Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its primary concert venue is Music Hall. In addition to its symphony concerts, the orchestra gives 'pops' concerts as the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony is the resident orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, the Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Ballet.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO)
Concert hallCincinnati Music Hall
Music directorLouis Langrée


Several orchestras had existed in Cincinnati between 1825 and 1872. The immediate precursor ensemble to the current orchestra was the Cincinnati Orchestra, founded in 1872. In 1893, Helen Herron Taft founded the Cincinnati Orchestra Association, and the name of the orchestra was formalised to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra gave its first concerts in 1895 at Pike's Opera House. A year later, the orchestra moved to Music Hall. Its first conductor was Frank Van der Stucken, a Texas-born musician of Flemish ancestry, who served until 1907. In the early years, the orchestra welcomed such composers as Richard Strauss and Edward McDowell. The orchestra also performed the U.S. premiere of the Symphony No. 5 of Gustav Mahler.

For three years, the orchestra was disbanded due to labor disputes and financial problems. Upon its reorganisation in 1909, Leopold Stokowski, then a young organist from England, served as the music director of the newly organised orchestra for 3 years, to 1912, his first music directorship of any orchestra. In 1911, the orchestra relocated from Music Hall to Emery Auditorium. Subsequent music directors included Ernst Kunwald through 1918, Eugène Ysaÿe (1918–1922), Fritz Reiner (1922–1933), and Eugene Goossens (1933–1947). The orchestra returned to Music Hall in 1936. Its musical landmarks during this period included the U.S. premiere of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 (1912), its first recordings (1917), first national tours, and the world premieres of Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait.[1]

Thor Johnson became music director in 1947, and led the orchestra in some of the first stereo recordings for Remington Records. Max Rudolf succeeded Johnson in 1958. Thomas Schippers became music director in 1970, but died abruptly in 1977. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra was formed in 1977, with Erich Kunzel as its conductor. After Schippers' death, Walter Susskind served as artistic advisor of the orchestra from 1978 until his own death in 1980.

In 1980, Michael Gielen became music director in 1980 and held the post until 1986. Jesús López-Cobos became music director in 1986. His achievements included leading on a 1995 European tour, their first since 1969, and their first national television appearance on PBS. His 15-year music directorship remains the longest tenure of the orchestra. In September 2001, he became the orchestra's emeritus music director.

Recent history

From 2001 to 2011, the orchestra's music director was Paavo Järvi. The orchestra made a number of recordings for the Telarc label during Järvi's tenure. In January 2007, the orchestra reported financial difficulties, projecting a monetary deficit of about US$2 million for the current fiscal year. In 2009, those difficulties, in addition to the purchase of Telarc by the Concord Music Group, led to the termination of the orchestra's recording contract.[2] In late 2009, Cincinnati arts patron and philanthropist Louise Nippert announced a gift of $85 million (USD) for the orchestra. The orchestra was scheduled to receive directly about $3 million each year (around 75% of its annual distribution). 12% and 5% was allocated to the Cincinnati Opera and Ballet companies, respectively, with the intent of maintaining the Cincinnati Symphony as the resident orchestra for those organisations. In December 2010, John Morris Russell was named the new conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, following the death in 2009 of Erich Kunzel. After the conclusion of his music directorship in 2011, Järvi was named music director laureate. In January 2011, as part of the interim period after the conclusion of Järvi's music directorship and during the search for a new music director, the orchestra named a number of musicians to "Creative Director" posts to curate various concert series.[3] For the 2011-2012 season, these musicians were:

For the 2012-2013 season, Frühbeck de Burgos reprised his role as Creative Director of the Masterworks Series. For the other two series, new musicians were named as directors:

In 2010, the Orchestra launched its own record label, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Media. The inaugural album on the new label, "American Portraits," was released internationally in January 2011. In November 2011, it became the first orchestra in the world to establish a tweeting zone at its concerts.

In March 2011, Louis Langrée first guest-conducted the orchestra. Based on this appearance, in April 2012, the orchestra named Langrée as its 13th Music Director, effective as of the 2013-2014 season, with an initial contract of four years. He took the title of Music Director Designate with immediate effect.[5][6] In March 2015, the orchestra announced the extension of Langrée's contract as music director through the 2019-2020 season.[7] In February 2017, the orchestra further extended his contract through the 2021-2022 season.[8]

Cincinnati Symphony Youth orchestra

The orchestra supports the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO), a program for young musicians in grades 9 to 12. The Cincinnati Symphony's assistant conductor, Gene Chang, is the current music director of the CSYO.

