Columbus Symphony

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

It's quite evident that Columbus Symphony conductor Rossen Milanov is passionate about classic film scores from Hollywood's Golden Age. You can see it on his face and hear it in his voice as he speaks about composers such as Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, and Elmer Bernstein.

Those composers and others are the subject of a week-long focus on music written for the silver screen the CSO is calling The Hollywood Festival.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra website

Haochen Zhang is the co-winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn piano competition, a virtuosic performer, and 25-year old master of his instrument. This week Zhang joins the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Rossen Milanov onstage for Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. 

Opera Columbus /

Opera and More, the weekly opera program on Classical 101, presents Mozart's The Marriage of Figarosung in English, Saturday September 5th at 1:00 PM. Jason Hiester conducts members of the Columbus Symphony and Columbus's own Adam Cioffari came home from an international career to sing the title role. Other local favorites in the cast: Leo Welsh, Sam Hall, and Susan Millard Schwartz.

WOSU Public Media

No rest for the wicked, the weary, the musical, the theatrical, the sleepy, the curious or for a Buckeye.


It is easy to fall into a routine or comfort zone in our listening, especially the more entrenched in a music scene one becomes. It happens. But what happens when musicians reach across genres to listen to one another and audiences follow? 

Columbus Symphony Orchestra website

Music icons such as The Commodores and Pink Martini will be visiting our fair city this month for the Picnic With The Pops series hosted by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Classical 101 has the details. 

Anna Vinnitskaya
Columbus Symphony Orchestra

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra Masterworks season comes to its end with two monumental works for orchestra. Join Classical 101 and host Christopher Purdy for the broadcast of the season finale at 1pm on Sunday, June 7. 

Yolanda Kondonassis her harp
Mark Battrell

This weekend's concerts by the Columbus Symphony feature Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and the Harp Concerto by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis joins the CSO for these concerts, conducted by Andres Franco. Also on the program: Astor Piazzola's Milonga del Angel and the Danses sacree et profane by Debussy.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen listening to the rehersal of Saul og David in Gothenburg in 1928
Charles Carlsson / Wikimedia Commons

Growing up,  I was mentored by a next door neighbor who taught music in the public schools. She died a few weeks ago at 94.  I have been thinking of her while studying the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).

Columbus Symphony conducted by form music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Columbus Symphony

This morning, in a state of happy exhaustion, I take a look at performing arts activities in Central Ohio April and May. 

Everyone knows that audience members at concerts are never happy.

The etiquette is to sit quietly in the dark. Suppress all emotional response and bodily noise. Looking happy or as if you are enjoying yourself is resolutely low rent... Schubert and Brahms were miserable, and you should be, too. The musicians aren’t there to entertain you. Conductors are there to flap their arms, wiggle their bottoms, and get paid a lot. Just look around you, right?


Rossen Milanov
Courtesy of artist

Last Saturday night a woman next to me in the Ohio Theater whispered about the conductor, What do you know about this guy?

Nice people always choose the most poignant moment in the music to start nudging and whispering, so I pointed to his bio in the program, and put my finger to my lips. When the lights went up and the cheers ended, she said Well?

I told her a bit about his background. I said he was clearly a very gifted conductor.

Colin Currie
Marco Borggreve

“I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day.” This was the sentiment expressed by Todd Rundgren some years back. For Colin Currie, he also wants to bang on the drum all day…and the marimba, cymbals, bells, and whatever else he can find. Such is the life now for a percussion soloist.

In a symphony orchestra, kettledrums were about it for ages. Not so anymore. With artists like Evelyn Glennie and Colin Currie around, percussion performance has taken on a whole new dimension.

Rossen Milanov conducts the Columbus Symphony.
Marco Borggreve/Columbus Symphony

The Columbus Symphony performs Incantations a percussion concerto by Einojuhani Rautavaara this weekend at the Ohio Theater. Rossen Milanov conducts, with soloist Colin Currie.

The work was written for Mr. Currie, who gave the premiere with the London Philharmonic in 2009. Also on this weekend’s CSO Program, Brahms Third Symphony and Bolero by Maurice Ravel.

Colin Currie
Marco Borggreve

Watch out, Columbus, our new music scene is pretty hot right now.

On the heels of Denison’s fabulous TUTTI Festival, Capital University and the Johnstone Fund for New Music will be presenting quite the line-up of events next week.

Capital’s Conservatory of Music is preparing for RhythmFest March 17-27 with New Music at the Short North presenting the ‘California Mavericks’ program on March 25.

The Columbus Symphony’s February 27th and 28th program salutes the 1920s in Paris, New York and Berlin. We’ll hear Kurt Weill’s Little Threepenny Opera Suite, George Antheil’s Jazz Symphony, Scherzo a la russe by Stravinsky and Bolero.

Gertrude Stein would sit in her Paris atelier surrounded by her walls filled with “pictures” by Picasso, Cezanne, Matisse and Man Ray and declare to the assembled young men at her feet, “You boys are the lost generation.”

Thomas Lauderdale
Columbus Symphony Orchestra

When I read pianist Thomas Lauderdale’s personal bio page on the CSO’s website, it was less like an artist profile and more like the description of a wonderful character from Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone or the TV series Portlandia.

Lauderdale was born in Indiana, but moved to Portland in 1982 and began studying piano with Sylvia Killman who still serves as his coach and mentor. Here are the two of them, just as teacher and student, no pretense, no pressures. It’s lovely to watch.

This weekend’s Columbus Symphony program is conducted by John DeMain. He comes by Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess honestly. DeMain was Music Director of the Sherwin M. Goldman-Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s opera on Broadway in the late 1970s.

That production was for many the introduction to Porgy and Bess. Thirty years later I have no doubt Mr. DeMain will give us the blood and the beauty in scenes from Gershwin’s opera.

Performance of Porgy and Bess
Wikimedia Commons

  The only way I can do justice to Porgy and Bess is to let Leontyne Price introduce it herself.

The opera is not just gorgeous, lush, and quintessential to the American arts; it is a hotbed of debate and the catalyst for scores of adaptations, interpretations, and prolific works by both black and white artists. Plus, it’s on the docket this week for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Columbus Symphony happy hour graphic
Columbus Symphony


I’ve invited my gal pals, picked out a dress, and I am ready for Happy Hour this Thursday with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Their lineup for this month’s FREE Happy Hour could not be more perfect for February. The selected music is American, iconic, and just fun enough for a pre-Valentine’s Day date. The event is this Thursday, February 12th at 5:30, and it starts with an hour of drinks and hors d’oeuvres to be followed by:

Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Cecil Payne, Miles Davis, and Ray Brown performing
William Gottlieb/Wikimedia

I am thrilled to be attending the Turtle Island String Quartet‘s presentation of Miles Davis’s album Birth of the Cool this Friday at the Swasey Chapel 7:00 pm at Dennison University.

The ensemble has won two Grammy Awards, 2006 and 2008, and they embody the concept of the crossroads between classical and jazz perfectly. Personally, I am hoping they include some Dave Brubeck and singles from Miles Ahead Friday, too.

Columbus Symphony's Music Director Rossen Milanov (right) and cellist Joshua Roman in the Classical 101 studio.
Nick Houser / WOSU

If you’ve lived in Columbus for any length of time, you know that live performances are like the weather. Can’t make it to this one? No problem…there’s another one right around the corner.

These are exciting times in Central Ohio, especially for those of us who make radio. It means we have numerous opportunities for conversations with visiting artists, musicians and performers who live and work in our community, and to spread the good news of any number of opportunities for you to see music, dance, theatre, or a combination thereof.