CCM Village at night

CCM’s Music Theory and Musicology Society hosts student conference Sept. 11-12, 2020

CCM Village at night

The conference is designed to engage UC and non-UC students in the broad field of music scholarship

The Music Theory and Musicology Society (MTMS) at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) hosts its eighth biennial student conference on Sept. 11 and 12, 2020 (rescheduled from April 3-4). Entitled “Conversations in Music,” the conference is designed to engage both UC students and students from other institutions in the broad field of music scholarship.

The conference features keynote speakers Daniel Goldmark (Case Western Reserve University) and Jennifer Beavers (University of Texas at San Antonio). It will be held in conjunction with the long-running Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series at CCM.

The conference will include pre-recorded video presentations and live interactive sessions held virtually via Zoom. Please fill out the registration form below to receive emails with further information and links to access the presentation videos and Zoom platform.

Please note that the times listed in the schedule are in Eastern time zone.

Schedule

Friday, Sept. 11

2 p.m.

PIXAR’S MEMORIES: CONTEMPORARY CARTOON MUSIC SPEAKS TO THE PAST
Daniel Goldmark, Case Western Reserve University

The ever-increasing popularity of Hollywood animation, driven in part by the dominance of Pixar, has come about not just through technological advances or the breaking down of decades-old biases about cartoons being just for kids, but also through the emotionally nuanced storytelling deployed recently by studios. While practically all of Pixar’s features are overrun with issues of nostalgia, their more recent films—Inside OutFinding DoryCars 3Incredibles 2Toy Story 4—do more than simply revel in the remembrance of times past (real or imagined): they also explore the creation of memory and the reasons why memories fade or endure. Sound and music have played key roles in the recollections and impressions of all these films. In this presentation, I look at trends in scoring and sound design in animation to show how the melodies of childhood—and adulthood—are being used to drive the stories of recent Hollywood animated features—and how these stories revolve around how our notions of the past speak to the present and guide our future.


4:30 p.m.

MEET-AND-GREET “RECEPTION”


5:30 p.m.

PRESENTER Q&A SESSION


Saturday, Sept. 12

8-9:30 a.m.

CONFERENCE WORKSHOP
This year’s conference will include a workshop led by ethnomusicologist and CCM faculty member Scott Linford, PhD, inviting conference participants to engage in an interactive discussion focused on the application of sound studies in the areas of musicology, music theory and ethnomusicology.


10 a.m.-2 p.m.

PRESENTER Q&A SESSIONS


2 p.m.

The Music Theory and Musicology Society Conference Keynote
RAVEL’S SONIC ILLUSIONS
Jennifer Beavers, University of Texas at San Antonio
Ravel’s interwar compositions and transcriptions reveal a sophisticated engagement with timbre and orchestration. Of interest, is the way he uses timbre to connect and conceal passages in his music. In this talk, I look at the way he manipulates instrumental timbre to create sonic illusions that transform expectations, mark the form, and create meaning. I examine how he uses instrumental groupings to create distinct or blended auditory events. Using a sound-based analytical approach, I develop these descriptions of timbre and auditory scenes to interpret ways in which different timbre-spaces function. Through techniques such as timbral transformations, magical effects, and timbre and contour fusion, I examine the ways in which Ravel conjures sound objects in his music that are imaginary, transformative or illusory.


Conference Registration

Register for the conference by filling out an online form.

CCM’s Music Theory and Musicology Society engages all interested members of the UC community to discuss issues relating to music theory and musicology. The MTMS regularly maintains forums for the purpose of discussing theoretical, historical and cultural topics in music. Past MTMS Conference programs are available online.

Please e­mail all inquiries to MTMS Executive Board Members Rebecca Schreiber, Jacy Pedersen, Hannah Blanchette and Kabelo Chirwa at ccm.mtms@gmail.com.

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Stay Connected: CCMONSTAGE Online’s Latest Newsletter

Experience the artistry and expertise of our students, alumni, faculty and staff through our CCMONSTAGE Online e-newsletter. Our latest edition features performance videos, stories and other resources designed to help us stay connected.

UC plans to welcome back students to campus on Aug. 24 for the start of the fall semester. A thoughtful blend of in-person and virtual offerings, in addition to enhanced health and safety measures, will provide students with the best collegiate experience possible in this new era of living and learning. Learn more about UC’s Return to Campus.

Sign up to receive CCM’s e-newsletter at ccm.uc.edu/subscribe.

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FAQs and Online Resources

Please refer to our coronavirus resource website to help answer your frequently asked questions. This website is updated as new information develops, so please check back often. See more UC answers to your important questions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati’s response to COVID-19, please visit uc.edu/publichealth.


