Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Announce 2023-2024 Season Featuring HAMLET, THE FIREBIRD & More

The season will also include the CSO co-commission and world premiere of Trilogy for Orchestra, Part II by composer Daníel Bjarnason.

By: Feb. 22, 2023
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Announce 2023-2024 Season Featuring HAMLET, THE FIREBIRD & More

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops announced details for the 2023-24 season, Louis Langrée's eleventh and final season as Music Director of the Orchestra.

CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The CSO's 2023-24 season will comprise exciting new collaborations, extend the Orchestra's tradition of commissioning and premiering new music, and pay tribute to Louis Langrée's high-water mark performances as Music Director of the Orchestra. During the season, Langrée will conduct six CSO subscription programs and two special events, including the final round of the Nina Simone Piano Competition and a CSO Proof performance. Langrée will also mentor composers of the EarShot program, the nation's first ongoing, systematic program for creating relationships between orchestras and composers.

New International Collaborations

Since taking the helm in 2013, Louis Langrée's tenure has been marked by bold programming, including a Pelléas Trilogy; the Beethoven [R]evolution series including a recreation of the legendary Akademie 1808 program; the Concertos for Orchestra project; 125th Anniversary season programs demonstrating the Orchestra's pioneering legacy; and initiatives including CSO Proof, the 2020 Fanfare Project, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY, One City/One Symphony, and MusicNOW. In Langrée's final season with the Orchestra, the tradition continues with two new international collaborations that pair magnificent theatrical elements with iconic scores.

In a collaboration that reflects the operatic side of Langrée's work and artistry and unites two of his most beloved companies, Langrée and the CSO will premiere a new touring production of Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, presented in collaboration with Opéra Comique, where Langrée has served as Director since November 2021. The premiere of this new touring production will take place at Cincinnati Music Hall where Thomas' Hamlet received its U.S. premiere in February 1884. The DVD of Opéra Comique's 2018 Hamlet, conducted by Langrée and directed by Cyril Teste, famed for his innovative fusion of theater and film, won the 2020-21 Opera Award for Best Recording, the 2021 International Classical Music Award for Best Video Performance, and the 2021 Diapason d'or de l'année. Elements from the 2018 production, including cast members, costumes, film and more, will be retained within this special touring production directed by Céline Gaudier and created for Music Hall and the CSO.

Louis Langrée's tenure culminates with a full production of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird paired with the storytelling power of larger-than-life, multi-medium puppets designed by Janni Younge of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, world-renowned for the award-winning play War Horse. Created and directed by Younge, this evocative production draws from the symbolism and dramaturgy of Michel Fokine's original ballet choreography and reinterprets them in a contemporary South African setting. Langrée and the CSO will be joined by towering puppets maneuvered by expert puppeteers and dancers in a sonic and theatrical depiction of The Firebird that builds to a dramatic, fiery finish.

New Commissions and Premieres

Committed to presenting the music of our time, Langrée and the CSO will have commissioned 65 new works during Langrée's tenure as Music Director, more than any other Music Director in CSO history. Commissions during Langrée's tenure include Symphony No. 6 by Christopher Rouse, compositions by Julia Adolphe, Daníel Bjarnason, Jennifer Higdon, David Lang, André Previn, Caroline Shaw, and Zhou Tian, and 20 solo fanfares during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2023-24 season, Langrée and the CSO will give 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 Langrée when it was prepared for digital release during the fall of 2020. Langrée and the Orchestra will also premiere a newly commissioned work by former CSO Composer-in-Residence Jonathan Bailey Holland, whose previous commissions, among others, helped to celebrate the reopening of Music Hall in 2018 and the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati in 2004.

In May, Langrée and the CSO will reunite with composer Bryce Dessner, founder and member of the Grammy Award-winning indie rock band The National and creator of Cincinnati's MusicNOW Festival. Pianist Alice Sara Ott will join the Orchestra and Langrée for the U.S. premiere of Dessner's Piano Concerto on a program with Dessner's Mari and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The week also includes a CSO Proof where Langrée and the CSO will reimagine the Orchestra's 2016 MusicNOW program, featuring Witold Lutosławski's Musique funèbre ("Music of Mourning") juxtaposed with Dessner's Réponse Lutosławski ("Response Lutosławski").

The season will also include the CSO co-commission and world premiere of Trilogy for Orchestra, Part II by composer Daníel Bjarnason.

Tributes to Langrée's Legacy

Langrée's final season will also highlight memorable performances and collaborations from his 11-year artistic affiliation with the Orchestra.

