while the Cincinnati Pops performs Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar-winning score live to picture.


  • Fri Mar 17, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Mar 18, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Kevin John Edusei, conductor
Simone Lamsma, violin

Mermaid tales inspired thrilling musical adventures from Mendelssohn and Zemlinsky. Mendelssohn’s work is brief but fiery, while Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau takes us through the dramas of Hans Christian Andersen’s original Little Mermaid. Kevin John Edusei leads the CSO, and Simone Lamsma, whose playing is “absolutely stunning” (Chicago Tribune), returns to perform Korngold’s gorgeously cinematic Violin Concerto.


  • Fri Mar 24, 2023 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Mar 25, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Mar 26, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Anna Rakitina, conductor
Sterling Elliott, cello

Russian conductor Anna Rakitina leads works by two composers who have lived with hearing loss—Beethoven, whose hearing struggle began a decade before the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, and British composer Richard Ayres, whose No. 52 explores, in the composer’s words, “one specific subject: Ludwig van Beethoven’s hearing loss and its effect on him.” Soloist Sterling Elliott, in his CSO debut, brings “impeccable technique and musicality” to Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.


  • Sun Mar 5, 2023 | 10:30 am
  • Sat Mar 25, 2023 | 10:30 am

Set young hearts and minds aglow! For many audience members, a lifelong love and appreciation of music began with Lollipops Family Concerts at Music Hall. Introduce someone you love to the world of orchestral music with a fun, interactive concert experience—perfect for children, ages or ability of 2-9.

Concert theme and program to be announced.


  • Wed Mar 29, 2023 | 8:00 pm
  • Thu Mar 30, 2023 | 8:00 pm

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre
Rosie Herrera, choreographer
Clyde Scott, video and production designer
Luke Kritzeck, lighting and production designer

Choreographer Rosie Herrera wants you to imagine that, after a night of gleefully overindulging in absinthe cocktails, filmmaker Federico Fellini stumbles down an alley in old Havana. A door cracks open and music washes over him like a sticky sunrise in September. He steps inside into a primordial soup of neon and sound and tropical heat. A wild undercurrent pulses through the room, whispering that anything (and everything) might happen.

These CSO Proof performances are supported by The Haile Foundation, Irwin & Melinda Simon, and the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


  • Fri Apr 7, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Apr 8, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Stephen Hough, piano

If there is any symphony that operates like a “double agent,” it is Shostakovich’s Fifth. Having found himself targeted by Stalin, Shostakovich composed himself out of a dangerous situation−with immensely gripping results. Stephen Hough returns for Rachmaninoff and Louis Langrée conducts the first part of a new multi-year work by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason.

CSO Co-Commission by Daníel Bjarnason is made possible by Ann and Harry Santen.


  • Fri Apr 14, 2023 | 7:30 pm

John Morris Russell, conductor
Classical Roots Community Mass Choir, William H. Caldwell, resident conductor

Love and community ring throughout Music Hall when the Cincinnati Pops and the Classical Roots Community Mass Choir celebrate a much-beloved Queen City tradition. JMR leads a program that’s guaranteed to inspire—an evening of powerful performances that will fill your heart with joy and bring you to your feet!


  • Sat Apr 15, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Apr 16, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Ramón Tebar, conductor
Steven Banks, saxophone

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is an epic musical stroll through an eclectic gallery of paintings, from a drawing of unhatched dancing chickens to an image of towering city gates. Originally for piano, Ravel’s version for orchestra adds a bursting palette of instrumental color. Saxophonist Steven Banks, who “has the potential to be one of the transformational musicians of the 21st century,” plays a new concerto by GRAMMY-winning pianist and composer Billy Childs.


  • Fri Apr 21, 2023 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Apr 22, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Matthias Pintscher, conductor

If Mahler’s symphonies are like worlds, the Seventh is like the universe in a single night. Patterned in gigantic symmetry, the opening and closing movements are packed with enormous sounds, each like symphonies in themselves. The interior music is lighter by contrast, pivoting at the center with a ghostly dance. CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher returns to conduct the huge orchestral forces needed for Mahler’s dusk-to-dawn universe, from clanging cowbells to titanic brass.

Sponsored by Peter Landgren and Judith Schonbach Landgren.


