Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel, scheduled to headline the Omaha Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration November 20-22, passed away this morning after a four-month battle with cancer of the pancreas, liver, and colon. Honoring Maestro Kunzel’s wishes, all concerts he was scheduled to conduct during the 2009/10 season—in Cincinnati and beyond— will move forward. Michael Krajewski will now conduct the Omaha Symphony’s first Pops performance of the season. Krajewski is principal pops conductor of the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra.
Today the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that Kunzel has been named Founder and Conductor Emeritus of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The orchestra has also established an Erich Kunzel memorial website and Erich Kunzel Pops Legacy Fund. More information on these tributes can be found online at http://erichkunzel.cincinnatisymphony.org.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “The Prince of Pops,” Kunzel joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1965. The 74-year old conductor led the orchestra in his final performance in Cincinnati on August 1.
“The world has lost a true talent, and I have lost a friend and colleague, but Erich has left a rich legacy of beautiful music and community service with us. We look forward to honoring his life and legacy at our first Pops concert of the season,” said Omaha Symphony music director Thomas Wilkins. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music director Paavo Järvi adds, “He was a remarkable spirit and a tremendous musician. His many years of music making…brought joy to
literally millions, and I join with our community in Cincinnati as well as his fans around the world in mourning the loss of this great musical icon.”
Kunzel’s legacy will be remembered at Omaha Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration November 20-22. This Pops concert will feature the best of Broadway with favorites from 1776, Of Thee I Sing, Strike Up the Band, and more. For tickets, call the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 402.342.3560 or visit www.omahasymphony.org.