Through the Lens

Matthew Zory has been playing Music Hall for twenty years. As assistant principle bassist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, he's intimately familiar with the iconic venue. Over the years, a photography hobby took root adjacent to his love of music, and in 2015 he published his first book, "The Other Side of Music Hall." When Music Hall closed last year for renovations, Zory recognized the unique opportunity to put his set of talents to use. Over the course of the 16-month renovation, he spent hundreds of hours photographing the building and the people into whose capable hands the process had been entrusted.

"I never intended to photograph the entire renovation project,” Zory says. “I thought I’d go in a couple of times, take a few pictures and that would be it. But everything they were doing was so interesting and the light from all the work lights and blow torches was so cool, I kept going back." As he posted the photos on Facebook, friends and fans started asking him when the book was coming out. Although that was never his intention, it was suddenly clear that Zory's hobby was addressing a critical need by documenting the historic renovation of one of our region's most treasured landmark. So he made a book.

"Through the Lens" is 272 pages of breathtaking photos of Music Hall with accompanying essays by Shelly Reese. Zory's unique access to the process and trained eye for capturing the right moment result in images that capture the definitive essence of Music Hall, what it means to the community and what its successful renovation says about our region's support for the arts.

"Through the Lens" will be available in mid-December at Music Hall's Bravo Shop, local bookstores and on, where it's already available for pre-order. It is a limited-edition collector's item, so don't miss your chance to add a piece of history to your personal library. Matthew Zory will speak about his book after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's performances at Music Hall this Saturday and Sunday. After that, he'll be featured in several speaking engagements, including the Mercantile Library on December 5 and Joseph-Beth Booksellers on December 11.

There are only so many ways to express in words how significant the Music Hall renovation project is, but a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Zory's book, then, is a rousing tribute to Music Hall, to Greater Cincinnati and to the arts.