Before the Music Ends

Before the Music Ends
Rafael’s Music Notes | 08.21.17

Cincinnati has grown into one of the most important centers of music-making in our country, due in no small degree to the quality and quantity of its musical offerings.

Yet, when we arrived here at the end of 2009, we sensed a vacuum in some areas of the repertory. Where was the ensemble that could move comfortably from the music of the Baroque to the great works of Mozart and Haydn and on to the early Romantic masterpieces of Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn?

Friends lamented in those days the temporary disappearance of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that had been an important presence in Cincinnati during the previous two decades. Conductors had come and gone, leading it for a while and then moving on to other jobs. There was no musical director to imprint a vision and to shape the sound. Management was fatigued and burned out.

The CCO was a musical sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened and brought back to life.

A new board created a new structure, brought in new and young and savvy management. A search for a conductor was begun. Several candidates were given a concert of their own during the 2016 season. One stood out and, hands down, was the audience and musicians’ favorite: Eckart Preu, a youthful German-born conductor, now living in America.