CCM Welcomes Acclaimed Director Emma Griffin to its Opera Faculty

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of stage director Emma Griffin to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Opera. Griffin joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Music in Opera/Directing beginning in August of 2014.

Lauded by the New York Times for her “intelligent staging,” Griffin earned her BFA in Theatre from New York University in 1994 and has served as adjunct faculty in directing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 1999.

She is the Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Salt Theater. Highlights with Salt include Stage Door where she was awarded a FringeNYC Excellence Award for Best Director, Rinne Groff’s Inky, The Cherry Orchard and Conquest of the Universe.

Griffin has also directed work at theaters such as Perseverance Theater, Geva Theater Center, Syracuse Stage, Southern Rep, Actor’s Express, Virginia Stage and Williamstown Theater Festival.

She is a frequent collaborator on new music and theater pieces, including Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts, which received an “Outstanding Performance Art Production” at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and Thirteen Near Death Experiences; Susan Bernfield and Rachel Peters’ Stretch, a fantasia; and Phil Kline’s Out Cold & Zippo Songs at BAM’s Next Wave Festival.

Griffin’s opera credits include The Cunning Little Vixen and Wozzeck at the Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater; I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Rake’s Progress, Postcard from Morocco and The Magic Flute at Curtis Opera Theater; and Les Mamelles de Tirésias and The Cunning Little Vixen at Juilliard Opera. The New York Observer hailed her production of The Cunning Little Vixen as one of the “Top 10 Performances of 2013.”

Griffin is currently developing the performance piece Backstage Door with playwright Sybil Kempson and The Three Christs, a new work by composer Corey Dargel for the NEWSPEAK ensemble.

Learn more about CCM’s accomplished faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

CCM’s Production of ‘Living Dead in Denmark’ Recognized by League of Cincinnati Theatres

We are happy to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Studio Series production of Living Dead in Denmark for its fight choreography and make-up, and for the work of lead actress Anna Stapleton!

In this hilarious spoof set five years after the tragic events that ended Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a resurrected Ophelia, Juliet and Lady MacBeth must save Denmark from an overwhelming zombie horde. Anna Stapleton, portraying “Lady M,” was a panelist favorite, conjuring up “a bouncy sword wielding Xena: Warrior Princess in her shorty short leather skirt and her blunt blonde cut, festooned with at least seven knives, a sword and a shield.”

Panelists also praised Professor of Make-Up Kelly Yurko for “outstanding” make-up, special effects and wigs, as well as Professor of Drama k. Jenny Jones and Andrew Dylan for exemplary fight choreography including rapier and dagger work and plenty of zombie killing in a graphic superhero comic book style. Continue reading

CCM Welcomes Dancer and Choreographer Andre Megerdichian to its Dance Faculty

Please join us in welcoming Andre Megerdichian to CCM's Department of Dance! Photography by Robert Polkosnik.

Please join us in welcoming Andre Megerdichian to CCM’s Department of Dance! Photography by Robert Polkosnik.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of dancer, choreographer and arts educator Andre Megerdichian to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Dance. Megerdichian joins CCM as an Assistant Professor of Dance beginning in August of 2014.

Megerdichian was born in New York City and raised in Beirut, Athens and Geneva. He has performed for over a decade with such companies and choreographers as the Jose Limon Dance Company, Janis Brenner and Dancers, the Mary Anthony Dance Theatre, Soundance Repertory Company, Reidel Dance Theatre, Daniel Charon and Sean Curran. He was a principal dancer with Dance Kaleidoscope, under the artistic direction of David Hochoy (former rehearsal director of the Martha Graham Dance Company) for seven seasons. During his time in Indiana, Megerdichian was awarded the 2003 Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship by the Indianapolis Arts Council, for his sustained artistic contributions to the community. Continue reading

CCM Welcomes Accomplished Saxophonist and Composer Craig Bailey to Jazz Faculty

After serving as Ray Charles' lead alto saxophonist for nearly 20 years, Bailey returns to his native Cincinnati as an assistant professor of jazz studies at CCM. Photo by Charlene Diehl.

After serving as Ray Charles’ lead alto saxophonist for nearly 20 years, Bailey returns to his native Cincinnati as an assistant professor of jazz studies at CCM. Photo by Charlene Diehl.

