If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! | March 2018
During the cold winter months, we do a bit of dreaming at the Cincinnati Pops: imagining what artists and programs we will present next season and what musical stories we can conjure together. There are plenty of folks who give us great ideas—Sam Strater, our Pops Artistic Administrator, chief among them. Sam is often traveling the country and perpetually on the telephone with colleagues to find the most engaging productions to bring to Music Hall. Our Marketing Department has their list of favorite performers and concert themes, often gleaned from correspondence from our patrons, and oh yes, I get dozens of ideas from people while waiting in line at Kroger! Of course, I am always on the lookout for new performers to bring to Cincinnati, and frequently in my guest conducting, I make connections with artists who put the Pops on their calendar the moment they walk off stage with me. Our frequent collaborations with sister performing arts ensembles in the region as well as local schools and universities are not just by chance. Central to our ethos at the Pops is engaging our innovative and inspiring creative community as well as nurturing young artists who call Cincinnati home.
At the heart of every season is the American musical experience and the brilliant virtuosity of our orchestra, that together create programs that are unique, inclusive and fun, whether you're a first-timer or an ardent fan. Our rich history, tradition and musical heritage in Cincinnati have evolved to engage music lovers of all kinds, and innovative partnerships with other art forms continue to push the boundaries of orchestral music and the way in which it is experienced. That’s what the Pops is all about. Take this month’s Pops spectacular, Cirque de la Symphonie—about two decades ago Erich Kunzel, brought together a handful of Cirque du Soleil alumni and set their amazing acrobatics to brilliant orchestral classics; it is now a world-wide phenomenon.
With so much great music out there, so many incredible performers and so many creative collaborations, perhaps the most difficulty we have every year is winnowing our “wish-list” to the nine subscription programs we present each season…and with each season that “wish-list” gets longer and longer!
The final piece of the puzzle is to make sure the mosaic of the American musical experience is represented within a single season—this is what I love most about the Pops. From Broadway to R&B, Country to Rock&Roll, Jazz to the classics—if it sounds good it is good! Once we identify the kinds of collaborations and artists we envision to bring our productions to life, and confirm their availability, we engage in comprehensive planning and a shared vision to provide the most exhilarating concert experience for all of you, the most devoted Pops fans on the planet!