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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Louis Langree to Depart Following 2023-24 Season


Next three Cincinnati Symphony seasons will celebrate Langree's remarkable contributions to the orchestra and Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has announced that Louis Langrée will not seek to renew his contract beyond the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, his eleventh as the Orchestra's Music Director.

Since taking the helm in 2013, Louis Langrée's tenure has been marked by bold programming including a Pelléas Trilogy; Beethoven [R]evolution including a recreation of the legendary Akademie 1808; the Concertos for Orchestra project; 125th Anniversary season programs demonstrating the Orchestra's pioneering legacy; and initiatives including CSO Proof, the Fanfare Project, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY, One City/One Symphony, and MusicNOW, a collaboration with composer Bryce Dessner. Langrée led the Orchestra on European and Asian tours and to Lincoln Center's Great Performers series; garnered two Grammy Award nominations with the Orchestra for Best Orchestral Performance; welcomed Matthias Pintscher as Creative Partner; and presided over the Orchestra's absence from Music Hall during its major renovation.

During the COVID pandemic, Langrée was a catalyst for the Orchestra's return to the stage in the fall of 2020 with a series of digitally streamed concerts, and then in January 2021 welcoming in-person audiences to Music Hall.

Between the start of his tenure and the conclusion of the CSO's upcoming 2021-22 season Langrée and the CSO will have commissioned or co-commissioned 36 new orchestral works and he will have conducted 30 premieres from a wide range of composers including Julia Adolphe, Daníel Bjarnason, Jennifer Higdon, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Kinds of Kings, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Christopher Rouse, Caroline Shaw, and Julia Wolfe.

Langrée and the Orchestra also commissioned 20 composers to write solo instrument fanfares for CSO musicians during the COVID pandemic, including Michael Abels, Marcos Balter, Peter Boyer, Courtney Bryan, Bryce Dessner, Ted Hearne, Tyshawn Sorey, Georgia Stitt and Du Yun, whose new works were premiered on the Orchestra's website.

To date, Langrée has appointed 17 of the Orchestra's musicians, including hiring Stefani Matsuo as the Orchestra's first female Concertmaster. Other appointments include Associate Principal Percussion, Associate Principal Second Violin, First Assistant Concertmaster, Assistant Principal Horn, Principal Tuba, Principal Clarinet, Second/Assistant Principal Trombone, Principal Bassoon, Second Flute, Second Oboe, three section violists, two section violins, and a section cellist. In the coming season, there will be auditions for Associate Principal Timpani and Section Percussion, Associate Concertmaster, Associate Principal Flute, Piccolo, and Section Bass. Langrée has also worked closely with the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows, mentoring them individually and welcoming them to perform within the Orchestra.

"This hasn't been an easy decision to make because this Orchestra and the Cincinnati community have such a special place in my heart. But to keep the Orchestra fresh, relevant and vital, new leadership with other perspectives is necessary," said Louis Langrée. "I chose to make this announcement now to ensure a smooth and harmonious transition to my successor.

As I reflect on the last eight years, I am impressed by what we have accomplished together: LUMENOCITY, One City/One Symphony, the Pelléas Trilogy, Concertos for Orchestra project, Brahms Fest, MusicNOW collaborations, Beethoven [R]evolution cycle - including the unforgettable Akademie concert, dozens of new commissions, two Grammy nominations for Best Orchestral Performance, Music Hall's renovation, 125th anniversary season celebrations, international tours, an appearance at Lincoln Center, mentoring the Diversity Fellows, hundreds of concerts, galas, events, community engagement concerts, social media videos, the list goes on.

I am excited for what is yet to come! We have three more years together and we're planning to pull out all the stops to imagine, create, innovate, and generate fresh experiences. My Cincinnati tenure is such an important chapter in my musical life and that is why it will be so special to come back often to guest conduct the Orchestra and to reunite with musicians and audiences."

CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin remarked, "The next three seasons will be very special as we celebrate Louis's remarkable artistry and his devotion to our city. We have been the fortunate beneficiaries of his deep commitment to music and to sharing it as widely as possible and look forward to a long relationship with him well past his tenure."

The CSO is forming a search committee comprised of individuals from the board, CSO musicians, and administrative staff.

Louis Langrée has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center since 2003. Known for imaginative programming, Langrée began his Cincinnati tenure with Jennifer Higdon's On a Wire with Eighth Blackbird; Copland's A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by Maya Angelou; and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Two of his Cincinnati recordings were Grammy-nominated for Best Orchestral Performance: Transatlantic, with works by Varèse, Gershwin, and Stravinsky; and Concertos for Orchestra, featuring world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, and Zhou Tian. His Pelléas et Mélisande trilogy contrasted settings by Fauré, Debussy, and Schoenberg. A multi-season Beethoven [R]evolution cycle has paired the symphonies with world premieres and 20th-century masterworks, as well as recreation of the legendary 1808 Akademie.

A regular presence at Lincoln Center since his 1998 debut, Langrée has conducted more than 200 performances and concerts at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and on the Great Performers series, and he has taught masterclasses at the Juilliard School. Langrée has raised the artistic profile and repertoire of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra well beyond the classical period, from Lully to contemporary music. Highlights include Bernstein's MASS, the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg's first violin concerto with Lisa Batiashvili, and New York premieres of Osvaldo Golijov's Azul with Alisa Weilerstein and David Lang's man made with Sō Percussion.

An advocate for the music and composers of our time, Langrée has conducted numerous premieres, including those by Julia Adolphe, Daníel Bjarnason, Anna Clyne, Jonathan Bailey Holland, David Lang, Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw, and Julia Wolfe among numerous others including, in Cincinnati, the world premiere of Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 6, the composer's final opus. He has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, and Leipzig Gewandhaus, as well as Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Freiburg Baroque and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In addition to the Met, he frequently conducts at the leading opera houses including the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Bavarian Staatsoper, and at festivals including Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, BBC Proms, Edinburgh International, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Langrée was previously music director of the Orchestre de Picardie, Opéra National de Lyon, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, and chief conductor of the Camerata Salzburg. A native of Alsace, France, he is a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and he is an Honorary Member of the Confrérie Saint-Etienne d'Alsace, an Alsatian wine-makers' brotherhood dating back to the 14th century.

With a legacy dating back more than 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is considered one of America's finest and most versatile ensembles. Led by Louis Langrée since 2013, the CSO's distinguished roster of past music directors includes Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, Jesús López Cobos and Paavo Järvi. Matthias Pintscher is the Orchestra's Creative Partner, and previous artistic partners have included Lang Lang, Philip Glass, Branford Marsalis and Jennifer Higdon. The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, founded by Erich Kunzel in 1977 and currently led by John Morris Russell with Damon Gupton serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The CSO further elevates the city's vibrant arts scene by serving as the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet.

The CSO has long championed the composers and music of its time and has given historic American premieres by Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, William Grant Still and other prominent composers. It has also commissioned many works that ultimately became mainstays of the classical repertoire, including two iconic works by Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra continues to actively commission new work, amplifying new voices from a diverse array of backgrounds, most recently with the Fanfare Project, a series of solo instrument works written for CSO musicians to mark a moment in time during the COVID pandemic.

Committed to inclusion, relevance, and enhancing and expanding opportunities for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. Education and outreach programs currently serve more than 80,000 individuals annually. The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, a nationally recognized program in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, provides Masters degree-level education and professional development and performance opportunities for extraordinary young musicians from historically underrepresented populations in classical music. The CSO is also an incubator for and partner to NIMAN, a consortium of American orchestras, professional musicians and educators established to address the lack of racial equity in the classical music field by aligning resources and collaborating to strengthen the trajectory of classical instrumentalists of color at all stages of their pre-careers.

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