Matinée Musicale announces grants to 10 arts programs

Students from MYCincinnati. Photo provided

Thanks to a bequest from the estate of the late arts patron Louise Dieterle Nippert, Matinée Musicale is awarding $72,000 in grants to 10 deserving music education and outreach programs in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

They are all achieving great things in the arts. The list:

Benjamin Carlson-Berne Scholarship Fund, which provides weekly private lessons and mentorship to youth of middle school age to high school age.Read More »

UC names new dean for CCM, and he’s a CCM grad

Kristi A. Nelson, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Cincinnati, today announced the appointment of Stanley E. Romanstein, PhD, as Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

Romanstein’s appointment becomes effective July 1, 2018, pending approval of the University’s Board of Trustees.

The CCM graduate returns to CCM from Georgia State University’s Creative Media Institute, where he has served as a professor of practice/music and the arts for the past four years. He was President and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (2010-14), among other posts.

Romanstein earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Carson-Newman College in 1976. He then came to CCM to earn a Master of Music in Choral Conducting in 1980 and a PhD in Music in 1990. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Israel in 1985-86 and in Japan in November-December 1998.

Read more about the new dean in the press release here.

Music Hall parking 101

It’s better to plan ahead for parking if you are going to Music Hall.

If you’ve gone to the Cincinnati Symphony, Pops or Cincinnati Ballet at Music Hall this fall, you’ve likely discovered that parking isn’t what it used to be. Here’s how to BE PREPARED for the new changes since Music Hall reopened after its 16-month renovation:

Parking for the CSO: In order to park in Washington Park Garage for the CSO, you need to purchase a $15 ticket ahead of time in order to get in. And sometimes those tickets are sold out. (That garage only holds 450 spaces, and some – but not all — of those are reserved on CSO concert nights.)Read More »

Critic’s notebook: The chapter of the gods concludes

Here’s one of the performances I’ve been lucky to catch this fall in Cincinnati.

Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde
Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde

Last month, Queen City Chamber Opera mounted the final installment, Act III, of Wagner’s opera “Siegfried,” at the Dunham Performing Arts Center on the West Side. The performance, which was well attended on a bright Sunday afternoon, marked the first complete performance of “Siegfried” in Ohio in a century. (It was in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati.)

(The first two acts were performed in the previous two years. It’s a rather epic way to perform a Ring Cycle… )

What is so remarkable about the efforts of the company’s founding music director Isaac Selya is the quality that he has been able to achieve on a shoestring. His orchestra — complete with five extraordinary horn players, harp and timpani — filled nearly half of the auditorium floor.Read More »

Music Hall renovation stories

The scene a few weeks ago in Springer Auditorium.
The scene a few weeks ago in Springer Auditorium.

So, I had asked our techies to put all of our Music Hall stories on one page, so that you, the public, could follow the renovation. However, the page ( seems to be not working. Therefore, I have posted as many articles, renderings, letters and opinions as I could find on my Pinterest page.


Music Hall then and now

Then:  This week, the May Festival provided me with the the 360 photo that was taken for posterity on the final night of the season, May 28, just before demo began. See if you can find yourself by moving your cursor around the photo:

Now:  You may have seen The Enquirer’s update of Music Hall’s construction project last week. I’ve included more of my own photos below.Read More »

My diary: When James Levine visited Cincy in 2005

Courtesy Metropolitan Opera

You probably saw the news that James Levine, 72, is stepping down as music director of the Metropolitan Opera after 40 years, for health reasons. He will finish the remainder of his very busy season, and continue as music director emeritus, the first ever position at the Met. He has struggled with Parkinson’s Disease for some time, and has had other severe health issues, as well.

Levine is a Cincinnati native, and having lived in Cincinnati for most of my adult life, I have learned that just about everyone here a) knew his parents b) heard him play piano as a child, or c) went to Walnut Hills High School with him. Read More »

Music Hall in the news

Lobby chandeliers will be taken out and replaced with more streamlined “torchiere” lights

Music Hall will close in less than two months, and we’ve been writing a number of updates about the plans. Finally, the Enquirer has a page that is dedicated to renovation stories. Watch for a call for your own Music Hall Memories soon!

Here’s the link. You can also go to and put Music Hall Renovation in the search box.

Of course, Music Hall is home to the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival, and  when the rehab is done, Cincinnati Ballet.Read More »

Music Hall hopes and concerns

Music Hall's Springer Auditorium will look quite different when it reopens after a $130 million renovation. Photo from Enquirer files
Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium will look quite different when it reopens after a $130 million renovation. Photo from Enquirer files

Perhaps you saw the article about Music Hall, — which closes in five months for renovation — informing visitors of what to expect in the coming months. But there was a sidebar that never made print.

The Enquirer asked this question of local concertgoers, Music Hall stakeholders and resident companies via e-mail and on Facebook: “As we move to 2016 and Music Hall closes in June for a massive renovation, what are your thoughts, concerns, and/or hopes about the project?”

Here are some of the responses:

“My main concern, as always, is for the acoustics of Music Hall. As you well know, even the smallest physical change can have a major impact on the acoustics. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best!” – Pat Nott, College HillRead More »

Gunther Schuller and Cincinnati: Personal memories from a patron and a critic

Gunther Schuller had lifelong ties to Cincinnati
Gunther Schuller had lifelong ties to Cincinnati

Gunther Schuller, a giant of American music, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and the man who defined the fusion of classical and jazz as “Third Stream,” died on June 21 at age 89. Many tributes note that he was the youngest French hornist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra early in his career (1943-45).

“It was a very rich and rewarding period in my life, a growing period because I was 17 to 19 (years old),” Schuller told me in an interview.

After concerts, he often continued playing in late-night jazz clubs in Cincinnati. However, his ties to Cincinnati continued for his entire life. In fact, he taught at the old College of Music, which is where he met his wife Marjorie. (Perhaps he was also their youngest-ever faculty member!)Read More »