Artistic Leadership

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

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In the 2023-24 season, Louis Langrée celebrates his final season with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he has been Music Director since 2013, and will become Music Director Laureate at the conclusion of this season. He continues as Director of Théâtre national de l’Opéra-Comique in Paris, an appointment that began in November 2021. Langrée ended his 20-year tenure as Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in the summer of 2023. Known for imaginative programming, Langrée began his Cincinnati tenure with Jennifer Higdon’s On a Wire with Eighth Blackbird; Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou; and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Two of his Cincinnati recordings were Grammy-nominated for Best Orchestral Performance: Transatlantic, with works by Varèse, Gershwin, and Stravinsky; and Concertos for Orchestra, featuring world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, and Zhou Tian. His Pelléas et Mélisande trilogy contrasted settings by Fauré, Debussy, and Schoenberg. A multi-season Beethoven [R]evolution cycle has paired the symphonies with world premieres and 20th-century masterworks, as well as recreation of the legendary 1808 Akademie. During the COVID pandemic, Langrée was a catalyst for the Orchestra’s return to the stage in the fall of 2020 with a series of digitally streamed concerts, and then in January 2021 welcoming in-person audiences to Music Hall.

Between the start of his tenure and the conclusion of the CSO’s 2023–24 season, Langrée and the CSO will have commissioned 45 new orchestral works and he will have conducted 31 premieres from a wide range of composers, including Julia Adolphe, Daníel Bjarnason, Jennifer Higdon, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Kinds of Kings, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, André Previn, Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, and the world premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 6, his final opus. Langrée and the Orchestra also commissioned 20 composers to write solo instrument fanfares for CSO musicians during the COVID pandemic, including Michael Abels, Marcos Balter, Peter Boyer, Courtney Bryan, Bryce Dessner, Ted Hearne, Tyshawn Sorey, Georgia Stitt and Du Yun, whose new works were premiered on the Orchestra’s website.

To date, Langrée has appointed 28 of the Orchestra’s musicians, including hiring Stefani Matsuo as the Orchestra’s first female Concertmaster. Other appointments include Associate Principal Percussion, Associate Principal Second Violin, First Assistant Concertmaster, Assistant Principal Horn, Principal Tuba, Principal Clarinet, Second/Assistant Principal Trombone, Principal Bassoon, Second Flute, Second Oboe, three section violists, two section violins, and a section cellist. In the coming season, there will be auditions for Associate Principal Timpani and section percussion, Associate Concertmaster, Associate Principal Flute, Piccolo, and Section Bass. Langrée has also worked closely with the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows, mentoring them individually and welcoming them to perform within the Orchestra.

A regular presence at Lincoln Center since his 1998 debut, Langrée has conducted more than 200 performances and concerts at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and on the Great Performers series, and has taught masterclasses at the Juilliard School. Langrée has raised the artistic profile and repertoire of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra well beyond the classical period, from Lully to contemporary music. Highlights include Bernstein’s MASS, the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s first violin concerto with Lisa Batiashvili, and New York premieres of Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul with Alisa Weilerstein and David Lang’s man made with Sō Percussion.

He has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, and Leipzig Gewandhaus, as well as Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Freiburg Baroque and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In addition to the Met, he frequently conducts at the leading opera houses, including the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Bavarian Staatsoper, and at festivals including Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, BBC Proms, Edinburgh International, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Langrée was previously music director of the Orchestre de Picardie, Opéra National de Lyon, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, and chief conductor of the Camerata Salzburg. A native of Alsace, France, he is a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and Officier des Arts et des Lettres, and he is an Honorary Member of the Confrérie Saint-Étienne d’Alsace, an Alsatian wine-makers’ brotherhood dating back to the 14th century.

John Morris Russell, Pops Conductor, Louise Dieterle Nippert & Louis Nippert Chair

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John Morris Russell’s passionate embrace of America’s unique voice and musical stories has transformed how orchestral performances can deeply connect and engage with audiences worldwide. In his 13th year with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the wide range and diversity of his work as a conductor, collaborator and educator continues to reinvigorate the musical scene throughout Cincinnati and across the continent. As Music Director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, Russell leads the classical series as well as the Hilton Head International Piano Competition; he also serves as Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, following in the footsteps of Marvin Hamlisch and Doc Severinsen.

This season, Russell debuts with the Florida Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. A popular guest conductor, he has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops and the National Symphony of Washington, D.C. He frequently conducts Canadian orchestras including Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, and he has led the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas and Minnesota, as well as the Utah Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and New York City Ballet Orchestra. He has also conducted new works with Cincinnati Opera, including its first production of Hans Krása’s Brundibár, and the world premiere of Blind Injustice, which was released on CD in 2021.

