Arts put Cincinnati on the Map


Fall of 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the CSO’s historic world tour—the first American orchestra to be sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Stops on the 40-concert trip included Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Bombay, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul and more. In 2017, the CSO and Pops will again bring the “Cincinnati sound” around the globe.

The Orchestra’s appearance as part of the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center was made possible thanks to the following donors: Carl Jacobs Foundation, Molly and Tom Garber and Sandra and Stephen Joffe.

“The performances were feisty, colorful and well played.”
—The New York Times review of the CSO’s concert at New York’s Lincoln Center in January


American Soundscapes is an exciting new video series introduced this past season in partnership with CET and made possible thanks to the generosity of the George L. and Anne P. Heldman Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

People from literally around the world are experiencing live clips of great American music performed by the Cincinnati Pops and featuring introductions by John Morris Russell on their smart phones, tablets and computers via YouTube and Facebook.


In May 2016, the May Festival released The Ordering of Moses, the world premiere recording of R. Nathaniel Dett’s masterpiece oratorio. The CSO and May Festival Chorus, under the direction of James Conlon, performed the work to critical and audience acclaim in Carnegie Hall in May 2014.


The CSO commissioned and premiered seven new works in 2015-16 including Gunther Schuller’s Symphonic Triptych (his final major work) generously supported by a gift from Alice Weston. 

The Orchestra also commissioned three Concertos for Orchestra underwritten by a gift from Ann and Harry Santen. These Concertos were recorded and will be released in the fall of 2016, supported by generous gifts from Tom and Dee Stegman and Mace Justice. Additional support of the Concerto for Orchestra Project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Finally, three short works based on the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou were generously underwritten by the following donors in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversaries: Dr. and Mrs. Alvin Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. James T. Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs. Brian E. Heekin, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Miller, Dr. and Mrs. John Parlin and Mr. and Mrs. Laurence G. Stillpass.

Tracks from the Pops American Originals album, generously funded by the George L. and Anne P. Heldman Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, were premiered by The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s Here & Now, Travel + Leisure, Paste Magazine and more.


CAPTION: Evgeny Kissin made his CSO debut in May. This rare Midwest appearance was one of only two North American performances by the pianist in 2016. Evgeny Kissin’s appearance was made possible thanks to the generous support of Tom and Dee Stegman. 

The CSO’s excellent artistic reputation opens doors for extraordinary collaborations with renowned musicians, conductors and directors that choose to share their art with Cincinnati. In 2015-16 alone these artists included Evgeny Kissin, Jason Alexander, Michael W. Smith, Common, Alisa Weilerstein, Yefim Bronfman, Semyon Bychkov, Kristin Chenoweth and Aretha Franklin.

 Semyon Bychkov made his CSO debut in October 2015, leading a program of Tchaikovsky and Strauss.

“Without Semyon Bychkov, I probably wouldn’t have been a conductor. This great musician and great mensch was—and still is—a constant source of inspiration for me.” —Louis Langrée

The Queen of Soul brought down the house with John Morris Russell and the Pops at Riverbend Music Center on July 24.

“As the strings swelled to a crescendo, the Queen found a way to give the song an extra dose of majesty with near-operatic singing…” —Billboard


World-class Collaborations


Louis Langrée and the CSO are in the midst of a threeyear collaboration with acclaimed LA-based director James Darrah. The Pelléas Trilogy is a visual and theatrical musical project that explores how Schoenberg, Fauré and Debussy interpreted Maeterlinck’s play, Pelléas et Mélisande. Act I of the trilogy, “Smoke,” featured an ethereal multimedia visualization, thanks to the generous support of Tom and Dee Stegman. The collaboration continues in fall of 2016 with Act II: Water, with support from Ginger and David W. Warner.

The CSO is proud to be the resident orchestra for the Cincinnati Ballet, May Festival and Cincinnati Opera. Together, we elevate the artistic output in our city and reinforce that Cincinnati is an extraordinary destination to experience world-class performing arts.

Cincinnati Ballet dancers Maizyalet Velázquez and James Gilmer in this season’s production of Lady of the Camellias.

A scene from Cincinnati Opera’s production of Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus.

This year’s May Festival marked the final concerts in Music Hall prior to the renovation, and also celebrated James Conlon’s extraordinary 37-year tenure as May Festival Music Director

The Pops’ ongoing relationship with the United Service Organization continues to inspire. In October 2015, John Morris Russell and the Pops were honored with the USO’s Legacy of Hope Award, named after famed entertainer and longtime USO advocate Bob Hope. The award reflects the Orchestra’s commitment to supporting the honorable work of the USO.