My 10 picks to see this Fall at CCM

The arts and e-media school — College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati — offers an embarrassment of riches (the most performances in the state, I’m told) and much of it is free. The season starts Aug. 29. See the whole digital calendar here. (My list is just the tip of the iceberg.) For ticketed events, call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

Here are 10 picks that you won’t regret. Continue reading


It’s almost Fall — Matinee Musicale turns 104

I can’t believe the fall season is upon us. I am getting season lineups daily in my inbox, and I’m going to try to post many of them on this blog.

First up is the 104th season of the venerable Matinee Musicale, which has launched the Cincinnati debuts of hundreds of major artists. Mark your calendars:

Sept. 18: Cellist Amit Peled performs a Tribute to Casals. The Israeli musician will perform two recitals on his historic Gofriller cello (1733) that once belonged to the eminent Pablo Casals, loaned to him by Casals’ widow Marta.  His program features music the legendary cellist frequently performed in recitals. Sunday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m., at Anderson Town Center (7850 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati 45230),

On Monday, Sept. 19, the personable Peled will offer a lecture/recital, “Journey with My Jewishness,” discussing his personal, musical and spiritual evolution. His program will include traditional numbers as well as Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei,” Mark Kopytman’s “Kaddish” and Ernest Bloch’s three scenes “From Jewish Life.”  Sept. 19,  7:30 p.m., a program presented jointly with the Isaac M. Wise Center (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati 45236),  Continue reading

Rare treat: Music@Menlo

Violinist Kyoko Takezawa soared in Tchaikovsky with pianist Wu Qian/photo provided by Music@Menlo
Violinist Kyoko Takezawa soared in Tchaikovsky with pianist Wu Qian/photo provided by Music@Menlo

For years, I have wished I could be in Menlo Park in person to see the superb chamber music offerings of Music@Menlo. I am familiar with their annual box set of CDs, recorded live and compiled at the end of each season. Finally, it happened, and I was able to take in the final concert last night of the series’ 14th season entitled Russian Reflections. Continue reading

How do you find things to do?

Dancers from Cincinnati Ballet
Dancers from Cincinnati Ballet

A reader asked me recently if there’s an easy way to find things to do — events such as concerts or plays. It’s an ongoing dilemma. Everyone seems to have their own calendar. I cobbled together a few ideas for him, but I wonder if there are other ways. Let me know!

The Enquirer’s calendar will send you a weekly “things to do” newsletter if you sign up here: Also check for daily ideas.

The glossy free magazine Movers & Makers has a very good monthly arts calendar, online and in free copies:

ArtsWave has a new guide that is pretty good. You need to scroll through it:

Cincinnati’s Chamber Music Network: sends you an e-mail if you sign on:

Got more? Let me know at or post it here! Thanks!


Music Hall: Finally, there’s a plan

Planned configuration of Springer Auditorium/Michael Nyerges/The Enquirer
Music Hall: Planned configuration of Springer Auditorium/Michael Nyerges/The Enquirer

After more than two years of waiting, the group that is renovating Music Hall has finally revealed the plans for the hall. Yes, you’ll get 62 percent more restrooms and lots of new bars in the plan, now at $135 million. But what’s happening to the concert hall, Springer Auditorium? It has long been known for its grandeur as well as its fine acoustics. There will be a vast number of changes to the concert space. They include changing the cubic volume of Springer Auditorium, building new walls of concrete board inside the old walls, re-raking all three floors with new materials (concrete with wood overlay), moving the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra farther out into the hall on a thrust stage, putting the musicians on risers installing new acoustical clouds, reworking the orchestra shell, taking out about 1,000 seats, putting in new seats and changing the configuration of them, which includes getting rid of the center aisle. Continue reading

Best of 2015

Everyone loves lists. Here are just 10 of my favorite concert memories from 2015. As soon as I wrote them, I realized there were many more I had left out, from the superb concert:nova concerts to Xavier Piano Series, the Linton Series, and a wonderful Mahler concert recently by the CCM Philharmonia. 

Best rock fusion: Shrieking fans, long lines snaking to the bars, a crush of people surrounding a band in the lobby – those are things you wouldn’t expect at a concert of the 120-year-old Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s second annual collaboration in Music Hall with Cincinnati’s MusicNOW Festival, founded by Bryce Dessner a decade ago, rocked. The March concerts included the debut of Dessner’s indie-rock band The National with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony – a first for both.

Cincinnati Opera's Turandot
Cincinnati Opera’s Turandot

Best sight gags in an opera: Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte,” directed by Robin Guarino at CCM in April, had bawdy translations and hilarious sight gags that drew belly laughs. The updated production featured a Mid-Century Modern house with a hot tub, and a couple of swinging Albanian strangers looking like John Lennon and George Harrison had just wandered off the set of the “The Magical Mystery Tour.” It was brilliantly sung by CCM opera students and Mozart’s witty music was buoyant and fleet in the hands of conductor Mark Gibson. Continue reading