Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble of some of the world's finest musicians. The fifth oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and the oldest orchestra in Ohio, the CSO has played a leading role in the cultural life of Greater Cincinnati and the Midwest since its founding in 1895.
Louis Langrée began his tenure as the CSO’s 13th Music Director in the 2013—2014 season with a celebrated program The New York Times said “deftly combined nods to the orchestra’s history, the city’s musical life and new music.” Over the Orchestra’s 119-year history, it has also been led by Leopold Stokowski, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Eugene Goossens, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Jesús López-Cobos, and Paavo Järvi, among others.
The CSO has built a reputation as one of the world’s foremost orchestras, determined for greatness and heralded as a place of experimentation. This was on full display during the inaugural LUMENOCITY, a spectacular concert of live music combined with stunning images projected on the façade of Music Hall. This event in August of 2013 garnered international attention and drew 35,000 people over two nights. In August 2014, the audience grew to over 40,000, and has become a highlight of summer in Cincinnati.
A champion of new music, the Orchestra has given American premieres of works by such composers as Debussy, Ravel and Bartók and has commissioned works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. The CSO was the first orchestra to be broadcast to a national radio audience (1921) and the third to record (1917). The Orchestra continues to commission new works and to program an impressive array of music. Most recently, the CSO performed the world premieres of Nico Muhly’s Pleasure Ground and David Lang’s mountain as part of the groundbreaking collaboration with the MusicNOW Festival, Cincinnati’s premier new music festival, as well as the world premiere of André Previn’s Double Concerto in November 2014.
The Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra is Cincinnati’s ambassador with over 10 million units sold, many of which have received Grammy awards and nominations. In January of 2010, the CSO launched its own record label, now known as Fanfare Cincinnati, which currently boasts six releases. In March of 2012, the CSO performed the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi, which was recorded and released in 2013 under the Orange Mountain label.
The CSO was the first American orchestra to make a world tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and continues to tour domestically and internationally, most recently to Europe in 2008 and to Japan in 2009, including two concerts at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and the CSO’s first-ever nationally televised concert in Japan. The CSO has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall 48 times since its debut there in 1917, most recently to rave reviews in May of this year.
The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops under the direction of John Morris Russell, and the CSO is the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet and the World Piano Competition.
The CSO is Cincinnati’s own and committed to enhancing and expanding music education for the children of Greater Cincinnati and 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 75,000 individuals annually.
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
The Cincinnati Pops is the alter ego of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, performing a diverse array of musical styles, all bathed in the world-renowned “Cincinnati Sound.” The Pops was officially founded in 1977 and just since 1980, the Orchestra has sold ten million recordings around the planet.
The growing list of celebrated artists who have collaborated with the Pops include Ella Fitzgerald, Frederica von Stade, Doc Severinsen, Henry Mancini, Mel Tormé, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Holiday, Vanessa Williams, Dave Brubeck, The Temptations, John Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Mandy Patinkin, George Takei, Boyz II Men, Bernadette Peters, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Pops tours nationally and internationally, most recently performing in Beijing as part of the Opening Festivities of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. In 2005, the Pops completed a historic tour to China and Singapore performing in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The Cincinnati Pops was the first U.S. Pops orchestra to perform in China, and also has appeared to enthusiastic audiences in New York’s Carnegie Hall, in Washington D.C. and in Japan and Taiwan.
Following that first historic tour to China, a 2005 editorial in The Cincinnati Enquirer said the tour had “put an exclamation mark on our orchestra’s phenomenal popularity in China, cultivated through its dozens of recordings. For residents of Greater Cincinnati, this success ought to underscore the fact that even among our region’s wealth of cultural treasures, the Pops represents a unique resource that no other city can quite match.”
An estimated 30 million people have viewed national telecasts of the Cincinnati Pops on PBS and the Orchestra has more than 100 available recordings, 55 of which have appeared on the Billboard charts, a record unmatched by any other orchestra. The Pops’ Copland: Music of America won a Grammy in 1997, and four other Pops recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards.
In 2012, the Pops released its first recording under John Morris Russell, Home for the Holidays, on the Orchestra’s own Fanfare Cincinnati label. A second recording, Superheroes, was released in September 2013 and reached #8 on the Billboard crossover chart.
• CSO Administrative Offices
1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.621.1919 | M-F 9am-5pm
• Music Hall Box Office
1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.381.3300 | M-Sat. 10am-5pm
(Sat. 10am-2pm during summer)
Quick E-Mail Links
For a history of Music Hall 1878 to present, visit the website of the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall.
We are proud to partner with Cincinnati Magazine on our new program books dubbed FANFARE CINCINNATI, and set to debut this coming September. CSO, Pops, Lollipops, CSO Chamber Players and special concert events will be featured in a combined magazine-style program running monthly from September to March with a combined April-May edition, and finally a summer edition released in June.
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