Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor, David G. Hakes & Kevin D. Brady Chair
Keitaro Harada joined the Orchestra’s conducting staff as Associate Conductor in September 2015. Mr. Harada’s duties include assisting the conductors of the CSO, Cincinnati Pops and May Festival, conducting for all Young People’s Concerts, the World Piano Competition, as well as select Lollipops, Pops subscription concerts and other local/regional performances, and representing the Orchestra in community engagement initiatives.
Conductor Keitaro Harada continues to be recognized at the highest levels for his artistic abilities and passion for musical excellence. As a three-time recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award (2014, 2015, 2016), Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (2013), the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, a student of Lorin Maazel at Castleton Festival and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival, Harada’s credentials are exemplary.
Currently in his second season as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, Harada regularly assists Music Director Louis Langrée and conducts the CSO, POPS, and World Piano Competition, and assisted James Conlon for the 2016 May Festival. Keitaro also holds the position of Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera.
With a growing schedule as a guest conductor, Harada’s summer and coming season mark several high profile engagements. He began this summer at the 2016 Pacific Music Festival by invitation of Valery Gergiev, performing to an audience of nearly 5000. He makes his conducting debut with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall, and leads the world premiere performances of Riders of the Purple Sage for Arizona Opera in 2017. He also makes his conducting debut with Boise Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, serves as cover conductor for several performances of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and returns to Phoenix Symphony.
Last season, Harada was invited to the prestigious Mahler Competition in Germany and made his conducting debut in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic in a sold out performance as well as his debut with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He led performances of Carmen for Arizona Opera and conducted concerts with Tucson Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Sierra Vista Symphony, and Orquesta Filarmónica de Sonora. He held the position of Associate Conductor for Richmond Symphony from autumn of 2014 to spring of 2016.
In 2013, Harada was selected by the League of American Orchestras as one of only six conductors for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, a prestigious showcase that occurs biennially in an effort to promote gifted, emerging conductors to orchestra industry leaders. In 2012, Harada was a semi-finalist at the 9th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in Poland. In 2011, Harada was one of ten semi-finalists invited by Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony to participate in the First Chicago Symphony Orchestra Solti International Conducting Competition and he made his professional opera conducting debut with North Carolina Opera.
Early in his career, Harada served as Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony. During his tenure, he elevated the organization’s profile, expanded their season; added challenging repertoire, and took the symphony on a European performance and education tour that culminated with a master class on the main stage of the Berlin Philharmonic.
A native of Tokyo, Japan, Harada is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Mercer University. He completed his formal conducting training at University of Arizona with Thomas Cockrell and Charles Bontrager. He has also studied under Christoph von Dohnányi, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Oliver Knussen, Herbert Blomstedt, Vladimir Ponkin, Adrian Gnam and Stefan Asbury. Harada champions creative programming, development of the orchestra as a part of a community’s cultural fabric, advancement of each musician he encounters, and responsibility as an artistic and civic leader.
Very early in his career, he was selected as a guest artist for National Public Radio’s From the Top and is featured as a favorite guest alumnus on their PBS television documentary. Arizona Public Broadcasting produced a documentary on the bright career of Keitaro titled: “Music…Language Without Words” for the television series AZ Illustrated in 2013. Harada’s general manager is JEJ Artists. Engagements in Asia are managed by Japan Arts.
Gene Chang, Associate Conductor
Gene Chang joined the Orchestra’s conducting staff as Assistant Conductor in September 2015. His duties include leading the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) programs, conducting the CSO in its Young People's Concerts series, and assisting conductors of the CSO, Cincinnati Pops, and May Festival.
Gene is in his second season as the assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he assists Music Director Louis Langrée and guest conductors, leads the CSO in education concerts, and serves as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. Guest conducting appearances include concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Berkeley Opera.
Gene was awarded a Career Assistance Grant by the Solti Foundation U.S. in 2016, and was also named by the Foundation as a Florentine Opera Resident for 2017.
He is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Alan Gilbert and James Ross. He has also studied with Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, and Kurt Masur. Gene was named one of four finalists in the 2013 Sir Georg Solti Chicago Symphony Orchestra Competition, where he led the Chicago Civic Orchestra before a panel that included Riccardo Muti and Marilyn Horne. He was also recently invited to participate in public masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic, and has been engaged to guest conduct concerts during the 16/17 season.
An accomplished clarinetist and new music devotee, Gene is a former member of the Eco Ensemble based in Northern California, and has performed with such musical figures as Steve Reich and Frederica von Stade. Following early studies on the clarinet and piano,Gene attended the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, where he studied conducting with David Milnes. He also studied musicology with the late Wye Allanbrook, focusing on 18th century performance practice and the music of Mozart.
