Louis Langrée’s inaugural release as CSO Music Director
features the late Dr. Maya Angelou
CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced its first commercial recording with Music Director Louis Langrée, Hallowed Ground, will be released on the Orchestra’s Fanfare Cincinnati label and distributed by Naxos of America, Inc. on September 9.
“Hallowed Ground is derived from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” said Mr. Langrée. “All of this music is inspired by sacred spaces—from the battlefield to incredible vistas to beautiful community gathering points.”
Hallowed Ground was recorded live at Music Hall in November 2013 and March 2014, and features Aaron Copland’s iconic Lincoln Portrait with one of the most inspiring voices of our time, the late Dr. Maya Angelou narrating. Part of Mr. Langrée’s inaugural program as Music Director, Lincoln Portrait received its world premiere by the CSO at Music Hall in 1942, and has become a mainstay with orchestras around the world.
“November of 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and those powerful words resonate today, especially delivered by legendary author, poet, activist and humanitarian Dr. Maya Angelou,” said Mr. Langrée. “It was a great honor and privilege for us to work with Dr. Angelou, just seven months before her passing at the age of 86.”
Two world premiere recordings from Hallowed Ground came out of a groundbreaking collaboration with the MusicNOW Festival and the Festival’s Artistic Director Bryce Dessner. On March 21, Mr. Langrée and the CSO recorded the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Pleasure Ground, a portrait work depicting the life of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead with baritone Nathan Wyatt. On March 22, also during the MusicNOW Festival, Mr. Langrée and the CSO recorded the world premiere of mountain, a new work by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang inspired by American composer Aaron Copland.
“These commissions represent a true spirit of innovation in Cincinnati, and this as place of experimentation,” said Mr. Langrée.
Hallowed Ground was produced by Elaine Martone of Sonarc Music Recording and engineered by Chelsea VandeDrink of Cincinnati Public Radio. The Associate Producer was Robert Treviño, CSO Associate Conductor.
The recording was made possible by a generous gift from Tom and Dee Stegman and Rosemary H. and Frank Bloom. Dr. Angelou’s performances were made possible by The Harold C. Schott Foundation, Francie and Tom Hiltz. The commissioned works of Nico Muhly’s Pleasure Ground and David Lang’s mountain were made possible by a generous gift from Ann and Harry Santen. Special thanks to Boundless Series Sponsor Macy’s
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble of some of the world’s finest musicians. The fifth oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S. and the oldest orchestra in Ohio, the CSO has played a leading role in the cultural life of Greater Cincinnati and the Midwest since its founding in 1895.
The CSO has built a reputation as one of the world’s foremost orchestras, determined for greatness and heralded as a place of experimentation. A champion of new music, the Orchestra has given American premieres of works by such composers as Debussy, Ravel and Bartók and has commissioned works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. The CSO was the first orchestra to be broadcast to a national radio audience (1921) and the third to record (1917). The Orchestra continues to commission new works and to program an impressive array of music. Most recently, the CSO performed the world premieres of Nico Muhly’s Pleasure Ground and David Lang’s mountain as part of the groundbreaking collaboration with the MusicNOW Festival, Cincinnati’s premier new music festival.
Louis Langrée, Music Director
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Louis Langrée is an internationally acclaimed conductor with an engaging presence on the podium. The French conductor is also Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York and Chief Conductor of the Camerata Salzburg.
According to The New York Times, Mr. Langrée’s inaugural program as CSO Music Director in November of 2013 “deftly combined nods to the orchestra’s history, the city’s musical life and new music.” That concert program included the performance of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the late Dr. Maya Angelou featured on this recording. The New York Times reviewer went on to write, “As striking as his conducting, though, was a passing moment on Friday: When intermission began, he waited until Ms. Angelou’s wheelchair had been brought to her, then walked offstage in her wake. No one would have remarked had he done differently, but it was a gesture as classy as his artistry.”
From the Berlin Philharmonic to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, from Tokyo’s NHK Symphony to the Vienna State Opera and from the London Philharmonic to Milan’s La Scala, Mr. Langrée’s extraordinary music-making has made him one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.
In Cincinnati, his passion and commitment to innovation and experimentation is captivating audiences and inspiring artistic collaborators to international acclaim. Successful Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra initiatives like One City, One Symphony, the groundbreaking LUMENOCITY®, and a partnership with the MusicNOW Festival reinforce that the CSO is a place of experimentation under Mr. Langrée’s visionary leadership.
Mr. Langrée’s discography includes Gramophone and MIDEM Classical award winners, and his most recent DVD release of La Traviata with the London Symphony Orchestra for Virgin Classics was awarded the Diapason d’Or. In 2006 he was appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Online recordings of Mr. Langrée and the CSO performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, and Mozart’s Davide Penitente are available as free downloads from the CSO’s Fanfare Cincinnati label at cincinnnatisymphony.org. These recordings were part of the One City, One Symphony initiative, which offers the community opportunities to connect and explore selected works of music together. For further information please visit louislangree.com. (Photo: Benoit Linero)