"Louis Langrée did not have to conduct a note to earn a standing ovation in his inaugural concert as the 13th music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Friday night.
As he walked onto Music Hall’s stage, the French maestro was given a Cincinnati welcome — the first of several times during the evening that listeners were on their feet. You could feel the electricity in Music Hall’s lobbies and the packed, 3,417-seat Springer Auditorium, which was officially sold out.
Langrée’s direction of Copland’s score [A Lincoln Portrait], woven with wide-open harmonies and American folk tunes, was engaging. His direct approach to the music made it that much more gripping.
In the second half, the conductor strode out and plunged quickly into Beethoven’s Fifth. Leading without a score, his direction was adrenalin-charged and propelled by brisk tempos and inner drive.
The musicians responded with energized, precise playing. There was red-blooded sound in the strings and orchestral soloists shone. Most of all, you couldn’t help but notice that Langrée smiled throughout the entire performance. That joy communicated into the hall."
Cincinnati Enquirer, November 2013
"For his inaugural program in Cincinnati, Louis Langrée deftly combined nods to the orchestra’s history, the city’s musical life and new music. Friday’s concert opened with Jennifer Higdon’s On a Wire, a sprightly chamber concerto composed in 2010 for the young sextet called eighth blackbird...
The muscle and emotion of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, which was commissioned by the orchestra and had its premiere in 1942, highlighted the ensemble’s characteristic sound: the different sections adroitly balanced and focused yet never harsh, with bronzed, burnished brasses infusing a strings section that plays with warm, cohesive bite. Ms. Angelou brought her inimitable combination of majesty and folksiness to the speaking part, drawn from Lincoln’s writings, ferociously digging into the final words of the Gettysburg Address.
...Mr. Langrée’s brisk, tight interpretation [of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony] was reminiscent of many of his performances of the Classical repertory at Mostly Mozart: polished and impressively energetic if somehow weightless, with movements that propelled forward without accumulating intensity.
Mr. Langrée has thrown himself into life with the orchestra; buying a home in the city, as he has, is no longer a guarantee for globe-trotting music directors. In August, he and the ensemble drew 35,000 people over two performances to LumenoCity, an outdoor concert and light show in Washington Park."
New York Times, November 2013