For more than a decade, Russell has regularly led the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) and Festival in College Park, Maryland, one of the nation’s premier training orchestras. In 2024. JMR and the NOI will collaborate with Wolf Trap Opera on a production of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins. Dedicated to sharing the American musical experience with the newest generation of players, he helped develop and conducted the LinkUP! educational concert series at Carnegie Hall, a continuation of the program launched by Walter Damrosch in 1891 and continued under Leonard Bernstein, and he has piloted educational programs with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Windsor and Hilton Head.

For more than two decades, he has led the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s wildly successful Classical Roots initiative honoring and celebrating Black musical excellence, which has garnered record-breaking in-person and online audiences.

Russell has contributed seven albums to the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra discography, including 2023’s holiday album JOY! In 2018, he created the “American Originals Project,” which has won both critical and popular acclaim in two landmark recordings: American Originals (the music of Stephen Foster) and the Grammy-nominated American Originals 1918 (a tribute to the dawn of the jazz age). The concert King Records and the Cincinnati Sound with legendary pianist Paul Shaffer was immortalized in recordings produced in the Queen City, and his American Soundscapes video series with the Pops and Cincinnati’s CET Public Television has surpassed one million views on YouTube since its launch in 2016.

JMR served as Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) between 2001 and 2012, where he conducted more than 40 world premieres and recorded the Juno-nominated album of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. During his time with the WSO, he was a two-time recipient of Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts. In 2011, the University of Windsor awarded him an honorary doctorate, and, the following year, the WSO named him its first Conductor Laureate.

John Morris Russell earned degrees from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and Williams College in Massachusetts, and he has studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine.

Damon Gupton, Pops Principal Guest Conductor

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Damon Gupton is the first-ever Principal Guest Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops. A native of Detroit, he 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 Boston Pops, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, 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, Brevard Sinfonia, 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 he conducted the finals of the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the 2021 Classic FM Live at Royal Albert Hall with Chineke!. Other musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Common, Leslie Odom Jr., Byron Stripling, Tony DeSare, The Midtown Men, Kenn Hicks and Jamie Cullum.

He has been featured as narrator with the Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival, Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Colorado Symphony, Grant Park Music Festival, Houston Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and on 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.

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 and 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 in Washington, D.C. Awards include the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize and The Aspen Conducting Prize. He is the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan School of Music and Alumni Society, and he is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition.

An accomplished actor, Gupton has had roles in television, film and on stage, including series regular roles on the upcoming Big Door Prize for Apple TV, as well as The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey starring Samuel L. Jackson, Black Lightning, Criminal Minds, The Player, The Divide, Prime Suspect and Deadline, as well as guest or recurring appearances on The Comey Rule, Super Pumped, Dirty John, Goliath, Bates Motel, The Newsroom, Suits, Empire, Rake starring Greg Kinnear, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Conviction, The Unusuals, Hack, Third Watch and Drift. He appeared in Damien Chazelle's Academy Award-winning films Whiplash and LaLa Land, as well as This is Forty, The Last Airbender, Helen at Risk, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Unfaithful and The Loretta Claiborne Story.

Stage roles include 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), as well as the title role in 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. He graduated from the Drama Division of the Juilliard School.

Matthias Pintscher, CSO Creative Partner

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Matthias Pintscher is the newly appointed Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony, effective from the 2024–25 season. He has just concluded a successful decade-long tenure as the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (EIC), the iconic Parisian contemporary ensemble founded by Pierre Boulez and winner of the 2022 Polar Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy. During his stewardship, Pintscher led this most adventurous institution in the creation of dozens of world premieres, recorded CDs of music by cutting edge composers from all over the world and took the ensemble on tours around the globe–to Asia and North America and throughout Europe to all the major festivals and concert halls.

The 2023–24 season will see Pintscher in his fourth year as Creative Partner at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), where he will conduct a new work by inti figgis-vizueta, as well as an immersive video-concert of Olivier Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles. He will also tour with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, with which he is artist-in-residence. As guest conductor, he returns to the RAI Milano Musica, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, NDR Hamburg, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Barcelona Symphony, Lahti Symphony, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, La Scala and Berlin’s Boulez Ensemble. Pintscher has conducted several opera productions for the Berliner Staatsoper (Wagner’s Lohengrin and The Flying Dutchman), Wiener Staatsoper (Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando), and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. He returns to the Berliner Staatsoper in 2024 for Beat Furrer’s Violetter Schnee.

Pintscher is also well known as a composer, and his works appear frequently on the programs of major symphony orchestras throughout the world.  In August 2021, he was the focus of the Suntory Hall Summer Festival—a weeklong celebration of his works with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra as well as a residency by the EIC with symphonic and chamber music performances. His third violin concerto, Assonanza, written for Leila Josefowicz, was premiered in January 2022 with the CSO. Another 2021–22 world premiere was neharot, a co-commission of Suntory Hall, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Dresden, where he was named Capell-Compositeur. In the 2016–17 season, he was the inaugural composer-in-residence of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and, from 2014 to 2017, he was artist-in-residence at the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, as well as composer-in-residence at Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Festival.

