Choose Your Own Concert
Does your series include a bonus Choose Your Own concert voucher? Use it toward a favorite concert that's not in your series (including specials!), explore something completely new or introduce a friend to the music you love.
Vouchers will be redeemable beginning Subscriber Courtesy Days JUL 11-14.
The Princess Bride
Sarah Hicks, conductor
The great Peter Falk narrates the romantic tale of the beautiful maiden, Buttercup, and her one true love, a young farm hand named Westley. After Westley's captured by a ruthless pirate and presumed dead, Buttercup’s unhappy marriage to the horrible Prince Humperdinck seems inevitable. But before the wedding can take place, she’s kidnapped by three outlaws and it’s up to a mysterious Man in Black to come to her rescue. Missing this cinematic concert experience would be inconceivable! So, in the words of Miracle Max… “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”
DEFYING GRAVITY: An Evening with Stephen Schwartz & Friends
John Morris Russell, conductor
Stephen Schwartz, piano & host
Shaleah Adkisson, vocalist
Scott Coulter, vocalist
Debbie Gravitte, vocalist
Michael McCorry Rose, vocalist
John Boswell, piano
Grammy and Oscar-winning composer and musical icon Stephen Schwartz joins conductor John Morris Russell and the Pops for breathtaking performances of his exquisite songs in an unforgettable evening of musical theatre from Godspell to Wicked and beyond. Featuring award-winning Broadway vocalists, the legendary songwriter and his friends open the season with classics like “Day by Day,” “Corner of the Sky,” “Beautiful City” and “Defying Gravity.”
THE RITE OF SPRING
Christian Reif, conductor
Clara-Jumi Kang, violin
The 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was perhaps the most famous opening-night scandal in history. Confronted with its primal and untamed nature, its first audience was ignited into a riot, instantly cementing its reputation as a work that, to this day, triggers visceral responses. Conductor Christian Reif sets the stage for our wild encounter with a light and airy dance by Manuel de Falla and violinist Clara-Jumi Kang, bringing her poise to Prokofiev's second violin concerto.
FALLA: Interlude and Dance from La vida breve
PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 2
STRAVINSKY: Le Sacre du printemps ("The Rite of Spring")
Nina Simone Piano Competition Concerto Finals
Louis Langrée, conductor
Created to give a platform to talented young African American pianists, the previous rounds of the Competition took place this summer in Cincinnati on the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music campus. The Competition aims to get more African American artists on concert stages, to commission new works, and to add more African American pianistic voices to the classical canon. Join the competition's three finalists as they come together with Louis Langrée and the CSO to compete for the grand prize on Music Hall's stage.
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor (Stephenson)
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major (Kelly)
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concert No. 2 in C minor (Mhoon)
BERNSTEIN, PRICE & COPLAND
The CSO performs music of American composers representing a variety of perspectives. Bernstein’s optimistic Candide and gripping score to the Oscarwinning film On the Waterfront frame a program including Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, a reprise from Louis Langrée’s first CSO subscription concert as Music Director, and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1. In 1933, Price’s magnificent, tour de force Symphony No. 1 was the first symphonic work by a Black woman to be played by a major American orchestra.
BERNSTEIN: Overture to Candide
PRICE: Symphony No. 1
COPLAND: Lincoln Portrait
BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront
Disney in Concert: The Sound of Magic
Damon Gupton, Conductor
Join Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton and the Cincinnati Pops for a symphonic celebration of Disney music, animation, and memories — 100 years in the making! Favorite characters and soundtracks from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disney Parks come together live on stage and on the big screen at Music Hall in a live-to-film concert like never before. Journey on a magic carpet ride through the most memorable song, score and movie moments of the first 100 years of The Walt Disney Company, including Peter Pan, Moana, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Frozen, The Lion King, Fantasia, Encanto, Disney Parks classics and more.
RING WITHOUT WORDS
James Gaffigan, conductor
Fantasy kingdoms, scandalous love affairs, dwarfs, giants, and powerful music. Game of Thrones? Tolkien? Actually, before those came the Ring cycle, Wagner’s master achievement in his quest to create an all-encompassing theatrical experience. Conductor James Gaffigan returns to lead the CSO in a concert compilation of Wagner’s four epic operas, on a program that opens with two musical gems: Bacewicz’s delightfully bracing Overture and Mozart’s well-known Eine kleine Nachtmusik.
