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 »

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May Festival’s first season with Mena emphasized community

Links to my festival reviews for Cincinnati Business Courier are below:

John Holiday stepped in to sing wonderfully in Chichester Psalms when David Daniels could not apear on Friday. Photos are provided by the Cincinnati May Festival

The 2018 May Festival ended on Saturday night with a terrific performance of Handel’s Messiah, in which 170 community singers joined the May Festival Chorus.

Juanjo Mena led a stylish performance with a reduced Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a smaller chorus (about 65 singers) surrounding the orchestra on risers. Stationed up high in Music Hall’s gallery were guest choruses, who participated in excerpts of the oratorio. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised from my seat — also in the gallery — that their ensemble was clean and they sang exceedingly well, as did the May Festival Chorus.

The May Festival Chorus on risers, with Juanjo Mena and soloists walking offstage

The soloists were superb — including soprano Robin Johannsen, tenor Barry Banks and baritone José Antonio López. What a thrill it was to hear countertenor David Daniels — who had canceled due to illness on Friday — appear on Saturday to sing brilliantly in airs such as “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion.” I especially enjoyed his wonderful embellishments to his vocal lines.

Highly-trained community choruses flanked the stage, seated in the gallery.

Mena propelled tempos briskly, and kept the vocal and instrumental articulation crisp. It was an uplifting conclusion to his first year as principal conductor.

May Festival articles

The tradition of little flowers girls/boys is still alive at the May Festival

I have reviewed three May Festival concerts for the Cincinnati Business Courier, thanks to support from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism.

REVIEW: Eun Sun Kim makes stunning debut in Verdi’s Requiem at May Festival

REVIEW: Bernstein’s ‘Mass’ an over-the-top ‘happening’ at May Festival

REVIEW: Juanjo Mena makes joyous debut as new May Festival leader

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in Music Hall for the first time since 1972

And thanks to grants from ArtsWave and the Haile Foundation, you may view the Courier’s arts page for FREE. Click here for much more arts coverage, including other May Festival stories.

The May Festival is here

Eun Sun Kim with soloists for Verdi’s Requiem in Music Hall

The May Festival opened last night with a stunning performance of Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Eun Sun Kim — the first woman to lead the Cincinnati May Festival. Watch for a review later today at bizjournals.com/cincinnati/topic/arts.

And below are links to other preview stories that I’ve been writing for The Business Courier, part of their new initiative to provide arts coverage for our region:

Volunteer talent shines at 145-year-old Cincinnati May Festival: Click here to read

May Festival conductor Kim among new wave of women on the podium: Click here

May Festival to perform Bernstein Mass for first time in 46 years: Click here

The tradition of little flowers girls/boys is still alive at the May Festival

Brahms Concerto shines with Ehnes in CSO season finale

James Ehnes performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major with the CSO. Photo provided

Violinist James Ehnes’ inspired playing in the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra over the weekend can only be described as masterful. The golden sound that he achieved on his 1715 Stradivarius violin was stunning. In Saturday’s concert, it was equally fascinating to hear Ehnes reveal the Cincinnati connection behind his $8 million instrument.Read More »

Old photos: Symphony Jazz Quintet

Marie Speziale has fond memories of playing the Cincinnati Symphony’s Jazz Quintet, which will be honored tomorrow night at Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Says Marie, the first woman trumpeter in a major orchestra: “We actually started as a quartet, expanded to a quintet, and eventually became a septet. The group was a product of an impromptu jam session at a club in India while on the 1966 World Tour.” Here are her personal pics, including one autographed by Dave Brubeck.Read More »

Jazz Hall of Fame to hold inductions Sunday

Marc Fields

 

 

 

Cincinnati’s Jazz Hall of Fame will be inducting 10 jazz luminaries in a jazz-filled celebration hosted by media legend Nick Clooney, 7 p.m. Sunday April 8 at Mount St. Joseph Auditorium. The honorees are: Bill Berry, Melvin Broach, Mandy Gaines, Wilbert t. Longmire, Artie Matthews, Michael Moore, Bill Rank, Steve Schmidt, Lee Tucker and Rick VanMatre.

In addition, special recognition will be given to the Cincinnati Pops, founding maestro Erich Kunzel and current Pops conductor John Morris Russell for 52 years of supporting jazz in Music Hall. The original Symphony Jazz Quintet will be honored, consisting of Paul Piller, Marie Speziale, David Frerichs, David Horine, Frank Proto and Robert Bradley.

Kay Casey, founder of the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame, and her board have made it their mission to shine a light on a Cincinnati treasure that, in previous years, received little recognition even though its history is rich. Clooney, always an entertaining host, is donating his time for the fourth year.

The event will include performances by current jazz talents: The Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band, Marc Fields Quartet and the Rob Allgeyer Trio featuring Nancy James, vocals. There will also be performances by jazz studies scholarship winner Tyler Marsh, piano, and his brother, Ethan Marsh on bass, and current scholarship winners Sam Breadon on guitar and Ziaire Sherman on baritone saxophone.

Hall of Fame members will be treated to the Philip Paul Trio in a reception for the inductees. Paul, of course, is the legendary session drummer for King Records.

Tickets help support the John DeFoor Jazz Master Classes at local high schools. $20 in advance; $25 at the door. 1-800-838-3006 or Support@brownpapertickets.com.

 

Classical Roots hosts its first artist-in-residence

Kelly Hall-Tompkins is the first artist-in-residence for the CSO’s Classical Roots program.

Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, winner of the Honorarium Prize in the 2003 Naumburg International Violin Competition and a career grant from the Concert Artists Guild, is the inaugural artist-in-residence for Classical Roots, an outreach program of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

During her residency this week, the violinist will visit City Gospel Mission, where she and CSO musicians will perform Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” for clients. The performance is inspired by her not-for-profit Music Kitchen, which takes live classical music to homeless shelters in New York City.Read More »