The area’s strong interest and commitment to cultural entertainment can be traced to several organizations that were founded in the late 1800s. Musically, the May Festival is a choral extravaganza that started in 1873 and continues to this day. Each year in May, guest soloists from around the world join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus onstage at Music Hall for two weekends of choral masterpieces. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1893, performs with world-class artists from September through April.
That strong orchestral tradition has generated a number of other organizations as well, including the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. Two recent additions to the scene, the Constella Festival and concert:nova get classical music out of the concert hall and into smaller venues—think pub crawls—for a more intimate experience, mixing it up with visual artists and musicians of all types. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra musicians also form the Cincinnati Pops, an ensemble that partners with country, pop and Broadway stars throughout the season. During June and July, Cincinnati Pops moves to Riverbend Music Center, an outdoor amphitheater along the Ohio River next to Coney Island.
Written by Kathleen Doane.