  • Fri Apr 28, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Apr 29, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Apr 30, 2023 | 2:00 pm

JMR and the Pops wrap up the 22/23 season with a Broadway musical reimagined for the concert hall! The brainchild of renowned writing team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, Ragtime, which follows three pursuits of the American Dream, became an instant classic. Nominated for 13 Tony Awards and two GRAMMY Awards in 1998, the show beat out The Lion King for the Tony for Best Original Score. Now you can experience the celebrated smash hit in a whole new way—in concert with the Cincinnati Pops!


  • Fri May 5, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat May 6, 2023 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun May 7, 2023 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée and the CSO explore works that have sounds all their own. Berlioz’s music from an unfinished opera adds voices in extreme ranges. Through darkest doubt and brightest love, the music expresses Saint-Saëns’ entire being and his skill as an organist with moments that pull out all the stops. Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, “an arresting artist who…creates unique aural landscapes” (LA Times), debuts with music by Mark Simpson.

CSO Co-Commission by Mark Simpson made possible by Ann and Harry Santen.


  • Fri May 12, 2023 | 11:00 am
  • Sat May 13, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Courtney Bryan, piano and composer

Louis Langrée and the CSO end the 22/23 season with jazz-infused musical visions. New Orleans native Courtney Bryan, “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (The New York Times), premieres her new concerto. Milhaud’s opening music evokes African folk mythology while Duke Ellington, who was both a prolific composer and famed jazz pianist, summons musical images of night creatures. Gershwin closes the program by dropping you into the sights and sounds of Parisian streets.

The CSO is grateful to Kari and Jonathan Ullman for their support of the Courtney Bryan Co-Commission.

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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Announce 2021-2023 Class of Diversity Fellows

CSO CCM_logosFive extraordinary graduate-level string players have been selected for the sixth class of the prestigious CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship program

CINCINNATI, July 8, 2021 — The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected five outstanding musicians for their next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. Born out of a mutual desire to help American orchestras become more inclusive and better represent the communities they serve, the performance fellowship program was launched in 2015 and continues with a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through the collaborative program, CCM and the CSO provide graduate level academic study and professional development and performance opportunities for the Diversity Fellows while catalyzing a more inclusive environment for underrepresented musicians in the orchestra field. The program’s tagline — “Bravos Without Barriers” — gets to the heart of its mission: eliminating obstacles that can prevent extraordinary musicians from achieving their full potential.

“If this past year has taught us anything, it is the need to work even more diligently to address the systemic imbalance and inequity that has been inherent in classical music” said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. “Our ultimate goals with the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship are twofold: to change the face of American orchestras to be more inclusive, and to be more reflective of our community so that we can more authentically serve the entirety of our community. The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship has been a way to jumpstart that process—for both the Orchestra and the fellows. More importantly though, is that this opportunity immediately immerses the fellows to the rigors and demands of the life of a professional orchestral musician, which benefits their musical and professional development. We are grateful that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been our funding partner for this important work.”

“If we are serious about promoting a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere within the arts, then conservatories and professional arts organizations have to work together to effect that change,” said CCM Dean Stanley Romanstein. “Part of our role as educators is to connect ‘potential’ with ‘opportunity.’ The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship is designed to revolutionize the talent pipeline by opening the doors of the orchestral industry to a more diverse population of emerging professionals. The Fellowship was a bold first step, but the work is ongoing. Thanks to our strong partnership with the CSO, the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the vision provided by the University of Cincinnati’s ‘Next Lives Here’ agenda, we will continue to build for tomorrow by cultivating an environment that focuses on accessibility while also providing artists with the support necessary for long-term success.”

Five exceptional string players will officially join the two-year fellowship program in August 2021, bringing the total number of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows to nine for the 2020-21 academic year and performance season. The incoming Fellows are:

  • Luis Celis Avila, (double bass)
  • Tyler McKisson, (viola)
  • Luis Parra, (cello)
  • Samantha Powell, (cello)
  • Mwakudua Kuo San “Dua” waNgure, (violin)

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program is open to exceptional violin, viola, cello and double bass players coming from historically underrepresented populations in classical music. The program is highly competitive, and each class of Fellows is selected through a series of auditions. Every year, hundreds of candidates audition for CCM faculty members for admission to the Conservatory. From that pool a select group is then invited back for Diversity Fellowship auditions with CSO musicians. The program saw its largest finalist group ever during the 2020-21 audition cycle, with 29 applicants invited to the final round of auditions, which were conducted in-person and virtually.

