Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

Cincinnati Pops Orchestra 
Music Hall
1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 621-1919 / Administrative Office
(513) 381-3300 / Ticket Office
[email protected]

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra founded the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in 1977 with Erich Kunzel, Founder and Conductor Emeritus.

Today the Cincinnati Pops, under the direction of Conductor John Morris Russell, composed of musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, is one of the world’s most active classical pops ensembles, performing 20 or more subscription concerts during the Music Hall season and 10 subscription concerts at Riverbend Music Center, the orchestra’s outdoor summer home, where the inaugural concert was given by Maestro Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops on July 4, 1984.

The Cincinnati Pops has gained new fans the world over through tour performances (Japan and Taiwan in 1990 and again in 1997, plus domestic performances that include frequent concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall), recordings on the Telarc label, and television specials for PBS.

“Popular” concerts have been very much a part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra tradition since the ensemble was founded in 1895. When a young Leopold Stokowski became the CSO’s second music director in 1909, he gave renewed emphasis to Pops concerts — an aspect of Stokowski’s career that perhaps reached its zenith years later when, at the end of the animated film Fantasia, he became the only conductor ever to shake Mickey Mouse’s hand. Pops performances were also presented by subsequent CSO music directors, and the CSO Pops series was also headed during the 1940s by CSO member Reuben Lawson and the celebrated conductor and arranger Andre Kostelanetz. It was Kostelanetz who commissioned Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, and Kern’s A Mark Twain Portrait and gave both pieces their world premiere performances at a special Cincinnati Symphony concert at Music Hall in 1942.