New York radio WQXR to air CSO’s Beethoven Akademie 1808 concert this month

Maesstro Louis Langrée, with soloist Inon Barnatan, the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Akademie 1808 concert in Music Hall/AJ Waltz, photos

“Mostly Mozart Festival on WQXR,” a week-long radio festival on New York’s classical radio station, will be capped on Aug. 16 by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Akademie 1808 concert performed last season in Music Hall and conducted by music director Louis Langrée.

On Monday, WQXR and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced a partnership to broadcast archival performances from the annual Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as interviews, discussions and “pop-up” performances daily from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.  New Yorkers can listen at 105.9-FM, or anyone may stream it online at On opening day, a series of pop-up outdoor performances across all five New York City boroughs will stream live on WQXR’s Facebook page.

Due to Covid-19, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, which is led by Langrée, was canceled for the first time since its founding in 1966.

The festival will close on Aug. 16 with the CSO’s recreation of Beethoven’s legendary Akademie 1808, the most important concert of the composer’s lifetime (Aug 16, 5 pm ET). Langrée had intended to lead the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in this extravagant program — four hours of some of the greatest music Beethoven ever wrote. Instead, the festival will feature the performance recorded in Music Hall on March 1, 2020 with Langrée conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and featuring the May Festival Chorus prepared by Director of Choruses Robert Porco.
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In memoriam: Pianist Leon Fleisher’s recital at 90

This was my review of the last local performance by the great pianist, whose touch and tone were as beautiful as ever two years ago. Leon Fleisher, who became a virtuoso of piano literature for the left hand after suffering injury to his right hand, died on Sunday in Baltimore at 92. May he rest in peace.


Leon Fleisher performed a luminous recital in Werner Hall at CCM on Saturday night.

Perhaps playing the piano is good for longevity. Amazingly, there are still two classical pianists who are concertizing into their 90s.

Earlier this year, Menahem Pressler, 94, the founding anchor of the Beaux Arts Trio, performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488, with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He made his debut with that orchestra under Eugene Ormandy in 1947. And, he’s still teaching at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.

Over the weekend, Leon Fleisher, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, performed a recital as part of the Art of the Piano festival at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. (The festival’s founder, Awadagin Pratt, studied with Fleisher at Peabody.) As a teacher, Fleisher is a direct descendant of Beethoven, passed down through Carl Czerny, Theodor Leschetizky and Artur Schnabel.

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Chamber Orchestra announces lineup for Summermusik e-festival

CCO musicians performing at Pyramid Hill

In lieu of its usual month-long Summermusik festival, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra has 13 virtual events on tap to enjoy at home, Aug. 8 through Aug. 29.

The Silver-Garburg Piano Duo

Three will be three “live” events — online performances in real time, with stars including the Silver-Garburg Piano Duo, who wowed us in person at the festival in 2019 (Aug. 9); the superb young cellist Coleman Itzkoff, a Cincinnati native and CCO principal violist Heidi Yenney’s son (Aug. 16); and pianist Alon Goldstein, one of the stars of the 2017 festival (Aug. 23).

Those “eConcerts” will be hosted by music director Eckart Preu, and you’ll have a chance to ask questions.

Other events include “virtual watch parties” with local collaborators, a special WGUC Music Cincinnati Broadcast (Aug. 16), and “CCO2GO Rewind” events that were taped around the region earlier this summer.

Best of all, it’s all FREE. Access begins on Aug. 8th on the CCO’s website, Here’s the full lineup.Read More »

CCM alumnus recruits MLB stars and musicians for virtual rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’

This should put a smile on your face:


Warm up for the start of the Major League Baseball season with a special virtual performance of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that showcases UC College-Conservatory of Music students and alumni with MLB players. The performance is available to watch online.

Alumnus Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19) brought 200 people together for the performance, which was professionally produced with help from former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The performance features singers and musicians from CCM and the Brooklyn College. Filling out the roster for the project are Bret Saberhagen (pitcher in the Royals Hall of Fame and 1985 World Series champion and former Met); Jim Day (FOX Red’s baseball announcer); Susan Roush Dellinger (author of “Red Legs and Black Sox” and granddaughter of Baseball Hall of Famer Edd Roush); Nick Martinez (pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball and former Ranger’s pitcher); Aristides Aquino…

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CSO, Pops cancel fall season; live-streamed shows planned

An image I captured during the CSO’s livestream from Music Hall in May.

It’s no surprise. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced today that its fall season concerts for the CSO and Pops are canceled through Jan. 3 2021 due to Covid-19. Click here to read the story.

Louis Langrée

The orchestra joins a growing number of major North American orchestras that are canceling all or part of their 2020-21 seasons amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus.

The Indianapolis Symphony was the latest to cancel its entire season on July 24. Here’s a link to the news.

The Nashville Symphony also has announced it will not play in 2020-21. It will furlough its musicians, staff and even its music director, Giancarlo Guerrero. Press release here.

Toronto announced that it will not have its usual season, but will present scaled-down ensembles, even in its home in Roy Thomson Hall..

Those who have announced they will cancel their fall seasons only (for now) include The New Jersey Symphony, which is led by music director Xian Zhang, who earned her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The San Francisco Symphony, with its season canceled through Dec. 31, was to have welcomed its new music director Esa-Pekka Salonen this fall.

