Music Hall Grand Opening Weekend Music Hall Grand Opening Weekend
October 6 & 7, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Kit Armstrong, piano


John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Jonathan Bailey Holland: World Premiere
Scriabin: Poem of Ecstasy

Louis Langrée and the CSO christen the renovated hall with a program that showcases the full sonic splendor of the Orchestra and of Springer Auditorium, from the youthful energy of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 to the epic vision of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Short Ride in a Fast Machine, one of John Adams’ most celebrated orchestral masterpieces, as well as a world premiere by Jonathan Bailey Holland—commissioned by the CSO especially for the opening of Music Hall—cap this glorious moment in history.


Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande
October 20 & 21, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
James Darrah, director
Naomi O’Connell (Mélisande)
Phillip Addis (Pelléas)
Russell Broun (Golaud)
Nancy Maultsby (Geneviève)


Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

This is the piece of music Louis Langrée would take to a desert island. Immerse yourself in the sensuous dream world of Debussy’s lyric masterpiece, a haunting tale of forbidden love told in voluptuous musical colors. Led by Music Director Louis Langrée, this collaboration with Cincinnati Opera features costumes and staging by directing sensation James Darrah.


The Storm that Built Music Hall The Storm that Built Music Hall
November 4 & 5, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director


Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243
Julia Adolphe: World Premiere
Brahms: Triumphlied

Reuben Springer was inspired to fundraise for our treasured Music Hall by a thunderstorm—a tempest that pounded the tin roof of the temporary Saengerhalle and drowned out the voices of the May Festival Chorus. This weekend’s program celebrates music performed during the May Festival’s stormy 1875 season, including Bach’s Magnificat, a Baroque-era treasure, and Brahms’ Triumphlied, a celebratory reflection on the Orchestra’s and the city’s German roots. Looking to the future, the May Festival premieres a choral commission by composer Julia Adolphe.


Paavo Järvi + Grieg's Piano Concerto Paavo Järvi + Grieg's Piano Concerto
November 17 & 18, 2017
Paavo Järvi, conductor
Alice Sara Ott, piano


Hindemith: Mathis der Maler
Grieg: Piano Concerto
Schumann: Symphony No. 3, Rhenish

CSO Music Director Laureate Paavo Järvi returns to conduct Schumann’s expansive Third Symphony. Better known as the Rhenish, this romantic symphony paints Schumann’s impressions of Germany’s Rhineland. Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, bravely written during the rise of Nazi Germany, glorifies artistic freedom of expression over oppression. Pianist Alice Sara Ott, full of “crystalline tone and prodigious range of color” (The Guardian), performs Grieg’s Piano Concerto, an audience favorite.


One City One Symphony One City One Symphony
November 24 & 25, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Truls Mørk, cello


Emily Cooley: World Premiere
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Music can give voice to emotions that otherwise cannot be expressed. This is true for composers like Tchaikovsky, whose heartbreaking Pathétique Symphony suggests his inner turmoil, and Shostakovich, whose music signals triumph over oppression. As part of our annual One City, One Symphony initiative, we welcome the inimitable cellist Truls Mørk and feature a world premiere by composer Emily Cooley for an evening honoring the visionaries who use music to Speak Truth.


Andrey Boreyko conducts Pictures at an Exhibition Andrey Boreyko conducts Pictures at an Exhibition
December 2 & 3, 2017
Andrey Boreyko, conductor
Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet


Stravinsky: Funeral Song
Arutunian: Trumpet Concerto
Mussorgsky (orch. Ravel): Pictures at an Exhibition

This concert is a brass lover’s dream. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is a treasured suite of orchestral scenes, a sweeping collection of musical images inspired by an exhibition of paintings by one of the composer’s good friends. Conducted by the world-renowned Andrey Boreyko, this program includes Arutunian’s famous Trumpet Concerto, performed by Norwegian superstar Tine Thing Helseth. Stravinsky’s emotional Funeral Song opens the program in one of its first American performances following its recent discovery.


Sir Andrew Davis Celebrates CSO's History Sir Andrew Davis Celebrates CSO's History
January 6 & 7, 2018
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano


Bach (arr. Stokowski): Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (“Sleepers Wake”)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3
Goossens: Symphony No. 2

The world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis leads the CSO in a program that links luminaries from the CSO’s past. Beethoven’s stormy Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by the legendary Garrick Ohlsson, is book-ended by Bach’s sacred cantata chorale Sleepers Wake, arranged for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski, CSO Music Director from 1909-1912, and the visceral Symphony No. 2 by Eugene Goossens, CSO Music Director from 1931-1947.


James Conlon conducts Mahler 1 James Conlon conducts Mahler 1
January 12 & 13, 2018
James Conlon, conductor
Jennifer Frautschi, violin


Schubert: Rosamunde Overture
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3
Mahler: Symphony No. 1, Titan

May Festival Music Director Laureate James Conlon returns to Music Hall to conduct Mahler’s epic Titan symphony, full of drama and depth. Violin sensation Jennifer Frautschi performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, nicknamed Strasbourg for a Alsatian folk melody the concerto references. This concerto is also one of Mozart's most beautiful and emotional works, with a heart-melting second movement.


Beethoven + Bartók Beethoven + Bartók
January 27 & 28, 2018
Louis Langrée, conductor
Owen Lee, bass


Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Koussevitzky: Concerto for Double Bass
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Over three seasons, Louis Langrée and the CSO will explore all of Beethoven’s groundbreaking symphonies—paired with pieces that cast light on his genius. Beethoven’s influence is reflected in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, a masterful showcase for individual musicians as well as the ensemble. And while you may not be familiar with the music of Koussevitzky, his Double Bass Concerto, featuring CSO principal bassist Owen Lee, conjures pure Russian romance.


