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Arts

Cincinnati’s Music Hall Reopens

After 18 months of much-needed renovations, one of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood’s most iconic buildings is ready for another century of performances. 

Cincinnati’s Venetian Gothic-style Music Hall has been a fixture of the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood since the building’s completion in 1878. But for the past 18 months, it has been closed to the public as massive and much-needed renovations were made in order to prepare the landmark for the next century and beyond. 

On Oct. 6 and 7, conductor Louis Langrée will lead the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in celebrating Music Hall’s grand reopening with a program featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Scriabin’s “Poem of Ecstasy,” John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” and the world premiere of Jonathan Bailey Holland’s “Stories from Home.”

“Stories from Home,” a 12-minute orchestral piece, reflects the city of Cincinnati and what Music Hall has meant to its citizens, according to Holland. Today, the venue is home to resident companies such as the Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Opera. But the land where Music Hall sits was once the site of an orphanage and a paupers’ graveyard, as well as the location of the 1870 German Saengerfest, a holiday season tradition that helped boost Cincinnati’s German population. 

“I think all of those things kind of played into what the piece would be about,” Holland says of “Stories from Home.” “This is essentially a homecoming concert.”

A Michigan native, Holland previously had his work performed at Music Hall after the Cincinnati Symphony commissioned him, along with two other composers, to write short works incorporating the poetry of Maya Angelou.

“It’s significant to hear how the orchestra will sound in the new hall because the sound of the orchestra is its identity,” he says. “[Music Hall] has been their home for a number of years, and every time you renovate your home that significantly, it’s probably personal for the players in the orchestra.”

For more information, visit cincinnatisymphony.org.

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