Mission: To seek and share inspiration


Elevating Cincinnati's Vibrant Cultural Scene

Meghan Berneking


If you take a look at the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra’s October schedule or flip through this edition of Fanfare Cincinnati, you might easily make the assumption that the weekend of Oct. 23-24 is a quiet one for the Orchestra. But the Orchestra will be as busy as ever, as it performs as part of Cincinnati Ballet’s presentation of Lady of the Camellias at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. With a full-time symphony orchestra in the pit, the Ballet dancers and directors have the benefit of working with musicians who play together across all genres year-round—a rarity for any performing arts group, even in markets larger than Cincinnati.

As the official Orchestra of the Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, the May Festival and Cincinnati World Piano Competition, the CSO takes the arts in the Queen City to a superlative level. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer review of Swan Lake in October 2013, Cincinnati Ballet has improved in recent years because “they now have the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra—60 members of it, at least— in the Aronoff Center pit....It's an impressive addition, as the CSO is larger and, thanks to working together 52 weeks a year, a more unified ensemble...."

With a bold mission to seek and share inspiration, the Orchestra makes a point to look around the community and actively engage other organizations and individuals in an effort to create unparalleled musical experiences—and make Cincinnati’s residents among the luckiest audiences in the world. The result is that the Orchestra has become a place of experimentation not just within its own programming, but with the partners with which it connects.

Of course, none of this comes easily. For Cincinnati to have world-class arts, it has taken grit and determination from not only the musicians, Board and staff, but the community itself. In fact, the success of the most recent endowment campaign, which was driven largely by grassroots efforts, has given the Orchestra the means to add two additional weeks of service to further expand its role with the Cincinnati Ballet and solidify the relationship with the Cincinnati World Piano Competition.

It’s not just the main partner organizations to which the Orchestra turns for inspiration. The past few seasons have seen countless collaborations with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Ensemble Theatre, MYCincinnati, local dance troupes, churches, the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, University of Cincinnati, Young Professionals’ Choral Collective and more. LUMENOCITY® attendees experienced 19 local arts and music groups on the Washington Park bandstand in just five days.

One of the Orchestra’s driving values is to be “Cincinnati’s Own.” This value is not just a vague reference to the fact that the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra happens to reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rather, through these deep collaborations, the Orchestra is able to attract and retain the world’s most talented musicians who in turn create a vibrant arts scene that attracts top professionals, business owners, families and others who continue to cultivate the city on the banks of the Ohio River. These joy-filled partnerships with Cincinnati’s most beloved organizations elevate the arts in our community and make the Queen City a more vibrant place to live, work, visit, raise a family and call home.

"…the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra gave a stunning performance of this magnificent score. There are so many gorgeous subtleties, from the loudest of gongs to shimmering  woodwinds and strings, and they were heard to wonderful effect." – Cincinnati CityBeat review of Cincinnati Opera’s Turandot, July 2015

“I am the envy of nearly all my impresario colleagues across the nation for the truly luxury casting of the Cincinnati Symphony ‘in the pit.’ Since our very first season in 1920, the CSO has been our orchestra. They sweltered along with us for fifty years at the Zoo and they have remained our loyal and illustrious musical partners in their home and ours, the spectacular Music Hall.” –Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director, Cincinnati Opera