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 E-Media Premieres Student-Produced Adventure Race Documentary Film

2013GoldPoster2014CCM’s Division of Electronic Media proudly presents a premiere screening of the documentary film 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, in UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center. Admission to this screening is free.

The latest in a series of UC student-produced documentaries, this film follows the “Gold Rush Mother Lode” adventure race, which is one of the foremost adventure races in the world. The documentary follows the story of 56 international racers as they run, mountain bike, kayak, orienteer and climb cliffs during a non-stop, grueling week of competition in California.

Originating in CCM E-Media, the Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary series is sponsored by the UC Forward initiative in the Provost’s Office. The 2013 installment was produced by 31 students from seven different academic programs at CCM, UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

In September of 2013, nine students from all three colleges flew to the Sierra Nevada mountains of California to film this documentary with distinguished CCM alumnus Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001), a professional film and television producer/director. Upon their return, the larger group began editing the documentary, working closely with Associate Professor Yoshiko Burke and her group of eight designers from the Graphic Communication Design program at DAAP.

This unique film project recently secured a three-year exclusive distribution agreement with the cable and satellite television network MAVTV, which will broadcast installments of The Gold Rush Expedition Race series.

CCM alumnus Brian J. Leitten.

CCM alumnus Brian J. Leitten.

About Brian Leitten
Brian J. Leitten is a 2014 recipient of UC’s Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. An accomplished graduate of CCM E-Media, Leitten began his entertainment career with a five-year stint in the Music and Talent Department at MTV in New York working on music programming, development and events such as the VMAs, New Year’s Eve and the Movie Awards. From there he moved to producing and directing the MTV program MADE, ultimately winning an Emmy for his work. Many other projects followed, including establishing his own production company, Hyperion XIII, in 2011, and later becoming the Director of Productions for Vevo, the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform. He has also produced for Comedy Central and Fuse TV. Continue reading

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 Prep Presents ‘Xanadu, Jr.’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’ This Spring

The CCM Youth Ballet Company performed 'Peter and the Wolf' at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra earlier this season.

The CCM Youth Ballet Company performed ‘Peter and the Wolf’ at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra earlier this season.

CCM’s Preparatory Department proudly presents its annual spring productions with the CCM Prep Ballet and Junior Musical Theatre. Tickets for both productions are on sale now.

On Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater, the CCM Youth Ballet Company, Jr. Company and Mini company perform traditional and contemporary works including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

The Junior Musical Theatre will perform Xanadu, Jr. the following weekend at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 2, and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

The CCM Youth Ballet Company consists of the Mini, Junior and Senior Youth companies with 50 dancers total, ranging from age 8 through adult. This year they will perform Sergei Prkofief’s beloved Peter and the Wolf. Soloists are Hannah Musser and Andrea Springman as the bird, Helga Paris-Morales and Jackie Sidow as the duck, Vera Bostwick and Juju Stojanovic as the cat, Lucas Wilmes and Blake Funk as Peter, Samuel St. John as the wolf and guest dancer John Wilmes as grandfather. CCM Preparatory faculty Tricia Sundbeck and Thomas Bell choreographed this production. The CCM Youth Ballet Company recently performed Peter and the Wolf at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as part of the Lollipops music series.

The Junior Musical Theatre Intensive program provides a challenging and disciplined educational experience for students ages 9-14 who have a special interest in musical theatre. Last fall, 30 students were selected and then traveled to Atlanta the following January for the Junior Theater Festival, which included over 3,000 middle school students from all over the country. The CCM Junior Musical Theatre students presented a scene from Xanadu, Jr. and the group was given an “Excellence in Music” award. Margot Grom, Tanner Gleeson, Henry Howland, Nora DeGreen and Jonah Sorcher are the featured students in this disco-inspired musical, directed by Dee Anne Bryll, with musical direction by Becky Childs. Continue reading

League of Cincinnati Theatres Spotlights CCM Musical Theatre Major Brianna Barnes

Current CCM Musical Theatre major Brianna Barnes as Louise.

Current CCM Musical Theatre major Brianna Barnes as Louise. Photography by Mikki Schaffner.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized the work of Brianna Barnes as Louise and Sherry McCamley as Mama Rose in the Covedale Theatre’s Gypsy, playing now through May 4. Barnes is a current student in CCM’s Musical Theatre program.

One panelist noted, “Brianna Barnes (Louise) captured my attention from the moment she entered the stage. She managed to give us a range of emotion carrying us through self-consciousness humbleness, rage, pity, sorrow, and love, played with truthfulness and energy.”

Another noted, “the highlight of this show was Brianna Barnes as Louise who was completely authentic and charismatic throughout this show, has great poise and vocal talent, and made a stunning transformation from Louise to Gypsy Rose that never seemed forced or faked. She is truly a star.” Continue reading

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.

CCM’s 2013-14 Studio Series Concludes This Week With Zombie Drama ‘Living Dead in Denmark’

Something wicked this way comes... as CCM presents 'Living Dead in Denmark' April 17-19, 2014! Photography by Una Lin.

Something wicked this way comes… as CCM presents ‘Living Dead in Denmark’ April 17-19, 2014! Photography by Una Lin.

CCM’s acclaimed Studio Series comes to a dramatic conclusion with a thrilling production of the irreverent Shakespearean zombie mash-up Living Dead in Denmark, playing April 17-19 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. CCM’s very own resident Fight Director and Professor of Drama k. Jenny Jones directs this can’t-miss production, which is intended for mature audiences.

Written by Qui Nyguen, a founding father of the OBIE Award-winning “geek theatre” company the Vampire Cowboys, Living Dead in Denmark is described as the “perfect storm of horror and geek obsessions” by Time Out New York. The action of the play is set five years after the tragic events of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as a resurrected Ophelia, Juliet and Lady Macbeth must save Denmark from an overwhelming zombie horde.

First staged in 2006, the play has been hailed by the New York Times as “a crazy quilt of pop reference, dueling blades and scattershot anachronisms,” with figures from both Shakespeare’s canon and the 21st century pop cultural zeitgeist making appearances. This entertaining and comical zombie drama is sure to be the perfect antidote to exam week blues! 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