CCM Alumni Amanda Woodbury and John Holiday Named 2014 Sara Tucker Study Grant Recipients

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We are delighted to report that two CCM alumni – Amanda Woodbury (MM, 2012) and John Holiday (MM, 2012) – have been named 2014 Sara Tucker Grant Recipients by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation!

Soprano Amanda Woodbury, 25, is a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at LA Opera and was a winner of the recent Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She made her LA Opera debut as Micäela in Carmen and also appeared as Papagena in The Magic Flute. This summer she will make her debut at the Cincinnati May Festival as a soloist in the Mahler 8th Symphony and will join the Merola Opera at San Francisco Opera to sing Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She was a second place winner at the McCollum Competition in Houston and received degrees from Indiana University and CCM.

Counter-tenor John Holiday, 29, has been heard recently as Radamisto at the Juilliard School and will debut with Wolf Trap Opera this summer in the title role of Giulio Cesare and be heard this fall as the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas with LA Opera. He will also return to the St. Paul Chamber Festival in concert. Other recent engagements include Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” at Carnegie Hall with the Atlanta Symphony, covering Nereno in Giulio Cesare at the Met, and Glass’ Galileo Galilei at Cincinnati and Portland Opera. Holiday was an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera and holds degrees from SMU and CCM. Continue reading

CCM Alumnus Stuart Skelton Named Male Singer of the Year at 2014 International Opera Awards

CCM alumnus Stuart Skelton. Photo by John Wright.

CCM alumnus Stuart Skelton. Photo by John Wright.

We are thrilled to report that CCM-trained tenor Stuart Skelton has been named male singer of the year at the 2014 International Opera Awards!You can view the full list of this year’s award recipients here.

As previously reported, both Skelton and alumna Joélle Harvey were announced as finalists this year.

The mission of the International Opera Awards is to promote excellence in international opera and provide funding for the operatic community through the Opera Awards Foundation. You can learn more about the awards by visiting www.operaawards.org.

LCT Awards ‘PO 11259: Sincerely Yours’ Top Prize in CCM’s TRANSMIGRATION Festival

Six teams of student actors craft and perform original 30-minute shows during the 2014 TRANSMIGRATION Festival.

Six teams of student actors craft and perform original 30-minute shows during the 2014 TRANSMIGRATION Festival.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized PO 11259: Sincerely Yours as the best production at CCM’s 2014 TRANSMIGRATION Festival, CCM Drama’s annual presentation of student written and produced work. Congratulations to that show’s creative team of Jaclyn Chantel, Hannah Halvorson, Spencer Lackey, Laura McCarthy, Fabiola Rodriguez and Anna Stapleton!

Panelists awarded second place to The 17th Annual Snipes, Arkansas, Harvest Festival, and honorable mentions to Dreams R Us: Tonight’s Answers to Tomorrow’s Questions and Complex: A Structure of Sound, An Organism of Vibrations.

The sixth-annual festival allows the audience to experience half-hour works produced by small groups of Drama majors, who create and design all aspects of their productions from start to finish. The festival is an exciting event for both guests and the presenters, as audiences get the opportunity to see up to four very different pieces of new theatre in a single night and the students premiere works that are entirely their own. This year, six shows were presented.

PO 11259 was praised for being “funny and poignant” and “a cool concept,”while The Snipes, Arkansas, Harvest Festival allowed its actors to show “a lot of dimensions in a short play.”

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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 Alumni Stuart Skelton and Joélle Harvey Named 2014 International Opera Award Finalists

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We are delighted to report that CCM alumni Stuart Skelton (MM ’95) and Joélle Harvey (BM ’07, MM ’09) have been named 2014 International Opera Award finalists!

Skelton, a tenor, is a finalist in the Male Singer category, while Harvey, a soprano, is a finalist in the Young Singer category! Congratulations to you both! You can view a full list of finalists here.

The mission of the International Opera Awards is to promote excellence in international opera and provide funding for the operatic community through the Opera Awards Foundation. After the success of the inaugural awards last year, the International Opera Awards return in 2014 and will be held on Monday, April 7, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London. You can learn more about the awards by visiting www.operaawards.org.

CCM Alumna Audrey Luna Wins Grammy for Best Opera Recording

Audrey Luna (center) as Ariel in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'The Tempest.'

Audrey Luna (center) as Ariel in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of ‘The Tempest.’

Congratulations to CCM alumna Audrey Luna (MM ’03, AD ’05), soprano, on her Grammy win last night! Luna received a Grammy for Best Opera Recording for singing the role of Ariel on the Metropolitan Opera recording of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest.

Born in Salem, Oregon, the soprano studied with Barbara Honn during her time at CCM. You can read more about her Grammy win courtesy of Janelle Gelfand and the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

You can read Luna’s recent Opera News “Sound Bite” spotlight here.

Five CCM Alumni on Broadway in ‘Annie’ Revival

Distinguished alumna Faith Prince listens to Emily Rosenfeld in the Broadway revival of 'Annie.'

Distinguished alumna Faith Prince listens to Emily Rosenfeld in the Broadway revival of ‘Annie.’

