Culture FIX: March 27-April 2

We’re springing ahead with an eventful week highlighted by once-a-year celebrations – Easter Sunday, the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day and the Cincinnati Zoo’s festival of flowers. But there are other options for those of us seeking a cultural fix, including several tasty musical treats.

Wednesday, March 27

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral

Great Music in a Great Space, The Ancient Office of Tenebrae | 7:30 p.m., Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, 325 W 8th St, downtown. 513-421-5354. DETAILS: This program by the basilica’s choir is a musical highlight of Holy Week in Cincinnati. “Tenebrae,” Latin for “darkness,” is a liturgy held during the days before Easter, with the extinguishing of candles and the singing of psalms. The program will feature music spanning the centuries, with Gregorio Allegri’s famous 1638 “Miserere,” a setting of Psalm 51, as a focal point. That’s the 10-minute choral piece, sung by the Sistine Chapel choir with its unique performance style during Holy Week, that a 14-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart heard there on Holy Wednesday, then supposedly wrote down entirely from memory. The service is free, but free-will offerings are accepted. And it will be well attended. (Look for M&M co-publisher Thom Mariner among the basses.)

Thursday, March 28

Findlay Market Opening Day Parade

Findlay Market Opening Day Parade | noon, Findlay Market to downtown. DETAILS: Cincinnati Reds Opening Day is perhaps Cincinnati’s greatest civic holiday. This is the day to feel like a kid again, play hooky from work (or school), catch the parade, a party, and maybe a few innings of the game. The focal point is the famous parade through Over-the-Rhine and downtown, with former Reds Pokey Reese and Dmitri Young as grand marshals this year. But there’s much more to the day, such as: an Opening Day Extravaganza at 8 a.m. at Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St. (yes, with Jim Tarbell again dressed as Peanut Jim); an all-day Opening Day at Rhinegeist, starting at 9 a.m.; an Opening Day party at Washington Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; the Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party, beginning at 11 a.m. at The Banks. As for the game: The Reds take on the Washington Nationals at 4:10 p.m. in Great American Ball Park. Play ball!


Cincinnati Opera graphic for ‘Liverpool Oratorio’

Cincinnati Opera, “Opera Rap” Community Conversation | 7:30 p.m., Cincinnati Opera Production Facility, 7712 Reinhold Drive, Roselawn. 513-241-2742. DETAILS: With a world-premiere stage production of Paul McCartney’s “Liverpool Oratorio” on its 2024 Summer Festival lineup, the Cincinnati Opera hosts a “Sneak Peek with the Creative Team” for music lovers wanting an inside look at the production. The free but reservation-only event is at capacity right now, but the opera has a waitlist for returned tickets.

Friday, March 29

Pianist Inon Barnatan

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “The Inextinguishable” | 11 a.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: The CSO program’s title comes from the nickname for the Symphony No. 4 by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, who said “Music is life, and like it, it is inextinguishable.” That’s the idea behind this symphony, written during World War I, which expresses determination, grit and “the elemental will to live,” as Nielsen put it. It’s dramatic, with “dueling timpanists” in the final movement, and very serious. (But as I recall, that didn’t stop some would-be musical wits in college from calling it the “Indistinguishable,” meaning it sounded just about like any other Nielsen symphony.) For many, the draw will be Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s popular Piano Concerto No. 1, with its Incredible Disappearing Grand Opening Tune, performed by the fine Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan (check out his nifty arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” for solo piano). Don’t overlook Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s program-opening Ballade in A Minor, Op. 33, the 1898 work that was championed by none other than Sir Edward Elgar. Ryan Bancroft is the guest conductor.
Also March 30.


Mark Gibson conducts the Philharmonia.

CCM Philharmonia, “¡Si, Se Habla Español!” | 7:30 p.m., Corbett Auditorium, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: More orchestral goodies! Not sure who thought up the title for this concert, but it makes a roundabout interesting point about the many, many non-Spanish composers who “spoke Spanish” musically, inspired by Iberian culture. Among them were Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov of Russia, represented here with the folk-inspired suite “Capriccio Español” (more commonly “Espagnol”), and Maurice Ravel of France (well, OK, he was part Basque and grew up a few miles from the border), whose “Rapsodie espagnole” is on the program. The concert wraps up with a relative rarity: Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s complete ballet score to “El Sombrero de Tres Picos” (“The Three-Cornered Hat”), which the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra recorded with the late Jesús López-Cobos. Music Director Mark Gibson conducts the Philharmonia.


