Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble of some of the world’s finest musicians. The fifth oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and the oldest orchestra in Ohio, the CSO has played a leading role in the cultural life of Greater Cincinnati and the Midwest since its founding in 1895.
Louis Langrée begins his tenure as CSO’s thirteenth Music Director in the 2013-14 season, succeeding Paavo Järvi, whose tenure concluded in 2011 after ten seasons. Over the Orchestra’s 117-year history, it has also been led by Leopold Stokowski, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers and Jesús López-Cobos, among others. During this most recent music director search, the Orchestra enlisted Creative Directors for the CSO’s three respective subscription series. For the 2011-12 season, the Creative Directors were conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, pianist Lang Lang and composer Philip Glass. For the 2012-13 season, they are Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and composer Jennifer Higdon.
Over the years, the CSO has built a reputation as one the world’s foremost orchestras and a champion of new music. Cincinnati has been home to the American premieres of works by such composers as Debussy, Mahler, Ravel and Bartók, and the world premiere of many works including Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra has also commissioned works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire including Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man.
The CSO was the first orchestra to be broadcast to a national radio audience in 1921 and the Orchestra continues to be featured on national radio broadcasts, reaching 2.3 million listeners this year alone. The CSO was the third orchestra to record in 1917 and that rich legacy continues. Ten million CSO and Cincinnati Pops recordings have been sold around the world since 1980, mostly on the Telarc label and including Grammy winners. In January of 2010, the CSO launched its own record label, now known as Fanfare Cincinnati, which has released two CSO discs to date, American Portraits and Baltic Portraits. The third Fanfare Cincinnati disc, Home for the Holidays from the Cincinnati Pops, was released in fall 2012, while another Pops recording, Superheroes, is scheduled for release in fall 2013. In March of 2012, the CSO performed the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi, which was recorded and released in March of 2013 under the Orange Mountain Music label.
The CSO was the first American orchestra to make a world tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and continues to tour domestically and internationally, most recently to Europe in 2008 (Paris, Madrid, Vienna and Amsterdam) and to Japan in 2009, including two concerts at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and the CSO’s first-ever nationally televised concert in Japan at NHK Hall. The CSO has performed at New York’s world-famous Carnegie Hall 47 times since its debut there in 1917, most recently in February 2010.
One of 17 North American orchestras performing year-round, the CSO presents classical and Cincinnati Pops subscription concerts, Young People’s Concerts, Lollipops Family Concerts, CSO Chamber Players performances, summer performances at Riverbend Music Center, and Concerts in the Park. The CSO is also the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. The CSO Chamber Players series, instituted by the orchestra in 1988, provides an intimate chamber music alternative.
The CSO is committed to enhancing and expanding music education for the students of Greater Cincinnati and works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. Education and outreach programs serve more than 65,000 individuals annually. Since 1999, the CSO has been reaching this goal through its innovative education and outreach program Sound Discoveries: Music for Life, Music for the Community, Music for a Career.
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
The CSO founded the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in 1977 with Erich Kunzel, Founder and Conductor Emeritus.
Today the Cincinnati Pops, under the direction of Conductor John Morris Russell, composed of musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, is one of the world's most active classical pops ensembles, performing 20 or more subscription concerts during the Music Hall season and 10 subscription concerts at Riverbend Music Center, the orchestra's outdoor summer home, where the inaugural concert was given by Maestro Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops on July 4, 1984.
The Cincinnati Pops has gained new fans the world over through tour performances (Japan and Taiwan in 1990 and again in 1997, plus domestic performances that include frequent concerts at New York's Carnegie Hall), recordings on the Telarc label, and television specials for PBS.
"Popular" concerts have been very much a part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tradition since the ensemble was founded in 1895. When a young Leopold Stokowski became the CSO's second music director in 1909, he gave renewed emphasis to Pops concerts — an aspect of Stokowski's career that perhaps reached its zenith years later when, at the end of the animated film Fantasia, he became the only conductor ever to shake Mickey Mouse's hand. Pops performances were also presented by subsequent CSO music directors, and the CSO Pops series was also headed during the 1940s by CSO member Reuben Lawson and the celebrated conductor and arranger Andre Kostelanetz. It was Kostelanetz who commissioned Copland's A Lincoln Portrait, and Kern's A Mark Twain Portrait and gave both pieces their world premiere performances at a special Cincinnati Symphony concert at Music Hall in 1942.
• CSO Administrative Offices
1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.621.1919 | M-F 9am-5pm
• Music Hall Box Office
1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.381.3300 | M-Sat. 10am-5pm
(Sat. 10am-2pm during summer)
Quick E-Mail Links
For a history of Music Hall 1878 to present, visit the
website of the Society
for the Preservation of Music Hall.