The Diversity Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music (MM) or Artist Diploma (AD) graduate degree program at CCM. The program also includes private lessons, mock auditions, professional development and audition travel assistance, career development workshops and mentorship from CSO musicians and artistic leadership.

Each Fellow receives full tuition scholarship support from CCM, a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and a one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000. Each Fellow also receives compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.

“The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship provides the opportunity to learn with one of the greatest orchestras in the world, and when I read about the program I knew that I had to apply for my shot at making this dream a reality,” incoming Fellow Zabawa-Martinez says. “In my first year as a fellow, I plan to take every opportunity presented to me in Cincinnati, and to learn by watching and listening to the musicians around me. The chance to gain experience with an orchestra like the CSO and to work with musicians from the orchestra and CCM will be a dream come true.”

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows can also participate in additional opportunities, including the chance to perform with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and participate in professional development opportunities with the Chautauqua Institution during its summer season.

Seventeen musicians have graduated from the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship to date. The fourth class of Diversity Fellows, which is comprised of Jordan Curry (violin), Magdiell Antequera (violin), Cristian Diaz (viola), Edna Pierce (viola) and Denielle Wilson (cello), recently completed the program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. Alumni have gone on to work with orchestras such as the Dallas, National, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as continuing as freelance artists and educators across the country.

Luis Celis Avila, Master of Music (MM) student, Double Bass A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, Luis Celis started playing the double bass at age 14. In 2021 he graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied with Susan Hagen on a full scholarship. Before that, he studied at the Jose Luis Paz Music Conservatory in his native Maracaibo for 11 years. During his time in Venezuela, Celis profusely enjoyed performing with a variety of youth and professional orchestras like the Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra.

During his time in Boston, Celis was fortunate to be part of one of the most vibrant and active communities in the world. As a former member of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, he studied with Danilo Perez, Kenny Werner, Victor Wooten and John Patitucci. In 2018 Celis was chosen to perform at a master class for Ron Carter at the college. In addition to these experiences, Celis has also performed with the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (including a tour to Brazil with pianist Anna Fedorova) and the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra.

Celis has participated in summer festivals such as the Curtis Institute Summerfest where he was able to work with Roberto Diaz, and the Bach Institute in Boston where he worked with John Harbison.

Celis has also performed with multiple Grammy-winning artists such as Jacob Collier, George Massenburg (Studio Recording), Aida Cuevas, Latin Grammy winner Miguel Siso and Tigran Hamasyan. Other highlights include performing for Lenin Moreno, president of Ecuador at Harvard, for Howard Shore as the principal bassist of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra at a concert in Boston Symphony Hall and for the Nintendo Switch video game score Dragon Marked for Death composed by Ippo Yamada.

Tyler McKisson, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Viola
Tyler McKisson is a 24-year-old orchestral and freelance violist from Arvada, Colorado who has recently received a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado – Boulder in viola performance. During his Master’s, he studied under Erika Eckert. McKisson received a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance at the University of Northern Colorado where he studied under Christopher Luther and Anne Lanzilotti. McKisson’s musical career started at age 10 when he joined his school’s string orchestra program. At age 14, he began his studies under his first private instructor, Brian Cook.

McKisson has participated in master classes as part of an ensemble and as a soloist led by artists such as Guillermo Figueroa, Robert deMaine and Matthew Dane. McKisson has been a member of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra for four seasons and has been a substitute for other local orchestras including the Boulder Symphony Orchestra and the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra. McKisson has also been named a substitute for the New World Symphony Orchestra, based in Miami, FL. He is a member of the Dynamix String Quartet which has performed an array of pop songs, classical pieces, and new music. Dynamix has performed two world premieres by local composers Eric Scott Alexander and Conner Lee Shaw. McKisson is also a member of the All Angles Orchestra which was the recipient of the Downbeat Student Music Award for Large Jazz Ensemble in 2018. Additionally, the ensemble recorded their debut album, New Angle, in 2017 through the Outside in Music Record Label.

