Adam Cioffari's Hometown Refrain

Peter Tonguette
Adam Cioffari

For Adam Cioffari, singing at the Ohio Theatre is akin to a trip down memory lane. The 34-year-old resident of New York City remembers sitting in the theater’s upper reaches at 10 years old and hearing acclaimed classical pieces for the first time.

On March 29–30, he will take that stage himself to display his bass-baritone in the chorus quartet for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Mozart’s “Requiem,” the composer’s unfinished funereal masterpiece.

Music runs in the Cioffari family, which moved from Bowling Green to Westerville when Adam was 9 after his mother, Cynthia, landed a gig with the CSO. Adam was drawn more toward opera and musicals, and following graduation from Westerville North High School and Indiana University, his singing career took him to Houston, Germany and New York.

Yet he remains connected to the city that stoked his passion. In 2015, he appeared in Opera Columbus’ “The Marriage of Figaro,” and he subsequently began performing as a guest with the CSO, for which his mother still plays contrabassoon part time. As Ohio natives, the Cioffaris are exceptions in the CSO, which consisted almost entirely of part-time locals until 1978, when formal auditions and salaried positions opened it up to musicians from anywhere, says retired CSO trumpeter Tom Battenberg. Today, fewer than five full-time members are originally from Ohio.

For Adam, the homecoming performances offer the chance to show off his career to loved ones. “When you see them at family reunions and you tell them about what you do ... they’re not like, ‘Oh, well, what’s that like?’” he says. “They actually can see it.”


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