MOZART: Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade in G Major)
WAGNER: Der Ring ohne Worte für Orchester ("The Ring Without Words")
TETZLAFF & TCHAIKOVSKY'S FIFTH
Gustavo Gimeno, conductor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
“One of today’s most in-demand violinists” (NPR), Christian Tetzlaff returns to Music Hall after last showcasing his “jaw-dropping virtuosity” (Cincinnati Enquirer) here in the Queen City in 2017. Conductor Gustavo Gimeno leads Tetzlaff and the CSO in Szymanowski’s sweepingly lyrical Violin Concerto and the first part of a multi-year trilogy by composer Daníel Bjarnason. Tchaikovsky’s wellspring of melodies is on display in his Fifth Symphony — opening with a fateful funeral march, winding through a sonorous solo horn song and lilting waltz, then finishing with bombastic brass.
I Want to Be Alive — Trilogy for Orchestra First Part: "Echo/Narcissus" (CSO Co-Commission)
SZYMANOWSKI: Violin Concerto No. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5
Aaron McKone, tenor, Laërte
Nmon Ford, baritone, Spectre
Mark Hockenberry, bass, Polonius
Logan Wagner, tenor, Marcellus /
Michael Anthony McGee, bass-
baritone, Horatio / gravedigger
Robert Porco, director
"To be or not to be….” French composer Ambroise Thomas’ grand opera is a musical setting of Shakespeare’s story of the melancholic Prince Hamlet, his murderous uncle, ghostly father,and lover driven to madness. Louis Langrée leads the CSO and May Festival Chorus in this new touring production created in collaboration with Paris’ famed Opéra Comique.
SIBELIUS SYMPHONY NO. 5
Dalia Stasevska returns to lead a Thanksgiving weekend of music that calls us home. Music drawn from the American heartland opens the program, with the beloved “Goin’ Home” theme from Dvořák’s New World Symphony, George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, and bass-baritone Davóne Tines performing Saariaho’s True Fire, a work based on Native American texts, Emerson’s Spiritual Laws, and other texts, collaged together by Aleksi Barrière. Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony provides a finale of sweeping and grand themes, evoking the spirit of Stasevska's own Finnish homeland.
DVOŘÁK: Largo from Symphony No. 9, From the New World
SAARIAHO: True Fire
WALKER: Lyric for Strings
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5
Case Scaglione, conductor
Randolph Bowman, flute
Henrik Heide, flute
Stefani Matsuo, violin
Two extremes of orchestral scale combine for a showcase of the CSO that’s both intimate and expansive. Conductor Case Scaglione makes his CSO debut with Bach’s beautifully playful Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, which highlights individual virtuosity within a smaller ensemble, alongside Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. First performed in the U.S. by the CSO, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony employs an orchestra of impressive proportions, from its iconic trumpet opening to the beloved, emotional Adagietto.
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
MAHLER: Symphony No. 5
Rafael Moras, tenor
It’s the most wonderful time of the year with JMR, the Pops and Cincinnati’s beloved Holiday tradition! Music Hall will be decked-out in the razzle-dazzle of the season as choruses, vocalists, dancers, handbell ringers and Queen City favorite Capathia Jenkins bring festive favorites and holiday classics to life.
STAR WARS: The Last Jedi
Anthony Parnther, conductor
The fate of the Resistance hangs in the balance! New heroes and galactic legends join forces as Rey seeks the aid of Luke Skywalker to thwart the rise of Kylo Ren and the First Order. The Last Jedi unlocks mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past on the big screen as the full force of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra performs John Williams’ acclaimed score live to film.
NEW YEAR'S EVE: Ellington at 125
David Choate; Asya Grave; Juliana Kinamore; Antonio White
JMR and The Pops ring in 2024 with the sophisticated jazz stylings of Edward “Duke” Ellington to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the legendary pianist and composers’ birth. Jazz vocalist Denzal Sinclaire will bring Ellington's lyrics to life with his velvety baritone, and dancers from Revolution Dance Theatre join in to lend their artistry to Ellington's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite. Dust of your finest or come as you are, and get ready to swing into the new year in style with the classic and elegant sounds of “Duke.”
BRAHMS: Runnicles & Trifonov
Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Sir Donald Runnicles, celebrated for his interpretations of Romantic symphonic repertoire, leads an all-Brahms program, joining forces with powerhouse pianist Daniil Trifonov, following his stunning solo Music Hall performance in 2022. Together, they explore Brahms’ more brooding and emotional side in his Piano Concerto No. 1. Runnicles then conducts the CSO in Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, from its iconic “lullaby” to its cheerfully triumphant and brass-filled finale.