He has been a national finalist in the MTNA Competition Chamber Division and has received a number of scholarships and grants to aid his undergraduate and graduate studies. McKisson has participated in several summer music programs including; Zodiac Music Academy Festival in Valdeblore, France; Music in the Mountains in Durango, CO; and Rocky Ridge Music Festival in Estes Park, CO. This summer, McKisson will be attending the Aspen Music Festival and School as a fellowship recipient.

Luis Parra, Master of Music (MM) student, Cello
Venezuelan cellist Luis Parra, age 24, began his musical journey at age 10, studying with cellist Tibisay Silva at the world-renowned program “El Sistema” in San Felipe, Venezuela. In 2012, Parra became a student of the Latin American Cello Academy, where he continued his studies with cellists William Molina and Wilfredo Perez and had the opportunity to work with other prominent cellists, including German Marcano and Marek Gajzler.

In 2013, Parra was named Principal Cellist of the Yaracuy Youth Symphony Orchestra and was invited to perform with the professional Caracas Municipal Orchestra and the Teresa Carreño Symphony. Parra made his solo debut with the Yaracuy Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2014, performing the Saint Saens Cello Concerto and his international debut with the Beirut Philharmonic in Ghalboun, Lebanon, where he performed the Elgar Cello Concerto.

As an accomplished chamber musician, Parra has participated in many festivals worldwide, including the Nuevo Mundo Festival and Academy in Aruba, the Yawmiyat Festival in Ghalboun, Lebanon, Center Stage Strings in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Amelia Island Festival in Florida.

In 2017, Parra moved to the United States, accepting a full scholarship to study at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University with cellists Richard Aaron, Julie Albers and Leo Singer. At Mercer, Parra had the opportunity to perform in master classes for great cellists and pedagogues, such as Edward Arron and Clive Greensmith, and performed alongside the Cavani String Quartet. In May of 2021, Parra was awarded the General Excellence in Music Award from the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University and graduated Summa Cum
Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance. Luis Parra plays on a “Neuner & Hornsteiner” cello, generously loaned by the Carlsen Cello Foundation from Seattle, WA.

Samantha Powell, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Cello
Samantha Powell recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. There she studied with the associate principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Richard Weiss. A 2017 graduate of Centennial High School, she was very involved in her orchestra as principal cellist, as well as her local church, where she has been a frequent featured soloist.

Powell started her music studies with cello at the age of five studying with John Landefeld, Associate Principal Cellist of the Plano Symphony Orchestra. She has won spots in the top All-Region orchestras in five consecutive years and has received All-State solo and orchestral honors. She was also a dedicated member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra where she was featured as a concerto winner of the GDYO Philharmonic and the principal cellist of the top ensemble.

At CIM, she has been a principal cellist of the orchestra, been very active in chamber music being in groups like the Thalia Quartet which was selected for the Advanced String Quartet program, and has participated soloistically in Sonata Seminar where again being featured in concert. She was recently awarded for best Bach in the Cleveland Cello Society Scholarship Competition. Festivals where she has been a participant include The International Lyric Academy, Graz American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Institute and recently received a fellowship with the National Orchestra Institute.

Mwakudua Kuo San “Dua” WaNgure, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Violin
Mwakudua WaNgure grew up in Fort Myers, Florida, where he started violin at the age of four through the Suzuki method. He continued to study violin throughout his childhood and graduated from high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy. WaNgure attended the Oberlin Conservatory where he earned his BM in Violin Performance and studied with David Bowlin. WaNgure went on to earn his MM in violin performance at the University of Michigan where he studied under Aaron Berofsky and Kathryn Votapek.

As a student WaNgure attended festivals such as the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Summer Intensive. As a professional WaNgure performed as a member of the various groups in the midwest such as the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra and the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival Orchestra. He also served as a violin instructor at Scarlett Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor.

About the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
With a rich tradition that dates back more than 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is considered one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles. Led by Louis Langrée, the Orchestra’s distinguished roster of past music directors includes Frank van der Stucken, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Eugene Goossens, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Michael Gielen, Jesús López Cobos, and Paavo Järvi. Matthias Pintscher is the Orchestra’s Creative, and past Creative Directors include Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Lang Lanag, Philip Glass, Branford Marsalis and Jennifer Higdon. The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, founded by Erich Kunzel in 1977. John Morris Russell has led the Pops 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, community relevance and enhancing and expanding opportunities for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra brings music education to and currently serves more than 80,000 individuals annually. The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, provides Masters degree-level education and professional development opportunities for extraordinary young musicians from historically underrepresented populations in classical music. The CSO is also an incubator for and partner to NIMAN, a consortium of American orchestras, professional musicians and educators devoted to providing significant and ongoing opportunities for young instrumentalists at all stages of their pre-careers.

