As the State of Ohio gradually begins re-opening for business, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announced that it will mount its first live performance in Music Hall since the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remainder of its season in mid-March. For this Live from Music Hall event on Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 pm, four CSO musicians will take the stage to perform—at a proper social distance from one another—Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor. Music Director Louis Langrée will host the event, which also launches the The Fanfare Project with vitres (fragment…), a world premiere by Matthias Pintscher, the CSO’s Creative Partner beginning with the 2020-21 season. Though the auditorium will be empty, the concert will be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and the Orchestra’s website: cincinnatisymphony.org.
Navigating the ongoing challenge of health risks associated with the coronavirus, CSO musicians, staff and crew are strictly following the State’s regulations for safe practices in the workplace. In addition to observing recommended health and sanitization practices for rehearsals and the live performance, musicians will use separate dressing rooms and will observe social distancing protocols by sitting at least six feet from one another on stage.
Saturday would have been the grand finale of the CSO’s 125th Anniversary season—a season that paid tribute to the CSO’s legacy as champions of new work and its history of working with important composers of the day. The Live from Music Hall event honors the spirit of the original program; a world premiere by Julia Adolphe, written for the full orchestra, is replaced by the world premiere of vitres (fragment…) for solo oboe by Matthias Pintscher, performed by Principal Oboe Dwight Parry. And, Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor represents Mahler’s Third Symphony, which was given its U.S. premiere by the CSO in 1914 as part of the annual Cincinnati May Festival. The Piano Quartet will be performed by Concertmaster Stefani Matsuo, Principal Viola Christian Colberg, Principal Cello Ilya Finkelshteyn, and Pianist Michael Chertock.
“This is a deeply meaningful moment, signaling the beginning of our return to Music Hall. Of course we would love all the musicians of the Orchestra to be able to perform, but we understand that we must be patient until it is possible again,” said Louis Langrée. “In the meantime, we want people to know that the heart of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is still beating. Though it is a bonsai version of what we normally do, the streaming program honors the CSO’s legacy and continuum of tradition and innovation. Our Orchestra has very special connections to Gustav Mahler, through the U.S. premieres of his Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5; Aaron Copland, from premiering Lincoln Portrait and Fanfare for the Common Man; and the wonderful Matthias Pintscher, who we are eager to welcome as our Creative Partner. We dedicate this concert to the people of Cincinnati and beyond, to lift their spirits, and to thank those who have been at risk for their contributions to our continued safety and well-being.”
The arts contribute to the vibrancy of the Greater Cincinnati region. Given the impact of the pandemic on local arts organizations, the Orchestra is encouraging donations to the 2020 ArtsWave Community Campaign.