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. x TUPAC x MAHLER
Jecorey Arthur, emcee
TaRon Lockett, drummer
The Resurrection Mixtape fuses the music of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur with Mahler’s electrifying “Resurrection” Symphony — a mixtape highlighting the relationship between hip-hop and classical music, as well as the life, struggle, death and legacy of two iconic artists. Biggie and Tupac’s words will ring out in “Hypnotize,” “Ambitionz az a Ridah,” “California Love,” “Juicy,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Sky’s The Limit” and more, as live emcees perform alongside a full symphony orchestra.
RACHMANINOFF & ADAMS
Conductor Kevin John Edusei leads a program that invites you to explore the concept of harmony and its many forms, beginning with Elysium by Samy Moussa, a composer who has a “gleeful sense for…shocking harmony” (Los Angeles Times). John Adams describes his rhythmically and harmonically complex Harmonielehre as a parody “without the intent to ridicule”, with “shades of Mahler, Sibelius and Debussy.” Both pieces frame George Li's performance of the Second Piano Concerto from Rachmaninoff, arguably the hero of the lush, romantic style.
Samy MOUSSA: Elysium
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2
John ADAMS: Harmonielehre
Dame Jane Glover is widely regarded as a preeminent conductor of Mozart’s music. She leads an “all-Amadeus” program, showcasing CSO Principal Clarinetist Christopher Pell in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major. His performance is folded between works illustrating Mozart’s evolution of the symphony from the lighter style of early composers such as Haydn to the more emotionally-infused music of Beethoven.
MOZART: Symphony No. 13
MOZART: Clarinet Concerto
MOZART: Symphony No. 36, Linz
Grammy-winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru joins the CSO for music of two Slavic luminaries. Cellist Kian Soltani brings his expressive and charismatic presence to Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto, frequently interpreted as an escalating struggle between the seemingly heroic soloist and the orchestra representing totalitarian authority. The acclaim and popularity of his Symphony No. 11 helped Shostakovich, who had weathered criticism and persecution from the Soviet regime, win back State approval. It offers a depiction of the 1905 Russian Revolution, from the first shots of Bloody Sunday to funeral marches lamenting those who were lost.
LUTOSŁAWSKI: Cello Concerto
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905
BRAHMS' GERMAN REQUIEM
With prayerful music for both the living and the dead, the source of comfort in Brahms’ German Requiem is as much human as it is the divine. Louis Langrée leads the CSO along with the May Festival Chorus in Brahms’ large-scale masterpiece. Though Brahms was often discreet in nature, this is a deeply personal work. Spurred by the loss of his mother, and influenced by lingering emotions of self-doubt, he turned to his true religion – music – as a way to console not only himself, but others as well.
BRAHMS: Ein Deutsches Requiem ("A German Requiem")
COPLAND’S APPALACHIAN SPRING
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Conrad Tao, piano
As the winter winds quell and the flowers of spring begin to blossom, CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher conducts the Orchestra in works capturing the feeling of life beginning anew. Copland’s Appalachian Spring shines with the “Simple Gifts” of the season. After wowing CSO audiences in 2021 and 2022, pianist Conrad Tao returns for Mozart’s intimate and reflective Concerto No. 24 in C Minor. Then, Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 triumphantly ushers in the Spring season.
COPLAND: Suite from Appalachian Spring
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor
SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 1, Spring
The Doo Wop Project
John Morris Russell, conductor
Charl Brown, vocalist
Dwayne Cooper, vocalist
John Michael Dias, vocalist
Russell Fischer, vocalist
Dominic Nolfi, vocalist
Love the classic sounds of Frankie Valli, The Drifters, The Del Vikings? Join conductor John Morris Russell and the Pops for The Doo Wop Project. From foundational tunes of groups like the Crests and Flamingos through their influences on the sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Seasons all the way to Doo Wop-ified versions of modern musicians like Michael Jackson and Jason Mraz. Featuring stars of Broadway’s smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, the Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history!
HEROIC STRAUSS & MELODIC MOZART
Sir Mark Elder, conductor
Pavel Kolesnikov, piano
Stories of glory, chivalry and adventure abound as conductor Sir Mark Elder joins the CSO. Wagner’s Tannhäuser is a musical story of lust, love, and deliverance, as the opera’s title character makes a pilgrimage from the magical realm of Venus to his final redemption in Rome. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben is an epic portrayal of the hero that exists in all of us, along with the accompanying joys and struggles, depicted through battling brass and tender string melodies. Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov brings his “fluid, fine-toned” (Gramophone) playing to Mozart’s melodic Piano Concerto No. 17.
