Letter from the President

Dear Friends,

The CSO’s vision is clear: to be the most relevant orchestra in America. Built on a foundation of increasing artistic excellence, there are three values that drive this vision: to be inspiring, innovative and inclusive.


We arrived at this new vision and these newly articulated values through a series of conversations that occurred during the 2018-19 season and involved our staff, musicians, artistic leadership, volunteer leadership and the wider community. We looked at our strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats facing this 125-year old CSO. The conversations were not always easy, but we came away with a clear sense of who we are as an organization and most importantly, what we aspire to be.

At its heart, live music is inspiring. We have been seeking to inspire audiences for 125 years, but how people listen to music and their expectations for a concert experience are evolving. We will be at the forefront of this evolution. Leading this journey requires innovation in how we program, select artists, stage and perform music, and an imbedded focus on inclusion that will foster new audiences and enable us to better reflect the community we serve.

Innovation, inclusion and inspiration were at the heart of CSO Look Around in August, an immersive evening that launched this 125th anniversary season. This experience was informed by the cultural richness of Cincinnati, involving more than 600 artists from 20 local ensembles, culminating in a massive performance with the CSO in Washington Park.

CSO Look Around set the tone and direction for the 125th anniversary season in 2019-20, and marks a new era for the CSO. We are grateful to have you on this journey with us.

Throughout the 2018-19 season we presented the region with an impressive array of live concert experiences including CSO and Cincinnati Pops concerts, student performances through our Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras program, numerous chamber music performances, and the many concerts presented by our Music and Event Management Inc. subsidiary at Riverbend Music Center, the PNC Pavilion, the Taft Theatre, the Rose Music Center and more.

I want to thank Louis Langrée and John Morris Russell for their artistic leadership, our musicians who demonstrate extraordinary abilities and commitment to their craft week after week, the hardest working and most talented staff in the in the field, and a Board of Directors that thoughtfully guides this organization, ensuring the CSO continues to thrive.

I want to especially thank Francie Hiltz for her recently completed three-year term as Board Chair. She has played a pivotal role in keeping this organization on track and growing during a period of transition, unprecedented in modern times. Francie has left an indelible mark and paved the way for our new Board Chair, Rob McDonald, who began his tenure this month.

Finally, I want to thank all of you. We are in a position of strength thanks to support from throughout the community. Please continue to make the CSO a priority in your life.

I look forward to seeing you in and around Music Hall, Riverbend, the PNC Pavilion, the Taft Theatre and the Rose Music Center this season.