The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Announces 2013-2014 Season

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Announces 2013-2014 Season

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Conductor John Morris Russell announce the Pops' 2013-14 season, the third under the direction of Mr. Russell. The season, presented by PNC, celebrates some of the long-admired classics of the Pops while embracing exciting new collaborations. From Broadway to rock, R&B to family concerts, Music Hall will be the home for fans of all musical genres in 2013-14. Highlights of the season include three debuts from stars Michael McDonald, George Takei and Boyz II Men, as well the return of Cincinnati favorites Ann Hampton Callaway and Megan Hilty, who wowed Pops audiences in 2009 and has since nurtured a career from stage to screen as star of the hit NBC TV series Smash.

"This is a season that will ignite the imagination," said Mr. Russell. "Between our lineup of incredibly talented guest artists and enormously diverse programming, the Cincinnati Pops honors its cherished traditions while experimenting with new genres. I can't wait to look out and see audiences grinning from ear to ear during these programs," he said.

Several programs on the season stretch and flaunt the power of the Pops Orchestra itself, including a performance dedicated to the popular classics, made unforgettable by Pops Founder and Conductor Emeritus, Erich Kunzel. The Final Frontier, a multimedia concert incorporating visual elements and footage from space exploration, summons the full forces of the Orchestra to present music inspired by the stars. Holiday

Pops, a concert program which completely sold out in December 2012, returns with all the comforts of home, with local singers, dancers and choirs joining Ms. Callaway. Classical Mystery Tour takes place 50 years to the date of the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and uses the original Fab Four orchestrations.

Other programs include Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era, which draws inspiration from such musicians as Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Burt Bacharach in the spirit of Don Draper and company. Finally, Pixar in Concert celebrates nearly 20 years of smash hit animation from Toy Story to Brave.

The Final Frontier featuring George Takei

The Pops season opener sets its sights to the heavens, bringing together all the robust orchestral music inspired by space. The stars have stirred imaginations since the dawn of humankind, and composers have channeled these dreams into unforgettable masterpieces. Performing works such as Also Sprach Zarathustra and Holst's The Planets, as well as iconic music from the Sci-Fi world including themes from Star Wars and Star Trek, Mr. Russell and the Pops take audiences on an adventure through time and space. Narrating the journey into the great beyond September 20-22 is none other than Mr. Sulu himself, George Takei, who makes his Cincinnati Pops debut. Mr. Takei is an actor, writer and director who appeared in the original Star Trek television series, the first six Star Trek feature films with the original cast, dozens of other films and

television shows, and now has a broad social media following with over 3.4 million Facebook subscribers. Dean Regas, astronomer from the Cincinnati Observatory, will also be on hand to explain the "science facts" of the cosmos.

Learn more about the life and career of George Takei:

Pops Remix - Michael McDonald
Five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald joins Mr. Russell and the Pops for an unforgettable night of rock and soul infused with rhythm and blues. From his days with Steely Dan to superstardom as a member of the Doobie Brothers and beyond, Mr. McDonald's songs have filled the radio airwaves for nearly four decades and won him legions of fans. He'll perform his greatest hits including "What a Fool Believes," "Taking It to the Streets," "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," "On My Own," and "Sweet Freedom," with that one-of-a-kind voice blending soulfully with the Pops.

See videos of Mr. McDonald performing his greatest hits on his YouTube Channel:

Pops Classics - Erich Kunzel's Greatest Hits

The late Erich Kunzel, Pops Founder and Conductor Emeritus, defined and became the international face of the genre of orchestral pops music during his long tenure in Cincinnati. Erich's vision of making orchestral music accessible to all cultivated new audiences and catapulted the Orchestra to global recognition. The Pops became the music of America, embracing everything from Broadway to jazz, film soundtracks to rock and roll.

Mr. Russell leads a program on November 3 and 10 dedicated to the music made iconic by Erich's legacy with the Pops. Melodies made memorable by the likes of Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Henry Mancini and more (many of which can be heard on one of the dozens of best-selling Pops recordings) revisit the Music Hall stage as the Orchestra journeys from where the Pops began and looks forward to the future.