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Theatre lighting and projection designer Steven Piechocki joins CCM’s faculty

 

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of Steven Piechocki, MFA, to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. An accomplished lighting/projection designer and a skilled educator, Piechocki’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology began on Aug. 15, 2020.

CCM Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology Steven Piechocki

CCM Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology Steven Piechocki

As a theatrical lighting and projection designer, Piechocki’s focus is on new technologies and their application for live entertainment. As an educator he is especially interested in projection and digital media production, and the integration of digital video, animation and motion graphics into event design and live performances.

Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati, Piechocki taught projection design and lightboard programming at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was also on staff as the Projection and Media Specialist for the Meadows School of the Arts. There he designed projections for theatre and dance including Machinal, As You Like It, Bolero and Rhapsody in Blue (choreographed by Alex Sanchez).

Piechocki has spent six seasons as the master electrician and a lighting/projection designer with the Lyric Repertory Company, a professional summer stock theatre in Logan, Utah. At Lyric Rep he has designed lights and/or projections for Murder for Two, Macbeth, A Raisin in the Sun (directed by Eric Ruffin) and Sense & Sensibility (directed by J.R. Sullivan, adapted by Sullivan and Joseph Hanreddy).  

Piechocki received his MFA in Theatre Design and Technology from Utah State University, specializing in lighting and projection design. At Utah State he designed lights and projections for multiple shows including Bonnie and Clyde, Emma, Disney’s Tarzan and Ah, Wilderness! (directed by Paul Barnes). While in graduate school, Piechocki was a Regional and National Lighting Design Finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in Washington, DC, for his design of the musical A Catered Affair. At KCACTF he workshopped under Tony-nominated designer Beverly Emmons and was awarded a Lighting Design Fellowship with the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT.

Originally an actor, Piechocki interned with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre after receiving his BFA in Theatre Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University. He then became an early company member for the Texas Repertory Theatre, under the artistic direction of Craig A. Miller in northwest Houston, before shifting his focus to design and technology.

“Steven’s interest and expertise in emerging theatre design technologies will give our students a competitive advantage as they begin their professional careers. As both a designer and an educator, Steven is an ideal successor to our dear colleague Mark Williams, who retired earlier this year,” said Romanstein. “I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of our search committee, which was co-chaired by Greg Falcione and Denton Yockey, and included Rebecca Bromels, Susan Felder, Sharon Huizinga and Matthew Tibbs.”

About CCM Lighting Design and Technology

CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production (TD&P) offers both a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) and master of fine arts (MFA) with specialization in Lighting Design and Technology, along with many other TD&P degree programs.

The production and the actors are unexpressive unless audiences can see them on stage. Good lighting design goes beyond the need for basic visibility into the realm of shadows, angles and colors as well as the subtleties of timing and rhythm. Lighting designers work closely with stage directors to bring out the intent of the production through mood atmosphere, composition and focus. Technicians must work with the sensitivity of an artist so that onstage dramatic effect and timing are achieved and maintained.

Students in the four-year undergraduate program take studio and production courses in all areas, beginning with introductory and basic courses and progressing to advanced sequences in a major area. Additionally, students study theatre history, script analysis, dramatic literature, English, world history and arts history, as well as other liberal arts and electives. Graduate students follow a similar, more special­ized structure in a two-year (or three-year) program. The balance among theater-related, academic and free-elective courses is established by NAST (National Association of Schools of Theater), which has accred­ited CCM’s programs.

Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu


Featured image at top: New CCM faculty member Steven Piechocki’s projection designs for a past production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

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Internationally acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge joins CCM’s opera faculty

 

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. Eldridge joins CCM as Associate Professor of Opera Directing.

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Originally from Australia, Eldridge has worked on over 60 productions across eight countries at some of the world’s most famous opera houses. His work has been praised by critics for its “thoughtful and effective” staging, with “detailed characterizations and considered through-lines” a hallmark of his directing style.

A former recipient of a Bayreuth Scholarship from the Wagner Society of Victoria, Eldridge is one of only two people to have graduated from both of the world’s most prestigious opera directing programs – the Merola Program in San Francisco and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme in the UK. He has received 5-star reviews for his work for the national opera companies of Australia, Iceland and the United Kingdom, and has been the recipient of awards including Most Outstanding Director (OperaChaser Awards, 2018) and Best Director (Broadway World Awards in Sydney, 2019).