World Premieres (U.S. and World) – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra / May Festival

Julia Adolphe NEW WORK Louis Langrée May 16 - 17,2020
Ohad Ben-Ari Hope and Forgiveness Guy Braunstein April 25 - 26,2020
Sebastian Currier NEW WORK Louis Langrée April 3 - 4,2020
William Winstead Passages in Time Louis Langrée January 18 - 19,2020
Pierre Jalbert Passage Louis Langrée April 14 - 15,2020
Francisco CollHidd'n BlueGustavo GimenoOctober 25 - 26,2019
Christopher Rouse Symphony No. 6 Louis Langrée October 18 - 19,2019
Gabriella Smith f(x) = sin2x - 1/x, for orchestra Eun Sun Kim September 28 - 29,2019
Bryce DessnerConcerto for Two PianosLouis Langrée, Katia & Marielle Labèque, duo pianosSeptember 20 - 21,2019
James MacMillanCredoJuanjo MenaMay 25,2019 (MF)
Mark SimpsonThe Immortal for solo baritone, semi chorus, optional large choru,& orchestraJuanjo MenaMay 17,2019 (MF)
Clarice Assad Cantos da Terra: Borboleta Matthew Swanson April 14,2019


Jonathan Bailey Holland Ode Louis Langrée November 9 - 10,2018
Enrico Chapela Radioaxial James Gaffigan April 6 - 7,2018
Emily Cooley Abound Louis Langrée November 24 - 27,2017
Julia Adolphe Equinox for Chorus Louis Langrée & May Festival Chorus November 4 - 5,2017
Jonathan Bailey Holland Stories from Home Louis  Langrée October 6 - 7,2017
Bryce DessnerWiresMatthias Pintscher & Bryce Dessner,guitarJanuary 14,2017
Erkki-Sven TüürPiano ConcertoPaavo Järvi & Awadagin Pratt,pianoJanuary 14,2017
Michael Fiday Three for One Louis Langrée November 25 - 26,2016
Julia Adolphe See Dream Elegies for Chorus, Oboe,

And Cello

James Conlon May 22,2016


Alvin Singleton Prayer for tenor solo, chamber choir, and ensemble James Conlon May 22,2016


Bryce DessnerRéponse LutoslawskiLouis LangréeMarch 19,2016
Zhou Tian Concerto for Orchestra Louis Langrée May 13 - 14,2016
Thierry Escaich Concerto for Orchestra Louis Langrée & Thierry Escaich, organ May 6 - 7,2016
Gunther Schuller Symphonic Triptych Cristian Mâcelaru January 22 - 23,2016
Sebastian Currier Flex Louis Langrée November 19 - 21,2015
TJ Cole Elegy Louis Langrée November 13 -14,2015
Jonathan Bailey Holland Equality Louis Langrée November 13 -14,2015
Kristin P. Kuster Forgive Louis Langrée November 13 -14,2015
Daníel Bjarnason Collider Louis Langrée March 14,2015
Caroline Shaw Lo Louis Langrée & Caroline Shaw, violin March 13,2015
André Previn Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra Louis Langrée, Jaime Laredo, violin; & Sharon Robinson, cello November 21,2014
David Lang Mountain Louis Langrée March 22,2014
Nico Muhly Pleasure Ground Louis Langrée & Nathan Wyatt, baritone March 21,2014
Zhou Tian Poem from a Vanished Time Mei-Ann Chen & Timothy Lees, violin March 23 - 24,2013
Philip Glass Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi Dennis Russell Davies & Matt Haimovitz, cello March 30 - 31,2012
Erkki-Sven Tüür Fireflower Paavo Järvi May 13 - 14,2011
Charles Coleman P. J. Fanfare Paavo Järvi May 6 - 7,2011
Erkki-Sven TüürSymphony No. 7, PietasPaavo JärviSeptember 25 - 27,2009
Stewart Goodyear Count Up Paavo Järvi March 25 - 26,2011
Jörg Widmann Souvenir bavarois Paavo Järvi February 3 - 5,2011
Jonathan Bailey Holland The Party Starter Paavo Järvi January 28 - 29,2011
Ian Krouse Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking Robert Porco May 21,2010


