Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra by the Numbers

One of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has a distinguished roster of past music directors and has long championed the composers and music of its time. Deeply committed to inclusion, relevance, and enhancing and expanding opportunities for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra also works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. From storied traditions to innovations, learn more about what makes the CSO one of the most unique orchestras in the world.

Quick Facts about the CSO


  • CSO is 129 years old
  • The oldest and first orchestra in Ohio
  • The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra was founded in 1977 as part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Past music directors include: Frank Van der Stucken, Leopold Stokowski, Ernst Kunwald, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Eugene Goossens, Thor Johnson, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Jesús López Cobos, and Paavo Järvi
  • Current roster: Music Director Louis Langrée, Pops Conductor John Morris Russell, Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher, Pops Guest Conductor Damon Gupton, Associate Conductor Samuel Lee, and Assistant Conductor Daniel Wiley


  • One of only 16 full-time, salaried 52-week US orchestras
  • 90 full-time positions
  • No work stoppages since 1971
  • Three-year contract restores pre-pandemic salaries and provides additional 8% increase (Read more about this contract)
  • Resident orchestra for Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, and May Festival

Learning and Community Engagement

Young People’s Concerts

  • Started in February 1921
  • 17,000+ students and teachers attend 5 to 7 concerts annually
  • 3 separate programs targeted at different age groups are presented each year
  • Each program is paired with an extensive online curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom
  • Digital Young People’s Concerts, started in 2020 are reaching schools as far away as Alaska

Musicians in Schools

  • A program that brings CSO musicians to schools for live performances, coachings and/or career day presentations
  • On average Musicians in Schools reaches more than 700 students per year ranging from pre-K through college in over 60 schools/education sites with nearly 87 hours of music provided by 28 different members of the Orchestra.

Sound Discoveries

  • School residency program to support music education
  • Five partner schools taught by a CSO teaching artists and classroom assistant
  • Online Sound Discoveries videos (started in 2020) have been used in classroom all over the world

Nouveau Program

  • Started in 2007, Nouveau is a chamber music program for African American and Latine students musicians ages 7-18
  • Since its creation, the program has had 57 students participate
  • Nouveau has four groups: Novice, Apprentice, Chamber Players and Winds

Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras

  • Since its creation in 1964, over 3,000 students have participated in CSYO with almost 200 students participating each season with nearly 50 schools represented
  • CSYO has grown to support two full youth orchestras each coached by CSO musicians and led by CSO conducting staff
  • 40% of students in CSYO go on to a career in music. Several CSO musicians started their musical journey from within the CSYO
  • The CSYO has an annual concerto competition and plays an annual concert sitting side-by-side with members of the CSO
  • Youth Orchestra Online (YOO!)
  • Cincinnati led collaboration with Columbus, Dayton, Atlanta, and CCM. Virtual sessions ranging from History of the Orchestra to Time Lapse photography video projects. Available to any student in the region of collaborating orchestras.

Diversity Fellowship

  • Starting in 2016, the fellowship is a partnership between the CSO and the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) to accelerate the careers of young musicians from background that are underrepresented in the orchestra field.
  • Fellows play in 40 CSO and Pops services per year, receive lessons with CSO musicians, participate in mock auditions coached by CSO musicians and artistic leadership, participate in career development workshops coached by CSO Musicians and guest artists.
  • Fellows receive orchestral experience while completing graduate degrees at CCM
  • 17 fellows have completed the program and 9 fellows are currently in the fellowship. 
  • Successes include positions with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, South Florida Symphony, Palm Beach Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Missouri Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra.

Community Engagement Events

  • The CSO produces more than 30 community engagement events annually that reach over 10,000 people.
  • These events include
    • Music Labs: Allows community members an opportunity to experience what it's like to hold or play an orchestral instrument.
    • CSO In Your Neighborhood: Musicians from the CSO and Pops are popping up in neighborhoods throughout Greater Cincinnati.
    • Classical Roots Community Choir: The all-volunteer Classical Roots Community Choir made up of 150 singers from over 50 churches performing in concerts and collaborations throughout the year. Vital to the choir are the volunteer choral music leaders, clergy leadership, church partners and a collection of passionate supporters and leaders who represent the rich diversity of the Greater Cincinnati region.
    • Brady Block Parties: In partnership with local community organizations, we are pleased to present a series of free public concerts, inspired by the legacy of Andrew J. Brady, beloved Cincinnati music teacher and musician. Bring your family and friends to experience the sights and sounds of the full orchestra in a neighborhood near you.

Financial Information

  • Ranking: Eighth largest budget of US orchestras, after L.A., Boston, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia
  • Annual operating expenses: $34.8 million USD
  • Total endowment: $202.4 million USD with external beneficial trusts of $58.5 million USD
  • Fiscal health: 13 years of balanced budgets, with no debt.
  • Music and Event Management, Inc. (MEMI) was incorporated in 2001 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CSO, representing one of the most unique business models of orchestras in America. Together the CSO and MEMI presents approx. 80% of all live music heard in the region. 
  • Venues: MEMI operates six venues on four properities in Cincinnati and Hubur Heights:
    • The Andrew J Brady Music Center
    • ICON Festival Stage—adjacent to The Andrew J Brady Music Center
    • Riverbend Music Center 
    • In 1984, Riverbend Music Center-officially The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, J. Ralph Corbett Pavilion opened. Riverbend, located on the banks of the Ohio River, has attracted national attention for its post-modernist design by architect Michael Graves.
    • PNC Pavilion
    • Stuart and Mimi Rose Music Center at the Heights
    • Taft Theatre
    • Taft Ballroom


  • Broad array of music and administrative programs to foster greater involvement by historically underrepresented population
  • One of the first American orchestras to create a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position
  • CSO was the first Cincinnati arts organization to offer same sex partner health benefits to employees and musicians.
  • CSO is Queen City Certified by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for equity in the workplace.
  • CSO and it’s affiliate organizations employ 200 people year round and up to 1000 people seasonally across Greater Cincinnati and Dayton.
  • CSO has shared services agreements with the May Festival and Vocal Arts Ensemble and offers finance, human resources, marketing, communications, digital, and artistic administration support.