The Cincinnati Civic Orchestra congratulates Maestro Laurence Bonhaus as he conducts his 400t​h concert with our orchestra, an unprecedented achievement with an all volunteer community ensemble. Larry is also celebrating his 45t​h year as an orchestra musician, having served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Secretary, and Librarian; and often performed as soloist. His musicianship as Principal Second Violin and then as Concertmaster prepared him for appointment as the Orchestra’s 14t​h Conductor in the summer of 1985. We have grown from a small group of musicians to a full symphony orchestra with over 90 performing musicians on our roster performing a 16 concert season under his leadership. Larry considers the founding of the orchestra’s Summer Pops series to be his most significant contribution; these concerts feature the best of light classical, Broadway, and popular music in exciting arrangements that all of our musicians enjoy performing under Larry’s spirited baton.

Maestro Bonhaus’ principal music training was under the guidance of late Eric Kahlson, Principal Violist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Lexington and Columbus Symphonies. Larry was privileged to work with the late Max Rudolph during the years he conducted the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the New York Metropolitan Opera and also studied with Sigmond Effron, CSO Concertmaster. Maestro Rudolph introduced Larry to Leonard Bernstein whose inspiration and guidance molded and inspired Larry’s orchestral conducting. Larry’s greatest honor is sharing his musical training and experience with new generations of talented young musicians and conductors.

The orchestra is a Bonhaus family affair. Larry met his wife, Hildy, our Principal Cellist and Treasurer, in the orchestra. They often perform for weddings, anniversaries, church services and special events as part of the Simply Strings Ensemble. Larry and Hildy have performed for Southern Indiana’s premiere music festival at Bean Blossom, played for the Duchess of York on her visit to Cincinnati, and on Christmas Eve at the Ronald McDonald House. They have cruised America’s inland waterways, performing aboard the Delta Queen Steamboat Company’s Mississippi and American Queen Riverboats.

Professionally, Larry is an architectural attorney specializing in construction and preservation law; he has also served as an arbitrator appointed by the Court of Common Pleas. Larry graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an honors degree in Architecture and received his Juris Doctorate from the Cincinnati College of Law. Hildy is celebrating her 35t​ h anniversary in the corporate office of Macy’s Inc. where she is Vice President for Gross Margin Accounting. She received her Business and MBA degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, where she performed with the Chamber Orchestra.

After many years in the Conroy mansion near Xavier University, Larry and Hildy moved to the Glendale National Historic District where they are restoring the Riddle Station to its former glory. Built in 1791 by Revolutionary War Officer Colonel John Riddle, the home was expanded before the Civil War by abolitionist Charles Henry Allen and often referred to as the ‘Crown Jewel of Glendale’. The mansion retains its original woodwork, portico, cornices and marble mantels as well as concealed spaces where slaves were safely hidden as they traveled to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The music room, with its beautiful bay window and square grand piano, is the heart of their home where Larry and Hildy play music. Larry, an avid model railroader, has moved his large N scale layout to a new addition that restores the home’s east facade. Hildy enjoys knitting in the second floor sitting room, furnished with Stickley furniture. Both Hildy and Larry are active in the Glendale community.

Maestro Bonhaus believes that everyone must have fun while making or listening to music. He is always a participant in having a good time and was instrumental in starting such orchestra traditions as the family picnic and member recognition night. The orchestra enjoys sharing music with a wide and diverse audience and the after concert receptions encourage our audience to enjoy not just the music, but also the musicians. The motto Larry chose for the orchestra best shows his philosophy, ​“Great Music, Great Fun!”.
Laurence Bonhaus, Music Director