Fantastique Opening Night Gala

Louis Langrée, Thea Tjepkema, Christy Horan, John Morris Russell, Aimée Langrée and CSO President Trey Devey at the April 15 kick-off celebration.

Opening Night at the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra has become the unofficial kick-off to the fall arts season in the Queen City. This year’s Opening Night Gala on Saturday, September 26 surrounds the CSO’s performance of Berlioz’s psychedelic Symphonie fantastique, and the gala planning committee is taking the theme to heart. 

Chaired by Christy and Terry Horan, the committee is planning to transform the Music Hall Ballroom into a color-filled show of splendor with help from some of the most creative design and culinary minds in the city, so guests can certainly expect the unexpected. 

“Don’t miss the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala Fantastique,” says Christy Horan. “The event is packed with fun and wonderful performances – and maybe a few surprises. We look forward to seeing you there.”

The committee is comprised of: Mary Ellen Cody, Nathan Duncan, Ashley Grutza, Barbara Hahn, John Harrison, John Hinger, Kim Kline, Robin McKerrell, Linda Miller, Thanh Pham, Kent Shaw, Will Stenger and Jeff Thomas. 

A kick-off event held on April 15 at the home of Thea Tjepkema and John Morris Russell (Cincinnati Pops conductor) fueled inspiration for the big night. The couple are honorary co-chairs along with Aimée Langrée and CSO music director Louis Langrée. Mr. Langrée will conduct the concert following the gala, which, in addition to Berlioz’s masterpiece, features works by Beethoven and Bartók. Internationlly-renowned pianist and CSO audience favorite Yefim Bronfman performs Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto, a work lauded for its rich orchestral textures and combined fierceness and lyricism. 

The Gala presents an opportunity to honor the 25 transformational leadership donors of the Orchestra’s most recent campaign that raised $25 million towards the endowment. The announcement of the enormously successful campaign, coupled with that of an early five-year deal with the musicians union, earned the Orchestra praise from national media outlets, including The New York Times: “The orchestra world is all too familiar with vicious cycles of mounting deficits, dwindling audiences, difficulty raising money and cuts. But at the Cincinnati
Symphony Orchestra, things are moving happily in the opposite direction: think crescendo, not diminuendo.”

The generous commitment to the arts exhibited by these donors is why the CSO and Pops is becoming one of the country’s greatest orchestral success stories. “We are honored to be a part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala, kicking off a marvelous season at Music Hall. This Orchestra has become a tremendous leader in our community, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the fall arts season in Cincinnati,” says Terry Horan. As the Orchestra launches another inspirational season, celebrating past successes shines light on the gateway to the future. 

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are available by visiting or calling the CSO Box Office at 513.381.3300.