Peter Landgren, Dean of CCM, has announced the appointment of saxophonist and composer Craig Bailey to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Jazz Studies.

Bailey joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Music in Jazz Saxophone beginning in August of 2014. Alongside his teaching responsibilities, Bailey will serve as music director and conductor of CCM’s acclaimed Jazz Lab Band.

Bailey’s interest in music began at the age of 8 when he learned how to play the recorder with a small group of classmates. Following that, he became a part of the All City Boys Choir in his hometown of Cincinnati. He enrolled in the beginning band program in junior high and took up the clarinet, saxophone and flute, perfecting his skills in playing all three instruments in high school and college.

Bailey earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, then headed to New York City in 1985. As a young artist in New York, he worked with drummer Charli Persip’s Superband. During this time, Bailey made many musical contacts and heard some of the jazz world’s finest veterans and young lions. Continue reading

CCM’s Studio Production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ Receives 4-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

We are thrilled to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with a four star rating!

In this Tony Award-winning musical, six young people (overseen by grownups who have barely managed to escape childhood themselves) learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Panelists praised the production as “delightful, smart, silly and a well-structured crowd pleaser.” Director and Visiting Professor Vince DeGeorge was praised for bringing “a freshness to it with smart directing choices that were spot on.” The entire ensemble was commended: “I appreciated the nuances each performer created for their characters. They worked together seamlessly and we’re having such a good time… The performers were working together as an to create the warmth and charm so inherent in this musical.”

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CCM Celebrates the Career of Retiring Professor Terence Milligan in Concert on April 5

CCM Professor Terence Milligan will take the Corbett Auditorium podium for a special farewell concert on April 5. Photography by Lisa Ventre.

CCM Professor Terence Milligan will take the Corbett Auditorium podium for a special farewell concert on April 5. Photography by Lisa Ventre.

CCM celebrates the retirement of Professor Terence Milligan with a series of special events beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. The CCM Wind Ensemble, the UC Bearcat Band, alumni members of Phi Alpha Sinfonia and other special guests will take part in the celebrations, which are free and open to the general public.

The pre-concert festivities begin at 7 p.m. with a pre-concert performance by the UC Bearcat Band in the CCM plaza. Milligan directed the Bearcat band from 1979-1992 and remains close friends with many of the band’s alumni.

A meet and greet in CCM’s Baur room will follow the Bearcat Band performance, culminating in the brass and percussion ensembles performing a special fanfare in the Corbett Center Atrium.

The concert will begin at 8:15 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium, featuring the Wind Ensemble, which will perform six different pieces, each holding a special meaning for Professor Milligan.

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CCM Professor Roger Grodsky Explores the Golden Age of Broadway Musicals for ‘Absolute Sound’ Magazine

TAS_242_Cover.png.200x275_q85The April 2014 issue of The Absolute Sound magazine features an in-depth look at the Golden Age of Broadway musicals on record, written by CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky!

A member of CCM’s faculty since 1996, Grodsky has served as musical director for a number of recent CCM productions (including Singin’ in the Rain earlier this season) and has also participated in performances, PBS broadcasts and recordings of the Cincinnati Pops.

He has also worked with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization on restoring classic shows by Rodgers and Hart.

The Absolute Sound is the world’s preeminent source of expert reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio and music. The magazine’s April issue is on newsstands now and available online here.

CCM Review Round-Up: ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘El Niño’

The critics can’t stop talking about CCM’s productions of Les Misérables and El Niño! Catch up with the latest “buzz” in today’s review round-up!

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

  • Rick Pender calls CCM’s new production of Les Misérables “magnificent” in his CityBeat review, concluding, “Peeled back to its raw essence, CCM’s staging of Les Misérables is powerful and memorable, one of the best musical theater productions on a Cincinnati stage this season.” Read the full review here.
  • Paige Malott reviews the production for iSPYCiNCY and observes, “Capturing the larger-than-life Les Misérables with perfection, CCM put on a better-than-Broadway performance that is guaranteed 2-4-6-0-fun.” Read the full review here.
  • In his Talkin’ Broadway review, Scott Cain explains, “Musicals presented at… CCM always feature splendidly talented student performers who rarely disappoint. Their current production, Les Misérables, is no exception and does showcase many stunning voices and meticulously detailed acting.” Read the full review here.
  • In his review for The Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard suggests, “I’ve seen a lot of shows in Cincinnati over the last couple of years… [and] CCM’s Les Misérables just might be the greatest production I’ve ever seen.” Read the full review here.
  • Rafael de Acha reviews the production for Seen and Heard International and writes, “Keeping the entire undertaking tightly reined in and mercifully devoid of any Broadway clichés, [Aubrey] Berg delivers a fresh and finely-wrought production.” Read the full review here.
  • Emily Begely reviews Les Misérables for UC’s News Record and concludes, “An exemplary cast, a familiar plot and simple props created an unforgettable work of art.” Read the full review here.
Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams' EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams’ EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

