The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announces that the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical and 2017 Grammy Award winner, Cynthia Erivo, will headline its enormously popular annual Classical Roots concert at Crossroads Oakley in Cincinnati on Friday, May 5, 2017 (7:30 p.m.). The British-born singer and actress won a Tony as well as several other high-profile theater awards for her role as Celie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple and also garnered acclaim for her recent performance at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. She also performed alongside John Legend for the “In Memoriam” segment of the Grammy Award television broadcast on February 12, and also won a Grammy for The Color Purple. In addition to Ms. Erivo, the chamber ensemble Sons of Serendip, who rocketed to stardom after appearing on America’s Got Talent, will also be performing during the concert, as well as participating in various community engagement activities in the week leading up to Classical Roots.
The one-night-only multi-genre performance conducted by John Morris Russell will again include elements from the classical tradition as well as gospel, Broadway, R&B and spirituals, all celebrating the rich African American musical heritage and bringing together friends and neighbors for a shared concert experience. Classical Roots started as a program performed by the CSO in churches throughout the region and moved to the Orchestra’s home at Music Hall in 2011 where it regularly sells out. This year’s performance will be located at Crossroads Oakley due to Music Hall’s historic renovation.
The Classical Roots Community Mass Choir, which is comprised of over 100 singers representing dozens of area churches and is prepared by director William Henry Caldwell and several local music ministers, returns as a staple for the annual concert. Also returning is the CSYO Nouveau Chamber Players which features talented African American student musicians who are nurtured through the CSO’s education programs. The Nouveau Chamber Players are also celebrating their 10th anniversary season. In addition, all five of the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows will be performing for this concert. The Diversity Fellowship, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a groundbreaking new program in which these string players work on advanced degrees at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music while receiving specialized training with CSO musicians and performance opportunities with the full Orchestra.
Classical Roots will be American Sign Language interpreted. Details about the Sons of Serendip’s community engagement activities will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for this concert are $20-50 for adults and $10 for children under 17. They can be purchased by visiting or calling the CSO Box Office at (513) 381-3300 or visiting www.cincinnatisymphony.org/classicalroots.
The CSO thanks the National Endowment for the Arts for their Underwriting Support of Classical Roots. Cynthia Erivo’s appearance is underwritten by Jeffrey & Jody Lazarow and Janie & Peter Schwartz Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The CSO is grateful to Presenting Sponsor World Pac Paper; Community Impact Sponsor the Fifth Third Bank Foundation; Youth Education Ticket Sponsor CES/LINK Fund, in partnership with The Cincinnati Chapter of The Links, Inc., housed at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation; and Show Sponsor Macy’s. Classical Roots is a presentation of Sound Discoveries: Music for the Community and is made possible in part thanks to The Corbett Educational Endowment established by Mrs. Patricia Corbett and The Corbett Foundation.