Gene also holds a law degree from the University of Chicago and practiced briefly as a litigation attorney at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles before resuming his musical studies.
Paavo Järvi - CSO Music Director Laureate
The Estonian conductor and Grammy Award winner Paavo Järvi is widely recognised as the musicians’ musician. On his farewell tour with the Orchestre de Paris, of which he was Music Director for six years, the Wiener Zeitung wrote: “One rarely experiences such an immediate connection between orchestra and conductor, such an extraordinarily attentive presence on both sides so that with economical means an understanding of the most subtle shades is possible.”
Paavo Järvi’s close association with orchestras is evident through his long standing relationship with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen of which he has been Artistic Director since 2004. This autumn he opens his fourth season as Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra and in Autumn 2019 he starts his first season as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. He is also Conductor Laureate of Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Music Director Laureate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Adviser to the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his permanent positions, Järvi is in much demand as a guest conductor, returning to perform with the Orchestre de Paris and regularly appearing with the Berliner Philharmoniker, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Münchner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden and Leipzig Gewandhaus. Highlights of his recent and upcoming guest engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic and Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Each season concludes with a week of performances and master-classes at the Pärnu Music Festival in Estonia, which Paavo Järvi founded in 2011. The success of both the festival and its resident ensemble – the Estonian Festival Orchestra — has led to a string of high profile invitations to perform across Europe, most recently at the BBC Proms and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie.
With an extensive discography, Paavo Järvi’s upcoming projects include the second recording in the Brahms Symphony series with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the complete Sibelius Symphony cycle, which he recorded with the Orchestre de Paris, It was for this performance and recording project that Järvi was honoured with the Sibelius Medal, in recognition of his work in bringing greater attention to the Finnish composer’s music to French audiences. He was also awarded the Order of the White Star by the President of Estonia in 2013 for his outstanding contribution to Estonian culture.
Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Paavo Järvi studied Percussion and Conducting at the Tallinn School of Music. In 1980, he moved to the USA where he continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein.
Jesús López-Cobos - CSO Music Director Emeritus
Spanish-born Jesús López-Cobos passed away on March 2, 2018 at the age of 78. He had recently completed a seven-year tenure as Music Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2010. He maintained the title of Conductor Emeritus of the Orquesta de Castilla y Leon as well as Conductor Emeritus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, having served as the orchestra’s Music Director from 1986-2001. Under his leadership for 15 seasons, the orchestra earned international acclaim for its tour performances and its extensive catalog of recordings for Telarc. Mr. López-Cobos previously served as General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1981-1990) and Music Director of the famed Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland (1991-2000).
Mr. López-Cobos’ illustrious career has taken him to centers of music around the world. He has regularly conducted such ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.After his first concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978, he toured extensively with that orchestra and held the post of Principal Guest Conductor from 1981 to 1986
With his career equally balanced between operatic and orchestral engagements, he has conducted at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera. His years at the Berlin Opera included a major Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle, performed at the Berlin Festival, in Japan (where it was that country’s first complete “Ring”) and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
During his tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony, Mr. López-Cobos led the orchestra on its first European tour since 1969 to outstanding success. The triumphant 29-day, 20-city tour in 1995 encompassed the Canary Islands, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Mr. López-Cobos’ touring activities with the Cincinnati Symphony also included a major tour of the Far East in the fall of 1990, during which the orchestra performed for capacity audiences in Taiwan and throughout Japan. Additionally, Mr. López-Cobos led the orchestra in highly acclaimed annual concerts at Carnegie Hall.
The conductor’s distinguished recording career includes releases of both operatic and orchestral repertoire for Philips, London/Decca, Angel/EMI and RCA Victor. For Telarc he has made numerous recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony, beginning with a 1987 release of de Falla’s “Three-Cornered Hat” that was named a Record of the Year by Stereo Review. Additional recordings with the orchestra include Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9, and an all-Strauss disc featuring a Suite from “Der Rosenkavalier” and the “Burleske” for Piano and Orchestra with soloist Jeffrey Kahane. Other highly praised Telarc releases by Mr. López-Cobos include “Wagner for Orchestra,” a second de Falla disc, featuring “La Vida Breve,” and his 26th and final recording with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “Music of Turina and Debussy,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Mr. López-Cobos graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Madrid. Although he had received no formal musical training, he began to conduct the university choir. His talent was immediately evident and led to studies in conducting with Franco Ferrara in Italy and, by 1966, with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. Three years later he won First Prize in the Besancon Competition and made his debut as a professional conductor in opera at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. His American operatic debut came in 1972 at the San Francisco Opera.
