The Cincinnati Pops, which also performs as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, is under the direction of John Morris Russell and presents a diverse array of musical styles, all bathed in the world-renowned “Cincinnati Sound.” The Pops was officially founded in 1977 with the late Erich Kunzel, and just since 1980, the Orchestra has sold ten million recordings around the globe.
The growing list of celebrated artists who have collaborated with the Pops include Ella Fitzgerald, Frederica von Stade, Doc Severinsen, Henry Mancini, Aretha Franklin, Mel Tormé, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Holliday, Vanessa Williams, Dave Brubeck, The Temptations, John Williams, Idina Menzel, Rosemary Clooney, Mandy Patinkin, George Takei, Arturo Sandoval, Peter Frampton, Boyz II Men, Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga, Pink Martini, Megan Hilty, Rosanne Cash, Jason Alexander and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Pops tours nationally and internationally, recently performing in Beijing as part of the Opening Festivities of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. In 2005, the Pops completed a historic tour to China and Singapore performing in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The Cincinnati Pops was the first U.S. Pops orchestra to perform in China, and also has appeared to enthusiastic audiences in New York’s Carnegie Hall, in Washington D.C., Japan, Taiwan, and most recently across Florida.
An estimated 30 million people have viewed national telecasts of the Cincinnati Pops on PBS, and the Orchestra has more than 100 available recordings, 55 of which have appeared on the Billboard charts, a record unmatched by any other orchestra. The Pops’ Copland: Music of America won a Grammy in 1997, and four other Pops recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards.
In 2012, the Pops released its first recording under John Morris Russell, Home for the Holidays, on the Orchestra’s own Fanfare Cincinnati label. Subsequent recordings Superheroes! and Carnival of the Animals reached #8 and #15, respectively, on the Billboard charts. The most recent Pops release, American Originals, received national critical and popular acclaim for its reimagining of the Stephen Foster songbook. In the spring of 2016, the Pops unveiled American Soundscapes, an online video series that features Pops performances captured live that has already reached tens of thousands of viewers around the world.