Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik Festival Brings Award-Winning Compositions to Queen City | cultural | Cincinnati

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Photo: Sergio R. Reyes

A performance by Héctor del Curto will open the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik Festival.

The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Summermusik Festival is back to liven up August’s Dog Days with a packed schedule of events. After a canceled 2020 season and an abbreviated season played away in 2021, CCO Music Director Eckart Preu shares each artistic director’s eagerness to get back to normal.

“I wanted a big comeback to our indoor season,” Preu said. CityBeat, speaking from his home in New York. “Some of the pieces programmed are familiar, arranged for chamber orchestra or completely redesigned. And we’re also working with exciting new venues for our afternoon series and pub crawls.

Beyond classic works by Gustav Mahler, Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy and Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky, Preu has selected music by women, Asian, Latino and black composers, spanning four weekends. With one exception, every piece is a CCO first.

The season is a sample of world music ranging from sultry tango, water drumming and bossa nova to a battle of bands. Each weekend series includes a full orchestral concert at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, a Sunday afternoon concert and evening pub crawls, with many events already sold out.

The Sounds of Argentina and Peru will open the season on August 6, featuring Grammy-winning musician and composer Héctor del Curto performing Astor Piazzolo’s vibrant bandoneon concerto, Aconcagua. Tony winner Fernanda Ghi and her partner Silvio Grand take the stage dancing to three Piazzola tangos. On August 7, Del Curto, Ghi and Grand joined a quintet of CCO musicians at Mount Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky, for tango in a more intimate setting.

Harpist Ina Zdorovetchi headlines a weekend of music on August 13 and 14 that pushes harp and orchestra out of the celestial realms. She plays Arturo Marquez Concerto for harp (Mascaras) and Gyorgy Liegeti Concerto Romanesc.

“This is no ordinary harp concerto,” says Preu. “mascaras is very difficult and requires a virtuoso, which is Ina. The audience is amazed at what the harp and this harpist can do.

It may not be the only music to surprise audiences. The CCO will interpret Berlioz’s classic drug dream Fantastic Symphony which Preu calls a funky reimagining arranged by French composer Arthur Lavandier on August 13. The show will take place at the Corbett Theater downtown at the School for Creative & Performing Arts.

“With a smaller orchestra, the sonic world opens up and you can hear more orchestral textures,” says Preu. “Lavandier includes a synthesizer, an electric guitar, an amateur wind band joining the orchestra on stage and an alphorn.”

“The electric guitar solo fits in perfectly, as does the synthesizer. We bring a [University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music] alum living in Chicago to do the alphorn solo. It’s complicated but very fun,” he adds.

The magic of the harp continues during the “A Little Afternoon Musik” series with selections inspired by works from the CAM collection.

The power of the muse, presented at the School for Creative & Performing Arts’ Corbett Theater on August 20, explores music written and inspired by women. “There are such powerful stories associated with the muses we present, and it’s important to share those stories,” says Preu.

“Lili Boulanger is one of music’s great losses – she died at 24 with so much music in her. Clara Schumann has pursued an amazing career as a pianist and her music is finally being heard,” he continues. “Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel is also recognized as an exceptional performer and composer. And Alma Mahler is probably the most famous of musical muses.

by Clara Schuman piano concerto in A minor will be performed by acclaimed pianist Vijay Venkatesh. Soprano Victoria Okafor is the soloist in a chamber arrangement by Mahler Symphony No. 4. The two soloists perform on August 21 at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church.

The Muse weekend is preceded by a screening and discussion of the 2000 film Chocolate which features a critically acclaimed score by Rachel Portman. The lively discussion will take place at the Esquire Theater in Clifton on August 18.

Water is the theme of the last weekend. by Strauss The Blue Danube and Debussy The sea are joined by Chinese-American composer Tan Dun’s Concerto on the water and percussionist Yuri Yamashita.

Yamashita also sings bossa nova, a style of samba developed in Brazil. She is the headliner of the final pub crawl at Redmoor on August 26. The popular series ventures to new locations including the Newport Aquarium, New Riff Distilling and Fretboard Brewing Company. At press time, the Aquarium and New Riff shows are sold out; check availability.

Preu is confident that the musicians of CCO will be there for the return of a busy month of performances. Along with the high level of professionalism, there’s the feel of a welcome family reunion, he says.

Preu admits last year’s outdoor experiences lacked the connection he wanted for the orchestra, for the audience and for himself

“We’re not back to normal yet, not yet, but the feeling of unity is one of the great things about this orchestra. I’m really looking forward to it,” says Preu.

CCO’s Summermusik Festival runs August 6-27 at various locations in the Greater Cincinnati area. Full schedules and ticket information: www.ccocincinnati.org.

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About Madeline J. Carter

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