Clip and save: What to see this winter

The incomparable Jamie Barton performs Jan. 26 at Memorial Hall

Baby it’s cold outside – but Winter is the season when the arts heat up. In the coming weeks, there are many tempting concerts and events to warm you up. So, bundle up, because there are a few that you won’t want to miss.

Jan. 11-12: Canticle. The Vocal Arts Ensemble reprises Kile Smith’s gorgeous “Canticle,” a setting of the biblical Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12 in Memorial Hall. Tickets start at $25. 513-381-3300, vaecinci.org.

Jan. 12-13: Conlon returns. James Conlon, music director laureate of the Cincinnati May Festival, returns to conduct the CSO in Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. Violinist Jennifer Frautschi is soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Music Hall. Tickets: 513-381-3300, cincinnatisymphony.org.

James Conlon at the 2016 May Festival
Photo provided

Jan. 19: Star soloist at Moveable Feast. CCM’s biggest fundraiser, this year on Friday, Jan. 19, will feature a performance by alumnus and star trumpeter Brian Newman, who will solo with the CCM Jazz Orchestra as the “opening course” in the CCM Village.  Read More »

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Year in review: Classical music made news in 2017

The orchestra is now seated on risers, shown here on the “thrust” stage.

The year 2017 was a year of big change for Cincinnati’s arts organizations. The most significant story – one that garnered a large piece in the New York Times — was about Music Hall, home to the city’s major performing arts groups, which finished up a massive, ambitious renovation costing at least $143 million.

Music Hall reopened with fanfare on Oct. 6 and 7. The weekend included a community open house that drew thousands. Opening night revelers basked in the elegant new decor and patron-friendly amenities, which include cup holders for the first time on wider seats, more bars and more restrooms.

Reuben Springer now presides over a new bar at Music Hall.

There are now more than 1,000 fewer seats and Springer Auditorium is physically smaller. The musicians sit on risers on a new “thrust” stage, 12 feet closer to the audience than before. All of that – including new materials such as concrete floors – means that the acousticians are still in the “tuning” phase of what is really a new hall-within-a-hall.

Memorial Hall’s renovation beautifully preserved the historic theater (built by Hannaford & Sons) and also enhanced the acoustics. Shown here with the Vocal Arts Ensemble. Photo by Michael T. Moore, Jr.

The renovation was just one sign of the importance of Cincinnati’s growing arts district surrounding Washington Park. Read More »

‘Around Cincinnati Christmas’ to feature local celebs, Christmas music

Carmon DeLeone reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Around Cincinnati Christmas

A holiday tradition continues with the 13th annual Around Cincinnati special airing at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Here’s the lineup of stories and music from producer/host Lee Hay:

Readings:

A new reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” from the Cincinnati Ballet’s longtime conductor, Carmon DeLeone.

A new Memories from the Hills of Home story from Katie Laur.

Our theater contributor Rick Pender reads the story ‘Postage.”

CCM Professor Michael Burnham recites “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”

Music:

The late Katie Reider’s beautiful rendition of “Silent Night.”

Rosemary’s Clooney’s iconic “White Christmas” is featured

Maysville, Kentucky native Rosemary Clooney‘s performance of “White Christmas.”

Native American musician Douglas Blue Feather performs “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Local Grammy nominee Zak Morgan sings ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Hamilton, Ohio’s world group The Klaberheads perform their “Christmastime in Margaritaville.”

Cincinnati’s Keith Little (The Cincinnati Blues Man) with his rendition of “The Christmas Song.”

Adagio Trio (harp, flute, cello) performs “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Finally, it’s the Steve Schmidt Organ Trio with “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

Around Cincinnati Christmas will air at 7 p.m. on December 24 on 91.7 WVXU, 88.5 WMUB, wvxu.org, and on the free WVXU mobile app.

VAE’s ‘Candlelit Christmas’ a radiant celebration of the season

Earl Rivers with the Vocal Arts Ensemble and Canterbury Brass. The concert will air on WGUC (90.9) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Thanks to John Ewalt, photo.

The Vocal Arts Ensemble’s annual Candlelit Christmas concert offered transformative choral treats spanning centuries and continents.

Sunday’s concert in Over-the-Rhine’s Memorial Hall was packed – the third sellout of the season. And small wonder. The all-professional vocal ensemble has developed a following for its inventive programs and peerless execution.

With the collaboration of the Canterbury Brass, this program captured the holiday spirit with a few entertaining and humorous selections, too. Who could ever forget the brass quintet’s “Twelve Days of Christmas”? The clever arrangement by Howard Cable altered the lyrics to include “some brass music on a CD,” with a dozen snippets from the classical hit parade played by the brass musicians between verses. The audience cheered.Read More »

Finding a niche: Memorial Hall’s Longworth-Anderson Series

The newly renovated Memorial Hall is a gem of a theater

The Memorial Hall Society’s Longworth-Anderson Series was such a hit last winter, it’s coming back for a second season. The winter lineup is impressive: Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos (Best Mexican-American/Tejano Music Performance), the all-girl folk band I’m With Her and country star Marty Stuart.

Longworth-Anderson has found a niche. Its concept is both diverse and non-traditional, presenting artists from multiple genres, including rock, pop, folk, bluegrass and jazz.  Last year, the series – held in Memorial Hall’s intimate jewel box of a theater — sold out four out of six events, held winter and spring.

Marty Stuart, Country Music Hall of Famer

Even though Rosanne Cash was a headliner, it wasn’t guaranteed that the fledgling series would take off. Read More »