Star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter speaks out about Cincinnati incident

Anne-Sophie Mutter with the CSO and guest maestra Eun Sun Kim/photo by Lee Snow

The cellphone incident at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has traveled around the classical music world. Last week, the New York Times interviewed Anne-Sophie Mutter for an article about cellphones interrupting live performances, both music and theater.

Apparently the young woman who was recording her entire performance from the front row-center seat of Music Hall was using two smartphones and a power bank.Read More »

The season is off and running

Louis Langre and Katia and Marielle Labque with the CSO

 

I’ve heard some wonderful concerts this month, starting with Damon Gupton’s debut as the new principal guest conductor of the Pops in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” It was fun to revisit the movie, but even better to hear the sound of John Williams’ score performed live in Music Hall. Gupton was a terrific host, and an engaging conductor. I couldn’t believe the cheers when the movie ended, and he launched into the “encore” — Williams’ orchestral suite from “Star Wars.” From my perch in the gallery, the brass sounded superb. See what the TV-movie star had to say before the concert about his new gig by clicking here.

John Morris Russell conducted the official opener of the Pops season, a stellar show with “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry. Read the review here.

And the CSO also had an electric launch to the season, with Louis Langrée, the Labèque Sisters and a new concerto written for them by The National’s Bryce Dessner. Here’s my interview with Bryce.

What did you think? Here’s the review.

New security at Music Hall

Music Hall also debuted new security, with metal detectors in use for the first time. As far as I could tell, everything went smoothly.

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In memoriam Christopher Rouse

American composer Christopher Rouse

Publisher Boosey & Hawkes has just announced that American composer Christopher Rouse died today at age 70 in Baltimore.

His final work, Symphony No. 6, will have its world premiere on October 18-19 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Louis Langrée.

A prolific composer of a wide range of acclaimed chamber and ensemble works, Christopher Rouse built a legacy as one of America’s greatest orchestral voices. His catalog of influential works is marked by extreme emotional depth and colorful orchestration, and reflected his insatiable curiosity for music from across Western music history to popular rock.Read More »

In memoriam Alice Weston

Alice Weston with one of her photographs, which I took in her home in 2012

Cincinnati lost a giant in the arts this week when Alice Weston, philanthropist and artist, passed away at age 93. Over the years, I interviewed Alice a number of times on a variety of topics, from her own extraordinary work in photography, shown above, to works she commissioned for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. One of my favorite interviews, though, was conducted with her cousin, Jane Ellis, about their experiences as children in the Philippines.Read More »

Stewart Goodyear to perform Beethoven sonata marathon next week

Photo provided/Anita Zvonar

Beethoven wrote 32 Piano Sonatas spanning his lifetime. It’s possible to view his musical evolution through these sonatas, from the early classical ones to the late, more revolutionary pieces.

Many of you have heard, or perhaps even played some of the most famous ones: The Moonlight Sonata, the Appassionata, the Waldstein, the Pathetique and the Hammerklavier. But few pianists have attempted to perform them all together, in a daylong marathon from beginning to end.

Pianist Stewart Goodyear opens Chamber Music Cincinnati with a Beethoven “Sonatathon” next Saturday, Sept. 7, in Memorial Hall.

He’ll begin at 10 a.m. and finish at 11 p.m., with breaks for lunch and dinner.Read More »

Chuck Miller, savior of Sorg Opera House, steps down

Chuck Miller in his element, backstage at the Sorg

It took a man with a vision to see the beauty behind the dilapidated and abandoned Sorg Opera House in Middletown. Now, as John Kiesewetter reports this morning, Chuck Miller has resigned as president of the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group (SORG) to become the new executive director of the historic “State Movie Palace of Kansas,” the Fox Theatre in Hutchinson. Wife Denise Brodsky has also resigned her position on the board.

Current board members Roger Daniels and Chris Riva are stepping in to fill roles, although his successor has not been decided.

Here’s my story from about a year ago of how Chuck and his devoted board have been working — extremely hard — to restore the Hannaford-built theater to its former grandeur.

There are similarities between the Sorg Opera House (1891) and Music Hall (1878) as you can see in the balconies. Both were designed by Samuel Hannaford. The Sorg is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the lobby
You can visit your old Music Hall seats

I’m posting a few memories of visiting the Sorg while these dedicated preservationists were at work restoring and programming a series of concerts in the hall. By the way, the acoustics are wonderful. And, for people who remember Music Hall’s old seats, you can revisit them up in Middletown.

Good luck Chuck and Denise! You’ll be missed.