Inspired by Langrée's first CSO subscription concert of his tenure in 2013, which featured revered author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou and was subsequently recorded for Hallowed Ground, Langrée's first full commercial recording with the CSO, the Orchestra will perform Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, a work that received its world premiere by the CSO in 1942. The piece draws from Abraham Lincoln's famous oratory, including the Gettysburg Address, and will be spoken by American actor George Takei, who was wrongfully imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps during World War II and has become one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality.

The music of composer Johannes Brahms will also appear throughout the season in performances by a collection of preeminent interpreters. In February 2024, Langrée and the CSO will perform Brahms' A German Requiem to cap Langrée's Brahms cycle, which featured performances of all four Brahms symphonies alongside other works by the composer. The Orchestra will be joined by renowned soprano and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music graduate, Joélle Harvey; baritone Will Liverman of The Metropolitan Opera's Grammy Award-winning production of Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up in My Bones and the upcoming November 2023 production of Anthony Davis' X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X; and the full May Festival Chorus. In April 2024, Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich will reunite with Langrée and the Orchestra for performances of Brahms' Violin Concerto.

Special Events

In addition to CSO concerts, Langrée and the Orchestra will participate in two special events during the 2023-24 season. On Friday, October 6, 2023, Langrée will conduct a performance featuring Nina Simone Piano Competition finalists and the CSO. Created for Black American pianists and supported by the Sphinx Organization, the newly-launched Nina Simone Piano Competition is a collaboration with the Art of the Piano Festival presented by Awadagin Pratt and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

This season, Langrée will also mentor composers of EarShot, a program of the American Composers Orchestra operated in partnership with the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras. The nation's first ongoing, systematic program for creating relationships between orchestras and composers, EarShot has initiated dozens of composer-orchestra-conductor relationships across the country, offering opportunities to more than 100 composers, including Courtney Bryan, Jennifer Higdon, Jessie Montgomery, Carlos Simon, and more. Assistant Conductors Samuel Lee and Daniel Wiley will conduct the EarShot performance with the CSO on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.

Celebrating Louis Langrée

"Cincinnati has been such an important chapter in my life," said Music Director Louis Langrée. "I will be forever proud and grateful for what I have shared and experienced with the musicians of the Orchestra, staff, Board, and music lovers in Cincinnati and around the world. The next season will certainly be a celebration, and I invite everyone to come and be with us as we are, one more time."

"We are grateful for Louis' artistic leadership over the years and proud of all that we have accomplished together," said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. "Since taking the helm in 2013, Louis' tenure has been marked by bold programming and initiatives that have activated the commissioning of new music, new experiences, and community-wide participation. He has led the Orchestra on European and Asian tours; garnered two Grammy Award nominations with the Orchestra for Best Orchestral Performance; presided over the Orchestra's absence from Music Hall during its major renovation; and during the Covid-19 pandemic, he was a catalyst for the Orchestra's return to the stage in the fall of 2020 with a series of digitally streamed concerts."

Martin continued, "Louis has made an indelible impact on the Orchestra's sound. He has appointed a third of our current Orchestra, including hiring Stefani Matsuo as the Orchestra's first female Concertmaster, and worked closely with our CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows, mentoring them individually and welcoming them to perform within the Orchestra. His remarkable artistry and devotion to our Orchestra have transformed all of us, and we look forward to his final season as Music Director and a fruitful relationship long after his tenure."

CSO Creative Partner

In the 2023-24 season, CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher will conduct the world premiere of a new work by composer inti figgis-vizueta on a program with Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1, Spring, in March 2024. In the same month, Pintscher will also conduct an immersive video-concert experience of Olivier Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles ("From the Canyons to the Stars") for CSO Proof.

CSO Featured Artists and Guest Conductors

CSO concerts will feature an array of illustrious artists, including pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, baritone Laurent Alvaro, conductor Ryan Bancroft, pianist Inon Barnatan, visual artist Hicham Berrada, CSO Principal Flute Randolph Bowman, soprano Julia Bullock, CSO Principal Viola Christian Colberg, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, soprano Jodie Devos, baritone Stéphane Degout, conductor Kevin John Edusei, conductor Sir Mark Elder, conductor James Gaffigan, director Céline Gaudier, conductor Gustavo Gimeno, conductor Dame Jane Glover, violinist Augustin Hadelich, soprano Joélle Harvey, CSO Associate Principal Flute Henrik Heide, violinist Clara-Jumi Kang, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, pianist George Li, baritone Will Liverman, conductor Cristian Mǎcelaru, CSO Concertmaster Stefani Matsuo, soprano Latonia Moore, pianist Alice Sara Ott, conductor Christian Reif, conductor Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor Case Scaglione, cellist Kian Soltani, conductor Dalia Stasevska, narrator George Takei, pianist Conrad Tao, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, pianist Daniil Trifonov, soprano Béatrice Uria-Monzon, conductor Katharina Wincor, mezzo-soprano Jasmin White and director Janni Younge.