Holiday Pops Spectacular featuring Ann Hampton Callaway
Spending the holidays with the Pops has become a Cincinnati family tradition, and in 2013, the tradition continues in the same vein as Mr. Russell's popular "Home for the Holidays" concerts at the Taft Theatre a decade ago. The Orchestra again welcomes singers and dancers from across the region in a "So Cincinnati" program that invokes the spirit of home.

At the center of the Yuletide spectacular is a true champion of the American Songbook, Ann Hampton Callaway. This multifaceted all-around entertainer has long been a favorite of Cincinnati audiences, even appearing on the Pops' 2006 Christmastime is Here CD. Paired with Mr. Russell and the heartwarming, familiar tunes of holiday season, she is sure to fill

Music Hall with good cheer on December 13-15.
A video of Ms. Callaway performing "Over the Rainbow" is available on YouTube:

Megan Hilty: Star of Smash and Broadway
Stepping in at a moment's notice to replace an ailing Kristen Chenoweth in 2009, Megan Hilty wowed Music Hall audiences, proving herself among the great Broadway divas. Since then, Ms. Hilty has built an unmatchable career on stage and screen, most notably starring in the hit television series Smash. She made her Broadway debut opposite Idina Menzel as a standby for Wicked, continued her stage career starring in such productions as 9 to 5, and has continued a career in film and television.

Megan Hilty returns to the Pops with Mr. Russell on January 24-26, 2014 for a program of Broadway hits and tunes taken out of the Great American Songbook.

Watch Ms. Hilty perform "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" on Broadway:

Pops Remix - Classical Mystery Tour

Fifty years ago, the world changed forever when four Brits with sharp suits and moppy haircuts appeared for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show. There was no turning back for the Beatles, who launched the world into a new era of rock and roll. After dozens of platinum albums, iconic hit singles and overwhelming popularity, it's hard to argue that John, Paul, George and Ringo completely changed the face of popular music.

What is less obvious to many casual listeners, however, is the collection of Beatles hits that feature a full orchestra. Classical Mystery Tour, comprised of four guest artists who look and sound just like the Fab Four, brings together all of the most popular songs from the band with their original orchestrations, performed by the Cincinnati Pops. Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra Associate Conductor

Robert Trevin?o leads the one-night-only concert on February 9, 2014.
A video of these unique artists is available on YouTube:

Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era
Behind every suave "Mad Man" is an even cooler soundtrack. With all their smart fashion and swanky drinks, the movers and shakers of the '60s would lose their swagger without the rhythms and sounds that defined the era. Guest conductor Steven Reineke and the Pops deliver just that with selections from such musical icons as Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin and Burt Bacharach on March 8-9, 2014. Special guest soloists Nikke Renee Daniels and Ryan Silverman help conjure the mood of martinis, Manhattans and smooth sophistication quintessential to these mid-century modern tunes.

A video of Pops favorite Ryan Silverman performing "My Funny Valentine" is available on YouTube:

Pixar in Concert

Animated film changed forever when Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang emerged from the Pixar studios and landed in the hearts of kids and adults alike in 1995's Toy Story. Since that phenomenal first film, the team of Disney and Pixar has released 12 additional heartwarming and memorable full-length films that have brought families together with their side-splitting humor and poignant tenderness. The Cincinnati Pops has fostered a long relationship with the music of Disney, and on April 4-6, 2014, Mr. Russell and the Orchestra take kids of all ages down memory lane with a multimedia production featuring visual montages from these iconic films, from Toy Story to Brave and everything in between.

A video celebrating Pixar films is available on YouTube:

Pops Remix - Boyz II Men
As the best-selling R&B act of all time, the music of Boyz II Men defined a generation. Songs such as "On Bended Knee," "I'll Make Love to You" and "4 Seasons of Loneliness" topped Billboard charts and ushered in a new era of R&B in the 1990s. They continue to tour to sold-out crowds and to date have sold 60 million records. On April 29, 2014, this remarkable group makes its Pops debut for a one-night-only concert closing the Pops season. Bathed in the full orchestral colors of the Orchestra, this concert expands the Pops genre even further and proves that the Cincinnati Pops can truly play anything.