Jeffrey Mumford . . . and symphonies of deepening light . . . expanding . . . ever cavernous James Gaffigan March 27 - 28,2009
Marc André DalbavieConcerto for FlutePaavo Järvi & Emmanuel Pahud,fluteMarch 20 - 21,2009
Erkki-Sven TüürThe Path and the TracesPaavo JärviJanuary 16 - 18,2009
Robert Johnson prairyerth Paavo Järvi May 2 - 3,2008
Jörg WidmannAntiphonPaavo JärviMarch 7,2008
Krzysztof Penderecki Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Resurrection), Rev. 2007 Krzysztof Penderecki and Barry Douglas, piano December 7 - 8,2007
Charles Coleman Deep Woods Paavo Järvi May 3 - 5,2007
Adolphus Hailstork Earthrise James Conlon May 19,2006


Aulis SallinenSymphony No. 8, Op. 81, Autumnal FragmentsPaavo JärviJanuary 20 - 22,2005
Stephen Paulus All Things are Passing Robert Porco May 23,2004


Jonathan Bailey Holland Halcyon Sun Paavo Järvi April 30 - May 2,2004
Douglas Lowry Exordium Nobile Paavo Järvi September 12 - 13,2003
Lorenzo PalomoConcierto de CienfuegosJesús López-Cobos & Los Romeros,guitarApril 25 -27,2003
Kevin Puts Symphony No. 2 Paavo Järvi March 7 - 9,2002
Carl OrffTanzende Faune, Op. 21Paavo JärviNovember 15 - 17,2001
Erkki-Sven TüürConcierto for Violin & OrchestraPaavo Järvi & Isabelle van Keulen, violinNovember 15 - 17,2001
Charles Coleman Streetscape Paavo Järvi September 14 - 15,2001
Joel Hoffman The Smile Jesús López-Cobos March 23 -24,2001
Randy Edelman Transcontinental - A Mad Musical Dash Across the USA Erich Kunzel December 1 - 2,2000
Steven Reineke Rise of the Phoenix (Fanfare for Orchestra) Erich Kunzel December 1 - 2,2000
Jonathan D. Kramer Rewind: A Semi-Suite Jesús López-Cobos November 10 - 11,2000
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra Jesús López-Cobos & Jeffrey Biegel, piano September 22 - 23,2000
Daniel Brewbaker Cincinnatus Psalm James Conlon May 26,2000


Kurt Weill Der Weg der Veheissung: Propheten James Conlon May 13,1999 (MF)
George Duke Muir Woods Suite (for Jazz Piano and Orchestra) Jesús López-Cobos & George Duke, jazz piano April 29 - May 1,1999
Franz Lehar Feiber, Tone Poem Erich Kunzel & Carsten Süss, tenor November 10 - 11,1995
Franz Lehar Triumphal March Erich Kunzel November 10 - 11,1995
Hans Werner Henze Dramatic Scenes, Part 1, from Orpheus Michael Gielen March 11 - 12,1983
Mauricio Kagel Variations Without Fugue Michael Gielen & Eugene Pridonoff, piano February 18 - 19,1983
Bernd Alois Zimmerman Dialogue for Two Pianos and Orchestra Michael Gielen , Alfons & Aloys Kontarsky, piano February 12 - 13,1982
Frank Proto Concert No. 2 for Double Bass David Stahl & Francois Rabbath, contrabass November 20 - 21,1981
Dmitri Shostakovich Suite on Verses of Michelangelo, Op. 145A John Nelson & John Shirley-Quirk, bass-baritone December 12 -13,1980
Arvo Pärt Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten Neeme Järvi May 16 - 17,1980
Richard Rodney Bennett Actaeon, For Horn And Orchestra Walter Susskind & Barry Tuckwell, horn December 7 - 8,1979
Frank Martin Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra Thomas Schippers & Paul Badura-Skoda, piano April 7 - 8,1972

