CCM Alumni Stage New Broadway Musical “Anastasia”

Graduates from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music work in every aspect of the arts from teachers and composers to performers and theatre designers. Now, one alumna is taking on the role of a long-lost princess in a new musical composed by a fellow graduate — Anastasia.

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) will perform the title role in Anastasia, which follows the story of a woman who leaves the Russian Empire and travels to Paris in the 1920s to discover the mystery of her past. The score is written  by acclaimed composer Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982) and his long-time writing partner Lynn Ahrens.

flaherty-stephen

Stephen Flaherty

Inspired by the beloved films, the musical features a book by playwright Terrence McNally with Tony Award-winning director Dark Tresnjak leading the production. The company includes Derek Klena as Dmitry, Ramin Karimloo as Gleb, Mary Beth Peil as Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, John Bolton as Vlad Popov and Caroline O’Connor as Countess Lily Malevsky-Malevitch.

More information on the production is available online at www.anastasiabroadway.com. Previews for Anastasia begin on March 23 and it opens on Broadway April 24.

However, patrons to CCM’s annual Moveable Feast event on Jan. 20, 2017 will hear a special preview performance as Altomare returns to perform Journey to the Past and Once Upon a December from the musical with the CCM Philharmonia. This year’s Moveable Feast was recently featured by Rick Pender in Movers and Maker’s magazine. Pender calls the event “one of the city’s most imaginative and expansive arts fundraisers.”

“It’s a grand celebration of the numerous artistic disciplines that attract CCM’s talented students — musicians, singers, dancers, actors, designers — passionate young performers and behind-the-scenes artists who are launching careers in the arts,” he wrote.

Additional details for CCM’s Moveable Feast will be announced on Monday, December 5. Visit ccm.uc.edu for updates.

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Photography by Will Brenner.

Alum James Cunningham Choreographs New Work in Classics with a Twist at CCM

Alumnus James Cunningham (BFA Ballet Performance, 2010) returns to CCM to choreograph the world premiere of La Nymphe Brisée, one of the four short dance pieces that make up CCM’s final Mainstage performance of 2016, Classics with a Twist. The dance performance opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 4 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

Cunningham, a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, says La Nymphe Brisée loosely revolves around how people can become entangled with negative influences. The score was written by two composers — Youngwon French, who works as a pianist with the Cincinnati Ballet, and CCM composition graduate student Bradley Harris.

“Youngwon came to me one day last winter with this piece of music that she wrote late one night,” recalls Cunningham. “Immediately when I heard it, I was drawn to its haunting sorrow and simplicity.”

Cunningham says they originally didn’t have an outlet to make the work come to life but then he was approached by Jiang Qi, CCM Dance Department Chair, about guest choreographing for Classics with a Twist.

“I figured it would be the perfect chance to use this beautiful piece of music,” Cunningham says. “With a high energy beginning, a beautiful middle and a lyrical and peaceful ending, I set out to make a dance.”

Youngwon French’s piece became the central movement of the three-part work. Bradley Harris wrote two pieces to serve as bookends, the first upbeat and the second lyrical and serene. It’s certainly unusual for music of any kind to have multiple composers, but the collaborative experience of pairing fresh choreography with original music is also new to Cunningham.

“With this new composition I had the chance for the first time to be able to discuss directly with the composer and make adjustments. While respecting each other’s creativity, of course. I believe this makes the collaborative final product a much richer piece of art.”

Many CCM alumni visit the college as guest artists to coach students who share the same goals, dreams and worries that they once held, and perhaps still do. It can be a nostalgic and inspiring experience for the alumni but it also connects students with like-minded professionals as they pursue their careers.

“It brings back a lot of memories for sure,” Cunningham says. I think similar shared experiences with professors and classes has helped me to bond and break the ice with this new generation of students. The whole feeling is kind of full circle to me. It’s about giving back and touching the future. All art is cyclical and passed on, dance is no exception.”

Not only did Cunningham learn the art of ballet as a student at CCM, but he also honed a number of new skills that have made him a better dancer and choreographer.

