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If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! | February 2017


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We often hear music referred to as the “universal language,” and there is no greater proof than an orchestral tour to the opposite side of the earth. In March, the Pops heads to Asia for our first international tour since 2008. I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to share our boisterous, all-American, Cincinnati sound with some of our biggest fans. In an era where the world seems to be gripped in angst, the music WE share says everything about the inherent goodness in all humankind. The thousands upon thousands of music lovers who will be flocking to our performances may not share our language or customs, but like all of us, have a deep abiding affection for the life-affirming power of music.

I’ll tag-team the conducting duties over the course of our two-week tour with my friend and colleague Louis Langrée. Louis will conduct performances of the CSO for the first half of the tour in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, then I join the Pops as we don our signature red blazers (a color supremely favored in China, symbolizing good fortune, joy and happiness) for concerts in Shanghai, Tainan and Taipei.

The Pops tour program includes some of the most beloved scores from Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, many of which have been immortalized in numerous Pops recordings that have been hugely popular throughout Asia. From classics like Elmer Bernstein’s Theme from The Magnificent Seven and Bernard Herman’s North by Northwest to the latest and greatest scores of Michael Giacchino, Alan Silvestri, Patrick Doyle and John Williams, we’ll be strutting our stuff with all the heart-pounding action, triumphant heroism and poignant lyricism we have come to expect in Cincinnati. We’ll be joined by the exceptional violin soloist Cho-Liang Lin, whose eloquent musicianship has made him one of the world’s most sought-after performers. He’ll bring his brilliant virtuosity to Korngold’s Violin Concerto (based on themes from Korngold’s film work) as well as the deeply moving Theme from by John Williams.

As musical ambassadors of Cincinnati, USA, I’m extraordinarily proud to represent the Cincinnati Pops, our Queen City and the musical soundscape of our nation. Everywhere we go, people speak with such admiration about our distinctive “Cincinnati sound;” it is an honor to share it with the world.

Closer to home, another celebration is in order. Our concerts at the Taft Theatre Feb. 24–26 mark the 125th birthday of one of the most distinctive composers in the Great American Song Book: Cole Porter. The Hoosier composer and songwriter (he grew up in Peru, Indiana, about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne), Cole Porter’s extraordinarily witty and sophisticated marriage of melody and lyric created a unique sound in American musical theater. From Broadway to the West End, Hollywood to television, his body of work rightly caused The New Yorker to proclaim: “Mr. Porter is in a class by himself.” Songs like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Anything Goes,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” and “In the Still of the Night” have come to define an era of class and refinement. Joining us for these performances is one of today’s biggest stars of musical theater, Sutton Foster. You may know her from her Tony Award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie, as well as major roles in Shrek the Musical, Little Women and Young Frankenstein. She’s what we call a “triple threat”—an amazing singer, actress and dancer—this is going to be FUN! We are thrilled to welcome her for her Pops debut as she brings Cole Porter’s songbook to life, along with other Broadway favorites.

It is such a joy to be taking this musical journey with you and the Pops. Whether we’re at home in Cincinnati, or on the other side of the world—great music will always take you places!

Cheers,