Other major orchestras canceling fall seasons include the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, Chicago Symphony (through Dec. 23) and the Baltimore Symphony, optimistically to the end of November.

In memoriam Atarah Jablonsky

Atarah Jablonsky was a legendary music educator
Atarah Jablonsky is remembered as a dedicated piano teacher who was beloved by several generations of students, and an accomplished musician.

“She was not only a music educator but a life educator. She was wonderfully open minded, an optimist, and accepting of others,” said Roxanne Engle, who taught with her at the Peaslee Neighborhood Center and Evendale Cultural Arts Center.  “Atarah was inspirational in developing her own unique way to bring musicality and expression into playing the piano.  Teaching and performing were in her thoughts up to the end. She was looking at the score of the Beethoven Pastorale Sonata in her last few weeks and asked me, ‘When will we teach piano again?'”

Mrs. Jablonsky, a longtime resident of Wyoming, OH, died on July 14 at Wellspring Health Care Center. She was 92.

A noteworthy teacher, she was adjunct assistant professor of music at the College of Mount St. Joseph from 1970 to 2001.  She taught piano from 1958-70 at the University Cincinnati, where she was also an adjudicator from 1970 to 2001. She also was a lecturer at Edgecliff College (1972-74).Read More »

Cincinnati Opera, CET to air documentary on opera’s first 100 years

In recent years, Cincinnati Opera has kicked off its season with a free concert in Washington Park, OTR

Cincinnati Opera and CET have announced plans for “Cincinnati Opera at 100,” an hour-long televised program commemorating Cincinnati Opera’s centennial. Featuring
insights from local and national opera experts and performances by artists from across the country, “Cincinnati Opera at 100” will premiere on CET 48.1 on Friday, July 3 at 9 p.m. EST.

Additional airings will follow on CET Arts 48.3 through Tuesday, July 7.

The nation’s second-oldest opera company, Cincinnati Opera presented its first performance on June 27, 1920, at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and its annual Summer Festival has become a Cincinnati arts-going tradition.

Lisa Daltirus in “Aida” at Cincinnati Opera in Music Hall.

Though the company’s 100th Anniversary Season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, “Cincinnati Opera at 100” transports the opera-going experience into viewers’ homes, including performances by much-loved singers from recent Cincinnati Opera productions and historical highlights from opera experts.Read More »

CSO announces 5 new diversity fellows

Amy Nickler

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected five accomplished musicians for their next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows.

The performance fellowship program was launched in 2015 out of a desire to help American orchestras be more inclusive and to better represent the communities they serve. The mission is to eliminate obstacles that can prevent musicians of color from achieving their full potential. It is funded with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through the collaborative program, CCM and the CSO provide graduate level academic study
and professional development and performance opportunities for the Diversity Fellows.

“The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra exists to serve our community. Our entire community,”
said CSO President Jonathan Martin. “But how can we authentically serve our entire community
if a significant part of that community doesn’t see themselves reflected in our organization? The
CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship is one of many steps we are taking to address this disparity. By
providing professional opportunities to a more diverse group of outstanding musicians, we hope
to cultivate—and begin changing —the next generation of American orchestral musicians.”

The new Fellows are:Read More »

Tune in to hear Cincinnati Opera broadcasts

Cincinnati Opera’s 2013 production of Aida
Photo provided

This Saturday, June 27, marks the 100th anniversary of Cincinnati Opera’s first performance at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Cincinnati’s classical public radio station, 90.9 WGUC, celebrates the company’s centenary with a series of special encore performances every Saturday at 1 p.m. through July. Tune in to 90.9 WGUC or to listen.

This Saturday, June 27, artistic director Evans Mirageas will regale you with the rich—and sometimes hilarious—history of opera in the Queen City and the events that led to the creation of Cincinnati Opera in 1920.

That’s followed at 2 p.m. by a broadcast of the 2002 production of Strauss’ “Elektra.” If I recall, that electrifying production directed by Nic Muni starred Deborah Polaski in the title role (a Metropolitan Opera star and CCM grad) in one of the great performances of this era.

July 4: Puccini’s most celebrated opera, La Bohème, performed in 2017 and conducted by CSO Music Director Louis Langrée. He was the first CSO music director to guest-conduct the opera since Max Rudolf.

July 11: The Tales of Hoffman, originally performed in 2006 at Music Hall.

July 18: World premiere of Fellow Travelers by Gregory Spears; libretto by Greg Pierce.

July 25: Aida, originally performed in 2013 at Music Hall


Art of the Piano to be virtual this year

Awadagin Pratt established Art of the Piano 10 years ago at CCM

It comes as no surprise that Art of the Piano, the festival of pianists and piano music founded by Awadagin Pratt, will be virtual — or “Onlive!” — this year-of-the-covid.

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. June 23 with  a live-streamed concert by a superstar pianist to be named “once the ink is dry on the corona-revised contract,” Pratt says. The festival runs through July 27 with weekly concerts and lectures by both distinguished and emerging artists.

The website is under construction in preparation, so check back for news at

Here is Awadagin’s statement regarding diversity with his announcement:Read More »