CSO and Pops announce 2024-25 season

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops have announced their performance schedules for the 2024-25 season with a full range of orchestral showpieces.

An outstanding view of Music Hall in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. (Casey Weldon)
Music Hall
(Photo by Casey Weldon)

Just two months before the end of CSO Music Director Louis Langrée‘s tenure, a full slate of guests are set to hit the podium, many of whom are likely candidates for his position. We get to sit in on the auditions. And Pops Conductor John Morris Russell is using next season to show off the versatility of this orchestra with music ranging from Broadway to Cole Porter to Tina Turner and more.

The CSO season kicks off the last weekend in September with a dynamic, varied program of Mahler, Ginastera and Prokofiev led by Dalia Stasevska, who will be only the second woman conductor to open a CSO season. (First was Sarah Caldwell in 1977-78!) Variety may be a keyword for next season, as each of these auditioning conductors showcases the breadth of their talents.

CSO Season Highlights

Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck debuts his arrangement of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in early October. Conductor Ramón Tebar returns after leading a very-well-received, late-addition concert last October. Legendary romaniticist Marek Janowski will conduct Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 at the age of 85 in November and Marin Alsop will lead Shostakovich and Bernstein a week later.

Christmas returns to the CSO and May Festival in early December with Handel’s “Messiah” in an orchestration by guest conductor Sir Andrew Davis. January concerts spotlight the solo talents of CSO principals Ilya Finkelsteyn, cello, and Elizabeth Freimuth, horn, in back-to-back concerts.

Violinist Randall Goosby, who performs a solo program in April here for Chamber Music Cincinnati, returns next February with concerto works by Florence Price and Ernest Chausson. March will be awash in orchestral colors from Respighi and Rimsky-Korsakov, led by Giancarlo Guerrero and Former CSO Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada, respectively, the latter in his subscription series debut.

April offers the return of Sir Donald Runnicles, who led an all-Brahms concert in January to great success. He will conduct Richard Strauss‘ monumental “Alpine Symphony.” And Jaap van Zweden, soon-to-depart music director of the New York Philharmonic, will offer another musical mountain, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, part of an autism-focused program led by van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren, inspired by son Benjamin, who learned to communicate with the aid of music.

In a surprise twist, the Cincinnati Symphony 2024-25 season will close with a concert led by Damon Gupta, Cincinnati Pops principal guest conductor, featuring Edvard Grieg‘s famous concerto played by pianist Michelle Cann an orchestral suite by Duke Ellington.

See the full season below.

CSO Recital Series

The CSO is reviving its Springer Auditorium recital series next year with concerts in October, January and March.

  • Oct. 6: Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Larisa Martínez are joined by pianist Peter Dugan for an evening of romantic arias and modern classics.
  • Jan. 14: Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn shares solo works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • March 5: Pianist Conrad Tao (who performs Mozart with the CSO this coming weekend) returns with solo works by Debussy, Schumann and Tao’s own compositions.

CSO PROOF and Winstead chamber music programs will be announced at a later date.

Pops Season Highlights

John Morris Russell opens things up in September with an orchestral travelogue, including real-time commentary by European travel writer and host Rick Steves and high-definition cinematography. JMR will also lead the annual Christmas and New Year’s Eve concerts, featuring Broadway’s Norm Lewis in the former and the music of Cole Porter to ring in 2025.

Damon Gupton, principal Pops guest conductor, explores the legacy of Tina Turner in January. JMR celebrates the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance in a new American Originals concert in March. And he welcomes Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez in May for a season-ending showcase of Broadway’s Latin voices. On a date to be determined, Gupton will also lead a film in concert performance of “Home Alone.”