Pintscher has held titled positions, most recently as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Artist-in-Association for nine seasons. In 2020, he was Music Director at Ojai Festival and, in 2018–19, he served as the Season Creative Chair for the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. An enthusiastic supporter of and mentor to students and young musicians, Pintscher was Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, ran the Heidelberger Atelier, an academy for young musicians and composers, from 2005 to 2018, and has worked with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, Music Academy of the West, National Orchestral Institute and Junge Deutsche Philharmonie. He appears nearly every season with the New World Symphony in Miami, a training orchestra for post-conservatory, pre-professional musicians. Pintscher has been on the composition faculty of The Juilliard School since 2014.

Matthias Pintscher began his musical training in conducting, studying with Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös in his early 20s, when composing soon took a more prominent role in his life. He rapidly gained critical acclaim in both areas of activity and continues to compose in addition to his conducting career. Pintscher is a prolific composer, and his music is championed by some of today's finest performing artists, orchestras and conductors. His works have been performed by orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris, among many others. He is published exclusively by Bärenreiter, and recordings of his works can be found on Kairos, EMI, Teldec, Wergo and Winter & Winter.

Samuel Seungwon Lee, Associate Conductor, Ashley and Barbara Ford Chair

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Samuel Lee is the winner of the prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors 2024 in Copenhagen.

As a result of his success at the Malko Competition, Lee will have conducting contracts with 24 leading international symphony orchestras and a three-year mentorship with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra's chief conductor Fabio Luisi. Previously, he was first prize winner of the BMI International Conducting Competition in Bucharest and the International Conducting Competition in Taipei.

Samuel Lee was appointed assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2022-23 season, and was promoted to associate conductor for the 2023-24 season.

Amongst the orchestras Lee has conducted are Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Bamberger Symphoniker, Hamburg Camerata at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Leipziger Symphoniker at the Gewandhaus, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt State Orchestra, Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bucharest Symphony Orchestra, Arad Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean National Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra and the SAC Festival Orchestra.

Lee has assisted Cristian Măcelaru in concerts with the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Munich and Salzburg, as well as Vladimir Jurowski for his concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been a conducting fellow and participant in masterclasses of conductors such as Daniele Gatti, Riccardo Muti, Neeme Järvi and Markus Stenz.

In 2019, Lee was invited to conduct the Orchestra Giovanile di Siena as part of an audition for the Chigiana International Music Festival in Siena. He was also invited to the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo, organized by the Tokyo Spring Festival, where he conducted Verdi’s Rigoletto.

An avid promoter of contemporary music, Lee has conducted several premieres of orchestral and ballet works, including pieces by Bryce Dessner, Giuseppe Gallo-Balma and Marc Migó. He was also a conducting fellow with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2021 and 2022, where he worked with conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Octavio Más-Arocas and Marin Alsop.

Lee is an alumnus of Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin, where he studied viola with Prof. Tabea Zimmermann (BM, MM, Konzertexamen) and orchestral conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald (BM, MM). Lee completed Konzertexamen in orchestral conducting at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg with Prof. Ulrich Windfuhr.

As a violist, Lee has performed with several orchestras worldwide and was invited to perform with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Southern German Philharmonic, Zabrze Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, KBS Symphony and Korean Symphony, and at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festival.

He also served as a viola professor at Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany until 2022.

From 2009 until 2017, Lee was the violist of the Novus String Quartet, which performed in and was invited to renowned venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Cologne Philharmonie and Suntory Hall. He also was the second prize winner of the 61st International Music Competition of ARD Munich and first prize winner of the Salzburg International Mozart Competition.

Daniel Wiley, Assistant Conductor, Ashley and Barbara Ford Chair

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Daniel Wiley has quickly become a notable young conductor on the rise, having made guest appearances with orchestras, ballet companies and opera productions in the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to his tenure with the CSO, Wiley held numerous conducting posts, including Assistant Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony, Music Director of the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras, Associate Conductor of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestras, Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Community Orchestra, Wind Ensemble Conductor at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor, Education Conductor/Consultant for London Symphonia, Conductor for the Windsor Abridged Opera Company, Music Director of Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Youth Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor for the Meridian Symphony Orchestra.

During the pandemic, Wiley was instrumental in expanding the Windsor Symphony’s educational footprint by creating a digital education concert series that includes 12 hours of interactive music curriculum for schools. This program has been recognized by the Ontario Provincial Parliament as an example of how an orchestra can change lives through music, even during a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

In 2019, Wiley was the second prize recipient of both the Smoky Mountain International Conducting Institute and Competition and the Los Angeles International Conducting Competition. Wiley has also spent time conducting new music ensembles, including for the Musicbed Music and Film Corporation based in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as participating in the Composing in the Wilderness program as part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska. Through this program, Wiley has conducted numerous world premieres in Denali National Park.

As a former public-school music teacher, Wiley has a unique passion for music education and frequently donates his time as a guest clinician to support students and teachers in music programs across North America.

Explore the CSO's History

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