Among the many awards bestowed upon him, Mr. López-Cobos has received the Cross of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding contributions to German culture, and the government of France has inducted him as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He has also been honored by his own country for his artistic achievements on two occasions; once as the first recipient of the Prince of the Asturias Award, which was presented to him by the Spanish government and the Royal House in 1981, and more recently, in 2001 he was presented with the Medal of Bellas Artes. Mr. López-Cobos also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.
Erich Kunzel | Cincinnati Pops Founder and Conductor Emeritus
Erich Kunzel’s distinguished career was personified by his 2006 National Medal of Arts, presented by President and Mrs. Bush at a ceremony in the Oval Office at The White House in 2007. The National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government, is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States. The legendary “Prince of Pops” was also honored in September 2008 as an inductee into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.
The late Maestro Max Rudolf invited Mr. Kunzel, then a young conductor on the faculty of Brown University, to join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as an associate conductor in 1965. That October Maestro Kunzel conducted his first sold-out “8 O’Clock Pops” concert, marking his ascent as a modern orchestral legend. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was then officially founded in 1977 with Maestro Kunzel at the helm. For decades he led the orchestra, packing houses in Cincinnati’s Music Hall and Riverbend Music Center, and also gaining new fans the world over through tour performances, PBS television specials and millions of recordings sold on the Telarc label.
Maestro Kunzel led the Cincinnati Pops on tours that include many concerts in Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and at the Blossom Music Festival. The numerous international tours included a celebrated tour to China in 2005 (the first appearance of a pops orchestra in that country), highlighted by concerts in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Maestro Kunzel conducted the first ever pops concert in China in 1998 in Beijing with the China National Symphony Orchestra. In August 2008, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops made an historic return to China to participate in the Opening Festivities of the Summer Olympics.
Starting in 1977, Mr. Kunzel recorded 90 albums on the Telarc label with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. More than 55 of these albums appeared on the Top 10 Billboard Charts. He was named Billboard Magazine's Classical Crossover Artist of the Year for an unprecedented four consecutive years. Several Grammy Awards, the distinguished Grand Prix Du Disque, and the Sony Tiffany Walkman Award for “visionary recording activities” highlighted his fantastic recording career of over 125 albums.
Outside of Cincinnati, Maestro Kunzel appeared in more than 100 performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, where he holds the record for attendance – 22,000. Since 1991 Maestro Kunzel had led the National Symphony on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in PBS-TV’s nationally televised Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts. In 1996, the Fourth of July concert drew a record crowd of nearly a million people to the Capitol, as well as the largest viewing audience for a musical event in PBS history.
In 2005 Mr. Kunzel made his Viennese debut as part of the 100th anniversary season of the Vienna Volksoper, conducting the Viennese premiere of The Sound of Music. In 2004 he made his debut with the San Francisco Opera conducting 12 performances of The Merry Widow. This production was telecast on BBC Worldwide and PBS as part of the Great Performancesseries. On several occasions Maestro Kunzel also conducted the World Super Orchestra in concerts at the Tokyo International Music Festival. In January 2008 he led the Vienna Volksoper Symphony Orchestra in a Gala New Year’s Eve Tour in eight concerts in Japan.
Educated at Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown Universities, Mr. Kunzel studied with, and was personal assistant to, the great French conductor Pierre Monteux. He made his professional conducting debut in 1957 leading Pergolesi’s La Serva Padronawith the Santa Fe Opera Company. By 1970, when Arthur Fiedler invited him to conduct the Boston Pops for the first time, Mr. Kunzel’s commitment to “pops” was assured. He led the Boston Pops in more than 100 performances in Boston’s Symphony Hall and on tour in the U.S. and England.
In addition to the National Medal of Arts and his induction into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, in August of 2009 Mr. Kunzel was appointed honorary artistic director for the 2012 World Choir Games, which will host its first-ever event in the United States. He was honored with the President’s Award from the Public Relations Society of America’s Cincinnati Chapter in June of 2009, and in 2006 with the Irma Lazarus Award from the Ohio Arts Council. He received the 1994 Presidential Medal for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement from Dartmouth College, his alma mater, and in 2006 he was elected into Phi Beta Kappa, America’s oldest honor society. Dartmouth College honored him in June 2007 with the Honorary Doctor of Arts degree. He also received honorary degrees from University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, College of Mount St. Joseph, Wilmington College and Northern Kentucky University. He was named by the Ohio Arts Council as a special recipient of the 1991 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio. In 1995, Mr. Kunzel received the 1995 Salvation Army “Others” award in recognition of his contributions to the city of Cincinnati, the same year that the Cincinnati MacDowell Society honored his contributions to the arts community by awarding him the MacDowell Medal. In 1996 the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the performing arts.
Maestro Kunzel was also Chair of the Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center, an organization whose plan to build a new School for the Creative and Performing Arts adjacent to Music Hall was realized in 2010.