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by BWW News Desk
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announces the highly anticipated inaugural season of Louis Langrée, the Orchestra's 13th Music Director. Mr. Langrée will take up the baton at historic Music Hall for six of 20 thrilling subscription concert weekends for the 118 year-old Orchestra. The season lineup honors the CSO's rich traditions of presenting classic orchestral repertoire and exploring new musical territory. Groundbreaking collaborations and a diverse array of repertoire set the stage for a vibrant new beginning for the CSO and Mr. Langrée, drawn together by a passion and vision to transform the live concert experience and create inspiring performances. The 2013-14 season is packed with over 67 works of music through the Masterworks, Ascent and Boundless series, and includes two world premiere commissions and visits from four acclaimed composers.
"There are so many exciting things happening this coming season in Cincinnati," said Mr. Langrée. "Our audiences will experience the passion of the Orchestra that they have come to know and love, while engaging in new and exciting collaborations."
Inaugural weekend in November
Mr. Langrée's first concerts as Music Director on November 8-10 open with an iconic work that was premiered by the CSO at Music Hall in 1942, Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. Dr. Maya Angelou, award-winning author, poet, historian, civil rights activist, actress, playwright and director, narrates the text by Abraham Lincoln in this poignant piece of music accompanied by images of the Civil War and President Lincoln. November of 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, from which much of the text is derived. The program also features Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon's theatrical On a Wire, a recent work co-commissioned by the Orchestra, and performed with the Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird in its CSO debut. Beethoven's gripping Fifth Symphony closes this inaugural program. Arguably the most popular symphony ever composed, this iconic work was featured during the CSO's first season in 1895.
"My first concerts as Music Director honor the great traditions of the CSO," said Mr. Langrée. "We celebrate the tradition of performing great masterworks in Cincinnati with Beethoven. We celebrate the introduction of exciting new works that have become mainstays of the orchestral repertoire in Lincoln Portrait, and we continue that tradition by performing the Cincinnati premiere of a CSO co- commission with On a Wire. This exciting program represents the CSO's incredible legacy and ongoing journey."
Dr. Angelou's narration of Lincoln Portrait is part of a "Freedom Week" collaboration with The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Cincinnati Museum Center. Freedom Week details will be announced at a later date.
Mr. Langrée's inaugural concert weekend with the CSO is made possible by the Harold C. Schott Foundation, Francie and Tom Hiltz.
One City, One Symphony returns
The Orchestra embarked on the inaugural One City, One Symphony program in fall 2012, capturing the imagination of thousands from throughout the region through an unprecedented combination of listening parties, concert performances, a live video feed to 14 different locations, digital downloads, discussion guides, and radio and television broadcasts. The Cincinnati community met the project with boundless enthusiasm.
One City, One Symphony will return in fall 2013, this time exploring themes of fate and redemption in the popular Symphony No. 4 by Tchaikovsky and a nearly forgotten work by Mozart, Davide penitente, based on the Psalms of David.
"Mozart was Tchaikovsky's musical idol," said Mr. Langrée. "There is a real connection in the themes of fate and redemption in these distinct masterpieces. Many people are familiar with the Tchaikovsky-it has engaged and enthralled millions over the past 135 years. Mozart's Davide penitente is lesser-known and often misunderstood, but it is beautiful and transcendent. Audiences will recognize some of the music from Mozart's popular C Minor Mass. You'll fall in love with this piece."
The May Festival Chorus and vocal soloists will join Mr. Langrée and the CSO for Masterworks Series performances on November 14 and 16, and the Orchestra will again collaborate with dozens of community partners in the months leading up to the concerts.
"Music brings people together," said Mr. Langrée. "I was so pleased with the reception to this program last year when I was Music Director Designate, and I'm looking forward to a vibrant dialogue around our One City, One Symphony project again this coming season. We'll discover or rediscover these masterpieces together as a community, building upon our understanding of the music through a shared experience."
CSO launches new collaboration with MusicNOW Festival
Mr. Langrée and the CSO will embark on a groundbreaking artistic collaboration on March 21 and 22, 2014 with Cincinnati's premier new music festival, MusicNOW, and Artistic Director Bryce Dessner of the rock band The National. This unique collaboration is part of the CSO's Boundless Series, and features two unique concert programs over two nights.
Mr. Dessner will perform solo electric guitar with the Orchestra in his own composition, St. Carolyn by the Sea, with his brother and fellow band member Aaron Dessner also playing electric guitar. The festival additionally features two world premiere commissions by acclaimed composers: the first by Nico Muhly, who was also recently commissioned to write a full-scale opera for the Metropolitan Opera, has worked with former CSO Creative Director Philip Glass for several years and established himself as one of the most exciting personalities in classical music today; and the second by Musical America's 2013 Composer of the Year, Pulitzer Prize-winner and the holder of Carnegie Hall's 2013-14 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, David Lang. The festival will also feature an orchestral work by Jonny Greenwood of the rock band Radiohead, and performance by Grammy-winning ensemble, eighth blackbird.
