The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra recently released an outstanding new recording on 17th November on its own record label Fanfare Cincinnati, Concertos For Orchestra. It premiered three commissioned works by composers Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich and Zhou Tian, conducted by the orchestra's Music Director, internationally acclaimed Louis Langrée. Order your copy or stream now HERE.
CincyMusic.com: Last we spoke was back in 2014. I feel like since you have arrived, the CSO has grown in so many ways. From American Soundscapes, MusicNOW, LUMENOCITY and beyond. How do you feel about your time here in Cincinnati thus far with the CSO?
Louis Langrée: Certainly, some of these initiatives like LUMENOCITY, the Pelleas Trilogy and our MusicNOW Festival collaboration have sparked creativity and underscore our core value to be a place of experimentation. We continue to grow musically and to make discoveries, whether we’re performing a brand-new work or Brahms.
CM: Has the construction of Music Hall hindered the CSO’s performances? It has seemed that other venues have opened their arms, but I can imagine it may be difficult.
LL: Venue transitions are always challenging times for an orchestra from a logistical standpoint, but I wouldn’t say it’s hindered our performances in any way. On the contrary, adjusting to different performances spaces sharpens an ensemble, and the clear acoustics of the Taft Theatre have benefited the Orchestra’s playing. Of course, we look forward to our return to Music Hall in October.
CM: Congratulations on the release of the new album! How did you decide which composers to commission for the new Concertos for Orchestra?
LL: Zhou Tian, who was born in China and now lives in the United States, was previously introduced to the CSO by former Creative Director and composer Jennifer Higdon. The Orchestra premiered another one of Tian’s works in 2012 that was very well received and embraced this opportunity to work with him again.
I knew Sebastian Currier, who is a highly regarded American composer, only through his music and wanted to collaborate with him.
Thierry Escaich, who is also French, is a friend and artist I’ve collaborated with in the past. I admire his music and always enjoy working with him.
CM: Given the different classical music languages on the album, how did you determine how to conduct?
LL: With three composers coming from three different continents, it was fascinating to see how these three distinct voices worked within the concerto for orchestra form itself.
Sometimes you would dream to meet Beethoven and ask him what he meant by a marking or phrasing… Conducting pieces by living composers afford opportunities for dialog, which certainly influences how I interpret their music.
CM: What are you most looking forward to in 2017 with the CSO?
LL: With the season announcement coming at the end of the month, I don’t want to reveal too much about the coming season except to say we are all very excited about the return to Music Hall and stay tuned! The already announced performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, completing our three-year Pelleas Trilogy, will be an extraordinary collaboration with director James Darrah and our partners at Cincinnati Opera.
Of course in 2017 we have two international tours that will take the Orchestra to China and Taiwan in March and several major cities across Europe in August and September. We are proud to serve as Cincinnati’s ambassador!
Learn more about the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at cincinnatisymphony.org