The CSO season is presented by Western & Southern Financial Group. The commission of Daníel Bjarnason's Trilogy for Orchestra, Part II is made possible by Ann and Harry Santen. The commission of Bryce Dessner's Piano Concerto is made possible by Kari and Jon UIlman. EarShot and the commission of the new work by Jonathan Bailey Holland are made possible by Irwin and Melinda Simon.

CINCINNATI POPS

In the 2023-24 season, the Cincinnati Pops revels in the music of America, including Broadway, Hollywood, the Great American Songbook, Disney, doo-wop, hip-hop, jazz, and original music by Grammy-nominated composer Peter Boyer. Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell will lead four of five subscription programs, including Defying Gravity: An Evening with Stephen Schwartz & Friends; Cincinnati's beloved holiday tradition, Holiday Pops, featuring internationally renowned vocalist Capathia Jenkins; The Doo Wop Project with stars of Broadway's smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical; and The Dream of America, featuring Boyer's theatrical and multimedia production Ellis Island: The Dream of America. Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton will conduct Disney in Concert: The Sound of Magic, celebrating 100 years of Disney music, animation and memories complete with original film footage.

September 22-24, 2023, the Cincinnati Pops will perform the music of award-winning lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz. Winner of three Academy Awards, four Grammys, and four Drama Desk Awards for his work on Broadway, including Godspell, Pippin, and the musical phenomenon Wicked, Schwartz and award-winning Broadway vocalists will join the Pops for music spanning Schwartz's prolific career.

Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton and the Cincinnati Pops will celebrate 100 years of Disney imagination and wonder with Disney in Concert: The Sound of Magic October 20-22, 2023. In tandem with original Disney film and behind-the-scenes footage, the Pops led by Gupton will perform music from Disney animated films Peter Pan, Moana, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Frozen, The Lion King, Fantasia and Encanto, as well as Disney Parks classics and more.

Cincinnati's beloved holiday tradition with John Morris Russell and the Pops will return to a fully adorned Music Hall December 8-10, 2023. Quintessentially Cincinnati, Holiday Pops will feature festive music of the holiday season with choruses, dancers, and Queen City favorite Capathia Jenkins. This will be Jenkins' seventh appearance with the Orchestra.

March 15-17, 2024, John Morris Russell and the Pops present The Doo Wop Project, featuring some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history reimagined. Tracing the evolution of group singing from the street corners to the biggest hits on the radio today, The Doo Wop Project will include foundational tunes from Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Four Seasons, as well as "doo-wopified" versions of music from modern artists like Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz and Maroon 5. Charl Brown, Dwayne Cooper, John Michael Dias, Russell Fischer and Dominic Nolfi of Broadway's Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical will join the Pops for this tribute to the genre.

John Morris Russell and the Pops will illuminate the inspirational stories of American immigrants in The Dream of America April 12-14, 2024. The program will feature Peter Boyer's Grammy-nominated production Ellis Island: The Dream of America, which combines original music by Boyer with projected images from the Ellis Island archives and actors portraying the stories of actual immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. The work concludes with a powerful reading of Emma Lazarus' poem The New Colossus ("Give me your tired, your poor..."), immortalized on a plaque at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In celebration of Cincinnati's vibrant international communities, the concert will also feature cultural ensembles from around the world that call Cincinnati home.

"We are thrilled to share this brilliant music and extraordinary talent with all of Cincinnati," said Russell. "The Pops has always been about the American music experience-it's what brings us all together-from the bright lights of Broadway to the sultry sounds of doo-wop on the neighborhood street corner. We present this celebration of America's music: jazz, songbook classics, Disney, Hollywood, performed with the panache and style with the virtuoso musicians of the Pops."

The Pops will also present five special events, including a one-night-only performance with Audra McDonald, winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and the National Medal of Arts; film and live orchestra presentations of The Princess Bride and Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Steve Hackman's Notorious B.I.G. x Tupac x Mahler, a musical exploration of the life, death and legacy of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur fused with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection; and New Year's Eve: Ellington at 125, in honor of Edward "Duke" Ellington's 125th birthday in 2024.

The Cincinnati Pops season is presented by PNC Bank.