"These MusicNOW programs fall well outside the realm of traditional symphonic music," said Mr. Langrée. "This is an exciting collaboration and an opportunity for the Orchestra and our audiences to explore new music together, and also to introduce the CSO to new audiences."
The MusicNOW Festival began in 2006 to present musicians and music that takes risks and doesn't fit neatly into any category and has garnered national attention. Recent festival performances have included such diverse artists as Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens, The National, Grizzly Bear, Awadagin Pratt and Kronos Quartet.
Anne-Sophie Mutter makes long-awaited Cincinnati debut
Continuing a tradition of welcoming the world's greatest classical superstars, this year violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter makes her Cincinnati debut in a one-night-only concert and gala event on September 28. A welcome addition to the 20 subscription concerts, this additional concert features two popular violin works by Dvo?ák, the Romance for Violin and Orchestra, and the Violin Concerto. The music is in fine hands with Ms. Mutter, hailed as "the undisputed queen of violin-playing" by The Times (London) and "...a deeply serious and thoughtful artist...she is eminently engaging and even amusing" by The New York Times. Ms. Mutter has graced the covers of respected music magazines all over the world, is celebrated for an extensive Grammy-winning ?? discography, and in her decades-long career has performed hundreds of unforgettable live concerts. Under the direction of guest conductor Michael Francis (praised by critics and audiences during his last performance with the CSO), the concert also includes Elgar's Enigma Variations and Purcell's Chacony in G minor.
"For me that is what music making is all about: bringing the depth and intensity of the composer back to the stage," Ms. Mutter recently told The New York Times.
The CSO is bringing back its immensely popular subscription incentive. Patrons purchasing ten or more concerts may receive a ticket to experience Anne-Sophie Mutter for free. This is similar to the offer in previous seasons (which extended free tickets to concerts Starring Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman to subscribers).
The Anne-Sophie Mutter concert will be accompanied by a gala celebrating the start to Cincinnati's fall arts season. Gala details will be announced at a later date.
Artists-in-Residence and ensemble-in-residence to deepen community engagement
Following the accomplishments of the highly successful Creative Director model employed by the Orchestra during its search for a music director, the CSO is engaging two Artists-in-Residence and one Ensemble-in-Residence during the 2013-14 season. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein joins the CSO for a performance/residence week in October 2013 and a residence-only week in January 2014. In October she performs Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 under guest conductor Asher Fisch. During both weeks, she will participate in such residency activities as workshops and masterclasses, Classical Conversations and other engagements designed to bring world-class artistry to the Cincinnati community. Hailed as a star who "performs with soulful expression and physical abandon" by the New York Times, Ms. Weilerstein is known as an artist whose "cello becom[es] an extension of her ??heart" (Classic FM).
Similarly, violinist Augustin Hadelich joins the CSO in February 2014 for a residence-only week and returns in April 2014 for a performance/residence week. He performs Mendelssohn's beloved Violin Concerto under guest conductor Juanjo Mena in a program that also includes Ginastera's Panambí (a work known as the "Latin Rite of Spring"). "The essence of Hadelich's playing is beauty...thereby revealing something from a plane beyond ours" hails the Washington Post. In a former performance with the CSO, "he stole the audience's heart" (Music in Cincinnati), and is sure to do so again.
The dynamic ensemble eighth blackbird, comprised of six musicians, joins the CSO for two subscription concert weekends in November 2013 and March 2014. Known as advocates for new music by active composers, the ensemble regularly has works commissioned exclusively for their unique brand of music-making. They perform Jennifer Higdon's On a Wire under Mr. Langrée in November, and a yet to be determined work as part of the MusicNOW collaboration in March. As an ensemble-in-residence, eighth blackbird will likely also ? include meet-and-greet sessions, public Q&A, career talks and masterclasses.
"Shakespeare for your Ear"
The CSO commemorates the 450th anniversary of legendary playwright William Shakespeare's birth with a celebration of his considerable inspiration in the world of music. Four of the 2013-14 Masterworks programs feature works that conjure Shakespeare's stage. On September 12 & 14, the series begins with Weber's Oberon Overture from the opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream. On January 16 & 18, Tchaikovsky's Hamlet Fantasy-Overture will include dramatic readings by members of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Music Director Laureate Paavo Järvi conducts Berlioz's poetic rendition of one of the most iconic scenes of all time, the "Love Scene" from Roméo et Juliette, on February 20-23. Finally, the series wraps up at the season Finale concert May 2-3 when the CSO partners with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Drama Department in a program featuring Berlioz's King Lear Overture and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite.
CSO again offers three distinct series
In addition to the highlights mentioned above, each of the three distinct subscription series offers the usual powerful repertoire and the finest guest artists paired with the CSO's world-class musicians.
Grand Masterworks Presented by U.S. Bank
The 10-concert Grand Masterworks Series features the return of former CSO Creative Director and Musical America's 2011 Conductor of the Year Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, who leads a concert program also marking the return of famed classical guitarist Pepe Romero.
Guest conductor Robert Spano will return to lead Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Symphony No. 2, along with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 performed by Jeremy Denk in his CSO debut.
