Make it your family’s Christmastime tradition. Quiet and consoling, uplifting and exultant, your heart will sing with Handel’s masterpiece in the hands of
your CSO and the May Festival Chorus. Hallelujah!
Program | Music Hall 513.381.3300
The DEC 21 performance is a shortened, family-friendly sing-along of Messiah, held at:
A welcome encore performance for Cincinnati favorite Hélène Grimaud, who played Brahms’ turbulent, dramatic and entirely captivating First Concerto to glowing reviews when she last performed here in 2007. Music Director Louis Langrée completes the program with Beethoven’s wittiest, most good-natured symphony, which the composer wrote during one of the most difficult personal periods of his life—while he was involved in a passionate, but doomed, love affair, the affair with the mysterious woman known as his Immortal Beloved.
An eclectic and brilliant artist described as “probably the most engaging maverick in classical music today,” Pekka Kuusisto will beautifully convey the many contrasts found in Prokofiev’s thrilling Second Concerto—from the often dramatic, yet strikingly melodious, opening movements, to the brash, almost demonic passages of the finale. John Storgårds, making a return appearance with the CSO, opens the program with Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet, which vividly captures the atmosphere and characters of Shakespeare’s play, enhanced by dramatic readings by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. The concerts end with Sibelius' nationalistic Lemminkäinen Suite, subtitled “Four Legends from the Kalevala,” including the famous “Swan of Tuonela.”
Colin Currie, the extraordinary percussionist whose performances of MacMillan’s gripping Veni, Veni, Emmanuel have elicited comments such as “showstopping,” “gymnastic,” “staggeringly dexterous” and “breathtaking,” returns to Music Hall this weekend. Christoph König, an energetic and gifted young conductor who is taking the musical world by storm, opens the program with the lovely overture to Weber’s “The Marksman” and closes with Dvořák’s powerful, beautiful and inventive Fifth Symphony.
Celebrate an early Valentine’s Day with the illustrious Radu Lupu, a leading interpreter of Beethoven whose playing has been described as “simply sublime: intelligent, authoritative and innately felt.” He returns to Music Hall to perform Beethoven’s elegant and expressive Third Piano Concerto. The rising young German conductor David Afkham leads the tender Siegfried Idyll, which Wagner wrote as a birthday gift to his wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried, and Beethoven’s high-spirited Symphony No. 4.
Music Director Laureate Paavo Järvi introduces Zhang Zuo, a vibrant young pianist described as “full of enthusiasm and glamour, radiating the vigor of youth,” to play Mendelssohn’s dazzling Concerto No. 1. The program opens with the lustrous Love Scene, which Paavo recorded with the CSO during their first season together, as part of the CSO’s Shakespeare for your Ear focus throughout the Masterworks Series. Closing the program is Mahler’s radiant Fourth Symphony, whose theme of “The Heavenly Life” culminates with the soprano’s declaration that “There is just no music on earth that can compare to ours. The angelic voices gladden our senses, so that all awaken for joy.”
A journey through the range of human emotion, Verdi’s dramatic and deeply felt masterpiece expresses everything from mournful cries for mercy to the fiery terror of Judgment Day to impassioned prayers for everlasting light and eternal rest. This is a concert not to be missed, featuring the combined power of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, May Festival Chorus and four internationally renowned soloists under the baton of the distinguished Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
Irishman Sir James Galway—a musical master whose exuberant personality and definitive treatments of works by Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and others have earned him the title “legend”—returns to Music Hall in time for St. Patrick’s Day. He’ll grace the stage with his interpretation of Mozart’s lyrical Second Concerto. Then, Music Director Louis Langrée summons huge orchestral forces for Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, the composer’s memorial monument to Richard Wagner and a beautiful statement of Bruckner’s special world of slow-moving intensity, overpowering climaxes and intimate lyricism.
Musical worlds merge when Louis Langrée and the CSO embark on a groundbreaking artistic collaboration with Cincinnati’s premier new music festival, MusicNOW, and Artistic Director Bryce Dessner. With unique programs on Friday and Saturday evenings, explore heart-pounding music of pure intensity, gorgeous melodies and sheer genius. The festival features the solo electric guitar talents of Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the acclaimed rock band, The National, performing Bryce’s St. Carolyn by the Sea, and global premieres by the world’s hottest composers, Nico Muhly and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang. This concert weekend also features the second appearance this season of the Grammy-winning sextet and ensemble-in-residence, eighth blackbird, Penderecki’s riveting Polymorphia, and Radiohead guitarist and keyboardist Jonny Greenwood’s48 Responses to his idol’s Polymorphia.
Buy both performances for the ultimate festival experience.
Eighth blackbird residency made possible by Dan and Jan Lewis and Ginger and David Warner
Majestic. Mythic. Vividly picturesque. The esteemed conductor Jun Märkl stirs drama without words with music from Wagner’s epic Ring operas, based on stories from ancient German and Icelandic mythology and brimming with rich character motifs and instrumental effects. Every concert with superstar violinist Midori is a hot ticket. She’s back by popular demand to perform Shostakovich’s First Concerto, music that follows a range of emotions, from mournful to passionate to raucous and brazen—a perfect showcase for this extraordinary virtuoso.