Part of the ‘Clearly Indigenous’ exhibit

Art After Dark, “Native Visions” | 5-9 p.m., Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park. 513-721-2787. DETAILS: CAM’s monthly after-work party series continues with an event celebrating contemporary Native American and Indigenous Pacific Rim arts and traditions. There’s a cash bar, music with DJ Creepingbear, a live painting demonstration with Leonard Harmon, food from the Indigenous Chef food truck, and free admission to the museum’s “Clearly Indigenous” (which closes April 7) and other exhibits. Free, reservations not required, but parking is limited.

Saturday, March 30

Harpist Elisabeth Plank

NKU School of the Arts, harpist Elisabeth Plank | 7 p.m., Greaves Concert Hall, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. 859-572-5464. DETAILS: Austrian harp virtuoso Elisabeth Plank, who specializes in rare, rediscovered musical works and contemporary world premieres, comes to NKU for a guest recital co-sponsored by the NKU School of the Arts, the American Harp Society’s local chapter, the College-Conservatory of Music and the School for Creative & Performing Arts. Plank is a noted advocate for the early 19th-century double-action pedal harp, and has arranged various musical works for the instrument.

Sunday, March 31

The Easter Egg Hunt at Washington Park

Washington Park, Easter Egg Hunt | 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Washington Park, 1230 Elm St, Over-the-Rhine. 513-621-4400. DETAILS: Happy Easter! This will be a quiet day culture-wise, with many Cincinnatians devoted to sunrise services, Easter celebrations at church, family gatherings and, of course, Easter egg hunts. Washington Park holds its traditional hunt, sponsored by Graeter’s, in scavenger-hunt style (which actually starts Saturday, March 30), where kids can find hidden eggs around the park and win prizes. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance, too. Free, with online registration.

Monday, April 1

Brian Cashwell and Andrea Cefalo

Jazz at the Memo, Estrada do Sol | 7 p.m., Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: In a program titled “Echoes from Brazil … A 75 Year Retrospective,” the Cincinnati musicians in the group Estrada do Sol explore “música popular brasileira,” described as an urban popular-music trend in Brazil that combines many of that nation’s regional influences with jazz and rock. This concert features husband-and-wife team Andrea Cefalo (singer) and Brian Cashwell (pianist) with bassist Diego Jose da Silva.


Zoo Blooms at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Zoo Blooms | 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Avondale. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: You know it’s truly spring when the Cincinnati Zoo starts bursting with the colors of a million-plus blooms – daffodils, hyacinths, flowering trees and shrubs, and definitely tulips (the display’s nickname is “tulip mania”). The display lasts all month, though the peak time usually is between April 7 and 15, the zoo advises. On Thursday evening, the zoo presents its “Tunes & Blooms” music series among the flowers. It’s all included with zoo admission.

Tuesday, April 2

Pete Rose breaks the major-league record for hits with No. 4,192 on Sept. 11, 1985.

Book discussion, Keith O’Brien on “Charlie Hustle” | 7 p.m., Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road, Norwood. 513-396-8960. DETAILS: Nicely timed for the start of baseball season, Joseph-Beth hosts the author of an acclaimed new book about Cincinnati hometown baseball hero and Hit King Pete Rose, whose banishment from baseball for gambling is still a source of controversy 35 years later. Keith O’Brien’s new book has been praised as one of the most thorough accounts of Rose’s life, career, rise and fall. Registration for the free event is optional. O’Brien also will discuss his book at 7 p.m. April 3 in a Delhi Historical Society event at Rapid Run Middle School, 6345 Rapid Run Road.


Awadagin Pratt

Xavier Music Series, pianist Awadagin Pratt | 8 p.m., Gallagher Center Theater, Xavier University. 513-745-3161. DETAILS: Cincinnati’s other Hit King, the great American pianist Awadagin Pratt, who has had a huge impact on musical life not only in Cincinnati but across the country, returns to give a recital program on the Xavier series. Pratt, who was a professor and artist-in-residence at the College-Conservatory of Music until 2023 (now professor emeritus), teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory. He has had a remarkable career. After receiving diplomas in three performing areas – piano, violin and conducting – from Peabody Conservatory of Music (the first to do so), he won the Naumburg competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and embarked on an international career as a recitalist and orchestral soloist. Most important, he’s helped encourage the art of the piano as founding director of the Next Generation Festival, the Art of the Piano Foundation, the Nina Simone Piano Competition and other institutions.


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