Revered pianist Radu Lupu, who performed with the CSO at Carnegie Hall in 2010, performs Beethoven's spirited Piano Concerto No. 3, in a romantically themed program (led by guest conductor David Afkham) beginning with Wagner's Siegfried Idyll and ending with Beethoven's Symphony No. 4.
Mr. Langrée is joined by legendary flutist Sir James Galway who returns for Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2, paired with Bruckner's Symphony No. 7.
The music of Mozart also starts Mr. Langrée's One City, One Symphony program with Davide penitente and the Mighty May Festival Chorus and closes with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
Popular guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero returns for the first concerts of the season to lead Percy Grainger's epic and rarely experienced The Warriors, featuring a massive complement of orchestra musicians with three conductors and three pianists, along with Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by Olga Kern in her CSO debut.
Violinist Pekka Kuusisto returns with Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2, while Midori (whose last concert completely sold out Music Hall) tackles another Russian giant with Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1.
Music Director Laureate Paavo Järvi takes on Mahler's Symphony No. 4, on the same program during which pianist Zhang Zuo makes her CSO debut with Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1.
The Masterworks series closes the 2013-14 season with violinist Nicola Benedetti, who thrilled CSO audiences in September 2011, performing Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and guest conductor James Gaffigan leading a suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, recorded by the CSO in 2003.
The five-concert Ascent Series, which highlights some of the best known (and soon-to-be-famous) artists from around the world.
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1, paired with Strauss' Mighty Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.
The Orchestra takes back Black Friday in an American Thanksgiving weekend program conducted by Mr. Langrée and featuring some of the most beloved works by George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris with Kirill Gerstein taking on Ravel's Piano Concerto for Left Hand.
Mr. Langrée conducts two of the classical "B" composers with Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with charismatic international pianist Hélène Grimaud.
Finally, Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos returns for a second engagement for Verdi's Requiem, a popular and breathtaking tour de force featuring operatic soloists and the May Festival Chorus.
Boundless Series Presented by Macy's
The groundbreaking Boundless Series features the aforementioned MusicNOW Festival programs.
Additionally, the CSO's own Principal Trumpet Robert Sullivan performs a rarely heard gem, William Perry's Trumpet Concerto with guest conductor Rafael Payare also leading Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. The program opens with John Estacio's Borealis. Cincinnati Ballet has also commissioned Mr. Estacio to compose music for a new ballet, King Arthur, in honor of the company's 50th anniversary season in 2013-14. The CSO is the official orchestra for Cincinnati Ballet.
This Boundless series also includes Mr. Langrée's inaugural weekend featuring eighth blackbird's performance of Jennifer Higdon's On a Wire, Copland's Lincoln Portrait narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou and Beethoven's popular Symphony No. 5.
Percussionist Colin Currie returns to Cincinnati to perform James MacMillan's Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which is paired with Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 5 under the baton of Christoph König.
Finally, guest conductor David Robertson makes his CSO debut, closing out the series with another debut artist, pianist Orli Shaham. The program features Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from On the Town and Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety, as well as Steven Mackey's Stumble to Grace and Barber's luminous Adagio for Strings, which the CSO last performed on tour in Japan in 2009.
Continuing what has become a popular holiday tradition, the CSO will perform Handel's Messiah on December 22 at historic Music Hall with the May Festival Chorus, this time under the baton of returning guest conductor John Nelson. Tickets for this Christmastime classic start at just $10.
New Year's Eve 2013: The Big Easy
The CSO and Pops will ring in 2014 with the annual New Year's Eve Concert and Ball. Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell again leads the Orchestra in a program celebrating The Preservation Hall big band favorites, including the timeless "When The Saints Go Marching In." Concert tickets start at $10.
A New Year's Eve Gala Celebration, presented by the Cincinnati Symphony Volunteer Association and sponsored by the Dr. John and Louise Mulford Fund for the CSO, follows the concert. Details will be announced at a later date.
Music Hall Update
With a lease agreement finalized with the City of Cincinnati, plans for the revitalization of historic Music Hall continue to move forward. The current plans for the renovation project are in flux, and an exact timeline is not in place. While originally scheduled to be in the Taft Theatre during the construction of Music Hall, the CSO's 2013-14 season will take place in Music Hall.
Series Package Benefits Include Free Tickets to Experience Anne-Sophie Mutter
The series package renewal deadline for the CSO's 2013-2014 season is February 28 for current subscribers. Subscribers enjoy a long list of benefits, including priority seating and unlimited free ticket exchanges. Additionally, patrons who subscribe to two or more series packages (ten-plus concerts) before February 28 receive a ticket to experience Anne-Sophie Mutter (or another CSO concert of choice) for free. (Some restrictions apply.) Visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org/series for complete information on subscriptions or contact the CSO Box Office at 513.381.3300.
Single tickets go on sale for the Anne-Sophie Mutter concert on June 4. Single tickets for the rest of 2013-2014 CSO performances go on sale to the general public beginning August 8. Single tickets start at $12 for all subscription concerts, New Year's Eve and Messiah.