With his book, Through the Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati's Music Hall, photographer and CSO musician Matthew Zory invites readers to explore the metamorphosis of a beloved civic icon.
Generations of Cincinnatians have cherished Music Hall as an architectural gem and a community touchstone. They know her for her beauty and the sound and spectacle of the arts organizations that call Music Hall home. In this photo essay, Zory invites readers to get to know the venerable building on a more intimate level.

He takes readers beyond the hall’s elegant public spaces to explore its hidden corners as hundreds of workers undertake the exacting work of recasting Samuel Hannaford's 19th-century building for 21st-century use. His photos capture the rough-edged beauty of a construction zone, the unexpected moments of stillness amidst the bustle, and the community of craftsmen and women committed to transforming the building. Through the Lens is a portrait of a grande dame without her makeup and at her most beautiful.


Note From Matt

I’ve had the great fortune to make my living playing the bass on Music Hall’s stage for more than two decades.

From a musician’s perspective, I’m intimately familiar with two sides of Music Hall: the inelegant world behind the scenes and the crystal and velvet view from the stage. With the building’s historic renovation, I realized I had a rare opportunity to see Music Hall from another vantage. Not as a musician, but as a photographer. 

Over the course of 16 months I spent hundreds of hours in the hall and took more than 10,000 photographs. From the beginning I shared my photos on Facebook. I could tell from the feedback I received that others were as curious about the work as I was. The more I posted, the more people asked when the book was coming out … which brings us to where we are. 

Through the Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati’s Music Hall isn’t a history book.  It’s a picture book and, like all picture books, it tells a story. It’s a story about a beautiful old building and what happened after the musicians, singers and dancers left: when the principal player onstage was the hall itself. This is Music Hall’s story, the way I heard and saw it.

Specifications: 272-page hardcover (12”x9”) with dust jacket

Publication date: December 2017