Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Adds Common, Ben Folds Performances to 2022-2023 Season

The new additions round out an already impressive schedule from the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

click to enlarge Common (left) and Ben Folds will perform with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. - PHOTO: COMMON BY BRIAN BOWEN SMITH; BEN FOLDS PROVIDED BY CINCINNATI POPS ORCHESTRA
Photo: Common by Brian Bowen Smith; Ben Folds provided by Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Common (left) and Ben Folds will perform with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra is planning a few extra bangers for this season, adding performances by both Common and Ben Folds to its upcoming slate.

Hip-hop king Common will make his Pops debut on April 25. Common will join the orchestra in performing elections from his three decades in music, with Pops principal guest conductor Damon Gumption directing. Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Common rose to notoriety in the 1990s and exploded commercially beginning in 2000 with his first major-label album Like Water for Chocolate. Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Common earned numerous awards for his craft, including those from BET and the Grammys.

But it was "Glory," Common's collaboration with R&B singer and pianist John Legend, that made audiences listen. Created for the 2014 historical drama Selma, which is based on the 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama, the song won the Academy Award and Golden Globe, among other awards. Common also co-starred in the film as civil rights leader James Bevel.

Below, watch Common and Legend perform "Glory."


'90s darling-turned-classical composer Ben Folds will perform with the Cincinnati Pops on April 25. Folds last played with the Pops in 2017 and most recently visited Cincinnati at the Taft Theatre in November. Folds, who rose to fame in the '90s with alt-rock band Ben Folds Five, frequently collaborates with musicians such as Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor and Amanda Palmer, and for about a decade has performed with symphony orchestras around the world (including intricate concertos that he's penned himself).

In April, Folds joined Star Trek actor William Shatner in a performance with the National Symphony Orchestra, for which Folds has been serving since 2017 as the first artistic advisor. Folds also scored and wrote an original song for the children's musical Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, written by Mo Williams and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra; the musical debuted April 30.

Below, watch Folds perform his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the NSO.

The Common and Ben Folds performances round out an already impressive schedule from the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The 2022-2023 season also includes a celebration of Judy Garland, the score to Marvel's Black Panther, and a tribute to Billie Holiday. Tickets and information are available on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra website.

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