Year in review: Great performances of 2018

It’s always revealing to look back at the best things I saw – and heard — over the year. Cincinnati audiences heard memorable performances, musical rarities and world premieres. There were also some musical milestones, such as the Cincinnati May Festival’s first concert conducted by a woman. Here are a few of my personal favorites from 2018.

Jamie Barton red dress sm
The incomparable Jamie Barton

In January, a rare recital: Jamie Barton and pianist Kathleen Kelly launched their road tour in the Queen City with the recital that they performed in December at Carnegie Hall. The recital tour was part of a big season for the mezzo-soprano, who was honored with the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award by the Metropolitan Opera. Her program was a journey of discovery — with many unexpectedly delicious moments. That was partly because, in a rare occurrence on concert stages today, fully half of her program consisted of music by women: Elinor Remick Warren, Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Amy Beach and Libby Larsen.

Presented by the venerable, 105-year-old music club Matinée Musicale, the event was held at the beautifully-restored, circa-1908 Memorial Hall in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine historic district.  Its 550-seat theater was packed to the rafters.Read More »

Who are the next leaders in the arts?

One of the most interesting stories I have had the privilege to write for the Business Courier was about 10 up-and-coming young arts patrons who will be guiding our great Cincinnati arts institutions in the decades to come. For as long as I’ve covered the arts here, there has been hand-wringing over who will replace those great philanthropists and board leaders who have gone before. The Nipperts and Corbetts are just two of most well-known names from the previous generation, among many others.

Cincinnati has a great history of generosity and stewardship that goes back more than a century. You only need to consider this:

The CSO turns 125 in 2020

Cincinnati Opera turns 100 in 2020

Art Academy of Cincinnati turns 150 in 2019

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music is celebrating its 150th this year.

That kind of legacy takes leadership and creativity. And it takes changing with the times. Who could have imagined that an arts event called Blink could bring a million people downtown last year?

These young leaders already hold some of the city’s most important board roles. I think the arts are and will be in very good hands.

So who are the 10? Read the story here.

Where to find arts news and reviews: Visit the new Arts Front at bizjournals.com/cincinnati. It’s free, but you may need to register for a free subscription. For the latest CSO review of Beethoven’s Ninth, click here.

Music critic Mary Ellyn Hutton: ‘The community was enriched by her knowledge’

Mary Ellyn Hutton wrote music criticism for 23 years for the Cincinnati Post.

Mary Ellyn Hutton will be remembered as a journalist with unflagging dedication to Cincinnati’s musical arts. The longtime classical music critic for the Cincinnati Post continued to cover the classical scene for more than a decade after the demise of Cincinnati’s afternoon newspaper in 2007.

She died surrounded by her family on May 28 after a battle with lung cancer. The Hyde Park resident was 77.Read More »

‘ArtsWave Days’ to present 12 days of free fun

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Visitors hear an opera performance in the beautifully restored Corbett Tower during a free open house at Music Hall in October

If you missed the free community open house when Music Hall reopened in October, you’ll have another chance during ArtsWave’s upcoming campaign. Music Hall will be open to all on March 24. It’s just one of 12 Saturdays of free fun spanning the entire ArtsWave campaign.

The goal for this year’s 2018 “Make Waves” campaign will be announced early on Thursday.

ArtsWave, the nation’s oldest and largest community arts fund, previously offered an Arts Sampler Weekend of live performances, art and more.

The new concept, ArtsWave Days, will feature events at different venues with different themes on each Saturday between February 3 and April 21. In all you’ll find more than 100 free community performances throughout the campaign.Read More »

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 »

‘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.

Music of the season

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The Vocal Arts Ensemble

The holidays are upon us. You’ll find inspiring music in many of the region’s sacred spaces, as well as in the newly renovated Music Hall — now beautifully decorated for the holiday season. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite concerts coming up this month, and discovered a few new ones, too.Read More »