WAGNER: Overture to Tannhäuser
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 17
STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life")
TCHAIKOVSKY & NIELSEN
Ryan Bancroft, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano
“Music is life, and like it, it is inextinguishable.” With this declaration written at the top of his score, Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 pits the everlasting spirit of life against the horror of World War I with dramatic music leading to, what else, but a battle between two timpani! Making his CSO debut, conductor Ryan Bancroft opens this program with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade for Orchestra, and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, displaying the virtuosity of guest pianist Inon Barnatan, heralded by The New York Times as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation.”
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Ballade for Orchestra
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable
The Dream of America
John Morris Russell, conductor
Conductor John Morris Russell and the Pops present Peter Boyer’s poignant Ellis Island: The Dream of America, celebrating the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream. Innovative in its format, bringing elements of theater and multimedia, including historical images from the Ellis Island archives, performers share real stories of those arriving to America and the circumstances surrounding their journey.
The program opens by showcasing the vibrancy of Cincinnati’s international communities, with the Donauschwaben Schuhplattlers, Greater Cincinnati Indian Community Choir/Shanti Choir, Cincinnati Baila! Dance Academy, Ijo-Ugo Performing Arts Company, McGing Irish Dancers and Alliance of Chinese Culture & Arts, presenting cultural dance traditions from around the world alongside music from your Cincinnati Pops.
John Morris Russell, conductor
Classical Roots Community Choir
Love and fellowship ring throughout Music Hall for one of Cincinnati's most anticipated musical traditions of each year! JMR leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Classical Roots Community Choir, Nouveau Program and special guest artist Hi-Tek in an evening of powerful and inspirational music.
HADELICH & HOLLAND
Louis Langrée, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Schoenberg's music, before he became known as a father of 20th-century 12-tone composition, developed from the harmonic bedrock of Romantics like Brahms, Mahler and Richard Strauss. His "Transfigured Night" was further heightened when Schoenberg met the love of his life and found inspiration in poetry of hope and acceptance. Led by Louis Langrée, the CSO performs this, along with Brahms' Violin Concerto, which features the return of Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich, and a co-commission from former CSO Composer-in-Residence Jonathan Bailey Holland.
Jonathan Bailey HOLLAND: New Work (CSO Co-Commission, CSO Premiere)
SCHOENBERG: Verklärte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”)
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto
DVOŘÁK SYMPHONY NO. 8
Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 is filled with optimistic and lyrical music, leading to a finale of fanfares and dances. Conductor Katharina Wincor, who led the May Festival's 2022 production of Candide, returns to Music Hall and welcomes cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason for Shostakovich's raw and rhythmic first Cello Concerto.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Festive Overture
SHOSTAKOVICH: Cello Concerto No. 1
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 8
BEETHOVEN 7 & DESSNER PREMIERES
Louis Langrée, conductor
Alice Sara Ott, piano
If Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is known as a musical embodiment of fate, his Seventh carries the spirit of freedom and liberation, with catchy, dance-like melodies woven throughout. Bryce Dessner, founder of Cincinnati’s MusicNOW Festival and a member of the Grammy-winning band The National, shares two of his works for orchestra.
Bryce DESSNER: Mari
Bryce DESSNER: Piano Concerto (CSO Co-Commission, US Premiere)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7
LOUIS' GRAND FINALE
In his final program as Music Director, Louis Langrée and the CSO share the stage one more time for a performance that will pay tribute to highlights of their time together over the past 11 years. Grammy Award-winning soprano Latonia Moore will join the CSO for the world premiere of a new orchestral song cycle by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis, whose piece You Have the Right to Remain Silent profoundly impacted Louis and left a poignant impression on livestream viewers at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The program also includes Ravel’s mythical and airy Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, a work that Louis and the Orchestra performed on tour in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in 2017; Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 2, which was last performed in 2015 as part of that season’s One City, One Symphony initiative; and Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was a part of an all-French program that opened the Orchestra’s 2018-19 season at the newly renovated Music Hall.
Expect moving music and memories, celebrating the final performances of the CSO’s beloved Music Director.
BEETHOVEN: Leonore Overture No. 2
Anthony DAVIS: New Orchestral Song Cycle (CSO Commission, World Premiere)
Paul DUKAS: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Maurice RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2