  • Janelle Gelfand reviews CCM’s “powerful” performance of John Adams’ El Niño for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and observes, “[Earl] Rivers balanced the work’s intimate emotions against powerful ones, propelled tempos well and drew excellent playing from the orchestra.” Read her full review here.
  • Mary Ellyn Hutton reviews El Niño for ConcertoNet and writes, “John Adams’ oratorio El Niño had its regional premiere in Cincinnati March 2, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. ” Read the full review here.

Performances of Les Misérables resume this evening (Tuesday, March 4) and run through Sunday, March 9. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/lesmiserables.

CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Les Miserables’ Receives 5-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of the long running musical classic Les Misérables with a Five Star Rating! Congratulations to everyone involved with the show!

Panelists praised the production as, “Spectacular… an outstanding and phenomenal production… Bravo for everyone involved for taking a musical I have seen multiple times and making it as fresh, exciting and powerful as the first.”

Director Aubrey Berg was praised for his “seamless” direction: “Aubrey Berg said he had waited over 20 years to direct this musical at CCM and he could not have done it more effectively, with some masterful choices.” Musical Director Steve Goers also was commended for his, “direction of these fine voices and in the outstanding orchestral accompaniment;” he did a, “wonderful job with taking a beast of a show and making it sing beautifully”.

The panelists were impressed by the entire ensemble: “the show absolutely showcased the incredible depth of CCM‘s students… the talent level continues to amaze.” Blaine Krauss, as Jean Valjean, “gave a sensitive, true portrayal of the character… his voice was moving… he should go directly to Broadway.”

Panelists also singled out Colin Kessler, as Javert, for his “outstanding” performance and “remarkable voice”, as well as Matthew Paul Hill’s portrayal of Thenardier: “hilarious in an evil and unctuous manner. He almost stole the show.”

Note: this review was based on the opening night cast. On alternate nights, the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert are also played by Julian Decker and Noah Ricketts, respectively.

Final LCT awards will be determined at the end of the season and announced at the LCT gala in the spring. You can learn more about CCM’s production of Les Misérables here.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

CCM Adds Naumburg Competition Winner Soyeon Kate Lee to Piano Faculty

CCM welcomes Assistant Professor of Music in Piano Soyeon Kate Lee to its faculty. Her appointment begins in August of 2014.

CCM welcomes Assistant Professor of Music in Piano Soyeon Kate Lee to its faculty. Her appointment begins in August of 2014.

Dean Peter Landgren today announced the appointment of pianist Soyeon Kate Lee to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Piano. First prize winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition in 2010, Lee has been hailed by the New York Times as a pianist with “a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style,” while the Washington Post has lauded her for her “stunning command of the keyboard.”

Lee joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Music in Piano beginning in August of 2014. Her appointment gives CCM the rare distinction of having two Naumburg Piano Competition winners on faculty (CCM Piano Department Chair Awadagin Pratt also took first prize in 1992).

Lee has been rapturously received as guest soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, symphony orchestras of Columbus, Bangor, Bozeman, Boca Raton, Wyoming, Bozeman, Cheyenne, Napa Valley, Scottsdale, Abilene, Naples, Santa Fe and Shreveport in the United States; the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra (South Korea), Ulsan Symphony Orchestra (South Korea), Orquesta de Valencia (Spain) and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Dominican Republic), including performances under the batons of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jahja Ling, Jorge Mester and Otto-Werner Mueller.

An active Naxos recording artist, her third CD featuring Liszt opera transcriptions was released earlier this year and she will return to the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto for a two-CD recording of Scriabin’s piano works in April.

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