The Boyz II Men YouTube channel features music videos, concert performances and more:

Lollipops Family Concerts
Mr. Russell will again be conducting a three-concert series of Lollipops Family Concerts scheduled for Saturday mornings. These concerts, geared towards children ages 3 to 10 and their families, serve as an opportunity to introduce young people to the joys of orchestral music. Pre-concert activities in the Music Hall Ballroom are fun and instructional preludes the concert and include arts and crafts, photo booths, and the ever-popular "instrument petting zoo."

The first of these concerts, "Superheroes," on November 16, just two months after the release of the Pops' latest recording of the same name, features the themes from the world's greatest heroes and villains. Young listeners hear the music they know and love from film and television with the added thrill of live orchestral performance. For the second concert on January 25, 2014, "Circus of Sounds," Mr. Russell and the Pops present the various sections of the orchestra with big-top favorites such as Carnival of the Animals. Finally, Peter and the Wolf, perhaps the epitome of children's music, introduces families to the storytelling capability of the orchestra on March 29, 2014. More details on these concerts will be available at

Season Subscriptions and Single Tickets
Season subscriptions for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra 2013-2014 season are available February 17, 2013. Subscription renewals will be mailed by February 24. Subscribers receive discounts, preferred seating, flexible ticket exchange and other benefits. Subscription packages start at just $107.50. Single tickets go on sale to the general public August 8 with prices beginning at $25 ($20 for students). Visit on the web for complete information or contact the Cincinnati Pops Sales Office at (513) 381-3300.

Benefits for Subscribers

Subscribers save up to 37% on regular ticket prices and 20% on Pops or CSO recordings. Subscribers bringing a friend save $5 on all single ticket add-ons, all season long. The Pops is again offering unlimited free ticket exchanges and lost ticket replacement.

Premier Subscriber Circle

Subscribers to the Pops Premier Series (all nine concerts) receive all the above benefits plus one free seat upgrade per season, one free "Oops Voucher" to redeem after a missed concert and can save $10 on all single ticket add-ons, all season long.

Music Hall Update

With a lease agreement finalized with the City of Cincinnati, plans for the revitalization of historic Music Hall continue to move forward. The current plans for the renovation project are under review, and an exact timeline is not in place. While originally scheduled to be in the Taft Theatre during the construction of Music Hall, the CSO's 2013-14 season will take place in Music Hall.


Subscribers may purchase guaranteed parking in the Washington Park Garage for just $10 per concert, subject to availability. Donors may receive free parking in area garages. Contact the Pops Development

office for details at 513.621.1919.

John Morris Russell

2013-2014 will mark John Morris Russell's third season as Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, to which he has brought both creative artistry and boundless energy. Consistently winning international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership, he leads the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in concerts at Music Hall, Riverbend Music Center, additional locations throughout the region and on tour. He is an important musical ambassador for the community, promoting Cincinnati's reputation as one of the world's leading cultural

centers. He is also a passionate local advocate for music and the performing arts in Cincinnati. Mr. Russell's first recording with the Pops, Home for the Holidays, was released worldwide in 2012 to rave reviews, and his second recording, Superheroes, will be released in September.

Mr. Russell also serves as Music Director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Conductor Laureate of the of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada.

No stranger to Cincinnati audiences, for many seasons John Morris Russell served as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He was recognized for his innovative programming and commitment to attracting new and diverse audiences to orchestral music, creating the Classical Roots: Spiritual Heights series, which brought the music of African-American composers and performers to thousands of listeners in area churches, and was also the co-creator of the Christmas spectacular, Home for the Holidays.