About the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Declared “one of this country’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, the University of Cincinnati’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned College-Conservatory of Music is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867 and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MA, MM, MFA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors, along with a wide variety of pre-collegiate and post-graduate programs. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage.

CCM works to bring out the best in its students, faculty and staff by valuing their unique backgrounds, experiences and pespectives. CCM’s student population hails from 43 different US states and 32 different countries. The school’s roster of eminent faculty members regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success.

CCM is comprised of eight academic units, which span the spectrum of the performing and media arts:

  • Composition/Musicology/Theory,
  • Ensembles and Conducting (Choral Studies, Commercial Music Production, Jazz Studies, Orchestral Studies and Wind Studies)
  • General Studies,
  • Keyboard Studies (Harpsichord, Organ and Piano),
  • Media Production,
  • Music Education,
  • Performance Studies (Strings, Voice and Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion) and
  • Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (Acting, Arts Administration, Dance, Musical Theatre, Opera and Theatre Design and Production)

CCM’s world-class facilities provide a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment. In 2017, the college completed a $15-million renovation of its major performance spaces, ensuring that CCM’s facilities remain state-of-the-art.

CCM is an accredited institution of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), as well as a member of the University/ Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA). The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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2021-2022 Season Announced by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

CSO_logo2CSO PROOF: ANNO Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

  • Thu Oct 7, 2021 | 8:00 pm
  • Fri Oct 8, 2021 | 8:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Anna Meredith, electronics
Eleanor Meredith, video
Simon Hendry, sound design

At times haunting and achingly beautiful, at others punchy and bombastic, ANNO intertwines sections from Vivaldi’s hugely famous Four Seasons with newly composed electronic and acoustic music by Anna Meredith.


  • Fri Oct 29, 2021 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Oct 30, 2021 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Stefani Matsuo, violin
Drew Petersen, piano

Our opening concerts symbolize the freedom and joy in being able to gather together to share live music. The program features Brahms’ blockbuster Third Symphony—an outburst of freedom and joy. Pianist Drew Petersen joins concertmaster Stefani Matsuo for Brahms’ Scherzo movement from the collaborative F-A-E Sonata and then performs Andrew Norman’s enigmatic Suspend, which explores melodic fragments from both of Brahms’ works.


  • Wed Nov 10, 2021 | 7:30 pm

Daniil Trifonov, piano

Daniil Trifonov wowed sold-out Music Hall audiences with his 2019 CSO debut. Now, Cincinnati will get a chance to experience a rare solo recital showcasing the remarkable talent of the famed Russian pianist—an artist The London Times calls “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”


  • Sat Nov 13, 2021 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Nov 14, 2021 | 2:00 pm

James Gaffigan, conductor
Robert Sullivan, trumpet
Catherine Trottmann, soprano

Conductor James Gaffigan returns with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, a work depicting the stunning grace often found amid tragedy. Soprano Catherine Trottmann makes her CSO debut, and Principal Trumpet Robert Sullivan takes center stage with a rarely heard 18th-century gem by the little-known Czech composer Johann Baptist Georg Neruda.


  • Fri Nov 19, 2021 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Nov 20, 2021 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano

Emanuel Ax, a perpetual audience favorite, performs Haydn’s shimmering Concerto in D. Composer Sebastian Currier took Louis Langrée’s CSO commission instructions literally: each of the four movements in Track 8 parallels a movement of Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, in what Currier calls
“a Beethoven remix.”


  • Fri Nov 26, 2021 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Nov 27, 2021 | 7:30 pm

Roderick Cox, conductor
Conrad Tao, piano

Roderick Cox’s CSO debut takes us into the sound world of the imagination, with works by composers who used the full palette of orchestral colors to illustrate their vision. Mallarmé’s poem depicting a faun’s ephemeral fantasies inspired Debussy’s most famous work. Pianist Conrad Tao performs Ravel’s concerto inspired by jazz and Basque folk music, and Mendelssohn’s Scottish evokes the dramatic landscapes of the British Isles.