Bernd Alois Zimmermann Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu Erich Kunzel April 24 - 25,1970
Kurt Weill Das Berliner Requiem Erich Kunzel, Seth McCoy, tenor & William Justus, baritone April 3 - 4,1970
Jenõ Takács Antiqua Hungarica, Op. 47 Max Rudolf March 7 - 8,1970
Wilfred Josephs Symphony No. 2 Max Rudolf March 8 - 9,1968
Tadeusz Baird Concerto for Orchestra Max Rudolf November 17 - 18,1967
Wilfred Josephs Requiem, Op. 39 Max Rudolf, Annie Walker, soprano; Norman Treigle, bass & Roy Christensen, cello January 12 - 14,1967
Jenõ Takács Eisenstadt Divertimento, Op. 75 Max Rudolf January 14 -15,1966
Jenõ Takács Passacaglia for String Orchestra, Op. 73 Max Rudolf October 12 -13,1962
Stjepan Sulek Concerto No. 1 for Orchestra, Classical Milan Horvat January 20 - 21,1961
Donato di Veroli Theme and Variations for Orchestra Max Rudolf November 25 - 26,1960
Joseph Tal Symphony No. 1 Max Rudolf February 12 -13,1960
Gunther Schuller Contours Max Rudolf December 31 - January 2,1960
Ingvar Lidholm Ritornello Max Rudolf November 27 - 28,1959
Peter Racine Fricker Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 Max Rudolf October 16 - 17,1959
Jenõ Takács The Chant of the Creation Josef Krips May 10,1958 (MF)
Toshitsugu Ogihara Sinfonia di Giappone Thor Johnson April 11 - 12,1958
Benjamin Britten Gloriana, Op. 53 Josef Krips May 8,1956 (MF)
Ernest Bloch Symphony in E-flat Thor Johnson November 9 - 10,1956
Franz Reizenstein Voices of Night (A Cantata) Josef Krips May 10,1956 (MF)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Davidde Penitente, for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, K. 469

(First known performance in the US)

Thor Johnson, Lois Marshall, soprano; Loren Driscoll, tenor & Sadie Ruth McCollum, mezzo soprano February 17 - 18,1956
Yasushi Akutagawa Musica per Orchestra Sinfonica Thor Johnson October 21 - 22,1955
Jean Sibelius The Tempest, Op. 109 [complete] Thor Johnson, Bige Hammons, bass-baritone; Mary Garnett Poarch, soprano & Antioch Area Theatre, guest December 3 - 4,1954
Franz Schmidt The Book with Seven Seals (An Oratorio) Josef Krips May 7,1954 (MF)
Gösta Nystroem Concerto for Viola and Orchestra Thor Johnson & Erik Kahlson, viola April 15 - 17,1954
Harald Saeverud Galdreslatten (Danza Sinfonica con Passacaglia), Op. 20 Thor Johnson October 16 - 17,1953
Uuno Klami Kalevala Sarja (“Kalevala Suite”), Op. 23 Thor Johnson April 4 - 5,1952
Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia (Quasi Variazone) on the “Old 104th” Psalm Tune Thor Johnson & Frank Glazer, piano April 20 - 21,1951
Darius Milhaud Suite from Jeux de Printemps Thor Johnson March 31 - April 1,1951
Carlos Chavez Toccata Para Instrumentos de Percusión Thor Johnson, Fred W. Noak, percussion; Ernest Lorenz, percussion; Edward Wuebold, percussion; Glenn Robinson, percussion; George J. Carey, percussion & Harold J. Thompson, percussion April 22 - 23,1950
Arthur Honegger Jour de Fete Suisse Thor Johnson December 31 -January 1,1949
Jean Sibelius Scenes Historiques Thor Johnson December 10 - 11,1948
John Antill Suite from Corrobboree Eugene Goossens November 23 - 24,1946
Frederick Delius A Mass of Life Eugene Goossens May 8,1946 (MF)
Robert Casadesus Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra Eugene Goossens,Robert Casadesus, piano & Gaby Casadesus, piano February 9 - 10,1940
Ernest John Moeran Symphony in G Minor Eugene Goossens Mar 25 - 26,1938
Carlos Lopez Buchardo Escenas Argentinas Frieder Weissmann January 7 - 8,1938
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan Overture In C (In Memoriam) Eugene Goossens October 13, 1937
Richard Strauss Prelude to Act III of Arabella, Op. 79 Eugene Goossens October 16 - 17, 1937
Karol Rathaus Serenade for Orchestra, Op. 35 Eugene Goossens January 17 - 18,1936
Sir Granville Bantock Atalanta in Calydon Eugene Goossens May 24,1935 (MF)
Cyril Scott La Belle Dame Sans Merci Eugene Goossens May 24,1935


