Artistic Leadership

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

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Louis Langrée has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center since 2003 and recently appointed Director of Théâtre national de l'Opéra Comique. 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 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 upcoming 2021-22 season, Langrée and the CSO will have commissioned or co-commissioned 36 new orchestral works and he will have conducted 30 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, 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 17 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, 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 Chevalier 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, 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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Damon Gupton is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops. A native of Detroit, Michigan, 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 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 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 has served as conductor of the Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition. Musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Common, Leslie Odom Jr., Byron Stripling, Tony DeSare, Capathia Jenkins, The Midtown Men, Kenn Hicks, and Jamie Cullum.

He has been featured as narrator in many venues including the Cincinnati Pops, Colorado Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Houston 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.

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 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 is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition.

An accomplished actor, Gupton is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division. He has had roles in television, film, and on stage, most recently starring with Samuel L. Jackson in the upcoming Apple TV limited series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Other series regular roles include Black Lightning, Criminal Minds, The Player, The Divide, Prime Suspect, and Deadline as well as guest or recurring appearances on The Comey RuleDirty John, Goliath, Bates Motel, The Newsroom, Suits, Empire, Rake starring Greg Kinnear, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, ConvictionThe Unusuals, Third Watch, Hack, 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 directed by Phylicia Rashad (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 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.

Matthias Pintscher, CSO Creative Partner

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Matthias Pintscher is the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble founded by Pierre Boulez. From the 20/21 season, he begins a three-year appointment as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s new Creative Partner. Known equally as one of today’s foremost composers, Mr. Pintscher conducted the premiere of his new work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, performed by Georg Nigl and the Chorus and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks at their Musica Viva festival in February 2020. In summer 2020, Mr. Pintscher also serves as Music Director of the 74th Ojai Music Festival. 

In the 19/20 season, Matthias Pintscher makes debuts with the symphony orchestras of Montreal, Baltimore, Houston, and Pittsburgh. He also makes his debut at the Vienna State Opera conducting the premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s new opera Orlando, and returns to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin to conduct performances of Beat Furrer’s Violetter Schnee, which he premiered in January 2019. Re-invitations this season include the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Pintscher tours extensively with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Europe, Asia, and the United States, in addition to a robust concert season in Paris.

Matthias Pintscher began his musical training in conducting, studying with Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös in his early twenties, during which time 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. As a composer, Mr. Pintscher's music is championed by some of today's finest performing artists, orchestras, and conductors. His works have been performed by such orchestras as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 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. Bärenreiter is his exclusive publisher, and recordings of his compositions can be found on Kairos, EMI, Teldec, Wergo, and Winter & Winter. Mr. Pintscher has been on the composition faculty of the Juilliard School since 2014.

François López-Ferrer, Associate Conductor, Ashley and Barbara Ford Chair

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Spanish-American conductor François López-Ferrer came to international attention after a critically acclaimed debut at the 2018 Verbier Festival, where he jumped in for Iván Fischer in a shared program with Sir Simon Rattle and Gébor Takécs-Nagy.

In demand as a guest conductor, López-Ferrer’s recent and upcoming highlights include debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacional de España, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Berner Symphonieorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica Radio Televisión Española (RTVE), Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Orquesta de Valencia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile, Orquesta de Extremadura, Joven Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Joven de la Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquestra Sinfônica do Paraná, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre.

For 2021-22 López-Ferrer is a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and May Festival, he conducts the CSO’s Young People’s Concerts and provides artistic support to CSO’s Music Director Louis Langrée and May Festival’s Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena. López-Ferrer is one of six participants to be featured in the 2022 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He previously served as associate conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile (OSNCH), Principal Conductor of the Ballet Nacional Chileno, and was the youngest ever Conductor-in-Residence of the OSNCH's Summer Concert Series.

López-Ferrer was winner of the inaugural 2015 Neeme Järvi Prize awarded at the Menuhin-Gstaad Festival and received third prize at the 2018 OFUNAM International Conducting Competition. He was previously a member of the prestigious Deutsche Dirigentenforum.

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 degree in Composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where his teachers included Joel Hoffman, Miguel Roig-Francoli, and Michael Fiday.

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.