BBC Proms
Photo credit: Chris Christodoulou

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra recently wrapped up an 11-concert tour of Europe, proving all the while how powerful the arts can be in putting Cincinnati on the map. At every stop along the way, the CSO was met with enthusiastic crowds, thunderous applause and innovative ways to connect people through music.

The tour began on August 25 at Usher Hall during the Edinburgh International Festival, where Louis Langrée conducted Bernstein’s Suite from "On the Waterfront," Copland’s "Lincoln Portrait" (featuring narration by Charles Dance of "Game of Thrones" fame) and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. The CSO then traveled to London to make their BBC Proms debut—a debut the venerable Times called "a touring programme of precision and sparkle that shows us exactly what we’ve been missing." The Orchestra's Proms performance can be streamed through September courtesy of BBC Radio.

From there, the CSO went to Spain to perform at San Sebastian’s Kursaal Donostia and at the Palacio de Festivales, then the Netherlands. In Utrecht, on September 4, the CSO held a free performance for refugees from Syria in partnership with Classical Movements and Welkom in Utrecht. Members of the orchestra and refugees had the opportunity to meet, sharing their stories and their musical talents across what is often a vast cultural divide.

The tour was rounded out by a stop in Antwerp Belgium and finally in France, where native Parisian Louis Langrée conducted an American orchestra in a world premiere of the new critical edition of "An American in Paris" in Paris. Also in the program was Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," which he composed in America after finding inspiration in Native American music and African-American spirituals, making the work a masterpiece that brings together European and American musical sensibilities—and thus, ideal for a grand finale of the CSO's European tour.

The press agreed. In his review of the final concert in Paris, Tristan Labouret of Bachtrack writes that the Orchestra members "leave behind them the best possible image of America." We're thrilled to welcome them home to Cincinnati and can't wait to see them debut their inaugural season at the renewed Music Hall.