Welcome from the President and CEO

Jonathan Martin 720x1097.jpg
© Roger Mastroianni

Dear Friends of Music,

On stage, in the community and through the stories that touch our lives, the Orchestra continually seeks to share inspiration with our entire Cincinnati community. As an orchestra, our artistic world is the quality of the sound we create, which is highly correlated to the musicians hired. In Louis Langrée’s decade-plus tenure as music director, he has had the unique opportunity to appoint 32 musicians, more than a third of our current ensemble. Hiring new musicians is a necessary part of any orchestra, but for ours, the sheer number of appointments in a relatively condensed period of time under Louis’ leadership is noteworthy. As you will read in Ken Smith’s story, these musicians arrived at a transformative time; together, they have and will undoubtedly shape the sound of our Orchestra for decades to come, and we are all witness to this special moment in the history of the CSO.

Not all of the 13 music directors of the CSO have had the opportunity to hire a concertmaster, the “second-in-command to the conductor.” Louis’ tenure saw the appointment of Stefani Matsuo as the first female concertmaster of the Orchestra. From the audience’s perspective, they see the concertmaster stand at the beginning of each performance to cue the tuning of the orchestra, shake the conductor’s hand and, of course, hear the powerhouse violin playing that made Stefani the hands-down choice for concertmaster. But the job is so much more than what happens on stage at a concert. Anne Arenstein speaks with Stefani and Associate Concertmaster Felicity James to shed light on the responsibilities of this key leadership position—on and off the stage.

Our musicians are not just performers on the Music Hall stage; they are threads within the larger tapestry that is Cincinnati—they are parents, restaurant lovers, museum-goers, sports fans (Who Dey!), nature aficionados…all of these things and more within the Greater Cincinnati community. This April, our Orchestra shares the stage with representatives of Cincinnati’s vibrant international communities in the Pops program The Dream of America, centered on composer Peter Boyer’s poignant Ellis Island: The Dream of America. The multimedia program celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and features images from the Ellis Island archives alongside performers sharing real-life stories of those arriving to America. Writer Scot Buzza talks with Peter Boyer about the inspirations and crafting of Ellis Island: The Dream of America and Cincinnati’s history of immigration. Tyler Secor speaks with Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell about his inspiration for this program, which opens with Cincinnati’s diverse communities and dance groups—Donauschwaben Schuhplattlers, Greater Cincinnati Indian Community Choir, Cincinnati Baila! Dance Academy, Ijo-Ugo Performing Arts Company, McGing Irish Dancers and Alliance of Chinese Culture & Arts—presenting cultural dance and music traditions from around the world alongside music performed by the Pops.

For its 128 years, the CSO has been generously supported by the donors who love and appreciate their Orchestra. In “Why We Give,” Kit Gladieux speaks with two of our current donors: one whose family was part of the formation of the CSO and the other whose story includes “dotting the ‘i.’”

Lastly, on behalf of our musicians, board members, staff, volunteers and more, we thank you for joining us for our programs. Your enthusiasm for what we do sustains us, and we are delighted to share musical inspirations with you.


Jonathan Martin