Header for Cincinnati's 2016 May Festival.

Cincinnati May Festival Features CCM Alumna Tamara Wilson as Guest Artist in Verdi’s Otello

Header for Cincinnati's 2016 May Festival.

As a rising star in the opera world, soprano and CCM alumna Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) has already amassed an impressive international reputation. Cincinnati residents will have an opportunity to hear her voice again this weekend as she joins the May Festival‘s 2016 line-up!

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Wilson, a former student of Barbara Honn and the 2016 winner of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, will return to the Queen City to perform the female lead role of Desdemona in Giuseppe Verdi’s famed opera Otello under the baton of May Festival Music Director James Conlon.

Wilson will be part of a star-studded cast including tenors Gregory Kunde (the 2015 International Opera Awards Male Singer of the Year) and May Festival regular Rodrick Dixon, along with the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The performances starts at 8 p.m. this Saturday, May 21, in Music Hall. Tickets are available online at https://my.cincinnatisymphony.org or by phone at 513-381-3300, so make sure to reserve today to see this rising CCM alumna!

About Tamara Wilson
American soprano Tamara Wilson made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December of 2014 in the title role of Aida, when the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes,” and observed: “Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”

Nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera after her English National Opera debut last fall as Leonora in La forza del destino, the soprano will make further debuts next season at the Bayerischer Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grand Prize Winner at Barcelona’s Annual Francisco Viñas Competition, a winner of the George London Award and the recipient of both a 2008 Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

After launching the present season headlining Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, Wilson returned to Oper Frankfurt as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo; sang Lucrezia in Verdi’s I due Foscari in Santiago, Chile; made her Cleveland Orchestra debut; and joined Marin Alsop for Mahler in São Paulo. Back in the States after touring Japan as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, the soprano looks forward to taking Brahms’s German Requiem on an East Coast tour with Seraphic Fire and singing Desdemona in Otello at Cincinnati’s May Festival, in celebration of James Conlon’s 37th and final year as Music Director. Last season Wilson made her role and house debuts headlining Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, following recent debuts at Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Carnegie Hall. In addition to being a CCM graduate, Wilson is also an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!
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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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A promotional image for the Animal Mother, a jazz trio comprised of CCM alumni.

CCM Jazz Alumni Receive Glowing Review from the Washington Post

CCM alumni Matt McAllister (BM Jazz Studies, 2013), Josh Kline (BM Jazz Studies, 2015) and Jon Massey (BM Jazz Studies, 2012) have been making waves with their latest musical project, Animal Mother.

In a glowing review of the ensemble’s May 8th performance at the Twins Jazz Club and Lounge in Washington, DC, Washington Post contributor Michael J. West suggests, “(T)hese guys — unlike many declared jazz musicians — had mastered the music’s basic foundation before reimagining it.”

A self-described “garage jazz” band, Animal Mother formed at CCM in 2013 with McAllister on drums, Kline on tenor saxophone and Masey on bass. Initially conceived as an opportunity to practice free improvisation, the ensemble soon began to focus on McAllister’s original compositions. The band released its debut album, The Youth Will Rule!, last year and recently embarked on a tour of the Midwest.

Back at home, Animal Mother has been nominated two years in a row for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the “Best Jazz” category.

“Animal Mother deserves more ears,” West concludes in his review, “not least because they slyly suggest that they have even more musical ingredients than meet the ear.”

You can read the full write-up online at www.washingtonpost.com.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!
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Story by Curt Whitacre

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Bearcats at the Ballpark

CCM students and alumni to sing National Anthem at Reds Game

CCM students and alumni will sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the Great American Ball Park Friday night before the Cincinnati Reds play against the Seattle Mariners. The baseball diamond will serve as the singers’ stage as they perform during UC’s annual Bearcats at the Ballpark outing.

Students Nicole Hodgins, Sam Krausz, Grace Newberry, Pedro Arroyo and Chris Albanese will join alumni Danielle Adams (MM Voice 2014), Sarah Folsom (MM Voice 2015) and Stephen Hanna (MM Voice 2016) in singing the National Anthem at the game.

Bearcats at the BallparkThe event features a pre-game celebration at 5:45 p.m. with free giveaways at the Kroger Fan Zone, where UC President Santa Ono will perform the cello before the game. President Ono will also throw the first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Each year, discounted game tickets are offered to UC students, alumni, faculty and staff for Bearcats at the Ballpark:

Field Box: $28 (regularly $36)
Outer Mezzanine: $18 (regularly $20)
View Level: $11 (regularly $15)

To purchase tickets, visit reds.com/bearcats or call (513) 765-7055. Make sure to select CCM as your college in the drop-down menu!

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Playwrights Conference

10-Minute Play Festival closes Playwrights Conference with new work by Todd Almond

The week-long playwriting intensive hosted by CCM Summer Programs will come to a dramatic close Saturday (May 14) in a series of 10-minute plays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre.

Fourteen playwrights have spent the week learning from industry professionals in master classes to write and develop original works. The inaugural Playwrights Conference was organized by CCM Assistant Professor of Drama Brant Russell. It gave participants the unique opportunity to work closely with leaders in the field — including internationally known playwright and composer, alumnus Todd Almond (BM, 1999) and dramaturg Lisa Timmel, director of new work at the Tony award-winning Huntington Theatre Company in Boston.

