Mission: To Seek and Share Inspiration


Arts Deepen Roots in the Region



This season’s theme for One City, One Symphony was “home,” in tandem with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s larger initiatives to make the Queen City feel like home for current and prospective residents. The concert program featured virtuoso saxophonist Branford Marsalis, NEA Jazz Master and a former CSO Creative Director, and works by Cincinnati-based composer Michael Fiday, John Williams, Copland and Bernstein making it a distinctly American experience. New this year were several music and meal-sharing events dubbed Break Bread + Listen in neighborhoods across the Tri-State. Participants shared stories over meals while members of the CSO performed excerpts from Copland’s The Tender Land Suite. An additional event at the Contemporary Arts Center, Drink, Draw + Listen, was specifically geared towards young professionals.

I thought it was the perfect theme for this time of year, especially since my kids all came home and attended the concert with me. - CSO audience member


The CSO Encore committee planned a season of events bringing together upwards of 100 young professionals to socialize, learn about music and mingle with guest artists and musicians. Many members got involved as a way to meet other YPs with an interest in music and the arts. CSO Encore members often become regular concert attendees and volunteers. Several have gone on to serve on the CSO’s Board of Directors.

CSO Encore is a fabulous way to meet new people, especially if you’re a transplant, as well as one that enjoys the arts. It truly has made me, as well as I’m sure others, feel as though they are a part of a family—a lover of music kind of family! - CSO Encore co-chair Megan Selnick


CSO Spectrum is a close community of CSO and Pops fans and volunteers who celebrate inclusiveness in the arts through concerts and unique events throughout the season. This season was one of CSO Spectrum’s most successful to date, as the group raised over $12,000 in support of the Orchestra’s LGBTQ artists and programs. The highlight came in March when CSO Spectrum hosted the popular string ensemble Well- Strung, along with the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, for a concert fundraising event at the 20th Century Theater.


Steve Martin and Martin Short. Paul Simon. Chicago. Jason Aldean. Peppa Pig. Chris Thile. Band of Horses. What do these performers have in common? All performed at venues managed by the CSO’s subsidiary, Music and Events Management, Inc. (MEMI). 

fans of all ages and genres at Riverbend Music Center, PNC Pavilion, the Tat Theatre, Rose Music Center, Cincy Cinco and, new this year, Midpoint Music Festival



The CSO continued the collaboration with the MusicNOW Festival and its artistic director Bryce Dessner, again cultivating new audiences with bold musical innovation. This year’s festival drew attention from national media outlets, including The New York Times, in part for the high caliber of the works performed. The highlight of the lineup was a rare performance of Andrew Norman’s Play, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Grawemeyer Award winner.


 This year’s “Hot Havana Nights” gala brought bright colors and hot music to the Renaissance Hotel. Chaired by Molly and Tom Garber, the gala shined a light on the Orchestra’s diversity and inclusion initiatives while giving CSO and Pops fans the opportunity to celebrate the start of a new season with intimate performances by musicians.


From planning fundraising events to greeting patrons at concerts, stuffing envelopes to advocating for the arts in the community, the volunteers organized by the Cincinnati Symphony Volunteer Association (CSVA) are critical to the Orchestra’s success. After completing a two-year term as CSVA President, longtime volunteer Patty Wagner recently stepped into a new role as CSVA Senior Counsel. Vice Chair of Volunteerism Dianne Dunkelman, along with new CSVA President Steve Phillips, will guide the various volunteer groups (Parties of Note, CSO Encore, CSO Spectrum and MAC) and help cultivate and retain volunteers to meet the Orchestra’s various needs.

 A few of the Orchestra’s lesser known volunteers are part of a group of students from Melodic Connections who assist in the administrative offices every Monday. Not only are they some of the CSO and Pops’ biggest fans, they help with everything from cleaning up the mailroom to washing dishes after events. Some have joined the Family Fun Zone at Lollipops Family Concerts, demonstrating their adapted instruments.


Year after year, the consensus is the same. Kids and families love Lollipops Family Concerts. 

I told my husband, who grew up here, that I am so glad we decided to raise our family here on the way home from Saturday’s performance. - Female, 25-34


This season the CSO introduced Friday Orange, a bold new initiative making Friday night CSO concerts even more unforgettable. Featuring custom cocktails, lobby surprises and unexpected pre- and post-concert entertainment all guest curated by local influencers, Friday Orange reimagines the concert experience.


Beer, beards and Brahms. After two years of celebrating the region’s German heritage and the music of this master composer, the CSO’s Brahms Fest came to a close this season. Partnerships with local breweries, surprise pop-up performances and collaborations with Linton, concert:nova, Classical Revolution and other local music organizations made Brahms Fest a vibrant, convivial season highlight.