Until Jan. 5, 2014, Broadway audiences have a chance to catch four CCM alumnae in a Tony-nominated musical — the revival of Annie — plus one more if you wait at the back stage door to meet him after the show.

The biggest name of the group is Faith Prince, CCM ’79, HonDoc ’09, who co-stars as Miss Hannigan, the alcoholic matron at the orphanage. She joined the show at the Palace Theatre in the summer (2013).

Also joining the show this year were Justin Patterson, CCM ’99, who plays F.D.R.; Kirsten Wyatt, CCM ’97, who plays Lily St. Regis; Danette Holden, CCM ’96, part of the ensemble and an understudy for Faith Prince; and Derric Nolte, CCM ’11, assistant stage director.

The current revival of Annie was nominated for a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. The show is expected to run through Jan. 5, 2014, after which a national tour will be launched.

You can learn more about these CCM alumni courtesy of UC Magazine.

CCM’s Amy Dennison Receives 2013 National Guild Milestone Certificate of Appreciation

Jonathan Herman, Executive Director of the National Guild, with CCM Assistant Dean Amy Dennison.

Jonathan Herman, Executive Director of the National Guild, with CCM Assistant Dean Amy Dennison.

We are delighted to report that Amy Dennison, Assistant Dean and Director of CCM’s Preparatory Department, has received the 2013 Milestone Certificate of Appreciation from the National Guild for Community Arts Education for her long-standing, exceptional service to the field! Dennison is one of seven community arts education leaders to receive this honor.

The goal of the Milestone program—now in its second year— is to recognize executive directors or divisional directors at Guild member organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting and advancing community arts education for more than 20 years. Certificates were presented at the Guild’s Annual Meeting at the Conference for Community Arts Education in Chicago last Friday, Nov. 1.

“The National Guild is thrilled to recognize these exceptional leaders for their vision and dedication to community arts education,” said Jonathan Herman, executive director of the National Guild. “Through their decades-long work with communities and their service to the field, this year’s Milestone recipients have each made a powerful contribution to increasing access to arts education for all.”

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CCM’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Earns 4.5 Star Rating by the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

We are delighted to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of the classic film musical Singin’ in the Rain with a four and a half star rating!

Panelists praised the production as “Joyful, happy, shining and memorable… An uplifting story and a treat for the eyes.” Diane Lala was commended both for her direction (“a standout production all-around with many delightful and excellent elements that really lived up to the silver screen standard of the film”) and for her contribution to the choreography, along with co-choreographer Patti James: “Covering multiple styles and always challenging the students, the choreography was truly the star of this show, and it was executed brilliantly by the talented performers.”

Ryan Sigurdson’s music direction was also recognized as “solid and impressive”. Scenic Designer Mark Halpin delivered a wonderful set—“layered in a complex, but very functional way that delivered the many silver-screen settings”–and technical director Steve Miller was also given a nod for his contribution to the “fantastic and well-executed” rain effects in the iconic title number. Reba Senske’s costume design was described as “numerous, timely, lush, complimentary to character, and a delight to look at.” Finally, from a technical aspect, CCM Electronic Media students were recognized for the “hilarious” and “seamlessly executed” videos they created for many of the scenes.

From a performance standpoint, the entire ensemble was applauded for outstanding dancing and singing.” Matt Hill, as Cosmo Brown, and Sarah Bishop, as Lina Lamont, were particularly singled out as “dead-on portraying their characters and handling the timing and humor effectively.”

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Ariel Quartet Wins Cleveland Quartet Award

The Ariel String Quartet at CCM. Courtesy of The Enquirer/ Liz Dufour.

The Ariel String Quartet at CCM. Courtesy of The Enquirer/ Liz Dufour.

It is our pleasure to report that CCM’s string quartet-in-residence, the internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet, has added another major award to its already impressive list of honors! The Quartet will receive the Cleveland Quartet Award, a biennial honor that recognizes and promotes rising string quartets.

The award will be presented at Chamber Music America’s National Conference next January. “We are delighted that the Ariel Quartet has been recognized for its impressive artistic achievements, and pleased that the Cleveland Quartet Award will have a role in developing this young ensemble’s future career,” says Margaret M. Lioi, Chamber Music America’s chief executive officer.

The creation of a lasting legacy for young musicians was envisioned by the Cleveland Quartet in 1995, as a culmination of its remarkable 26-year history. The quartet joined forces with Chamber Music America (CMA) and eight prominent chamber music presenters to found the Cleveland Quartet Award and to raise funds for the establishment of the Cleveland Quartet Endowment Fund.  The first recipient was the Brentano String Quartet, and subsequent recipients were the Borromeo, Miami, Pacifica, Miró, Jupiter, Parker and Jasper quartets. You can learn more about the Cleveland Quartet Award here.

Experience for yourself why CCM’s string quartet-in-residence is so acclaimed during the Ariel Quartet’s upcoming Beethoven Cycle. Learn more about that concert series here.

Read even more about the Ariel Quartet’s win courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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