Juanjo Mena Conducts The Leningrad Juanjo Mena Conducts The Leningrad
February 2 & 3, 2018
Juanjo Mena, conductor
Javier Perianes, piano


Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, Leningrad

Spanish conducting sensation Juanjo Mena, the recently appointed Principal Conductor of the May Festival, leads the Orchestra in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, Leningrad. Written in 1941 in passionate response to oppression and censorship, it remains one of the composer’s most enduring and powerful works. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes performs Mozart’s sublime Piano Concerto No. 21—known as the Elvira Madigan, this majestic work will be familiar to audiences.


Ravel's La Valse Ravel's La Valse
February 16 & 17, 2018
Louis Langrée, conductor
Jeffrey Kahane, piano


Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, Classical
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major
Stravinsky: Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss
Ravel: La Valse

Refresh your Valentine’s Day with Ravel’s wheeling La Valse, a whirling dervish of a waltz. The drama and delight continue with Ravel’s jazzy Piano Concerto in G Major, in the masterful hands of pianist Jeffrey Kahane, as well as scenes from Stravinsky’s ballet The Fairy’s Kiss (based on Hans Christian Anderson’s tale The Ice Maiden).


Strauss The Knight of the Rose Strauss The Knight of the Rose
February 23 & 24, 2018
Juraj Valcuha, conductor
Simone Lamsma, violin


Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Bernstein: Serenade, after Plato’s Symposium
Korngold: Suite from Much Ado About Nothing
Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (“The Knight of the Rose”)

Explore the nature of love and life in this sparkling program book-ended by famous works by Richard Strauss: the music of the merry prankster Till Eulenspiegel, and the treasured Suite from Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose). Violin star Simone Lamsma, described as “polished, expressive and intense” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), returns by popular demand to perform Bernstein’s Serenade to celebrate the composer’s 100th birthday.


Marek Janowski conducts German Masters Marek Janowski conducts German Masters
March 2 & 3, 2018
Marek Janowski, conductor


Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Wagner: Prelude und Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
Bruckner: Symphony No. 4, Romantic

Marek Janowski, one of the most revered conductors in the world, leads a tour de force program that includes two works by Wagner: his Siegfried Idyll (originally a birthday gift to Wagner’s wife), and the best-loved moment from his Tristan und Isolde opera. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, nicknamed Romantic, is rife with lush imagery; listen for a glorious daybreak, proud knights on horseback, a hunting party and more.


Louis Langrée conducts Mozart + Strauss Louis Langrée conducts Mozart + Strauss
March 23 & 24, 2018
Louis Langrée, conductor


Strauss: Metamorphosen
Mozart: Serenade No. 10, Gran Partita

The musical depth and intensity of the Orchestra is on full display in this program. Strauss’ Metamorphosen, featuring 23 solo string performers in an outpouring of tragic emotion, is considered a masterpiece of the string repertoire written toward the end of the composer’s life. Mozart’s deeply personal Gran Partita is a magnum opus showcasing a dozen wind instruments.


Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances
April 6 & 7, 2018
James Gaffigan, conductor
Inon Barnatan, piano


Enrico Chapela: World Premiere
Barber: Piano Concerto
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

Barber earned a Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, performed here by Inon Barnatan, whom The New York Times has called “one of the most admired pianists of his generation.” The optimistic Barber pairs beautifully with the Russian romanticism of Rachmaninoff’s beloved Symphonic Dances, all under the baton of the esteemed James Gaffigan.


Prokofiev + Beethoven Prokofiev + Beethoven
April 14 & 15, 2018
Louis Langrée, conductor
Karen Gomyo, violin


Pierre Jalbert: World Premiere
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4

We continue to glimpse Beethoven’s influence on the future of music through the prism of this multi-year symphony cycle. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, a work of infectious joy, will get a modern-day response in a world premiere commission by Pierre Jalbert. Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 inspires the imagination of the listener, and features Karen Gomyo, a violinist of “real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity” (Chicago Tribune).


Bernstein Centennial Bernstein Centennial
April 20 & 21, 2018
Cristian Macelaru, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano


Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
Gershwin: Piano Concerto
Ives: Three Places in New England
Bernstein: Divertimento

The music of American masters takes center stage along with the commanding keyboard technique and incredible artistry of Cincinnati favorite, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, in Gershwin’s jazzy Piano Concerto. The 100th birthday celebration of the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein will be heard around the world and on the Music Hall stage with two of his most famous works for orchestra.


Baroque Masterworks Baroque Masterworks
May 5 & 6, 2018
Harry Bicket, conductor
Iestyn Davies, countertenor


Rameau: Suite from Platée
Handel: Arias from Partenope
Handel: Concerto Grosso in A Major
Handel: Arias from Rinaldo
Rameau: Suite from Les Boréades

Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts a tour of some of the Baroque era’s finest works. Handel’s Concerto Grosso is a pinnacle of the Baroque form, featuring many soloists from within the orchestra. This program’s unforgettable collection of Baroque vocal music, starring international sensation countertenor Iestyn Davies, includes an array of Handel’s best-loved arias and two ornate suites from French master Jean-Philippe Rameau.


Brahms + Beethoven Brahms + Beethoven
May 11 & 12, 2018
Louis Langrée, conductor
James Ehnes, violin


Schumann: Overture to Die Braut von Messina (“The Bride of Messina”)
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

The Music Hall grand opening season closes with a flourish of musical fireworks. Beethoven’s jubilant Symphony No. 7 was an instant success, further solidifying his stature among his musical heirs, Schumann and Brahms. Schumann’s lesser-known and eloquent overture to Die Braut von Messina (The Bride of Messina) sets the stage for Brahms’ romantic Violin Concerto, featuring the “effusively lyrical” (The Guardian) violinist James Ehnes.