WGUC is pleased once again to present broadcasts of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra season.

New this season, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and 90.9 WGUC announce an expansion of their concert broadcast partnership dubbed CSO In Concert. Live recordings of CSO concerts will air on 90.9 WGUC Sunday nights with weeklong streaming available on CSO website.

You can find our next presentation here.

Emanuel Ax Plays Beethoven’s Emperor Emanuel Ax Plays Beethoven’s Emperor
September 8 & 10, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

This first CSO weekend of the season is special not only for its guest artist, the incomparable Emanuel Ax, who performs the Emperor Concerto “with youthful brio, incisive rhythm, bountiful imagination, delicacy…and thundering power,” but also because it is the first to be presented in Cincinnati’s grand Art Deco jewel, the Taft Theatre. Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, composed while Napoleon’s army occupied Vienna places soloist and orchestra in dramatic opposition to stunning effect. Shostakovich composed his Fifth Symphony in response to previous criticism by Stalin, disguising the work’s underlying despair with humor, determination and vigorous self-confidence.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, January 9, 2017 - Monday, January 16, 2017.


Lang Lang Lang Lang
September 21, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
Lang Lang, piano

Back by popular demand: the piano pyrotechnics of Lang Lang, who The New York Times hails as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet.” Experience Lang Lang’s ferocious technique and emotional intensity in a thrilling performance with the CSO.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, January 16, 2017 - Monday, January 23, 2017.


Violin Legends: Hilary Hahn Plays Beethoven Violin Legends: Hilary Hahn Plays Beethoven
September 23-24, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
Hilary Hahn, violin


Schumann: Symphony No. 4
Beethoven: Violin Concerto

Three-time Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn—a Cincinnati favorite—joins the CSO to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, likely the most celebrated Violin Concerto of all time. Together with Schumann’s triumphant Symphony No. 4, known for its “Clara” theme (he wrote the original version of the Symphony for his wife as a birthday present), this program is a “must hear” of the season.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, January 23, 2017 - Monday, January 30, 2017.


The Pelléas Trilogy, Part II: Water The Pelléas Trilogy, Part II: Water
September 30 & October 1, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
James Darrah, director/curator
Adam Larsen, projection designer/photographer


Debussy: Prélude á l’aprés-midi d’un faune (“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”)
Debussy: Nocturnes
Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande

The CSO’s Pelléas et Mélisande trilogy is a three-year visual-musical project that explores how three composers—Schoenberg (2015), Fauré and Debussy—interpreted Maeterlinck’s evocative play. Act II of the trilogy, “Water,” centers on Fauré, whose exquisite take on this somber tale of love, jealousy and heartbreak focuses on Mélisande and her childlike innocence, charm and helplessness. Two picturesque works by Debussy complete the program.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, January 30, 2017 - Monday, February 6, 2017.


Violin Legends: Gil Shaham Violin Legends: Gil Shaham
October 7-8, 2016
Neeme Järvi, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin


Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Dvorák: Symphony No. 7

The esteemed Neeme Järvi, head of a musical dynasty that includes sons Paavo and Kristjan, conducts the CSO for these performances. Gil Shaham, who one reviewer said, “makes even the most virtuosic music seem so effortless and natural,” performs Mendelssohn’s dazzling Violin Concerto. Combined with two of the best-loved works in the Romantic orchestral oeuvre—the bold and picturesque Peer Gynt Suite (including the iconic “In the Hall of the Mountain King”) and the stirring Symphony No. 7, generally considered to be Dvorák’s finest symphonic work and an expression of his deep Czech nationalism—this program is one to savor.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, February 6, 2017 - Monday, February 13, 2017.


Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis
October 27 & 29, 2016
Juanjo Mena, conductor
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director


Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

Beethoven composed his Solemn Mass in honor of his dear friend and piano/composition pupil, the Archbishop Rudolph of Austria. It is music of great emotional power that follows the traditional mass format yet is highly personal and direct. Beethoven wrote at the top of the score “From the heart—may it go to the heart” and stated his chief aim as “to awaken and permanently instill religious feelings not only into the singers by also into the listeners.” The exceptional May Festival Chorus, under the direction of Juanjo Mena, will beautifully convey the heartfelt message of this glorious music.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, February 13, 2017 - Monday, February 20, 2017.


Yo-Yo Ma Yo-Yo Ma
October 28, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Perhaps the most famous classical musician in the world, Yo-Yo Ma brings an outsized passion and personality to every performance. Experience this 18-time Grammy winning cellist live with the CSO, in the intimacy of the Taft Theatre.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, February 20, 2017 - Monday, February 27, 2017.


