Frenchman Louis Langrée, music director of the Mostly Mozart Festival, and a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, is the new music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
The announcement was made today in Cincinnati's Music Hall, the orchestra's historic home, and was webcast online. Langrée becomes the Symphony's 13th music director starting in the 2013-14 season. He succeeds Paavo Järvi, who stepped down last May after a decade in the position. Other music directors of the Cincinnati Symphony, which was founded in 1895, have included Leopold Stokowski, Eugène Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers and Jesús López-Cobos. Langrée is the first born in France.
The Cincinnati search committee took 27 months to make its choice. Langrée emerged as a clear favorite after his debut with the Symphony in March 2011, with a program of Brahms and Schumann. In August, he was invited back for a special "out of season" concert of Mozart and Beethoven. The Cincinnati Enquirer waxed rhapsodic: "The ability to harness emotion and reason in elegant fashion is a rare but necessary quality for a world-class conductor. Langrée showed he is such an artist."
Cincinnati Symphony musicians were equally enthusiastic about Langrée. Principal trumpeter Robert Sullivan, who served on the search committee, "immediately recognized his excellent rapport with the players of the orchestra both on and off the podium, which produced some of the finest concerts of the season." Another search committee musician, associate principal timpanist Richard Jensen, said in a statement, “Some conductors look right past you as a musician in the orchestra and that’s not the case with Langrée. On the podium, he’s in the moment with you as a conductor and really connects with the players."
The search committee was headed up by Ann Santen, former station manager of local public radio station WGUC, who said, “he is a perfect fit for Cincinnati.”
Langrée will still be spending plenty of time in New York. This summer marks his tenth season as music director of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. And having conducted La Bohème and Don Giovanni at the Met this season, he returns next year for Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, he serves as chief conductor of Camerata Salzburg.
Langrée arrives in Cincinnati just as the orchestra undertakes a $150 million restoration of its Music Hall. During the renovations, which are scheduled to get underway in May 2013, the orchestra will be displaced to the Taft Theater.