Artistic Leadership

Louis Langrée, Music Director, Louise Dieterle Nippert & Louis Nippert Chair

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The French conductor Louis Langrée has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2013. He recently toured with them to both Asia and Europe, with appearances including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms (London) and La Seine Musicale (Paris). He is also Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York, a position that he has held since 2002. At the festival in 2018 he led their celebration of the Bernstein Centenary, including a staged performance of Bernstein's Mass.

Recent and future conducting projects include Louis’ debuts with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at the Prague Spring Festival, Orchestre National de France and the Konzerthaus Berlin Orchestra. Return engagements include the Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées and the Philadelphia, Toronto Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras. He will also return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Wiener Staatsoper and Opéra Comique in Paris. Louis has conducted several world premieres including works by Daníel Bjarnason, Magnus Lindberg and Caroline Shaw. During the 2018/19 season, he conducted the first performance of Ode by Jonathan Bailey Holland, composer-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Louis has conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker and London Philharmonic Orchestras. He has worked with many other orchestras around the world including the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Budapest Festival, Sao Paulo and NHK Symphony Orchestras; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Freiburger Barockorchester and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Festival appearances have included Wiener Festwochen, Salzburg Mozartwoche and Whitsun and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He has also conducted at La Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra-Bastille, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dresden Staatsoper and the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. 

He has held positions as Music Director of the Orchestre de Picardie (1993-98) and Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège (2001-06) and was Chief Conductor of the Camerata Salzburg (2011-16). Louis was also Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1998-2000) and Glyndebourne Touring Opera (1998-2003). Louis’ recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra feature Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait (narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou) and world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, David Lang, Nico Muhly and Zhou Tian (which was nominated for a Grammy Award). His recordings have received several awards from Gramophone and Midem Classical. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

John Morris Russell, Pops Conductor

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John Morris Russell, A.K.A. "JMR," has consistently won international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership. This Ohio native is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina where his commitment has yielded a new level of artistic excellence. He has also served as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic since 2015. A popular guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada, he also holds the title of Conductor Laureate with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he served as Music Director for eleven years.

With the Cincinnati Pops, JMR regularly leads sold-out performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. Additionally, he conducts the Pops at the Riverbend Music Center and in concerts throughout the Greater Cincinnati region and on tour.

JMR has collaborated with generations of great performers including the late Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, as well as Idina Menzel, Vince Gill, Branford Marsalis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Hilty, Common, Cynthia Erivo, Amy Grant, Brian Wilson, Steve Martin, Katharine McPhee, Rhiannon Giddens, Rosanne Cash and Marvin Winans, among many others.

A sought-after guest conductor across the continent, John has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Other recent engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among many other ensembles.

 

Damon Gupton, Pops Principal Guest Conductor

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A native of Detroit, Michigan, Damon Gupton served as American Conducting Fellow of the Houston Symphony and held the post of assistant conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. His conducting appearances include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, National Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Florida Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, NHK Orchestra of Tokyo, Orquesta Filarmonica de UNAM, Charlottesville Symphony, Brass Band of Battle Creek, New York University Steinhardt Orchestra, Kinhaven Music School Orchestra, Vermont Music Festival Orchestra, Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Orchestra and Sphinx Symphony as part of the 12th annual Sphinx Competition.  He led the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra on two national tours with performances at Carnegie Hall and conducted the finals of the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition. Musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Common, Leslie Odom Jr., Byron Stripling, Tony DeSare, The Midtown Men, Kenn Hicks, Kathleen Battle and Jamie Cullum.

Gupton received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan, where he delivered the commencement address to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance in 2015. He studied conducting with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute. Awards include the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize and The Aspen Conducting Prize.  Mr.Gupton is the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan School of Music and Alumni Society, and is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition.

Mr.Gupton has been featured as narrator in venues including the Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and on the the Videmus recording Fare Ye Well. He also narrated a concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

An accomplished actor, Gupton graduated from the Drama Division of the Juilliard School. He has had roles in television, film, and on stage, including the Broadway production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Clybourne Park, the Ovation and LA Drama Critic’s Circle award winning Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Mark Taper Forum), Superior Donuts (The Geffen), Christina Anderson’s Inked Baby (Playwrights Horizons), Othello (Heart of America Shakespeare Festival), The Story (Public Theater), Meg’s New Friend (The Production Company), Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter (Arena Stage), True History and Real Adventures (The Vineyard Theatre), and Treason (Perry Street Theatre).  He also performed the title role of Academy Award-winner Eric Simonson’s Carter’s Way at Kansas City Repertory Theater. He received an AUDELCO nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Clybourne Park.