Because of his time at CCM, Cunningham can confidently apply “out-of-the-ordinary” stage make-up and discuss stage lighting with lighting designers. He adds that courses in anatomy and injury prevention have done “wonders to save [his] career, too.”

“CCM gives you more than just how to smile under the spotlight onstage,” Cunningham says. “It provides a full range of knowledge of the performing world around you.”

Cunningham is now in a position to share all of that knowledge, both experiential and academic, with current CCM students as they work to create an entirely new piece of art.

To see La Nymphe Brisée, make plans to attend Classics with a Twist, which runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4 at CCM.

The performance also includes Schubert’s Winterreise choreographed by Jiang Qi, Alexander Glazunov’s Scènes de ballet choreographed by Michael Tevlin and Warm Hearts and Hot Feet, a collage of iconic works from the ’40s and ’50s, choreographed by André Megerdichian.

Visit the CCM Box Office website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Classics with a Twist are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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Alum Julie Eicher teaches a masterclass for dance students at CCM.

CCM Slideshows: Dance Alum Returns to Lead Masterclass for Students

Alumna Julie Eicher (BFA Ballet Performance, 2012) taught current CCM dance students some new moves and shared career advice in a masterclass on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Eicher is currently visiting Cincinnati as part of the national Broadway tour of The Phantom of the Opera, which runs through Nov. 27 at the Aronoff Center.

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Although she is a recent graduate of CCM, Eicher’s resume is already impressive. She has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera, and she was part of the 2014 Under Armour commercial that featured Misty Copeland. Additional credits include Rob Ashford’s Carousel at the Lyric Opera of Chicago featuring Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale, Die Fledermaus at Houston Grand Opera and Young Frankenstein directed by Kevin P. Hill. Ballet company credits include Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Ballet Neo and Artisan Dance Company.

Named one of the top programs to consider by Dance Magazine, CCM’s Department of Dance became the country’s second university program to develop a major professional company in 1965. While enrolled, students have numerous opportunities to perform in full-length ballets, one-act ballets or new works by faculty and guest artists.

See what CCM Dance faculty and students have been working on in their upcoming Mainstage Series production, Classics with a Twist, on Dec. 1-4 in Patricia Corbett Theater.
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Story and photos by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle.

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CCM Spring Dance Concert

CCM’s Mainstage Series Continues with Classics With A Twist

The Department of Dance at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents a selection of traditional works with new choreography in Classics with a Twist, running Dec. 1-4 in Patricia Corbett Theater. This Mainstage Series dance performance also features the world premiere of La nymphe brisée, choreographed by CCM alumnus James Cunningham of the Cincinnati Ballet.

Tickets for Classics with a Twist are available through the CCM Box Office.

Tickets for Classics with a Twist are available through the CCM Box Office.

The program begins with Schubert’s Winterreise, originally a song cycle that tells the story of a love-struck man whose journey leads him deep into a formidable winter world. With original choreography by CCM Dance Department Chair and Professor Jiang Qi, Winterreise features students dancing to an intimate piano-cello arrangement of this romantic classic.

Up next is the world premiere of La nymphe brisée, composed by Youngwon French and CCM composition student Bradley Harris. Cincinnati Ballet soloist James Cunningham (BFA Ballet Performance, 2010) returns to choreograph the new ballet, which features energy, beauty and lyricism.

Alexander Glazunov’s Scènes de ballet follows with original choreography by Michael Tevlin, associate professor of dance. Using Glazunov’s music for inspiration, Tevlin traces the history of ballet through a series of dance vignettes each reminiscent of the styles of great ballet masters such as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Michel Fokine and Frederick Ashton.

For the grand finale, Assistant Professor André Megerdichian choreographs a collage of iconic works from the ‘40s and ‘50s in Warm Hearts and Hot Feet. The piece features old favorites such as Harry Belefonte’s rendition of Banana Boat Song (Day-O) and Ben. E. King’s Stand By Me, among others.

