In memoriam Jesús López-Cobos

Jesús López-Cobos
Photo By Javier del Real

CSO Music Director Emeritus Jesús López-Cobos passed away this morning in Berlin at age 78. The CSO released this statement today:

His extraordinary tenure as Music Director here in Cincinnati from 1986 to 2001 had a lasting impact and he forged so many wonderful friendships. We grieve with his family and honor and celebrate his tremendous legacy.

There will be a moment of silence before each of this weekend’s concerts and we will dedicate the performances on March 23 and 24 in Jesús López-Cobos’ memory.

Please keep his family, many friends and former colleagues in your thoughts and prayers in this time of loss.

Here is his obituary, with some local information, on Maestro López-Cobos had the second longest tenure (15 years) of any CSO music director in its history, surpassed only by that of Eugene Goossens. He was the orchestra’s 11th music director, succeeding Michael Gielen.

He led the CSO on European and Far East tours, and conducted the orchestra’s first nationally televised concerts in the United States and Japan. He conducted the CSO 14 times at Carnegie Hall and made 26 recordings, more than any other music director at the time.

Gramophone has a nice tribute to his many fine Telarc recordings with the CSO and other orchestras.

Do you have memories of the maestro that you’d like to share? Please post them here, or send me an e-mail to and I will post them for you.



‘Classical Roots’ to explore Music Hall’s diverse history

Classical Roots Community Mass Choir
Photo provided

This year’s “Classical Roots” concert will explore Music Hall’s history as a gathering place for a wide spectrum of Cincinnati’s society.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s “Under One Roof,” led by Pops conductor John Morris Russell, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 20 in Music Hall. The program will illuminate Music Hall’s history — both as a great concert venue for the orchestra in the main hall and as a community gathering place that hosted many of the greatest jazz, soul, rock and R&B artists of the 20th century in the Greystone Club. Today that space in the South Hall is known as the Music Hall Ballroom.Read More »

Strauss’ ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ a glowing highlight of CSO concert

Read the review on the new Cincinnati Business Courier Arts Front, which made its debut yesterday. (See the previous post.)

And here’s the review to Audra McDonald’s concert with the Pops on Sunday night.

Guest conductor Juraj Valčuha takes bows with violinist Simone Lamsma after her performance in Bernstein’s “Serenade, after Plato’s Symposium.”

Several times per month, I will be reviewing for their new arts page, which is free online.

Business Courier is now covering the arts

I’m happy to announce that I will have a weekly column in the Cincinnati Business Courier, which has made an unprecedented commitment to cover the arts. One of my first articles explains why Cincinnati is suddenly getting noticed as a destination.

And here’s my introduction. You can read the new arts page today in print, or online, a new feature called “Arts Front.” There you’ll also find ArtsWave’s calendar and much more. A few times a month, I will be reviewing classical music events there, too.

The new arts page will be FREE to read online.

I’m also happy to say that I’ll continue my relationship with Cincinnati Public Radio, and my blog will remain right here, at

Thanks for reading!

Security measures already in place at CAM for Terracotta Warriors — Different exhibition from one that was vandalized

One of the Terracotta Warriors, Middle Ranking Officer, coming to CAM in April. Photo provided

Perhaps you saw the news this week  that Chinese officials are angered that someone has vandalized a Chinese terracotta warrior currently on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Although the incident occurred in December, museum officials didn’t become aware of it until January.

It is not the same exhibition that will travel to Cincinnati Art Museum, “Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China” (April 20-Aug. 12).

According to reports, a 24-year-old Delaware man was attending an after-hours “Ugly Sweater” Christmas party at the Philadelphia museum, when he managed to take a “selfie” and allegedly also break off and steal the thumb of one of the statues. The FBI tracked him down and charged him with theft. That particular warrior is estimated to be worth $4.5 million.Read More »

Women’s musical accomplishments heralded in local concerts

Brianna Matzke will play a piano concert of music by women.
Photo provided

Women in music will be celebrated in — at last count — three local events in March, Women’s History Month.

Salon 21 is a series of intimate recitals, often held in people’s living rooms or other small venues, in the style of the 19th-century salon. For International Women’s Day, March 8 – an observance that goes back to 1911 in America — Salon 21 will host a concert with pianist Brianna Matzke playing a program of music written by female composers with a Cincinnati connection.Read More »

Kahane’s surprising encore in CSO appearance is unforgettable

Jeffrey Kahane delivered a ravishing performance of the Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major with the CSO. Provided, CSO

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane wowed in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But it was his surprising encore that left the evening’s most indelible impression.

He made no announcement. But his somber, reflective improvisation on “America the Beautiful” felt like a memorial to the victims of the horrible events that had unfolded two days earlier in a Florida high school. The tune rested briefly in the minor mode before ending quietly. It was heartfelt and moving, and listeners stood in appreciation.Read More »