The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Strausses Out to Close it's 22nd Summer Series

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The family von Strauss (Johann I, II, Josef and Eduard) provides the musical moments to which the KSO adds its usual variety and hi-jinx to close another summer in Devou Park.

The "Pops" orchestra concept originated with the Strauss family of Vienna — KSO Music Director James Cassidy

Labor Day Weekend in the Tri-state seems to offer more than simply a send-off to summer. Many activities are just beginning — school, football, symphony and theater seasons, National Bourbon Heritage Month (we’re from KY). It is really a start of a new year in many respects. Hence, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has moved a January New Year’s tradition in Vienna — A Strauss Fest Concert — outdoors to Devou Park to kickoff our new year (of sorts) on September 3rd.

Bringing the entire Strauss clan (Johann Sr, Jr, Joseph and Eduard) to Covington for an evening at the bandshell requires the orchestra to breakout the champagne, the blank guns, a musical saw, a Tom & Jerry cartoon, a kids chorus, a wonderful soprano and opportunities for audience participation.

The Strauss family in Vienna began with Johann I, a self-taught musician who wrote over 250 waltzes, gallops, polkas and was the city’s society band leader. He encouraged his son Johann II to follow a different career path, but junior’s years as a bank clerk were few as he played violin, composed and led bands that eventually competed with his father’s. Strauss Jr. went on to write more than 500 compositions and was dubbed the “Waltz King” His brothers Eduard and Josef followed in the business composing and even leading the orchestra when Jr. fell ill and wished to focus on composing. Johann Strauss II did make a U.S. appearance in 1872 at the Boston Festival where he was the lead conductor of a group of 1000 musicians.

Appearing on the KSO evening’s program (see attached) are soprano, Sarah Viola singing
Fruhlingsstimme” (Voices of Spring) and the “Laughing Song” from Die Fledermaus. KSO cellist, Katrina Aguiar trades in her cello for a saw on Lehar’s “Vilja.” And the Northern Kentucky Children’s Ensemble, which first made its debut singing the “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka” during the KSO’s very first season, will reprise its performance (Both groups will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary seasons this Fall).

"Most think of the "Pops" orchestra concept originating with Arthur Fiedler then Erich Kunzel (1940s - 70s), but I think the Pops originators, offering musical variety, familiarity, humor and fun programming, were definitely the Strausses from Vienna (1840s -1900)," commented KSO Music Director James Cassidy.

Picnics are welcome, and Buona Vita Pizzeria food truck will be on hand serving meatball sliders and more. Join Music Director James Cassidy for the finale of the Symphony’s 22nd Summer in Devou Park, Saturday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Free admission and parking, though a $5 donation per person is suggested. For additional information, visit the KSO at or call (859) 431-6216.

About the KSO:

For nearly 25 years The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has taken the “phony” out of symphony through live thematic concerts that culturally enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The KSO performs throughout Northern Kentucky with three series of concerts.

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James R. Cassidy
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
since: 07/2009
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