Janelle Gelfand's writings on classical music, arts and more
I have covered classical music and the arts in Cincinnati for more than two decades, play piano and tennis and enjoy trying all of the new restaurants in Over-the-Rhine.
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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.
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 »
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.”
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 wguc.org 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
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 artofthepiano.org.
Here is Awadagin’s statement regarding diversity with his announcement:Read More »
The Black Plague of the 14th century had Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a literary masterpiece about 10 Florentine authors, holed up in quarantine, who entertained themselves by telling stories. The result was 100 tales.
Now, the Library of Congress announced today it will premiere a series of 10 commissions of new music from composers across America in The Boccaccio Project, a musical response to our current plague.
That early moment in history parallels the quarantine and social distancing phenomena we have been experiencing worldwide in recent months, the Library of Congress news release stated.
Curators in the Library’s Music Division asked 10 pairs of composers and performers to write brief solo works to be premiered over the course of 10 days — June 15 to June 26. The composers and performers are working remotely, and once the new commissions have been recorded, they will be released on the Library’s digital platforms and by the artists.
The release of the commissions over 10 days is a nod to the “Decameron’s” structure, the release said.
Since the Library’s concert series was founded in 1925, more than 600 works have been commissioned under the auspices of the Library’s gift funds.Read More »
The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra announced the cancellation of the annual “Red, White and Boom” concert on the 4th of July at Riverbend Music Center due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings.
The Pops will present a free online celebration in place of this annual concert incorporating musical performances streamed live. Details will be announced soon.
The patriotic July Fourth show has been a Pops tradition at Riverbend since the venue first opened on Independence Day in 1984.
“Given these extraordinary times, we’re moving the celebration online for friends and family to enjoy in Cincinnati, across the country and around the world,” said Pops conductor John Morris Russell, in a statement. “We look forward to presenting a shared, virtual experience that, like our live concerts over the past 35 years, brings our community together through music.”
Ticketholders for Red, White and Boom may donate the value as a tax deductible gift, exchange the ticket for the same seats at next year’s July 4 concert, return the value of the ticket for a gift certificate, which may be used for a future CSO or Pops purchase, or receive a refund.
As the country begins to open up after the pandemic lockdown, I’m seeing many surveys coming across my email, asking “What will make you feel safe going back to your old activities?”
Those activities, for me, include returning to concerts, plays, museums, ballet, the intimate venues and the larger ones, events that take place indoors and outdoors. I miss it all.
Of course, it’s a complex question. It’s clear that arts organization around the world have been pondering how they would reopen — safely — ever since everything closed in mid-March.
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra took a first step with a chamber music concert live-streamed from an empty Music Hall last Saturday. Click here to read my impressions, free on Bizjournals.com.
I’d like to hear from you. What might make you feel safe attending an arts or cultural entity again? Social distancing, face masks and hand sanitizer? Reliable Covid-19 treatments and tests? A vaccine?
Comment here, on Facebook or send me a note a Janellesnotes@yahoo.com
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will present Live from Music Hall, the first physically distanced live performance from the stage of Music Hall, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 16. The performance will be streamed on the CSO’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and website.
It is the first live performance in Music Hall since the Covid-19 pandemic closed all theaters in mid-March. The small ensemble of musicians will be following social distancing procedures onstage. There will be no audience in the hall.
The concert is dedicated “to the people of Cincinnati and beyond, to lift their spirits, and to thank those who have been at risk for their contributions to our continued safety and well-being,” said music director Louis Langrée.
Langrée will host the live-streamed, chamber music performance from the house of Springer Auditorium. CSO musicians will be playing Gustav Mahler’s Piano Quartet and the world premiere of the first piece for The Fanfare Project, a work written for principal oboist Dwight Parry by CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher.Read More »
CSO music director Louis Langrée will host “Louis on 125 – The Luminaries” in a special one-hour livestream event, 7 p.m. today (April 31), available on Facebook and YouTube.
Join Langrée via live-stream as he explores the orchestra’s origin and extraordinary musical legacy in honor of the CSO’s 125th anniversary. This final installment in the three-part “Louis on 125” series explores some of the many musical greats that have collaborated with the CSO in the first 125 years and provides a look at the CSO’s history.
The event was moved online due to the pandemic.
In the photo: Composer George Gershwin (first on the left) with taxi horns outside of Cincinnati’s Emery Theater following the CSO performance of An American in Paris.
UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of choral conductor Joe Miller, DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. A leading authority in the field of choral conducting, Miller is also a two-time graduate of CCM (MM, ‘92; DMA, ‘97). His appointment as professor and director of CCM’s […]