“[The participants] are working with levels of expertise and talent that they would not otherwise have access to,” Russell said. “Lisa and Todd represent the very best of what the industry has to offer and I don’t know of any other situation in which playwrights at this level with their engagement with the craft would be able to work these people.”

Each participant has written a short play to be performed at the 10-Minute Play Festival on Saturday. Almond was commissioned to write and develop a new play specifically for this conference, which will premiere at the close of Saturday’s festival around 8:15 p.m. Each play will be performed by CCM’s own drama students.

“Todd’s play is part of a commissioning initiative that I’ve launched here that brings plays to CCM to be produced, the world premiere version of that will hopefully then go on to have a professional and academic life of its own for years and years and years,” Russell said.

Photo by CCM E-Media student Arielle Kruger.

Photo by CCM E-Media student Arielle Kruger.

The playwrights, including Almond, have rewritten and edited their works throughout the week to perfect them for the stage. Almond said the conference feels like a “Sundance retreat where you come every day with new pages.” Almond drew from his memories as a CCM student when writing and developing the play, he added:

“It’s about wrestling with identity when you go to college. There’s a bit of a tragedy early on that kind of derails the main character and he has to wrestle with getting back on track. The actors are helping me figure out what in that is honest and what in that feels forced. I think our process is making it more honest, we’re making this play actually feel real and not devised.”

The 10-Minute Play Festival is FREE and open to the public. Join us for an evening featuring all-new works by playwrights from across the country brought to life on stage with the talents of CCM student actors 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Photos and Video by Arielle Kruger

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CCM Winds' 2010 Prism XIII Concert

CCM Conducting Alumni Receive Prestigious Award from the Solti Foundation

We are honored to announce that two conducting alumni of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) were among 11 musicians recently announced as recipients of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, a grant prize given to help up-and-coming conductors further their careers.

Christopher G. Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) and Stefano Sarzani (CCM 2012-2013) join a group of only 46 conductors to receive this award since it was founded by the Solti Foundation in 2004. As the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young composers, the Solti Foundation is currently the only American organization to grant such awards annually.

Christopher Allen.

Christopher Allen.

Both alumni are in high demand worldwide. Allen, who is currently the John L. Margo Resident Conductor for the Cincinnati Opera, is also the Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. His conducting credits include Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Santa Barbara Montana’s Intermountain Opera and South Korea’s Daegu Opera House and the Atlanta Symphony. Along with the Solti prize, Allen was nominated as a finalist for the 2015 International Opera awards in London in the “Newcomer” category.

Stefano Sarzani.

Stefano Sarzani.

Sarzani was recently been appointed Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera for their Summer 2016 season. His collaborations include the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra of Colorado, Atlanta and Sarasota Operas, and numerous orchestras in Italy including Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. A recent finalist for the New World Symphony’s 2015-16 conducting fellowship, he is also highly decorated from numerous competitions, most notably taking second prize in The American Prize competition in 2012.Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

About the Solti Foundation U.S.

Now in its twelfth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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Sarah Bishop as Helga, Andrea Goss as Sally Bowles and Alison Ewing as Fritzie in the 2016 National Tour of Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Cincinnati Enquirer, WCPO feature CCM alums in “Cabaret” tour

Local media outlets recently spoke with two CCM alumni who are currently touring nationally in Roundabout Theatre Company‘s production of Cabaret. Co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, who brought the original Tony Award-winning production to Broadway in 1998, Cabaret is set to begin a two-week run at the Aronoff Center as part of the Broadway in Cincinnati series May 10-22.

David Lyman wrote the Cincinnati Enquirer article “CCM grad goes from nice girl to bad girl in Cabaret  featuring Sarah Bishop (BFA 2015), who starred in CCM’s production of Legally Blonde in 2014. Bishop, who will play Helga in Cabaret, spoke to Lyman about her career post-graduation and what it’s like to be involved in the busy tour, which has played 13 cities in 14 weeks.

Lyman also spoke with Randy Harrison (BFA 2000) in the WCPO Channel 9 article, “CCM grad Rany Harrison returns to play Emcee in Cabaret at the Aronoff. Harrison was cast as Justin Taylor in Showtime’s Queer As Folk television show shortly after he graduated from CCM.  He made his Broadway debut as Boq in Wicked and has also appeared in productions of Waiting for Godot, Endgame, The Glass Menagerie and The Who’s Tommy.

Two other CCM graduates are on the Cabaret tour with Bishop and Harrison: Leeds Hill (BFA 2011) in the role of Bobby and Shannon Cochran (BM 1982) as Fräulein Schneider

You can read the full article on Sarah Bishop in the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

WCPO’s full article on Randy Harrison can be read here.

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CCM Graduation Convocation and luncheon 2016. Photos by Lisa Britton.

CCM Slideshows: Graduation Convocation 2016

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CCM celebrated the Class of 2016 with a luncheon and Graduation Convocation Ceremony on April 30. The ceremony featured students receiving baccalaureate, masters, doctoral, and artist diploma degrees and recognized this year’s distinguished alumni and service award recipients.

Dean Peter Landgren began the ceremony with a welcome address and recognition awards. Steve Shin (MM Trombone 2013, MA/MBA Arts Administration 2016) received the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award. The Distinguished Alumnus Award went to David Daniels (BM Voice, 1990) and Trish Bryan was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award.

Congratulations to all of the 2016 graduates of the UC College-Conservatory of Music! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the years ahead.

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