Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Continues Collaboration with Combined Area High Schools
Written by: Meghan Berneking, Cincinnati Symphony Director of Communications
March 13, 2017
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops is pleased to continue its collaboration with the combined high school orchestras and bands of Indian Hill, Mariemont and Madeira high schools. This collaboration has become an essential aspect of the Orchestra’s education and community engagement initiatives.
The students from each school will learn the same pieces of music throughout the winter semester in their respective ensemble rehearsals, receiving coaching along the way from Pops Conductor John Morris Russell and CSO and Pops Assistant Conductors and musicians. The rehearsals will come to fruition for a full-scale performance on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at Indian Hill High School, featuring all three high schools performing together on one stage conducted by Mr. Russell. Well over 200 student musicians will enjoy the educative and thrilling experience of rehearsing and performing with one of the country’s most respected conductors and leaders in music education.
“I’m thrilled we are continuing this collaboration for the fifth year in a row,” said Mr. Russell. “It’s a joy to see how this program has developed as well as the intense dedication of the student musicians and faculty members in rehearsing and performing together on this very special event. One of the most gratifying endeavors as Pops conductor is working in the community with music educators, developing self discipline, creativity, teamwork and love of beauty in our students.”
“As the leading music organization in the region the Orchestra embraces instrumental instruction as a tool for learning and change,” said Ahmad Mayes, Director of Education and Community Engagement. “Our instructional programs foster talent and teach excellence to the next generation of community-minded musicians and leaders.”
John Morris Russell, conductor
A remarkable artist with boundless enthusiasm for music-making of all kinds, John Morris Russell is a modern conductor who engages and enthralls audiences with the full breadth of the orchestral experience. Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops since 2011, Mr. Russell’s diverse programming and electric stage presence have infused new creativity and energy into one of the world’s most iconic pops orchestras.
Consistently winning international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership, this Ohio native is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina where Mr. Russell’s commitment has yielded a new level of artistic excellence. He was also recently named Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, beginning in the 2015-16 season. A popular guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada, he also holds the title of Conductor Laureate with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he served as Music Director for eleven years.
With the Cincinnati Pops, Mr. Russell regularly leads sold-out performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. Additionally, he conducts the Pops at the Riverbend Music Center and in concerts throughout the Greater Cincinnati region and on tour. Mr. Russell has collaborated with generations of great performers including the late Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, as well as Idina Menzel, Vince Gill, Branford Marsalis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Hilty, Michael McDonald, George Takei, Amy Grant, Brian Wilson, Katharine McPhee and Marvin Winans.
A sought-after guest conductor across the continent, Mr. Russell returned to the Hollywood Bowl in July 2014 to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a trio of concerts. Other recent engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among many other ensembles.