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Maestro John Morris Russell @ SCPA

Erich Kunzel pioneered new musical territory as conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for 32 years, the first such year-round music program in the country. It was Erich’s vision and enormous energy that created the new SCPA campus that bears his name. Although his untimely passing in 2009 meant that Erich never set foot in the new SCPA, his spirit imbues the School; his piano has an honored place in the Mayerson Theater; and on November 14 his successor to the podium of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Maestro John Morris Russell, took up the baton for the SCPA Symphonic Orchestra (Click for video). What followed was the fulfillment of Erich’s dream for SCPA; that there be a rich interchange between the students and the professionals in the Orchestra. So whether it’s the CSO’s Brass Quintet which provides instruction to SCPA brass students on a weekly basis; the CSO percussionists who lead the SCPA Percussion Ensemble; or the guest artists such as Emanuel Ax, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Evelyn Glennie and – later this year – Gil Shaham and Branford Marsalis who visit SCPA for master classes and “career talks”, the new SCPA and the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras are making beautiful music together.

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