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CSO Announces Winners of One City One Symphony Poetry Contest

CSO Announces Winners of One City One Symphony Poetry Contest

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The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will present its annual One City, One Symphony concerts on Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14, 2015. This year’s event centers on the theme of freedom, with the concerts featuring a new CSO commission of three short works that set selections of the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s poetry to music, a particularly fitting tribute to this warrior for peace, justice, and love. The concerts will also include a performance of Dvořák’s New World Symphony, one of the most beloved American symphonies of all time. This celebration of the promise of freedom and American music coincides with the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment.

Seeking to engage the community in discussion around One City, One Symphony and its theme of freedom, the CSO, with support from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, conducted a poetry contest for original poem submissions responding to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” The CSO announces the winners of the contest as follows:


Grand Prize: Dana Schneider of Edgewood, KY - "Is Freedom Just Not That into Me?"
1st Prize: Bridget Bill of Cincinnati, OH - "A Snow Globe Sky"

2nd Prize: Alison Maniace of Columbus, OH - "Are We There Yet?"


Grand Prize: Mark Flanigan of Cincinnati, OH (Prospect Hill) - "The Bell Ringer’s Song"
1st Prize: Richard Hague of Cincinnati, OH (Madisonville) - "Finding Freedom"

2nd Prize: Elese Daniel of Cincinnati, OH (Mt. Auburn) - "Self-portrait at 25"

For inspiration, entrants were encouraged to read the three poems by Dr. Maya Angelou that will be used in the commissioned works: Forgive, Equality, and Elegy, or to listen to Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. Poems were judged on the basis of interpretation of theme, creativity and originality, and artistic expression and overall presentation. In addition to each winner receiving two tickets to attend the One City, One Symphony concert, the Grand Prize Winners in each category will receive a prize of $2,500 each; the First Prize Winners will receive a prize of $1,000 each; and the Second Prize Winners will receive a prize of $500 each.

The winning poems will be posted on the CSO’s Facebook page (, and they will also be read at the following poetry readings at branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County:

SAT, NOV 7 @ 2 PM Poetry Reading (Grades 9-12 Winners), Corryville Branch Library WED, NOV 11 @ 7 PM Poetry Reading (Adult Winners), Main Library

Adjudication Panel
Jori An Cotton, Spoken Word Instructor at Elementz
Pauletta Hansel, Writer-in-Residence at WordPlay
Alysia Nicole Harris, Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at Taft Museum of Art Carl Phillips, Poet-in-Residence at University of Cincinnati

One City, One Symphony is the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s community-wide project that brings us together through music. By connecting music the CSO performs at Music Hall to themes relevant to everyday life, One City, One Symphony inspires audiences, provokes critical thinking, and celebrates shared humanity. Amplified by the enthusiasm of dozens of community partners, One City, One Symphony has inspired people and created community conversation since its debut in 2012.