With a rich tradition that dates back 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is considered one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles. Currently led by Louis Langrée, the Orchestra’s distinguished roster of past music directors includes Frank van der Stucken, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Michael Gielen, Jesús López Cobos, and Paavo Järvi.
Since its beginnings, the CSO been a proponent of the music of its time, performing the American premieres of works by important composers including Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók, and commissioning many works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including Aaron Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man. Additionally, the CSO has a longstanding of inviting composers to perform their own work with the Orchestra, from Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Camille Saint-Saëns, Alexander Scriabin and Richard Strauss in the beginning of the 20thcentury, and later with Respighi, Gershwin, Bartók, Copland, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Bernstein, and Milhaud. The Orchestra proudly continues to uphold this tradition, with recent appearances by John Adams, Bryce Dessner, Caroline Shaw, and Matthias Pintscher.
With groundbreaking initiatives including CSO Proof, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY and the MusicNOW Festival collaboration, the Orchestra champions innovation. As an ambassador for Cincinnati, the region, and for the U.S., the CSO has toured extensively, most recently to Asia and Europe in 2017, and sold millions of recordings around the globe. Committed to inclusion and relevance, the Orchestra serves the community and elevates the City’s vibrant cultural scene not only through CSO and Cincinnati Pops performances, but also by serving as the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet.