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Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Celebrating Music Hall's 125 years


Anniversary inspired classical music hall

It was at the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in April 1995 that on stage were four international conductors, Jesus-Lopez-Cobos, Michael Gielen, Erich Kunzel and Keith Lockhart, and three international performers, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich and Richard Stolzman.

It was at this time that Cleveland was opening up their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a lot of publicity and fanfare. I thought to myself, is there a Hall of Fame for classical music? This began my quest to begin the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Everyone I interviewed said, "If there is not a hall of fame for classical music, there should be."

Now eight years later and five induction ceremonies completed, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame has become a major force in classical music nationally and internationally. Without the Cincinnati Music Hall experience, none of this would have happened. I often say to people, "Cincinnati is major league baseball and football, but more importantly, Cincinnati is major league music."

David A. Klingshirn, Founder, Classical Music Hall of Fame

Hall brings back memories of events

In response to requests regarding the 125th anniversary of Music Hall, I think of two events:

I participated in a program where high school students carried flags of all the countries of the world. The one I carried was Afghanistan.

I was with the symphony orchestra. A good friend took my sister and me to see Mario Lanza. I will never forget the stage presence and talent of his magnificent stature.

Both of these events were in the early 1950s.

Virginia Niemeyer, Harrison

Great music paved way for auditions, career

I was a lucky kid. My mother and dad introduced me to great music at Music Hall and the Zoo Opera.

I studied voice at the old Conservatory of Music on Highland Avenue. I sang with the short-lived Cincinnati Light Opera Company and, in 1940, I passed an audition with the Zoo Opera. I was promised several small roles the following summer, but World War II had come along and I volunteered to "get my year over with." I served 5 years in the Army.

My career, of course, was in radio and TV in New York and Hollywood "working" with people like Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Jack Lemmon, and Arthur and Kathryn Murray.

Bill Nimmo, Milford



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Celebrating Music Hall's 125 years