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Best of 2013 in Cincinnati

    Posted: Dec 29, 2013 - 3:52:34 PM in: commentary_2013
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Music Hall, "Lumenocity," Aug. 4, Washington Park
It's list time again, i.e. time to (try) to pick the best concerts of 2013 (from Music in Cincinnati's point of view, that is). Here they are, pared to 16, with everything from early music to improvisation.

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Something from Nothing

    Posted: May 13, 2013 - 8:01:36 PM in: commentary_2013
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Sandra Gross-Hutton, sculptor and owner/founder of the Brazee School of Glass in Cincinnati, was asked to deliver a commencement address May 12 to the 2013 graduates of the School of Creative Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Here is what she said.

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Remembering the Blue Wisp

    Posted: Mar 25, 2013 - 10:37:34 PM in: commentary_2013
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Amy Culbertson, former entertainment editor at the Cincinnati Post, now a food and travel writer living in Forth Worth, Texas, remembers the Blue Wisp Jazz Club, from the days it was located in Obryonville, to its current, tenuous location at 700 Race Street downtown. She submits this affectionate essay about the club and what it means and has meant to Cincinnati.

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Langrée’s First CSO Season Inspired

    Posted: Jan 30, 2013 - 3:13:52 PM in: news_2013, commentary_2013
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Louis Langrée
Though he will be onstage for only six of the 20 concerts in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's 2013-2014 season -- his first as music director -- Louis Langrée has assembled a well-rounded and thoughtful lineup. There will be new music and familiar favorites, popular guests and new faces, some intriguing collaborations and continuing community outreach in the form of the orchestra's "One City, One Symphony" project inaugurated in November, 2012.
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A Fond Look at the Blue Wisp

    Posted: Jan 25, 2013 - 9:42:02 AM in: commentary_2013
Amy Culbertson, former entertainment editor at the Cincinnati Post, has these observations about Cincinnati's Blue Wisp jazz club in the wake of news that it has fallen on hard times. "Let's raise a glass to what the Blue Wisp once meant to the city, to jazz musicians and to jazz lovers -- and then let's move on by vowing to support the musicians who still struggle to keep jazz alive, against discouraging odds and for little reward, wherever they may be playing around town."   - [Read more]

Thirteen for Twenty-Twelve

    Posted: Dec 27, 2012 - 2:58:51 PM in: commentary_2012
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Louis Langrée conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The year 2012 was saturated with music in Cincinnati, especially choral music.  The World Choir Games were held here (for the first time in the U.S.).  The May Festival was in bloom, as usual, and Cincinnati Opera had a very good year.  Adding its voice, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra welcomed its 13th music director, Louis Langree, with a gala concert featuring Beethoven's Ninth Symphony -- coincident with which, a lot of "Ode to Joy" was heard on city streets, and the CSO produced a video with everyone in town singing or playing along.  Here are Music in Cincinnati's "baker's dozen," i.e. 13 best musical events for 2012.
 
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Michael Gielen: Musical Visionary for Cincinnati

    Posted: Nov 16, 2012 - 9:32:23 PM in: commentary_2013
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Michael Gielen
Michael Gielen, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1980-1986, wrote an introduction to his last subscription concert with the CSO March 14 and 15, 1986 at Music Hall.  That program paired, perhaps for the first time anywhere, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Schoenberg's 1947 "A Survivor from Warsaw." During his six-year tenure with the CSO, Gielen programmed many such juxtapositions of old and new music, a visionary practice now commonplace everywhere.  

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Operatic eloquence

    Posted: Jul 28, 2012 - 12:53:52 PM in: commentary_2012
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Evans Mirageas outside Music Hall in Cincinnati
Art matters and as "the confluence of theater, literature, ballet, visual art, costume design, instrumental music and singing," opera has a unique power to teach and inspire.  No one has said it better that Cincinnati Opera artistic director Evans Mirageas.