After receiving the 2004 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Philosophy, Eldridge studied Opera Directing at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia and the Accademia Europea di Firenze in Italy before relocating to the United Kingdom. After serving as Trainee Resident Director at The King’s Head Theatre in London, Eldridge worked on productions including I gioielli della Madonna for Opera Holland Park, all four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen for Longborough Festival Opera, Così fan tutte for the Landestheater Rudolstadt and he became the youngest director ever engaged by the state opera company in his hometown when he directed Ludus Danielis for Victorian Opera.

In 2013, Eldridge became the youngest – and first Australian – director to join the young artist program of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in London. There, he worked under luminary directors including Sir David McVicar, Sir Richard Eyre, John Copley and Kasper Holten, along with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Mark Wigglesworth, Alexander Joel, Nicola Luisotti, Marc Minkowski, Ivor Bolton and Gianandrea Noseda. Eldridge has also worked alongside international opera stars including Jonas Kaufmann, Sondra Radvanovsky, Rolando Villazón, Sonya Yoncheva, Sir Bryn Terfel, Anne Sofie von Otter, Sir Willard White, Dame Sarah Conolly, Nina Stemme, Roberto Alagna, Denyce Graves, Angela Gheorghiu and many others.

In 2016, The Royal Opera created a new position especially for Eldridge – the Jette Parker Associate Director – and Eldridge joined the board of Stage Directors UK (SDUK), the industry body representing and advocating for directors of live theatre throughout the United Kingdom. During his time on the board, SDUK published papers exposing inequalities in the freelance artist sector, provided evidence-based studies to government bodies and authored a major report alongside the National Theatre, RADA and The Old Vic that provided recommendations for structural changes in the way arts training organizations and theatres engage with directors from underrepresented demographics.

Eldridge has contributed articles to publications including Limelight Magazine, The Guardian UK and OperaNow Magazine, and has given guest lectures at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and St John’s College Cambridge, among others. He holds an Exceptional Talent visa from the United Kingdom, and has been recognized as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability by the United States government.

“CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide unparalleled training programs for singers, stage directors and opera coaches. Our students will benefit from Greg’s vast experience on the world stage,” said Romanstein. “I want to thank our search committee – which was co-chaired by Robin Guarino and Denton Yockey, and included Bill McGraw, Mary Stucky, Jim Gage and Mark Gibson – for their help identifying CCM’s next great opera faculty member.”

About CCM Opera

The Department of Opera at CCM boasts one of the most comprehensive training programs for opera singers, coaches and directors in the United States. Students at CCM work with some of the most renowned teachers and artists active in the field today.

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which is widely considered to be the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. In 2019, soprano Elena Villalón (BM Voice, ’19) was named a Grand Finals Winner at the competition while she was still finishing her undergraduate degree at CCM. CCM’s other recent Grand Finals Winners include Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, ’16) in 2018, Amanda Woodbury (MM Voice, ’12) and Yi Li (AD Opera, ’13) in 2014 and Thomas Richards (MM Voice, ’13) in 2013. At least two CCM singers advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions in this year’s Met National Council Auditions: artist diploma students Amber Monroe and Teresa Perrotta.

CCM singers also recently won awards in other prestigious national competitions. Jessica Faselt won a $10,000 award and Alisa Jordheim (DMA Voice, ’15; MM Voice,’ 10) won a $1,000 Encouragement award at the 2020 George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers. Jasmine Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) won the silver medal in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition. Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013) won first prize at the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup. Perrotta also advanced to the finals of the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition.

In addition, CCM Opera productions have received some of the National Opera Association Production Competition’s highest honors throughout the years.

CCM Opera graduates have performed on the stages of the world’s greatest opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera, Metropolitan Opera (New York), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera (London), La Scala (Italy) and more.

Learn more at ccm.uc.edu.


Featured image at top: A production photo of La scala di seta directed by Greg Eldridge at Royal Opera House Covent Garden London. Photo/Holly Pigot

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CCM Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano Sergio Pamies.

Grammy-Nominated Pianist, Composer and Educator Sergio Pamies Joins CCM’s Jazz Faculty

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of Sergio Pamies, DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. An accomplished pianist, composer and educator, Pamies’ appointment as Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano begins on Aug. 15, 2020.

CCM Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano Sergio PamiesBorn in 1983 in Granada, Spain, Pamies has published four albums under his name: EntreAmigos (PSM, 2008), Borrachito (Bebyne Records, 2011), What Brought You Here? (Bebyne Records, 2017) and Summer Night at La Corrala: Solo Piano(expected October 2020). Critics have acknowledged his talent for composition, the lyrical qualities of his playing, and his natural and spontaneous ability to fuse the traditional jazz language and flamenco music of his childhood.

