Sunday, January 5, 2003

The CSO's growing empire

Shaping culture in 2003

It's not your grandparents' orchestra. Behind the scenes, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra operates its own entertainment company, whose profits support the orchestra's 52-week operations.

President Steven Monder presides over an empire that includes Pepsi Jammin' on Main, Riverbend Music Center (which it owns) and the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival, which will include five nights of music.

The CSO manages this with its subsidiary, Music & Events Management Inc., headed by Mike Smith, formerly of concert promoters Nederlander and SFX.

The CSO's reach spans every genre. What you see in Riverbend's contemporary shows - where Clear Channel Entertainment books everything from heavy metal to classic rock - is quite different from the classical pianists, violinists and soft-pop stars the orchestra will book for its CSO and Pops concerts in Music Hall. (And for choral music, Mr. Monder presides over the May Festival, too.)

With an operating budget of about $30 million, the CSO is big business, but despite its charismatic music director Paavo Jarvi, it fights a battle against dwindling interest in classical music.

Now that City Council has voted for the so-called "jock tax," which will tax all athletes and out-of-town performing artists, Mr. Monder predicts that artists will negotiate higher fees.

25 forces that will shape culture in 2003
1. The big economic squeeze
2. Clear Channel's dominance
3. Suburbanites: Will they roam?
4. The plea for racial healing
5. The media's message
6. A whole new ball game
7. Edgy art center opening
8. Tall Stacks rolls back
9. Will tourists go home happy?
10. How Fine Arts Fund carries clout
11. You can't fight City Hall
12. Laura Long: Downtown force
13. The CSO's growing empire
14. Rosenthals' big impact
15. Northern Kentucky development
16. Museum Center's main man
17. Lobbyist Weiland
18. UC at crossroads
19. The Nederlanders make a comeback
20. MidPoint: Rebuild the city on rock 'n' roll
21. The Schuster Center alternative
22. Another public art project goes to bat
23. The brain drain
24. Local film community gains focus
25. Dancing around visa problems
The wild card of 2003: War
2003 dates to keep in mind

DEMALINE: The arts
KENDRICK: Alive & Well
Get to it!