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Reflecting on the World Choir Games

    Posted: Jul 19, 2012 - 9:29:06 PM in: commentary_2012, reviews_2012
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Closing Ceremony, 2012 World Choir Games, U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio (Peace Bell in foreground)
The 2012 World Choir Games, held in Cincinnati, Ohio July 4-14, ended with the ringing of the Peace Bell, a presentation by the 2014 World Choir Games host city, Riga, Latvia and a concert by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra led by Pops conductor John Morris Russell and guest conductor Gabor Hollerung.  Guest artists were Broadway star Idina Menzel, gospel great Marvin Winans and cast members from Cincinnati Opera's upcoming "La Traviata." The event was a kind of coming of age for Cincinnati, which showed itself eminently capable of hosting thousands of visitors speaking dozens of languages in an international competition known as the Olympics of choral music. There was even a Champion from Cincinnati, the Choraliers of Fairfield, Ohio, winners in the Show Choir event.
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Yes, Kentucky

    Posted: Sep 29, 2010 - 10:36:54 AM in: commentary_2010
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Gustavo Dudamel at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (photo by Rich Copley)
Get off your high horse, you might say, but the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the very definition of "elite," came to the Bluegrass State this week.  Apparently it was no problem for the picky Viennese. who, incidentally, have their pick of conductors, too, hiring only the world's best on a guest-conductor-only basis.  The Vienna Phil's pick this time was Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel, today's hottest young conductor.  While in Kentucky, Dudamel and the orchestra members rubbed shoulders with attendees of the World Equestrian Games, being held for the first time outside of Europe in, where else?  Kentucky.

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The Tragedy of Music Hall

    Posted: Jan 11, 2010 - 3:07:32 PM in: commentary_2010
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Cincinnati Music Hall
Cincinnati's 132-year-old Music Hall is beautiful.  It has enviable acoustics.  It is a beloved icon for the Cincinnati community.  However, as the performance home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, it has a fatal flaw.  It is too big.  On Jan. 7, 2010, CSO music director Paavo Järvi announced that he will leave the orchestra at the end of the 2010-2011 season.  Did Music Hall have anything to do with it?  Would Dr. Demento have had something to say?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viTUhOT4d3I

Re-posted from Feb. 23, 2009.

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Thoughts from a Pops Pianist

    Posted: May 7, 2009 - 2:12:06 PM in: commentary_2009
Many people paid tribute to Erich Kunzel as he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame May 7 in Cincinnati.  One of them was Charles Manning, Pops Pianist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, who headed East over I-74 to join a festive crowd in Memorial Hall, home of the hall of fame in historic Over-the-Rhine.  Manning's perceptive and eloquent remarks are those of someone who played under Kunzel from 1982-2002 while he served as ISO Pops Music Director.
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Decreased Political Awareness

    Posted: Mar 18, 2009 - 10:45:54 AM in: commentary_2009
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Do newspapers  matter?  According to a new study by economists at Princeton University based on evidence from the closing of the Cincinnati Post in December, 2007, they can have "a substantial and measurable impact on public life."  After the Post closed, fewer candidates ran for public office in Cincinnati's Northern Kentucky suburbs, where the Post was historically dominant.  Incumbents were yielded an advantage and voter turnout fell.  The March 2009 study from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs may be found at http://wws-roxen.princeton.edu/wwseconpapers/papers/dp236.pdf

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Some Burning Questions for the Arts in Cincinnati

    Posted: Jan 5, 2009 - 9:44:23 PM in: commentary_2009
What can Cincinnati's arts organizations do to help themselves and each other during these straitened economic times?  Much, based on a simple premise:  connect the dots. Some thoughts and observations on how it could have and might still be done.
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Accessible Music?

    Posted: Dec 29, 2008 - 8:50:33 AM in: commentary_2008
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Charles Coleman
New York composer Charles Coleman has some thoughts about the ubiquitous term "accessible" as applied to new music.  Must music be "primarily simple with a tuneful nature" to be "accessible?"  Bah, humbug.

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