  • Sat Jan 8, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Jan 9, 2022 | 2:00 pm

James Conlon, conductor

James Conlon, May Festival Music Director Laureate, returns with works by three composers who touch on universal themes of cultural identity and our shared humanity. Dawson, a pioneering composer in his time, expresses the Black American experience while Beethoven’s and Bernstein’s works illustrate the conflicts between cultures thrown together through circumstance.


  • Fri Jan 14, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Jan 15, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Nicola Bendetti, violin

At the turn of the 20th century, there were no greater orchestrators than Ravel and Strauss, whose works unleash the full force of the orchestra in all of its innumerable colors. Grammy-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti gives the U.S. premiere of Mark Simpson’s dazzling new violin concerto. Finished during the pandemic, the work “explodes with all those feelings—frustration, anger, restlessness, confusion, uncertainty—that have had nowhere to go during the lockdowns” (The Times, London).


  • Fri Jan 28, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Jan 29, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin

CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher and close collaborator, violinist Leila Josefowicz, premiere Pintscher’s brand new concerto, written for the CSO. Completing the program is another composer who conducted his own works: Sergei Rachmaninoff, whose spirited Symphonic Dances are always an audience favorite.


  • Sat Feb 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Feb 13, 2022 | 2:00 pm

John Storgårds, conductor
Ksenjia Sidorova, accordion

The versatility of Glass, Piazzolla and Adams shines as conductor John Storgårds leads a program conjuring missing lovers, misspent youth, intrigue, and the early hours of Los Angeles. Piazzolla’s steamy, sultry Latin tangos are mesmerizing as performed by accordionist Ksenija Sidorova in her CSO debut.


  • Fri Mar 4, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Mar 5, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Karina Canellakis, conductor
Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Audience favorite Alisa Weilerstein brings her trademark intensity to Elgar’s fiery and elegant Cello Concerto. Full of energy, Augusta Read Thomas’ Brio is a joyous opening to the program, and the artistry of conductor Karina Canellakis and the CSO is on display with Sibelius’ depiction of mythological dark Nordic waters, icy adventures and a sonorous swan song.


  • Fri Mar 11, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Mar 12, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director

Jennifer Koh is a prolific champion of new works and stars in the premiere of a CSO co-commission by “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart,” Missy Mazzoli. The May Festival Chorus makes a triumphant return to Music Hall for Mozart’s poignant Mass, taking us from anxiety and darkness to glorious transfiguration.


  • Fri Mar 25, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Mar 26, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun Mar 27, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Eighth Blackbird

GRAMMY Award-winning Eighth Blackbird joins the CSO for a premiere from
Kinds of Kings, a U.S.-based composer collective amplifying and advocating for underrepresented voices. A new fanfare by Wynton Marsalis shows off the Orchestra’s brass, and Symphonie fantastique completes the concert with a delirious dream fueled by Berlioz’s obsessive passion and unrequited love.


  • Fri Apr 1, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sat Apr 2, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Kazushi Ōno, conductor
Seong-Jin Cho, piano

Prokofiev’s powerful hymn to humanity anchors a program featuring the CSO debuts of conductor Kazushi Ōno and star pianist Seong-Jin Cho. The vivid musical imagery of Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu sets the stage for Bartók’s airy and virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 3.


  • Fri Apr 8, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sat Apr 9, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano

Powerhouse pianist Yefim Bronfman returns to the CSO with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Julia Adolphe’s premiere evokes the power of nature and its malleable, playful, childlike qualities. With La Mer let your imagination soar—Debussy’s masterful use of orchestral colors makes this impressionistic work a perpetual audience favorite.


  • Sun Apr 10, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Itzhak Perlman, violin

When we say, “think of a famous violinist,” who comes to mind? For many, it’s Itzhak Perlman. The “reigning virtuoso” (The New York Times) returns for a solo violin recital, putting Perlman’s legendary sound center stage. When we think of Perlman, we think, “can’t miss.”

CSO PROOF: Black Being

  • Wed Apr 20, 2022 | 8:00 pm

Nathalie Joachim & Allison Loggins-Hull, composers and soloists
Jaki Shelton Green, poet
Co-Commissioned by The Arts Club of Chicago and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Black Being explores the African-American female experience through themes of fear, sacrifice, beauty, survival and strength in an immersive staged performance that provides a lens into black cultural realities and human conditions. 


