This afternoon, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concluded a lengthy, worldwide search and named internationally known conductor, Louis Langree, as Music Director Designate. The CSO circulated a media release, but those attending the evening’s 2012 Patron Appreciation Concert received a personal announcement as they entered Music Hall. During the concert, Langree came to the stage for an official introduction.
“A great, great journey…”
Langree’s near life-sized image, arms outstretched in full director’s stance, greeted concertgoers from a banner high above the main auditorium entrance. For audience members entering to take their seats, that image was difficult to miss. The news kept people talking until the lights dimmed and the concert began. When Associate Conductor Robert Trevino finished directing “Slavonic Dances,” he stepped down from the podium, left the stage and Langree walked out for a formal introduction to his first Cincinnati audience.
His accent was clearly French and his demeanor came across as genuinely humble. Langree called his director’s appointment “…an honor and a privilege.” The audience laughed a little when he talked about directing “..pieces you love and pieces you might love.” The auditorium was filled to capacity, but every voice was silent as he spoke of his upcoming CSO tenure as “..a great, great journey full of deep joy.” He exited to a standing ovation.
Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Stravinsky were upstaged by Langree
Conductor Trevino came back to the podium. He continued conducting with his sweeping, dramatic movements, and the orchestra played beautifully. The concert was an exciting mix of Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Brahms Symphony Number 4 in E Minor: Movements I and II, and Stravinsky’s, “The Firebird” Suite. Still it had the feel of a great concert that had been upstaged by something even greater.
That’s understandable. Snaring Langree was a coup for the CSO, and his presence on stage generated a sense of excitement. The CSO website calls Langree “internationally renowned.” In a PBS interview, “Conducting With a Vision,” Alan Alda expressed his belief that Langree played the orchestra “… like an instrument.”
He’s in his 10th season as director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York. He’s the Chief Conductor of the Camerata Salzburg ensemble, and is well known for his Metropolitan Opera performances. Langree is currently rehearsing a production of “La Clamenza di Tito” with the Vienna State Opera, and in May he will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in the Burgtheater in Vienna.
Paavo Jarvi held the CSO Music Director position for 10 years and left in May 2011. Langree will be the 13th conductor in the CSO’s 117-year history. He will officially begin his duties when the 2013-14 season begins, but on November 9-10 he will conduct the all-French program, “Welcome Louis!” On November 15, 17 and 18 he will conduct Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.