Best of Baroque: Handel + Bach Best of Baroque: Handel + Bach
November 11-13, 2016
Ton Koopman, conductor


Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1
Handel: Royal Fireworks Music
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3

The beauty and intimacy of Cincinnati’s Taft Theatre provides the ideal setting for sparkling and equally intimate music of the Baroque period. Led by Ton Koopman and featuring soloists from a chamber-sized Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the works on this program are among the best-loved by Handel and Bach. The Water Music and Royal Fireworks Music, both written for celebratory occasions hosted by English kings, are high-spirited and festive. In the energetic Brandenburg Concerto nine string players each get vigorous solo turns that build one upon the other to create a feeling of perpetual motion. The Orchestral Suite brings the concerts to a rollicking conclusion.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, February 27, 2017 - Monday, March 6, 2017.


Northern Lights Northern Lights
November 18-19, 2016
Santtu-Matias Rouvali, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin


Smetana: The Moldau from Má Vlast
Esa-Pekka Salonen: Violin Concerto
Sibelius: Symphony No. 6
Sibelius: Symphony No. 7

Captivating music that evokes the splendor and expansiveness of Northern climes, led by a rising Finnish conductor making his CSO debut and featuring American violinist Jennifer Koh, will make this weekend one to remember. From the exceptional Ms. Koh we look forward to a thrilling performance of the Salonen Violin Concerto, a showpiece that expertly weaves musical influences from Bach to rock and roll (and was famously featured in a recent Apple iPad commercial). A magical pairing of symphonies by the Finnish composer Sibelius closes this program.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, March 6, 2017 - Monday, March 13, 2017.


One City, One Symphony; Home One City, One Symphony; Home
November 25-26, 2016
Louis Langrée, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone


Bernstein: Overture to Candide
Copland: Music from the film Our Town
Michael Fiday: World Premiere
John Williams: Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra from Catch Me If You Can
Copland: Suite from The Tender Land

Branford Marsalis, celebrated saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master, takes center stage for this year’s One City, One Symphony weekend. This year, One City, One Symphony focuses on the theme of home and features a program of all-American music—just in time for Thanksgiving. Works by three supreme musical storytellers, Bernstein, Copland and Williams, vividly depict Voltaire’s young optimist Candide, the everyday lives of the citizens of Grover’s Corners in Our Town, the struggles of a 1930s Midwestern farm family in The Tender Land, and the action-packed thrills of the crime caper Catch Me If You Can.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, March 13, 2017 - Monday, March 20, 2017.


Brahms Fest: Symphony No. 4 Brahms Fest: Symphony No. 4
January 5 & 7, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director


Webern: Passacaglia, Op. 1
Bach: Cantata No. 150, Nach dir, herr, verlanget mich (“For Thee, Lord, I Long”)
Brahms: Symphony No. 4

This edition of the CSO’s Brahms Fest features a program of works that are beautifully interconnected. For Webern’s Passacaglia, a set of 23 exquisite and increasingly complex variations on an eight-note theme, the theme and variations in the finale of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 were a significant influence. In the final movement of his Cantata No. 150, a sublime and finely crafted expression of trust and joy in the Lord, Bach employs a graceful theme on the text “My days in suffering God will nevertheless end in joy.” It is this theme that Brahms famously used for the last movement of his Symphony No. 4, resulting in a truly extraordinary finale to one of the greatest symphonic works ever written.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, March 20, 2017 - Monday, March 27, 2017.


MusicNOW MusicNOW
January 13 & 14, 2017
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Bryce Dessner, MusicNOW Artistic Director

Join us at the Taft Theatre for an intriguing and irresistible intersection of the classical, rock and indie genres. Festival details TBA.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, March 27, 2017 - Monday, April 3, 2017.


Violin Legends: Christian Tetzlaff Violin Legends: Christian Tetzlaff
January 27 & 28, 2017
John Storgårds, conductor
Christian Tetzlaff, violin


Schumann: Manfred Overture
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable

This program of vast and immensely expressive works features the compelling violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Tetzlaff’s performances of Bartók’s Concerto No. 2 have elicited comments such as “…the (significant) technical difficulties melted away, leaving room for a full expression of the desolation and bitterness in the music,” “his sound is big yet not exaggerated…he also fined things down to a whisper so delicate that it filled the whole hall…”. Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, composed against the backdrop of World War I, is among his most dramatic and features a “battle” between two sets of timpani.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, April 3, 2017 - Monday, April 10, 2017.


Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2
February 3 & 4, 2017
Edo de Waart, conductor
Dwight Parry, oboe


Schreker: Prelude to Die Gezeichneten (“The Branded”)
Strauss: Oboe Concerto
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

CSO Principal Oboist Dwight Parry takes center stage with the CSO this weekend, performing Strauss’ enchanting Oboe Concerto under the direction of Edo de Waart, among the world’s most prominent conductors. The Concerto begins with a rhapsodic extended “aria” for the oboe, followed by passages of extraordinary beauty and color. Rachmaninoff’s intensely passionate Symphony No. 2 opens with surging melodic motives and moves from one sumptuous phrase to another toward its superbly shaped, soaring finale.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, April 10, 2017 - Monday, April 17, 2017.


The Labèque Sisters Play Mozart The Labèque Sisters Play Mozart
March 3 & 4, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos


Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos
Stravinsky: Concerto in D, Basel
Mozart: Symphony No. 40

Although from different eras and backgrounds, both Mozart and Stravinsky had in common a musical genius that is strikingly in evidence this weekend. The phenomenal Labèque sisters return to the CSO stage for the first time since 1999 to perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, a clever musical “conversation” he wrote to play with his own sister, Nannerl. Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, a colorful musical collage he dedicated to Debussy, “my father in music,” and Mozart’s exceptional and tremendously popular Symphony No. 40 complete the program.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, April 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, April 17, 2017 - Monday, April 24, 2017.


Rhapsody in Blue Rhapsody in Blue
March 9, 11 & 12, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Alexander Gavrylyuk, piano


Ravel: Mother Goose Suite
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2

The famous clarinet riff of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue opens the door for the virtuoso pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk to generate all of the jazz-infused flair called for in this crowd-pleaser. Gershwin’s exuberant An American in Paris vividly captures the sights and sounds of Paris, while Ravel’s charming Mother Goose and vibrant Daphnis and Chloé suites complete this delightful program. A guaranteed season highlight!

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, April 24, 2017 - Monday, May 1, 2017.


Louis Conducts Brahms Fest Louis Conducts Brahms Fest
April 14 & 15, 2017
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Alessio Bax, piano


Brahms: Symphony No. 3
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2

The brilliant and captivating pianist Hélène Grimaud takes center stage for this final installment of the CSO’s Brahms Fest, performing Brahms’ Second Concerto, a monumental work that is at turns tranquil and intimate, stormy and dramatic. The luminous Symphony No. 3 perfectly expresses its prevailing theme, based on Brahms’ personal motto “free but happy,” with music of great beauty and emotional power.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, May 1, 2017 - Monday, May 8, 2017.


Itzhak Perlman Itzhak Perlman
April 18, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Itzhak Perlman, violin

The legendary Itzhak Perlman. Bruch’s romantic Violin Concerto. Separately, they are two of the most beloved forces of classical music. Together, they become an absolute can’t-miss performance, backed by the power of the CSO.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, May 8, 2017 - Monday, May 15, 2017.


Louis Conducts Mahler Louis Conducts Mahler
April 21 & 22, 2017
Louis Langrée, conductor
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
Stuart Skelton, tenor


Schubert: Symphony No. 4, Tragic
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (“The Song of the Earth)

Two works of abundant emotional depth and power are the focus of this weekend’s program. Schubert’s Symphony No. 4, although subtitled Tragic, captivates with its boldness and underlying good spirits. Mahler’s “Song of the Earth” is music set to seven Ancient Chinese poems whose vision of earthly beauty and transience captivated Mahler—a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, May 15, 2017 - Monday, May 22, 2017.


Violin Legends: Midori Violin Legends: Midori
May 4 & 6, 2017
Robert Treviño, conductor
Midori, violin


Ligeti: Concert Românesc
Britten: Violin Concerto
Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra (“Thus Spoke Zarathustra)

The renowned violinist Midori, a favorite of Cincinnati audiences since her first appearances here when she was still in her teens, will perform Britten’s masterful and technically dazzling Violin Concerto. Strauss’ dynamic Also Sprach Zarathustra, whose opening flourish is among the most recognizable ever in classical music (think 2001: A Space Odyssey) brings the program to an exhilarating conclusion.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, May 22, 2017 - Monday, May 29, 2017.


Stravinsky’s Firebird Stravinsky’s Firebird
May 12 & 13, 2017
Gilbert Varga, conductor
Anna Vinnitskaya, piano


Bartók: Two Portraits
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2
Roussel: Bacchus and Ariadne Suite No. 2
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919 version)

A season of highlights in the marvelous Taft Theatre closes with a bang, courtesy of the exotic and provocative Firebird Suite—music that is spellbinding from start to finish. Anna Vinnitskaya, hailed by the Washington Post as a “lioness at the keyboard,” will make her CSO debut performing the fiery Prokofiev Concerto No. 2.

WGUC Broadcast: Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Available at CSO In Concert Monday, May 29, 2017 - Monday, June 5, 2017.