As a guest conductor, Mr. Russell has worked with many of North America's most distinguished ensembles, leading Canadian orchestras that include Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and Orchestra London. In the US he has conducted the orchestras of Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, Louisville, Miami's New World Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Pops, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival. Abroad he conducted at the famed Musikverein in Vienna in a concert that featured the Harlem Boychoir, the Vienna Choir Boys and the actor Gregory Peck. The performance continues to be televised throughout Europe, Japan and in the USA on PBS.

2011-2012 marked Mr. Russell's eleventh and final season as Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. While at Windsor he fostered a decade of unprecedented artistic growth and invigorated the musical life of the Windsor-Essex region. Under John Morris Russell's baton, the WSO made seventeen national broadcasts on CBC Radio 2; the most recent broadcast recording of Aurora Borealis by Jordon Nobles, was selected to represent Canada in June, 2010 in the 57th annual International Rostrum of Composers in Lisbon, Portugal. The WSO's first nationally televised production was created with Mr. Russell for the CBC Television series Opening Night, and subsequently won the Gold Worldmedal for "Best Performance Program" at the New York Festivals Awards for Television and New Media, as well as a Gemini Award Nomination.

John Morris Russell is widely considered one of North America's leaders in orchestral educational programming, and leads the Lollipops Family Concerts in Cincinnati.. From 1997 to 2009 he conducted the "LinkUP!" educational concert series at Carnegie Hall, the oldest and most celebrated series of its kind, created by Walter Damrosch in 1891 and made famous by Leonard Bernstein. The "Sound Discoveries" series Mr. Russell developed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra remains a leading model for educational concerts. In Windsor, his commitment to education was evidenced by his creation of concert series and projects that included Peanut Butter n' Jam, Family Jamboree and One Community-One Symphony plus he spearheaded the creation of The Windsor-Essex Youth Choir and the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra.

John Morris Russell has also served as associate conductor of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, director of the orchestral program at Vanderbilt University, and music director with the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He received a Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Williams College in Massachusetts. He has also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine.

The Cincinnati Pops is the alter ego of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, performing a diverse array of musical styles, all bathed in the world-renowned "Cincinnati Sound." The Pops was officially founded in 1977 and just since 1980, the Orchestra has sold ten million recordings around the planet.

The growing list of celebrated artists who have collaborated with the Pops include Ella Fitzgerald, Frederica von Stade, Doc Severinsen, Henry Mancini, Mel Torme?, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Holiday, Vanessa Williams, Dave Brubeck, The Temptations, John Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Bernadette Peters, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The Pops tours nationally and internationally, most recently performing in Beijing as part of the Opening Festivities of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. In 2005, the Pops completed a historic tour to China and Singapore performing in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The Cincinnati Pops was the first U.S. Pops orchestra to perform in China, and also has appeared to enthusiastic audiences in New York's Carnegie Hall, in Washington D.C. and in Japan and Taiwan.

Following that first historic tour to China, a 2005 editorial in The Cincinnati Enquirer said the tour had "put an exclamation mark on our orchestra's phenomenal popularity in China, cultivated through its dozens of recordings. For residents of Greater Cincinnati, this success ought to underscore the fact that even among our region's wealth of cultural treasures, the Pops represents a unique resource that no other city can quite match."

An estimated 30 million people have viewed national telecasts of the Cincinnati Pops on PBS including "Take Me to the River" in May 2006 with guest artists Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Marcia Ball and Gregg Baker, "Patriotic Broadway" which originally aired nationally in June of 2003, a live July 4th celebration concert at Riverbend in 2000, and six additional television specials.

The Cincinnati Pops has more than 100 available recordings, 55 of which have appeared on the Billboard charts, a record

unmatched by any other orchestra. The Pops' Copland: Music of America won a Grammy in 1997, and four other Pops recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards.

In 2012, the Pops released its first recording under John Morris Russell, Home for the Holidays, on the Orchestra's own Fanfare Cincinnati label. A second recording, Superheroes, is due out in September 2013.

The Cincinnati Pops series is presented by PNC.


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