Sir Arnold Bax Symphony No. 5 Eugene Goossens April 6 - 7,1934
John Ireland Prelude, The Forgotten Rite Eugene Goossens April 6 - 7,1934
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Overture to The Maid of Pskov Eugene Goossens March 16 - 17,1934
Francis Poulenc Mouvements perpetuels Eugene Goossens December 4 - 5,1931
M. Enrico Theme and Variations for Orchestra, Op. 131 Fritz Reiner March 27 - 28,1931
Darius Milhaud Concerto No. 1 for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 108 Fritz Reiner

Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, viola

February 27 - 28,1931
Maurice Ravel Menuet antique Fritz Reiner December 12 - 13,1930
Filip Lazar Tziganes, Scherzo for Orchestra Fritz Reiner November 28 - 29,1930
Kurt Weill Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra, Op. 12 Fritz Reiner & Emil Heermann, violin March 28 - 29,1930
Ferruccio Busoni Concerto in C Major for Piano, Orchestra and Male Voices, Op. 39 Fritz Reiner & Karin Dayas, piano March 14 - 15,1930
Riccardo Pick-Mangiagalli Piccola Suite Victor de Sabata November 25 - 26,1927
Jesús Guridi Thus Sang the Little Ones Frank Van der Stucken May 7,1927


Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata No. 205, Aeols Appeased

(First known US performance)

Frank Van der Stucken May 6,1927


Arthur Bliss Hymn to Apollo Fritz Reiner March 18 - 19,1927
Arthur Honegger Concertino for Piano and Orchestra Fritz Reiner & Walter Gieseking, piano March 18 - 19,1927
Lodewijk Mortelmans Young America Frank Van der Stucken May 9,1925


Vittorio Rieti Concerto for Quintet of Wind Instruments and Orchestra Fritz Reiner April 17 - 18,1925
Béla Bartók Dance Suite for Orchestra Fritz Reiner April 3 - 4,1925
Wilhelm Grosz Prelude to a Comic Opera, Op. 14 Fritz Reiner February 6 - 7,1925
Béla Bartók Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, Op. 3 Fritz Reiner January 19 - 20,1923
Alexander Glazunov Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 33 Fritz Reiner November 24 - 15,1922
Albert Dupuis Symphonic Fragments from Jean-Michel Eugène Ysaÿe November 19 - 20,1920
Théophile Ysaÿe Symphony in F Major, Op. 14 Eugène Ysaÿe March 28 - 29,1919
Josef Hofmann Chromaticon, for Piano and Orchestra Ernst Kunwald & Josef Hofmann, piano November 24 - 25,1916
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 3 in D Minor Ernst Kunwald May 9,1914 (MF)
Richard Strauss Alpensinfonie, Op. 64 Ernst Kunwald April 27,1916 (MF)
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor Frank van der Stucken March 24 - 25,1905
Alexander Ritter Charfreitag und Frohnleichnam Frank van der Stucken February 23 - 24,1900
Alexander Scriabin Réverie in E Minor, Op. 24 Frank van der Stucken December 1 - 2,1899
Felix Weingartner Symphony in G Major, Op. 23 Frank van der Stucken November 17 - 18,1899
Antonin Dvořák The Midday Witch, Op. 108 Frank van der Stucken February 12 - 13,1897
Johannes Brahms Triumphlied (Triumphal Hymn), Op. 55 Theodore Thomas May 11,1875 (MF)
Johann Sebastian Bach Magnificant, BWV 243

(First known US performance)

Theodore Thomas May 13,1875 (MF)
George Frederic Handel Dettingen Te Deum

(First known US performance)

Theodore Thomas May 6,1873 (MF)


  1. Pollack, Howard (2000). Aaron Copland: the life and work of an uncommon man. University of Illinois Press. p. 357.
  2. Cliff Peale (2007-01-05). "Symphony needs money". Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  3. "CSO Announces 2011-2012 Season" (Press release). Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 30 January 2011. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  4. "CSO Announces star-studded 2012-13 season". Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  5. "Louis Langrée Named Next CSO Music Director" (Press release). Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 24 April 2012. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-27.
  6. Gelfand, Janelle. "French conductor named CSO music director". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  7. Janelle Gelfand (2015-03-06). "CSO extends Louis Langrée's contract until 2020". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  8. Janelle Gelfand (2017-02-26). "Langrée to stay with CSO through 2022". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
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