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is always an audience favorite, especially in the hands of artist-in-residence Augustin Hadelich, a rising star whose recent performance of this work were deemed “a compelling interpretation that effortlessly and naturally combines fiery passion, sensual sound and virtuosic elegance.” Juanjo Mena, who blew audiences away in his CSO debut in 2012, completes the experience with a propulsive, dance-like program including Ginastera’s thrilling Panambí, which the composer derived from the native music of his home country of Argentina and which strongly evokes Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
American composer Steven Mackey dedicated his Stumble to Grace—which cleverly mimics five stages in the development of his and Orli Shaham’s respective young children—to this weekend’s pianist, Orli Shaham, an artist of remarkable musicality and flawless technique. St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson completes the all-American program with Bernstein’s dynamic, jazz-influenced dance episodes from On the Town, Barber’s poignant Adagio for Strings and Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety, a masterful rendering for orchestra and piano (played by Orli Shaham) of W.H. Auden’s epic poem about four lonely wartime strangers who spend an evening in a New York bar pondering the human condition.
Additional support provided by The Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation
Nicola Benedetti, the 20-something Scottish sensation of Italian heritage, plays Bruch’s delightful fantasy on Scottish folk tunes, music that will leave you humming tunes like “Scots Wha Hae” (which once served as the unofficial national anthem of Scotland), “Auld Rob Morris” and “The Dusty Miller.” The rising young conductor James Gaffigan returns by popular demand to conduct two works inspired by the Bard, as part of the CSO’s Shakespeare for your Ear focus throughout the Masterworks Series. Our star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are brought to life in dramatic vignettes by the CCM Drama Department.
A spectacle of sights and sounds, this program is destined to impress. Olga Kern, whose Gold Medal win in the 2001 Van Cliburn Competition was chronicled in the PBS documentary Playing on the Edge, brings her uncommon artistry and spectacular technique to Chopin’s sublime First Concerto. Grainger’s The Warriors, subtitled “Music to an Imaginary Ballet,” is a frenzied, frolicsome and completely entertaining work that calls for three pianos, three conductors, a huge orchestra and a phalanx of percussion. The energetic conductor Giancarlo Guerrero completes the program with two picturesque works by Elgar and Weber, as part of the CSO’s Shakespeare for your Ear focus throughout the Masterworks Series.
Program | Music Hall 513.381.3300
WEBER: Overture to Oberon
CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1
ELGAR: In the South
GRAINGER: The Warriors (Music for an Imaginary Ballet)
Anne-Sophie Mutter is simply one of the consummate violin virtuosos of our time. She graces the stages of only the world's greatest orchestras, and now makes her Cincinnati debut to perform two works by Dvořák: the wistful Romance and the electrifying, dance-infused Violin Concerto. In this sure-to-sell-out gala concert, hear the artist heralded as "the undisputed queen" of the violin.
The CSO’s own Principal Trumpet Robert Sullivan takes center stage for a rare jewel, the Trumpet Concerto by award-winning composer William Perry—joyful music that will allow his pureness of tone and abundant talents to shine. The young Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare opens with Canadian composer John Estacio’s Borealis, which captures the wonder, majesty and energy of the Northern Lights, and closes with Sibelius’ popular Second Symphony, a warm and deeply nationalistic work filled with soaring melodies, radiant orchestration and an enormous crescendo that brings the concerts to a grandiose finale.
Artist-in-residence Alisa Weilerstein, winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2011 and an artist who “performs with soulful expression and physical abandon,” performs a Baroque-era favorite, Haydn’s First Cello Concerto. Dramatic, operatic music is a specialty of conductor Asher Fisch, and he delivers Wagner’s transcendent Parsifal Prelude, relating the mysteries of the Grail and its Brotherhood of Knights. Strauss’ “Woman Without a Shadow” suite is a splendid summary of this multi-layered work, and his popular Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (“Knight of the Rose”) opens with whooping horns, heralding a night of intensely passionate music.
The brilliant Pepe Romero, of the celebrated “Royal Family of the Guitar,” plays music Rodrigo described as capturing "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds and the gushing of fountains" in the gardens of Aranjuez. The Spanish theme continues with Falla’s playful Three-Cornered Hat ballet music, which recounts the comical tale of a magistrate’s attempts to seduce a miller’s wife. Spanish conductor (and former CSO Creative Director) Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos opens with music inspired by an excursion to the Rhineland.
It’s an inaugural concert weekend for the ages! In his first performances as Music Director, Louis Langrée and your CSO perform Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, set to multimedia visuals and narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou. Given its world premiere by the CSO in 1942, this iconic work commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, as part of a Freedom Week collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Cincinnati Museum Center. The theatrical and exhilarating On a Wire by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon and Beethoven’s beloved Fifth Symphony round out this historic beginning of a new era. Don’t miss it!
In a community-wide initiative described by sold-out audiences as “fascinating,” “moving” and “soaring,” Music Director Louis Langrée and your CSO are proud to reprise One City, One Symphony. We’ll again bring our community together in a remarkable shared experience to explore the themes of fate and redemption in Tchaikovsky’s lushly romantic Symphony No. 4 and in a beautiful but nearly forgotten work by Mozart, Davide penitente, based on the Psalms of David.
Thanksgiving weekend, skip the stores and join Music Director Louis Langrée and the CSO for a celebration of familiar favorites. Mutual admirers since their first encounter in New York in 1928, Gershwin and Ravel are reunited this weekend in a colorful program. Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand is full of jazz effects inspired by Ravel’s and Gershwin’s visits to Harlem jazz clubs. The enormously gifted young pianist Kirill Gerstein performs both the Concerto and the beloved Rhapsody in Blue.
Jeremy Denk, lauded as “a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs,” lends his impressive artistry to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25—music Beethoven admired so much that he reportedly chose to perform it at one of his first concert appearances. Atlanta Symphony Music Director Robert Spano completes the program with two wholly “English” works by Vaughan Williams; the first is a nod to the English Renaissance, and the second vividly conveys a “day in the life” of early 20th century London, complete with Westminster Chimes that signal morning and close of day.
Program | Music Hall 513.381.3300
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 25
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Symphony No. 2, A London Symphony