From Music in Cincinnati

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero to Debut with Cincinnati Symphony

Posted in: 2008
By Mary Ellyn Hutton
Dec 1, 2008 - 10:33:06 PM

Giancarlo Guerrero
The stork has taken the Cincinnati Symphony’s scheduled guest conductor, Xian Zhang, away from the Music Hall podium, where she was to have led CSO concerts Dec. 18 and 20.

   The Chinese born conductor, whose meteoric career began at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she served as assistant professor of conducting before winning the first Maazel-Vilar Conducting Competition in New York in 2005, will take time off to await the birth of her first baby.Taking her place will be Giancarlo Guerrero, music director designate of the Nashville Symphony.  Concerts are 7:30 p.m. Dec.18 and 8 p.m. Dec.20 at Music Hall.

  Born in Costa Rica, Guerrero studied at Baylor and Northwestern Universities before becoming associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and then music director of the Eugene (Oregon) Symphony.  While in Oregon, he made a splash by initiating a guest composer series that featured John Adams, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Jay Kernis and Michael Daugherty.  Winner in 2004 of the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award for young conductors, Guerrero has guest conducted widely in North and South America, Europe and Australia.

Gabriel Pegis
The program comprises Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 (“Classical”), Stravinsky’s Divertimento from “The Fairy’s Kiss,” Rossini's "La boutique fantasque" (orch.Respighi) and two works featuring CSO principal second violinist Gabriel Pegis, “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Beethoven’s Romance No. 2.

   Tickets are $12-$77, $10 for children, $10 for students and 25% off for seniors the week of the performance.  Admission to the Dec. 18 concert includes complimentary pre-concert buffet in the Music Hall Ballroom.  Call (513) 381-3300, or order online at

    If you’ve attended concerts by the chamber ensemble Concert:nova, you know to expect the unexpected.  Be prepared, for coming up from this inventive group, now in its second season, is one of their most creative endeavors yet, “Waiting for the End of Time.”

promotional art for Concert:nova's Messiaen/Beckett event "Waiting for the End of Time"
Premise of the concert is to observe the centennial of French composer Olivier Messiaen in the context of a musical, theatrical and visual presentation that partakes of the spirit of the holiday season.  Centerpiece is Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” to be performed by violinist Tatiana Berman, clarinetist Ixi Chen, cellist Ted Nelson and pianist Julie Spangler.  Actress Julia Bloodgood will read abstracts from Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” during the performance (about 50 minutes), which will take place against a background of video images created by visual artist Trinidad Mac-Auliffe.

   Concerts are 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Concert:nova Garden, 532 Reading Rd. in the Metaphor Studios Building (preview performance followed by 8:30 p.m. reception) and 8 p.m. Dec. 19 at Christ Church Cathedral, Fourth and Sycamore Streets, downtown (followed by reception at 9:30 p.m.).

   Messiaen composed his great Quartet during World War II, while he was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.  It was premiered there in 1941 for an audience of fellow prisoners and guards.   Set for clarinet, violin, cello and piano – the only ensemble Messiaen  could put together at the time – the Quartet is a searching and extremely moving assertion of hope in the face of an uncertain future.  The title comes from the Book of Revelation (chapter 10) and refers to the angel’s announcement that time has come to an end.

    Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” raises similar questions, but without hope.  In it, two friends wait at a predetermined spot for the arrival of an important person named Godot.  He never comes and they sense that he never will, but they keep on waiting.

   How do you respond to the dialogue between these two great artists?  By “settling for what is, in the absence of hope….or settling for hope, in the absence of what is?”  The audience is free to draw their own conclusions.

   Admission is $20 at the door, $10 for students and Enjoy the Arts members.

   For information about concert:nova, visit or contact C:N at

   And if you haven’t heard about the Metropolitan Opera’s new high-definition transmissions to movie theaters, you’ve been missing what is causing a resurgence of interest in the art form.  You can catch “Live in HD” in Cincinnati Dec. 20 at the Showcase Cinemas in Springdale, 12064 Springfield Pike.  Showing on that day will be the Met’s new production of Jules Massenet’s “Thais.”  Showtime is 12 p.m.  Soprano Renee Fleming stars as the Egyptian courtesan Thais.  Baritone Thomas Hampson is the monk Athanaël, who is in love with her.  Conducting will be former CSO music director Jesus Lopez-Cobos.

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