From the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 8, 2009
By Janelle Gelfand
For the first time in memory, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will open its season next year with a single gala concert.
The orchestra will launch its 115th season Sept. 17 in Music Hall with a specially ticketed event starring Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. Paavo Järvi will open his ninth season as music director with music by American composers, including Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Leonard Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story." "The idea was to take one clear angle and to highlight American music throughout the season," Järvi says.
The orchestra's 2009-10 season will include a wide-ranging lineup of stars, including Järvi's brother, conductor Kristjan Järvi, in his subscription debut; pianist Gabriela Montero, who performed at President Obama's inauguration ceremony; the ever-popular French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and American conductor William Eddins conducting Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F from the keyboard.
Besides the tried-and-true symphonic fare, next season's programs will include a "Latin Night, the popular choral piece "Carmina Burana" and Wagner's Music from "The Ring." And the orchestra hopes to make Handel's "Messiah" an annual December tradition.
The Cincinnati Symphony is also revamping its Sunday afternoon series. A new, four-concert "Pathways" series will include an hour-long concert, followed by a half-hour discussion with Järvi joined by symphony musicians. The chats will be moderated by on-air personalities from WGUC-FM. The four afternoons will be offered at a lower price than full-length subscription programs.
The orchestra is responding to the economy by offering no price increases for its subscriptions, and cheaper single tickets next season. Single tickets will start at $10 - down $2 from this year.
The idea, says Trey Devey, the orchestra's president, is to make an evening out at the symphony "just as affordable as going to the movies."