Columbus Symphony: Here’s what you missed

Tito Munoz. Magnificent(Photo: Cleveland Orchestra)
Tito Munoz. Magnificent(Photo: Cleveland Orchestra)

I probably wasn’t the only one looking at the program for last week’s Columbus Symphony concerts and saying “Who’s Tito Munoz?’ when I noticed the guest conductor.

I went and interviewed him. He was a nice man. Very young-born in 1983!

He is a New Yorker and a graduate of the famous High School of Music and Art. He was opening the program with a brief work by an under-exposed American composer, the wonderful Henry Cowell. I suggested he chat up the audience a bit, since Cowell would not be well-known to the crowd.

Here’s Munoz conducting the New England Conservatory orchestra:

Crowd? Did I say crowd? Attendance was very sparse indeed. I was almost embarrassed. Come on folks, everyone is giving lip service to this wonderful orchestra until its time to purchase tickets and fill the Ohio Theatre.

If you weren’t in the audience this past weekend, you missed a sensational, repeat sensational young conductor. Munoz conducted Cowell, Sibelius and Rachmaninoff ‘like buttah.’ I have seldom heard such effortless control and purely gorgeous sound from any conductor. Mr. Munoz gave us the Columbus Symphony at its world class best.

There was a magnificent soloist for the Sibelius Violin concerto, Elina Vahala. It’s terrible but true – I’d pay good money just to look at her.(Don’t quote me on this)

In fact, Vahala is a thrilling musician.

We had a glorious orchestra, a great conductor who seemed to come out of nowhere and a radiant soloist.

And lousy houses.

Come on folks, what do you want? Lesson learned here. The next time the CSO offers a program with a couple of unknows-to us-GO ANYWAY! If you weren’t there this past weekend, you missed one of the best concerts I’ve heard in years.

You’ll have a chance to hear the concert on Classical 101 during on our new Columbus Symphony broadcast series, next spring.

  • Pierson124

    Thanks so  much for this article.  My daughter and I attended the Saturday performance and were also dismayed at the attendance.   I went primarily for the Rachmaninoff, as I wasn’t familiar with either of the other selections.  However, the Sibelius ended up being my daughter’s favorite and the Cowell was mine.   The artist Elina Vahala is one of those professionals who is artist, musician, athlete and passionate performer in one person!  What a wonderful treat to experience her performance.   You are right – go to enjoy the experience, learn new music, see unfamiliar artists, support the orchestra – just go.