Classics with a Twist
is a collection of diverse works that showcase the versatility of the students and faculty in CCM’s Department of Dance. Tickets are available for purchase through the CCM Box Office.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Classics with a Twist are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
____

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM
____

Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

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All of the Above

Group of CCM Musicians Named Ensemble-in-Residence at Xavier

A contemporary chamber music ensemble of six CCM students and alumni is now ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University. All of the Above will offer concerts and work with Xavier students in rehearsals and beyond as ensemble-in-residence. The residency also includes outreach performances in schools and throughout Cincinnati.

CCM students and alumni in All of the Above, a chamber music group recently named ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University.

CCM students and alumni in All of the Above, a chamber music group recently named ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University.

All of the Above musicians have made a name for their ensemble locally by performing with Classical Revolution Cincinnati and the MUSE concert series at the Cincinnati Art Museum. One of the goals of the ensemble is to create innovative musical experiences by challenging the aesthetics of the traditional classical concert, and the members believe that this new residency will enable their ensemble to bring their unique vision of art music to a wider audience.

The residency was in part created by the ensemble; All of the Above pianist Matthew Umphreys (MM Collaborative Piano 2014) is an adjunct professor at Xavier, and he approached the head of the music department to discuss the residency. Xavier has had ensembles-in-residence in the past, but not recently. The other members of All of the Above are CCM alumnus Walter Park (BM Violin Performance ’15) and CCM doctoral candidates Mikey Arbulu, clarinet; Caitlyn Chenault, cello; Nave Graham (MM Flute Performance ’14), flutist and David Abraham, percussion.

It can be difficult for students and young professional musicians to initiate a chamber ensemble, let alone a successful one. There are many constraints on their time, as young musicians often have multiple jobs, such as teaching lessons and freelance gigs, which lead to inconsistent availability.

The members of All of the Above have received the support of not only each other but also CCM faculty members, who coached the group on not only musical concerns but also the administrative challenges of running a music ensemble and creating cohesive artistic goals. However, Umphreys thinks that these concerns are secondary to the meat-and-potatoes of an ensemble: musical cohesion.

“I strongly believe that musical greatness is at the heart of any successful ensemble. Yes, we all are overloaded with ideas of business savvy and self-promotion, but this won’t get one very far if at the core there is an absence of intense capabilities and talent on one’s instrument,” Umphreys said.

“CCM has helped me become a better musician, no question. It has also taught me about hard work, dedication, tenacity, preparedness, how to collaborate with others, among many other skills– but this insatiable passion to be an incredible musician is the greatest thing I have taken from my time at CCM.”

All of the Above is a Pierrot-plus-percussion ensemble, which means that it uses the same instrumentation as Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire: flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, plus percussion. In fact, there’s a good reason that All of the Above has the Pierrot ensemble at its core, aside from the broad range of contemporary music written for that instrumentation.

“One of my favorite projects as an ensemble was one of our first: we tackled Schoenberg’s famous Pierrot Lunaire,” Umphreys said. “Working on such a complex and difficult piece forced us to develop rehearsal and performance practices that we still use to this day, and we learned how to communicate effectively with each other.”

All of the Above’s first concert as ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University will take place at 4 p.m. on Oct. 30 in Xavier’s Long Recital Hall. Admission is free.

“This residency has definitely put our ensemble on the map within the (contemporary) music scene in Cincinnati,” Graham said. “Even if people aren’t familiar with contemporary classical music, they have likely heard of Xavier University. So now we have a springboard to reach out to people with our unique mission and music.

“I think the familiarity of an established academic institution will allow people to feel more comfortable coming out to our shows. If our prospective audiences believe in Xavier, and Xavier believes in us, then in some way, the Cincinnati community already believes in us.”
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

 

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'The Other Rhine' by Know Theatre and Hit the Lights.

Alumni, Students Unite to Create Lovecraftian Halloween Experience, ‘The Other Rhine’

Each year CCM graduates thousands of students who go on to work across the country in all facets of the arts. But it sure is nice when our stars return home to share their craft.

The Other Rhine, a haunting theatrical collaboration by Know Theatre and Hit The Lights! Theater Co., features the work of CCM alumni and even some current students as they unite to create an intriguing Halloween spectacle that is unique to the Queen City.