Gupton's television credits include series regular roles on Black Lightning, Criminal Minds, The Player, The Divide, Prime Suspect, and Deadline as well as guest or recurring appearances on Dirty John, Goliath, Bates Motel, The Newsroom, Suits, Empire, Rake, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Conviction, The Unusuals, Third Watch, Hack, and Drift.  He appeared in Damien Chazelle's Academy Award-winning films Whiplash and LaLa Land, as well asThis is Forty, The Last Airbender, Helen at Risk, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, Unfaithful, and The Loretta Claiborne Story.

 

François López-Ferrer, Assistant Conductor

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François López-Ferrer will provide artistic support to CSO Music Director Louis Langrée and May Festival Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena as Assistant Conductor throughout all rehearsals and performances. He will also conduct the CSO Young Peoples Concerts which reach over 17,000 students and teachers. 

The Spanish-American conductor returns to Cincinnati with a formidable musical legacy; his father, the late Jesús López-Cobos, served as Music Director of the CSO from 1986 to 2001 and as Music Director Emeritus until his passing in 2018. His son, López-Ferrer, grew up in Cincinnati, attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and maintains ties to the local music community. He founded Ensemble Vita, composed of fellow students from CCM, and led concerts throughout the Cincinnati area with innovative programming spanning Baroque through 21st-century repertoire. In 2012 he co-founded the Queen City Chamber Opera in Cincinnati, specializing in rarely performed operatic works created by well-known composers presented in non-traditional spaces.

López-Ferrer recently garnered international attention following a critically acclaimed debut with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, filling in for Iván Fischer and conducting alongside Sir Simon Rattle and Gabor Takács-Nagy at the 2018 Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

López-Ferrer is currently in his second season as associate conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile (OSNC). He also serves as principal conductor of the Ballet Nacional Chileno. With the OSNC, López-Ferrer conducted numerous subscription and educational concerts, as well as Coopeuch’s “Sembrando Cultura” tour, reaching approximately 30,000 people.

López-Ferrer holds a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne, under the tutelage of professor Aurélien Azan Zielinski, and a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where his teachers included Joel Hoffman, Miguel Roig-Francolí, and Michael Fiday. Since 2009 he has been a student and protégé of Conductor Leonid Grin. As a composer, López-Ferrer participated in master classes with Leonardo Balada, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski and Jack Body.

Wilbur Lin, Assistant Conductor

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Wilbur Lin will begin his tenure with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra as Assistant Conductor. He will also serve as Conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) Philharmonic, an ensemble of the region’s top high school age musicians. In this role, Lin will be both conductor and artistic leader of the CSYO Philharmonic.

Lin began his musical education at the age of five. In 2008, the Taiwanese-American conductor founded a student orchestra, the Chamber Philharmonic Taipei, which is now a professional chamber orchestra with an active annual summer season funded by both the Arts Council of Taipei and the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture.

Lin briefly worked as assistant conductor at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Taiwan Symphony orchestras. He regularly works with Chamber Philharmonic Taipei and has conducted the Manchester Camerata, MAV Symphony Orchestra (Budapest), Taipei Philharmonic, Taiwan Symphony, Orquestra de Cadaqués (Spain), Missouri Symphony, and Windsor Symphony (Canada) orchestras. As a pianist, Lin coached and performed with the Indianapolis Opera, IU Opera Theater, and Reimagining Opera for Kids, in addition to his freelance work as a vocal coach and collaborator.

A recent graduate of Riccardo Muti's Italian Opera Academy, Lin's recent highlights include conducting Verdi’s Macbeth at Teatro Alighieri (Ravenna, Italy), Die Zauberflöte with the Winter Harbor Festival & Opera (Winter Harbor, Maine), and an appearance with Canada's Windsor Symphony Orchestra, guest conducting El Salvador's National Youth Orchestra, and the conclusion of Chamber Philharmonic Taipei's seventh concert in its Bach Cantata Series.

Lin held the position of Lord Rhodes Scholar from 2013 to 2014, was a two-time recipient of Mortimer Furber Prize for Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), and is a doctoral candidate (ABD) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Lin has studied with Arthur Fagen and David Effron at IU, Clark Rundell and Mark Heron at RNCM, and Apo Hsu at National Taiwan Normal University. He has also received conducting coaching with Riccardo Muti, Sir Mark Elder, Vasily Petrenko, Juanjo Mena, Jac van Steen, Mark Stringer, Paul McCreesh, and Helmuth Rilling.

Explore the CSO's History

Explore the rich history and artistic leadership of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.