Artistic Leadership

Louis Langrée, Music Director, Louise Dieterle Nippert & Louis Nippert Chair


The French conductor Louis Langrée has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2013. He recently toured with them to both Asia and Europe, with appearances including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms (London) and La Seine Musicale (Paris). He is also Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York, a position that he has held since 2002. At the festival in 2018 he led their celebration of the Bernstein Centenary, including a staged performance of Bernstein's Mass.

Recent and future conducting projects include Louis’ debuts with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at the Prague Spring Festival, Orchestre National de France and the Konzerthaus Berlin Orchestra. Return engagements include the Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées and the Philadelphia, Toronto Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras. He will also return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Wiener Staatsoper and Opéra Comique in Paris. Louis has conducted several world premieres including works by Daníel Bjarnason, Magnus Lindberg and Caroline Shaw. During the 2018/19 season, he conducted the first performance of Ode by Jonathan Bailey Holland, composer-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Louis has conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker and London Philharmonic Orchestras. He has worked with many other orchestras around the world including the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Budapest Festival, Sao Paulo and NHK Symphony Orchestras; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Freiburger Barockorchester and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Festival appearances have included Wiener Festwochen, Salzburg Mozartwoche and Whitsun and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He has also conducted at La Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra-Bastille, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dresden Staatsoper and the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. 

He has held positions as Music Director of the Orchestre de Picardie (1993-98) and Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège (2001-06) and was Chief Conductor of the Camerata Salzburg (2011-16). Louis was also Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1998-2000) and Glyndebourne Touring Opera (1998-2003). Louis’ recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra feature Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait (narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou) and world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, David Lang, Nico Muhly and Zhou Tian (which was nominated for a Grammy Award). His recordings have received several awards from Gramophone and Midem Classical. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

John Morris Russell, Pops Conductor


John Morris Russell, A.K.A. "JMR," has consistently won international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership. This Ohio native is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina where his commitment has yielded a new level of artistic excellence. He has also served as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic since 2015. A popular guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada, he also holds the title of Conductor Laureate with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he served as Music Director for eleven years.

With the Cincinnati Pops, JMR regularly leads sold-out performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. Additionally, he conducts the Pops at the Riverbend Music Center and in concerts throughout the Greater Cincinnati region and on tour.

JMR has collaborated with generations of great performers including the late Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, as well as Idina Menzel, Vince Gill, Branford Marsalis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Hilty, Common, Cynthia Erivo, Amy Grant, Brian Wilson, Steve Martin, Katharine McPhee, Rhiannon Giddens, Rosanne Cash and Marvin Winans, among many others.

A sought-after guest conductor across the continent, John has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Other recent engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among many other ensembles.


Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor, David G. Hakes & Kevin D. Brady Chair


Conductor Keitaro Harada maintains a blossoming, international presence throughout North America, Asia, Mexico and Europe. He places high personal value on the advancement of each musician and ensemble he encounters, music’s contribution to a community’s greater cultural fabric, and the ultimate realization of a musical work through thoughtful study and collaborative performance. With ebullient charisma, proven artistic prowess, and passion for excellence, Keitaro fulfills a broad scope of musical collaboration via opera, symphonic and chamber works, pops, film scores, ballet, educational and outreach programming, and multi-disciplinary projects.

In his fourth season as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, he regularly assists Music Director Louis Langrée, conducts the Orchestra and has assisted James Conlon and Juanjo Mena for the May Festival. He is a three-time recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award (2016, 2015, 2014), Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (2013), the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, and was a student of Lorin Maazel at Castleton Festival and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival. In 2018 and 2016, he was invited by Valery Gergiev to serve on the faculty of the Pacific Music Festival.

Keitaro’s most recent and upcoming symphonic guest engagements include debuts with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, Siena Wind Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Gunma Symphony Orchestra and Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra in Japan. He returns to Siena Wind Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, and Tokyo Philharmonic this season. Additional career highlights include invitations to the prestigious Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition and Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in Germany and the first Chicago Symphony Orchestra Solti International Conducting Competition in 2011. In 2012, he was a semi-finalist of the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in Poland. Harada held the position of Associate Conductor for Richmond Symphony from 2014 to 2016.

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Harada is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Mercer University. He was a James E. Rogers Institute for Orchestral and Opera Conducting Fellow at the University of Arizona with Thomas Cockrell and Charles Bontrager. He has also studied under Christoph von Dohnányi, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Oliver Knussen, Herbert Blomstedt, Vladimir Ponkin, Adrian Gnam and Stefan Asbury. His general manager is JEJ Artists. Engagements in Asia are managed by Japan Arts.

Gene Chang, Associate Conductor


Korean-American conductor Gene Chang is rapidly gaining recognition for a brand of music-making that combines unbridled emotional intensity with probing intellectualism. He has been praised by critics and such luminaries as Bernard Haitink and Alan Gilbert for his "captivating elegance" and "passionate and thoughtful" approach to music. His performances of the music of Mozart have drawn particular acclaim for their fresh blend of historic and modern traditions.

Gene is currently the associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he leads the CSO and the Cincinnati Pops in education and community concerts, assists Music Director Louis Langrée and guest conductors, and serves as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. For the past two seasons he has also been a regular visiting cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He most recently appeared debuted with the Cincinnati Opera, where he led the Cincinnati premiere of the critically acclaimed opera As One, in performances that were praised by the Cincinnati Business Courier as "atmospheric" and "a joy to hear."

Other guest conducting appearances include concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysia Philharmonic and the Berkeley Opera.

Gene was named as a Florentine Opera Resident for 2017 by the Solti Foundation U.S.; he was also awarded a Career Assistance Grant by the Foundation in 2016.

An accomplished clarinetist and new music devotee, Gene is a former member of the Eco Ensemble based in Northern California, and has performed with such musical figures as Steve Reich and Frederica von Stade. 

He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Alan Gilbert and James Ross. Following early studies on the clarinet and piano, Gene attended the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, where he studied conducting with David Milnes. He has also studied with Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink and Kurt Masur. 

Explore the CSO's History

Explore the rich history and artistic leadership of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.