As musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra arrived for the dress rehearsal of a Holiday Pops concert on December 10, they were surprised to see members of the management and the trustee boards of the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Ballet, and the May Festival, all milling around onstage. At the moment the rehearsal was scheduled to commence, Cincinnati Symphony President Trey Devey came to the podium accompanied by Louise Dieterle Nippert, a long-time arts patron, to explain that a special announcement would take place. Speaking for Mrs. Nippert was Carter Randolph, administrator of the Greenacres Foundation, a local educational trust created by Mrs. Nippert and her late husband, Louis Nippert. Mr. Randolph explained that Mrs. Nippert had decided to create a Musical Arts Fund of $85 million that would benefit the Cincinnati Symphony by providing future income to ensure that the musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony would have a full-complement orchestra and continue with 52-week employment. In the case of the Cincinnati Opera, the allotment from the Fund will be used to utilize the symphony musicians in the pit. The Fund also provides support to the Cincinnati Ballet to bring its productions back to Music Hall from the Aronoff Centre, and to re-establish a collaboration that existed in the early years of the Ballet with the Cincinnati Symphony as its orchestra.
This stunning announcement represents one more example of the overwhelming generosity that 98-year-old Louise Dieterle Nippert has demonstrated all her life. Along with her husband, Louis Nippert, they have given, often anonymously, to charitable foundations throughout the Cincinnati region. As a former majority stakeholder in the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, the soft-spoken Mrs. Nippert has had a long-standing belief in the importance of local stewardship. The Nipperts’ support for the Cincinnati Symphony extends back decades, including the endowment of the Principal Viola position, as well as the Music Director and Pops Conductor positions. A Swiss boarding school graduate fluent in German and French, Mrs. Nippert has a keen interest in the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and was classically trained as a soprano. Despite health challenges of the past decade, Louise Nippert has continued to attend concerts and operas at Music Hall and the College Conservatory of Music.
The announcement of the establishment of the Fund brought tears to the eyes of many of the Cincinnati Symphony players, who were overwhelmed by the scope and size of this gift during such difficult economic times. That the Musical Arts Fund was created to directly benefit the musicians and is held in trust by the Greenacres Foundation, rather than being placed in the separate arts groups’ endowments, is unique. The gratitude felt by the musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony to Louise Dieterle Nippert is not just for the security it provides for their careers, but for the promise that future generations shall continue to enjoy the 115-year-old orchestra.
On another front, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra recently returned from a seven-concert tour of Japan between October 22 and November 5. The orchestra performed four concerts in Tokyo, including two at Suntory Hall, one at the Bunka Kaikan, and one at the NHK Studio Hall that was broadcast live on radio and was also videotaped for delayed television broadcast. Other concerts took place in Nagoya, Nishinomya, and Yokohama. The concerts, featuring music of Copland, Bernstein, Dvorak and Rachmaninoff, were led by Music Director Paavo Jarvi. Syako Shoji was soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and Krystian Zimmerman was piano soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Well-sold houses and enthusiastic audiences were gratifying for the musicians, and the entire tour was efficiently planned and directed by Japan Arts Concert Presenters. It was the Cincinnati Symphony’s first return to Japan since a tour in 2003.