CCM students and alumni in co-production of 'The Other Rhine' by Know Theatre and Hit The Lights.

CCM students and alumni in co-production of ‘The Other Rhine’ by Know Theatre and Hit The Lights.

Part walking tour and part haunted house, The Other Rhine guides audience members through The Mockabee and the Reliance Metal building in Cincinnati’s Brewery District to create an immersive theater experience. The show opened Friday night and runs though Halloween. It begins with an invitation:

Join us for the Bring Bellevue Brewery and Beerhall Back tour! Our Executive Director Scott Kaufman will lead you on a journey back into Cincinnati history to learn about brewing and the intriguing story of those who made beer at the old brewery.

With your help, we can bring the Bellevue Brewery back to its former glory!

“Audiences should expect to have fun, be thrilled, uncover some dark secrets of Cincinnati history and have nightmares,” said Mikayla Stanley (BFA Drama, 2011), of The Other Rhine.

Stanley founded Hit the Lights with Casey Scott Leach (BFA Drama ’10) and Kristopher Dean (BFA Drama ‘12) in 2013. The group also includes Claron Hayden (BFA Drama, 2012) and Carli Rhoades (BFA Drama, 2015). Hit The Lights’ productions typically center around shadow puppetry and use darkness and light to tell stories.

“We were interested in building an artistic agreement using the tools we learned at CCM, specifically those learned in Transmigration, the CCM student-led theatre festival held each winter that began while we were in school,” Stanley said.

After Hit the Lights’ production, “dungeon,” won Audience Pick at Know Theatre’s Cincy Fringe Festival in 2015, the two groups began to develop The Other Rhine. “The Know Theatre has created such an engaging and welcoming community atmosphere with their Fringe that we soon became friends and colleagues,” Stanley said.

Know’s Artistic Director, Andrew Hungerford (MFA Lighting Design and Technology, 2005), approached Hit the Lights with the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired concept for The Other Rhine. Neither group has done a show quite like it before.

“It’s an immersive theatrical experience that will really blur the lines between the world of the show and reality,” said Michaela Tropeano, a senior CCM Acting student involved with the show. “No two experiences at The Other Rhine will be alike. The audience is truly a piece of the puzzle.”

Like Hit the Lights, Know Theatre has several CCM alumni in its ranks including Hungerford, Design & Production Associate Sarah Beth Hall (BFA Scenic Design, 2014), Managing Director Alice Flanders (BFA Stage Management 2012) and Technical Director Nick Koehlke (CCM, 2007-12).

 There are also seven current CCM students that are cast in The Other Rhine: Tropeano and her fellow Acting majors Sarah Durham, Ryan Garrett, Spencer Lackey, Julia Netzer and Josh Reiter, as well as Musical Theatre major Marissa Hecker.

“Working with CCM students is always amazing, particularly since we all went through the same training and have the same theatrical vocabulary,” Stanley said. “The students, mainly due to the training given to them by powerhouse instructor Richard Hess, have an incredible work ethic and are game to try anything. This is especially important in a project like this, given that it is so experimental.”

Tropeano felt the same kinship with the CCM alumni that Stanley experienced with the current students.

“Our similar training and kindred dispositions make it all come together very organically,” she said. “Working with Hit the Lights has been an invaluable opportunity to see how these four years of training fare outside of CCM, and witnessing the brilliance of Hit the Lights makes me excited to know that this is only the start.”

You can see these CCM students and alumni in The Other Rhine through Halloween. For performance and ticket information, visit Know Theatre’s website at http://knowtheatre.com/the-other-rhine/.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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Haoli Lin

Fanfare Magazine Critic Praises Violin Alum’s ‘Breathtaking’ New Album, ‘Romantic Journey’

Fanfare Magazine critic Robert Maxham heralds Romantic Journey, a new album from alumnus Haoli Lin (BM Violin Performance, 2013; MM Violin Performance, 2015), as both “breathtaking” and “urgently recommended.” Featuring music for violin and piano, Lin’s newest release was recorded in CCM’s own Robert J. Werner Recital Hall between October 2015 and March 2016.

