Cincinnati Song Initiative plans ambitious inaugural season

Sam Martin

Sam Martin

Cincinnati Song Initiative revealed plans for its three-concert inaugural season. The series, featuring both emerging and nationally recognized talent, is CSI’s first set of large-scale thematic projects.

“Rather than producing isolated, unrelated programs, this model adds a depth of continuity from concert to concert that fosters a sense of ownership among both audiences and artists as they see each project come closer to completion over the course of time,” said founding artistic director Samuel Martin.

CSI’s themes will be “Americana” and “Survey of Les Six.”

“Americana” will survey the vast repertoire of U.S. art song. Over the course of several seasons, CSI will explore the diverse contributions of individual composers to the genre.

“Survey of Les Six” will delve into the art song of a group of French composers known for defying the popular musical aesthetics of the 1920s. Their desire to create more “everyday” music resulted in compositions laced with humor, satire and brevity.

CSI will feature several singer-pianist duos in each performance, and performances will occur in different venues.

In keeping with CSI’s focus on promotion and innovation of classical art song, the season finale will be the world premiere of a newly commissioned song cycle by American composer Juliana Hall.

CSI’s 2016-17 concerts

Americana: A Cultural Tapestry

Oct. 16, 2016, 3 p.m., Weston Art Gallery, Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts

The first concert of its Americana series explores cultural influences on the emerging genre of American art song. Composers include Stephen Foster, Charles Ives, William Grant Still, Undine Moore, Ned Rorem and Libby Larsen.

Featured artists include Shareese Arnold, Alexandro Schoeny, Jason Weisinger, Marie-France Lefebvre and Matthew Umphreys.

Tickets on sale Sept. 1 at


Survey of Les Six: The New Aesthetic

Jan. 28, 2017, 7:30 p.m. Mercantile Library

Post-World War I France saw a major upheaval in cultural, artistic and social trends. The composers of Les Six contributed to this revolution, creating music infused with wit, sarcasm, brevity and humor. The performance includes works by Auric, Durey, Honegger, Milhaud and Poulenc. Featured artists include Marie Marquis, Liza Forrester Kelly, Alexander Hurd, Samuel Martin and Kenneth Griffiths.

Tickets on sale Dec. 26 at


Americana: Newer Every Day

April 8, 2017, 4 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Wyoming

CSI’s season finale is composed entirely of the music of living American composers. It will feature a new song cycle, “Christina’s World,” by Juliana Hall. Other repertoire includes works by Jake Heggie, Tom Cipullo and Steven Mark Kohn. Featured artists include Gwen Coleman Detwiler, Andrew Garland, Marie-France Lefebvre and Donna Hallen Loewy.

There is a $20 suggested donation.

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