  • Fri Apr 22, 2022 | 7:30 pm

John Morris Russell, conductor

Shout for joy, Cincinnati! JMR and the CSO celebrate 20+ years of Classical Roots, one of The Queen City’s most inspiring musical traditions. Experience the voices of the Classical Roots Community Mass Choir and let the powerful presence of song and spirit in beautiful Music Hall lift up your heart.


  • Fri May 6, 2022 | 11:00 am
  • Sat May 7, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun May 8, 2022 | 7:30 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor
Dwight Parry, oboe

Rachmaninoff’s lush and romantic Second Symphony uses the full force of the orchestra to deliver one of the most popular symphonic works. Opening the concert is a world premiere by French composer Guillaume Connesson, written for CSO Principal Oboe Dwight Parry.


  • Sat May 14, 2022 | 7:30 pm
  • Sun May 15, 2022 | 2:00 pm

Louis Langrée, conductor

Louis Langrée calls Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony “a cathedral of sound—spiritual, soaring and transcendent.” The concert opens with a new work by Gabriela Ortiz, identified by NPR as “one of Mexico’s most sought-after classical composers,” whose musical language stems from her heritage and yet is all her own.

For more information visit https://www.cincinnatisymphony.org/tickets-and-events/buy-tickets/cso/2122-cso-season

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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 cincinnatisymphony.org. 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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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 Cincinnatisymphony.org
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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CSO and Pops Concerts Cancelled Through May 31, 2020

CSO_logo2In compliance with Governor Mike DeWine’s standing mass-gathering restrictions and his recent directive to stay at home, and in an effort to protect audiences, musicians, employees and the community from the spread of COVID-19, all remaining CSO and Pops concerts and events through May 31, 2020 are canceled.

The ongoing restrictions on assemblages of more than 10 people became immediately problematic for collaborative art forms such as ours to continue with rehearsals and production plans. Thus, it is with heavy hearts that the remaining performances this season must be canceled, including the CSO’s collaboration with the May Festival.


  • Lollipops: Peter and the Wolf Sensory-Friendly Rehearsal (March 24)
  • Chamber Players: Manny Ax & More (March 27)
  • Manny and Mozart (March 27 & 28)
  • Lollipops: Peter and the Wolf (March 28)
  • Young People’s Concert: Plugged In (March 31)
  • Beethoven 8 + Sō Percussion (April 3 & 4)
  • CSO Night/Light (April 4)
  • CSO Artist-in-Residence Guy Braunstein in Recital (April 16)
  • Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev (April 17 & 18)
  • CSYO Philharmonic Spring Concert (April 18)
  • CSO Proof: Surrealist el Tropical (April 22)
  • Chamber Players: Mendelssohn & Braunstein (April 24)
  • Mendelssohn + Strings (April 25 & 26)
  • CSO/CSYO Side-by-Side Concert (April 28)
  • DreamWorks Animation in Concert (May 1, 2 & 3)
  • Mozart’s Paris (May 8 & 9)
  • CSYO Concert Orchestra Spring Concert (May 9)
  • CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows Musical Matinee (May 9)
  • Mahler 3 + Adolphe Premiere (May 16 & 17)

Please note that the April 14 concert with Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers is currently postponed with a new date TBD, pending scheduling capability.

The Louis on 125: The Luminaries event on April 30 will be streamed digitally on Facebook Live. Please visit the page to stay up to date with more details as the event approaches.

These cancellations will have a significant financial impact for the Orchestra. We are especially appreciative of our generous supporters who will consider donating their tickets for a tax credit. Throughout our 125-year history, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has navigated challenges and continues to thrive because of the strength of our community. Now, as always, we are grateful for our community’s extraordinary support.

How can you help?

Donate your tickets for a tax credit. Nearly one-third of audiences so far have chosen to donate their tickets for cancelled performances, which helps the Orchestra during this extraordinarily challenging time.

Subscribe. Show your support by ordering your season tickets for the 20/21 season now. We look forward to seeing you back in Music Hall when we can all be together again.

Donate. To help ensure the CSO’s future, please consider the role music plays in your lives and support your Orchestra with a gift of any amount at cincinnatisymphony.org/donate.

Thank you for your continued support of the CSO and Pops.

Click here for more information: What are my ticket options?

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