Alumna and current Doctor of Musical Arts piano student Hai Jin (AD Piano Performance, 2013; MM Piano Performance, 2015) collaborates with Lin in Romantic Journey, which is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

“Haoli Lin’s repertoire presents the meat and potatoes of old-time violin recitals with refreshing naturalness and grace,” critic Maxham wrote in his review of the album for Fanfare Magazine.

Lin’s album showcases some of the finest gems of the classical romantic period. Opening with the effortlessly sweet melodies of Manuel Ponce and Jascha Heifetz’s Estrellita and concluding with the virtuosic Carmen Fantasy by Pablo Sarasate, Romantic Journey offers a taste of an entire generation of music in just 60 brief minutes.

When discussing the standard repertory for his instrument, Lin praises that of the romantic era as the most affective and emotionally persuasive. Lin invites listeners to “sit back and enjoy the journey” in a written introduction to the album posted on his website:

“It is often claimed that modern ears, even after decades of acclimation to increasingly modern and harmonically dissonant music, still find their home in the sounds of romanticism. The emotional and sentimental qualities of romantic music, combined with its inherent virtuosity and brilliance, create an undeniable beauty of expression that few can resist. The violin, with its enormous palette of sounds, was a preferred solo instrumental voice of many romantic composers due to its capability to convey character ranging from the sweetest of lyrical singing tone to full-throated aggressive power. It is my hope that this recording elicits in the listener the same wide range of emotions that these pieces have evoked in me since my childhood. Sit back and enjoy the journey.”

Lin performs on not one, but two historic violins of the Neapolitan family Gagliano on this recording. One, provided by the Guadagnini Violin Shop in Chicago, was made by Nicolò Gagliano and dates back to 1732. He also performs on another exquisite instrument, made by Januarius Gagliano in 1750, provided by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Collection.

About Haoli Lin
Born 1990 in Shantou, China, Lin became the youngest prizewinner in the history of China’s National violin competition at age 18. He also won first prize in Michigan’s Andrews International String competition in 2013. Lin has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber player throughout China and United States. His solo performances include concerto appearances with the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, China Youth Symphony Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia Orchestra, Great Wall Soloists, Shenzhen Youth Symphony Orchestra, Andrews University Symphony Orchestra and the Shanxi Chamber orchestra. He has performed in prominent concert halls in China, including Beijing’s National Center for Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall, Hong Kong Sha Tin Music Hall, Tuen Wan Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall and Shenzhen Poly Theatre.

Lin studied with Pei Feng, Pei-yan Liu and with the renowned Chinese violin pedagogue Yaoji Lin in the in Shenzhen Arts School. He has attended the Great Wall International Music Academy for four years, and he collaborated with renowned musicians such as Christopher O’Riley and Rohan De Silva. He has performed in master classes for Midori, Miriam Fried and the Tokyo Quartet. Lin earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as a Starling scholarship recipient at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music studying with Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus.

Lin was recently chosen as the recipient of a career Grant from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. Lin concertizes on a Nicolò Gagliano violin from the year 1732, courtesy of the Guadagnini Violin shop in Chicago, and a Januarius Gagliano from the CCM collection.

About Hai Jin
Pianist Hai Jin graduated from the China Conservatory of Music in 2009, where she studied with Bing Han. She has received numerous awards and prizes in competitions, and has performed recitals and orchestral collaborations throughout China. She made her American debut at Boston University in 2010. As a collaborative pianist, Jin has served as faculty at the Great Wall Music Academy in Beijing and at the Cleveland International Music Festival. As a chamber musician, she has toured with the Sassmannshaus Piano Trio to critical acclaim in both the United States and Asia. She has studied with Lee Fiser and Sandra Rivers, and has worked with Rohan De Silva, Hiram Diaz, Erinn Frechette, Heather Verbeck Harrison and Gao Can. As a student of Awadagin Pratt, she earned an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she is currently completing doctoral studies with James Tocco.

You can learn more about Haoli Lin and Romantic Journey by visiting http://www.haolilin.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

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