Patrons scurry for tickets to Summermusik Chamber Crawls

A pair of milestones to celebrate for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra: 45 total seasons of concerts and five years offering its unique August festival, Summermusik.

There are three ways to experience concerts during the festival: four Main Stage concerts, with full 32-piece chamber orchestra, at School for Creative & Performing Arts; three {A Little} Afternoon Musik intimate chamber concerts at various venues; and four Chamber Crawls, evenings of diverse music in unexpected settings, curated by members of the CCO and a creative partner.

As the Crawls offer the most flexibility (and maybe the most opportunities for fun?) of the three CCO experiences, M&M asked these curators to share their motivations, expectations and hopes for each program (along with a selfie).

In their own words…

Battle of the Bands: Strings vs. Micro Brass 

CURATORS: Wes Woolard (CCO second trumpet) and Manami White (principal second violin)

Manami White and Wes Woolard
Manami White and Wes Woolard

Woolard: A friend of mine, a CCO subscriber, jokingly suggested a battle of the bands to me last year. As the proposal deadline approach last December, I ran the idea past Manami and LeAnne (Anklan, CCO general manager), and they were enthusiastic. Fretboard Brewery worked wonderfully for us last year, and the fact that they brewed a beer especially for us made the decision for this year’s venue easy.

My goal with these events is to showcase the wide variety of music that brass musicians can play, and play at a very high level. Subscribers know that the music we play on our Main Stage events is what we love, but the chamber crawls demonstrate how we like to have fun. The musical factions will pair off in selections by Bach, Mozart, Johann Strauss Jr. and even Coldplay. The element of a musical competition should add a bit of excitement to the event.

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m. Fretboard Brewing, Blue Ash 

Midnight in Paris

CURATOR: Susan Magg (second flute)

Susan Magg
Susan Magg

Magg: The enchanting film “Midnight in Paris” transports the leading character, Gil, to the Paris of the early 20th century. While there, he encounters the astonishing artistic community of that great cultural capital. Meeting the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Man Ray, among others, makes him long to have been a part of their world. 

The CCO’s Chamber Crawl program “Midnight in Paris” parallels Allen’s visual flashbacks with an aural exploration of Parisian musical compositions created during the last three centuries. Eighteenth-century François Couperin, 19th-century Georges Bizet and 20th-century Claude Debussy and Francis Poulenc, along with the gorgeous melodies of Dan Fogelberg, provide a sampling of the extraordinary contributions and inspirations of this endearing and enduring musical capital.

With the Metropolitan Club as the setting, listeners can experience musical time-travel through Paris, while enjoying the stunning view of our very own “City of Light,” the Cincinnati skyline. 

Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. Metropolitan Club, Covington


CURATOR: Sujean Kim (assistant concertmaster)

Sujean Kim
Sujean Kim

Kim: The sights and sounds of Tall Stacks, Cincinnati’s riverboat heritage festival, inspired a project that I did with my classroom students 16 years ago called “River Music.” We listened to all sorts of pieces inspired by the river. The kids liked it pretty well. They learned that Handel wrote his “Water Music” for a party on the river, and that Woody Guthrie celebrated a public works project with his Columbia River songs. They always sang along with Alison Krauss’s rendition of “Down to the River to Pray,” but could only tolerate a little bit of calliope music.

Just as that project covered different genres of music, so will the upcoming eponymous concert. Handel and “Down to the River” are on the program, and you’ll hear Schubert songs alongside bluegrass tunes. I’ll be sharing the stage with friends new and old, and the pieces will include ones I’ve always wanted to play (Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet) and ones that will be new to me (by the Pedigos).

I had originally pitched the idea of doing the concert on a riverboat, but the CCO’s partnership with Cincinnati Parks has resulted in a lovely concert venue right by the river, and the presence of Michael George, Parks historian, who will walk us through the history of the Ohio riverfront with the help of archival photos and art.

I envision a festive, relaxed evening similar to one you might have on a river cruise – a romp of great tunes (a mix of fan favorites and maybe some originals), fascinating historical tidbits to digest, refreshing drinks and a view of the water all the while. And no calliope, I promise!

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 7:30 & 9:15 p.m. Friendship Park Pavilion, Riverside Drive


CURATORS: Roger Klug (guitarist and rock historian)
and Chris Philpotts (principal oboe)

Roger Klug
Roger Klug

Klug: At “Woodwindstock,” we’ll be celebrating the music and the artists who appeared at the iconic Woodstock festival 50 years ago, with a twist: The ensemble is half rock band and half orchestral woodwinds. 

Arranging pop or rock songs for orchestral ensembles can be tricky business. Why even do it in the first place? Well, because a good tune is a good tune, in any setting, and the colors of orchestral instruments can take a composition to new heights. Woodwinds have so many unique colors, with the flute on top and the bassoon on bottom. (Seriously, who doesn’t love hearing a real live bassoon?)

Chris Philpotts
Chris Philpotts

Philpotts: When the CCO asked me to co-curate a Chamber Crawl show, and I found out the theme and that Roger Klug was involved, I knew it would be a blast! Roger is such an impressive musician and arranger that these tunes will hit a vibrant chord within your soul. We will also be featuring the artistry of guest clarinetist Julian Bliss. He is an exceptional improviser, and we will be sure to focus our light on his abilities.

Please join us, because Roger and I have some tricks up our sleeves. The arrangements will allow freedom for all the CCO artists to shine as well as Julian, Roger and the band. This will be a concert that you walk away from with a smile on your face and a warm glow in your heart. Peace and love to all. 

Friday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. The Redmoor, Mt. Lookout Square 


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