CSO Subscription Programs

  • Sept. 27 & 28: CSO Season Opener: Conductor Dalia Stasevska. Mahler: Symphony No. 1, “Titan” • Alberto Ginastera: “Malambo” from Four Dances from “Estancia” • Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, featuring Chopin Piano Competition winner Bruce Liu in his CSO debut.
  • Oct. 4 & 5: Conductor Thomas Wilkins. Florence Price Symphony No. 3 in C Minor • Aaron Copland: Four Dance Episodes from “Rodeo” • George Gershwin: “Rhapsody in Blue” arranged and performed by multi-Grammy Award winner and American banjo player Béla Fleck.
  • Oct. 26 & 27: Conductor Ramón Tebar. Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E Minor • Wang Lu: “Surge” • Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, violinist Benjamin Beilman.
  • Nov. 8 & 9: Conductor Marek Janowski. Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor • Mozart Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major.
  • Nov. 16 & 17: Conductor Marin Alsop. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 in C Major, “Leningrad” • Leonard Bernstein: “Chichester Psalms” featuring the May Festival Chorus (Matthew Swanson, director).
  • Nov. 22 & 23: Conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. Manuel de Falla: “Three-Cornered Hat,” mezzo-soprano Catalina Cuervo • Gabriela Ortiz: “Téenek – Invenciones de Territorio” • Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, pianist Francesco Piemontesi • Gerónimo Giménez: Intermezzo from “La bodas de Luis Alonso.”
  • Dec. 6 & 7: Conductor Sir Andrew Davis. Handel: “Messiah” orchestrated by the conductor. Soprano Joélle Harvey, mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenor Paul Groves, and bass John Relyea.
  • Jan. 11 & 12: Conductor CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher. Copland: Symphony No. 3 • Unsuk Chin: “subito con forza” • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3, pianist George Li.
  • Jan. 24 & 25: Conductor Christian Reif. Camille Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1, CSO Principal Cello Ilya Finkelshteyn • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Overture to “The Magic Flute” • CSO co-commission by Jimmy López Bellido • Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 7.
  • Jan. 31 & Feb. 1: Conductor Jun Märkl. Richard Strauss: “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” and Horn Concerto No. 1, CSO Principal Horn Elizabeth Freimuth • Claude Debussy: “Images.”
  • Feb. 8 & 9: Conductor Cristian Măcelaru. Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 • Florence Price: Violin Concerto No. 2 and Ernest Chausson: “Poème” with violinist Randall Goosby • Wynton Marsalis: “Southwestern Shakedown” from “Blues Symphony.”
  • Feb. 14 & 15: Conductor John Storgårds. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E Minor • Victoria Polevá: Symphony No. 3, “White Interment” • Dvořák: Violin Concerto in A Minor with violinist Gil Shaham.
  • March 8 & 9: Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Ottorino Respighi: “Fountains of Rome” and “Pines of Rome” • Julia Perry: “A Short Piece for Orchestra” and Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs featuring soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha.
  • March 28 & 29: Conductor Keitaro Harada. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: “Sheherazade” • lArturo Márquez: “Fandango” commissioned and performed by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.
  • April 5 & 6: Conductor Sir Donald Runnicles. Richard Strauss: “An Alpine Symphony” • Hammish MacCunn: “The Land of the Mountain and the Flood” • Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor featuring violinist Maria Ioudenitch
  • April 18 & 19: Conductor Case Scaglione. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” • Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor featuring Simone Lamsma.
  • April 25 & 26: Conductor Jaap van Zweden. Mahler: Symphony No. 6, “Tragic
  • May 9 & 10: Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton. Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor featuring pianist Michelle Cann • Edward “Duke” Ellington: “Black, Brown and Beige” • Dvořák: “The Noon Witch” • Igor Stravinsky: “Scherzo à la russe” • Arthur Honneger: “Pastorale d’été”

Damon Gupton and Mandy Gonzalez

Pops Subscription Programs

  • Sept. 13-15: Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphony Journey. Conductor John Morris Russell.  Commentator Rick Steves
  • Dec. 13-15: Holiday Pops. Conductor John Morris Russell. Broadway legend Norm Lewis with local choral and dance ensembles
  • Jan. 17-19: Simply the Best: The Music of Tina Turner. Conductor Damon Gupton
  • March 21-23: American Originals. Conductor John Morris Russell. A celebration of the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, illuminating the inspirational musical stories that birthed jazz in America.
  • May 2-4: Conductor John Morris Russell. Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez spotlights Latin voices of Broadway, film and television.

Pops Special Events

  • Dec. 31: Conductor John Morris Russell. New Year’s Eve concert featuring the music of American composer and songwriter Cole Porter. Singer/pianist Tony DeSare, singer/trombonist Aubrey Logan and singer/tap dancer John Manzari.
  • TBA. Home Alone: Film in Concert. Conductor Damon Gupton. Full screening of the 1990 film “Home Alone,” scored by John Williams.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

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