Symphony in Florence

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Many symphony orchestras take themselves very seriously. And while Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is consummately professional, they also regale audiences with unconventional performances that may involve silent films, comedians, country bands, and Civil War–battle reenactments, a formula that has worked for the past 21 seasons.

642 Mount Zion Road
Florence,
KY
US

Founded in 1895, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra?under the direction of Louis Langr?e?has matured into one of the nation's melodic heavyweights. Not only was the ensemble the first American orchestra to tour the world, backed by the US Department of State, it also hit the road stateside, playing Carnegie Hall 47 times since 1917. With such an enormous history, it's no surprise that some of classical music's biggest names are associated with the institution. It has housed famous conductors such as Leopold Stokowski and Max Rudolf, and has premiered the works of Debussy, Mahler, Ravel, and Bart?k. It's not only responsible for introducing Aaron Copland's A Lincoln Portrait to audiences, it also commissioned his Fanfare for the Common Man into existence. Attracting only the finest players from Ohio and around the world to its stable of musicians, the orchestra continues its second century as an ambassador of symphonic culture.

6295 Kellogg Ave
Cincinnati,
OH
US

Famous for playing Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked, a role on Glee, and for being part of the original cast of Rent, Tony Award–winning actress and singer Idina Menzel wows audiences with powerful pipes and heart-strumming emotion. Backed up by the orchestral pros of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Menzel will unleash vocal fireworks that will enrapture showgoers and temporarily deafen unprepared police surveillance teams. The show will be recorded for Menzel's second PBS special, set to air in March of 2012, which will allow audience members to excitedly point themselves out during reruns. The Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall ensconces guests in tune-friendly environs, with high ceilings and exquisite acoustics.

1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati,
OH
US

Founded in 2012 by tenor Shawn Mlynek and soprano Autumn West, the Cincinnati Chamber Opera lives by their motto: opera for everyone. That means staging small scale works in intimate venues, showcasing passionate performances by young and up-and-coming artists, and creating accessible productions without skimping on the vibrato. The young company has already presented pieces ranging from popular dramas such as L'Orfeo to little-known comedies such as Il Mondo Della Luna. By casting a broad stylistic net and keeping their stage pictures simple, Cincinnati Chamber Opera aims to return the art form to its populist roots.

2060 Sherman Avenue
Cincinnati,
OH
US

Originally built in the late 1800s as a vaudeville theater and then seeing time as a German film theater in the 1950s, today Bogart’s stands as a portal to a world of live music. Six bars stand at the ready to keep rocking bodies hydrated, and three concert-viewing levels ensure pristine sightlines so that lead singers can have midconcert staring contests with anyone they choose.

2621 Vine St.
Cincinnati,
OH
US

In 1961, the University of Kentucky's Department of Agriculture needed background music for a film it was producing. Roughly 65 musicians volunteered, including students and faculty from surrounding universities. Fast-forward four years and this motley crew became The Lexington Philharmonic. Central Kentucky's largest arts organization, LexPhil has since performed more than 100 concerts annually, bringing orchestral music into schools and concert venues alike to inspire citizens and bring music to the masses.

401 W Short St.
Lexington,
KY
US