CSO PROOF

Launched in 2019, the Orchestra's CSO Proof series is an incubator for innovative concerts, designed to challenge the constructs of a traditional orchestra performance. Music and concert experiences are reimagined by an array of curators and collaborators, often employing elements of theater, dance, and visual media to add new dimensions of color and texture to the total experience.

The 2023-24 CSO Proof series begins on November 30, 2023 in the Music Hall Ballroom with a distilled rendering of John Adams' opera-oratorio El Niño. Arranged by composer/conductor Christian Reif for his wife, soprano Julia Bullock, as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2018-2019 MetLiveArts Artist in Residence season, the El Niño Nativity story is reconsidered through the intimacy of a 12-person instrumental ensemble of CSO musicians, four vocalists, and a small chamber chorus.

For the second CSO Proof on March 1 and 2, 2024, CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher, visual artist-scientist Hicham Berrada, and the CSO bring Olivier Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles ("From the Canyons to the Stars") to life in a totally immersive video-concert experience in Music Hall's Springer Auditorium. Commissioned in 1971 to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence, the work was inspired by Messiaen's travels to Utah's Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The piano is extensively featured throughout the piece and will be played by the foremost Messiaen interpreter of today, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

The final CSO Proof of the 2023-24 season, on May 3, 2024, features the music of Grammy Award-winning composer Bryce Dessner. Reprising the CSO's critically acclaimed MusicNOW performances curated by Dessner in 2016, Music Director Louis Langrée and the CSO will perform Witold Lutosławski's Musique funèbre ("Music of Mourning") juxtaposed with Dessner's response to the piece. Then, in his Tenebre, Dessner inverts the Tenebrae service's conventional descent into darkness and takes listeners on a journey from darkness to light.

CSO Proof is supported by Irwin and Melinda Simon.

CLASSICAL ROOTS

On April 19, 2024, conductor John Morris Russell will lead the Orchestra in the CSO's annual Classical Roots concert at Music Hall. For over two decades, Classical Roots has been a beloved Cincinnati tradition. From its inception as a summer concert series in neighborhood churches in 2001, Classical Roots has grown into a vibrant spring celebration of the African American musical experience. At its heart is the Classical Roots Community Choir that performs in numerous concerts and collaborations throughout the year. Full program details will be announced at a later date.

YOUTH CONCERTS

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is committed to sharing orchestral music as widely as possible and with people of all ages. Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras (CSYO), made up of 200 of the region's most talented young musicians, will perform five concerts in the 2023-24 season, including the CSYO Philharmonic concerts on December 3, 2023 and April 28, 2024 and the annual CSYO/CSO Side-by-Side with their professional counterparts from the CSO on March 3, 2024 at Music Hall. The CSYO Concert Orchestra will perform on December 10, 2023 and April 28, 2024.

Young People's Concerts, designed for students in grades K-6, introduce young listeners to the world of orchestral music with approachable and educational programs. Students attending the 2023-24 season of Young People's Concerts will learn the basics of conducting as they explore the connections between geometry and music. Students will also learn techniques for turning books into sounds through music by composers who drew inspiration from famous literature.

Lollipops Family Concerts engage audiences through fun and accessible programs and are designed for children ages or ability 2-9 and their families. This season's Lollipops program on October 28, 2023 will feature the sights and sounds of Halloween; the program on January 27, 2024 will be Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, a symphonic take on a classic as retold by Mo Willems with original music by Ben Folds.

The Lollipops Series is supported by United Dairy Farmers & Homemade Brand Ice Cream.

DIGITAL CONCERT LIVESTREAMS

The 2023-24 season digital concert livestreams will build on a foundation of digital content that was catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In an effort to continue serving the Cincinnati community throughout the pandemic, the Orchestra made a significant commitment to digital innovation and was among the first orchestras across the nation to livestream concerts in 2020. Since then, the CSO, Pops, and May Festival have produced and streamed 32 full-length concerts on YouTube and Facebook, reaching nearly two million viewers across the globe. Full details will be announced at a later date.

SUBSCRIPTION & TICKET INFORMATION

Season ticket packages are currently on sale. Package prices start at just under $76 (less than $11 per concert). For additional details, visit cincinnatisymphony.org. Individual tickets for the 2023-24 season go on sale to the general public on July 17, 2023. Individual tickets start at $15 for most CSO concerts and $26 for Pops. As part of the CSO's ongoing commitment to access, individual ticket discounts are available for first-time attendees, students, groups, military, and senior citizens-see the CSO's Music for All page for full details. Visit cincinnatisymphony.org or call the CSO's box office, 513.381.3300, for more information and to purchase tickets.




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