Pamies has performed at festivals in Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Colombia, Perú, China, Spain and the United States. He has collaborated with outstanding artists such as Dave Liebman, Christian Scott, Rubem Dantas, Antonio Serrano, Diego Amador, Pepe Luis Carmona “Habichuela,” Quamon Fowler, Brad Leali, Quincy Davis, Stockton Helbing, Ashleigh Smith, Samuel Torres, Tatiana Mayfield, Michael Miskiewicz and Joan Albert Amargós. Besides leading his own projects, he has produced other artists such as Verso Suelto (Verso Suelto, Youkali Music 2016), Korean singer Roja (My Shining Hour, Mirrorball Music, 2013) and The Zebras (Flamenco Jazz Project, North Texas Jazz, 2011).

Previously, Pamies taught jazz piano, jazz arranging and composition, in addition to leading the small group program, at University of Texas in Arlington. Pamies has given master classes and presented his research at Universidad de Granada (Spain), University of North Texas, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Texas at Arlington (USA), East Shanghai Normal University, Contemporary Music Institute of Zhuhai (China), Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, Universidad Industrial de Santander and Universidad EAFIT de Medellín (Colombia), among other institutions. Pamies is a frequent collaborator of the European Piano Teachers Association’s Piano Professional journal, and a reviewer for the scholarly journal Jazz Education in Research and Practice.

Pamies received his bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano (Liceo Conservatory in Barcelona, 2007), and then moved to the United States to study with Stefan Karlsson and complete a master’s degree in Jazz Piano at the University of North Texas (UNT), where he was awarded “Outstanding Student” in 2011. Pamies finished his doctoral studies (DMA in Jazz Piano) in 2016. He was the pianist of the seven-time Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band at UNT, where he had the opportunity to perform with guest artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Arturo Sandoval, Marvin Stamm, Wycliffe Gordon, Doc Severinsen and Chuck Findley. As a member of the One O’Clock rhythm section, he has accompanied artists such as Christian McBride, Peter Bernstein, Lewis Nash, Tim Hagans and Greg Osby, among others. He is the featured soloist on Rich DeRosa’s composition “Neil,” which received a Grammy nomination in 2016 for “Best Instrumental Composition.”

In 2015, Pamies was selected for the “Latin Jazz Traditions” concert organized by Carnegie Hall, performing there with Paquito D’Rivera, having his composition “Dudú” selected for the program. In 2014, Pamies was awarded with the “Best Representation of Granada in a Foreign Country” youth cultural award by the Youth Institute of Andalucía, Spain. He has received seven DownBeat student awards: Best Instrumental Soloist (2013), Best Large Ensemble (2014) and Best Latin Group (2012) among them.

“CCM is home to one of the country’s top-rated jazz programs, and Sergio’s expertise as a pianist, composer and educator makes him an ideal addition to our world-class faculty. He is a wonderful successor to our dear colleague Stephen Allee, who retired earlier this year.” said Romanstein. “I want to recognize the excellent work of our search committee chaired by Scott Belck, which included Craig Bailey, Rusty Burge, Aaron Jacobs and BettyAnne Gottlieb.”

About CCM Jazz Studies

Offering both bachelor and master of music degrees, the Jazz Studies program at CCM teaches the fundamentals of classical music, stylistic elements of each historical jazz period, strategies for enhancing originality, techniques of electronic media and today’s cutting-edge trends that defy categorization. In 2019, CCM’s Department of Jazz Studies was named the inaugural college affiliate of the acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center, a distinction reserved for the country’s top-ranked jazz programs.

By receiving a wide musical perspective and the command of a broad jazz language, students in CCM’s jazz programs are equipped to pursue a future in jazz music. At the same time, this thorough course of study serves as the best preparation for related careers in commercial music.

Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu and sign up for our new email newsletter at ccm.uc.edu/subscribe

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Featured image at top: New CCM Jazz Studies faculty member Sergio Pamies.

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Alumnus recruits MLB stars and musicians for virtual rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’

Warm up for the start of the Major League Baseball season with a special virtual performance of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that showcases UC College-Conservatory of Music students and alumni with MLB players. The performance is available to watch online.

Alumnus Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19) brought 200 people together for the performance, which was professionally produced with help from former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The performance features singers and musicians from CCM and the Brooklyn College. Filling out the roster for the project are Bret Saberhagen (pitcher in the Royals Hall of Fame and 1985 World Series champion and former Met); Jim Day (FOX Red’s baseball announcer); Susan Roush Dellinger (author of “Red Legs and Black Sox” and granddaughter of Baseball Hall of Famer Edd Roush); Nick Martinez (pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball and former Ranger’s pitcher); Aristides Aquino (Red’s outfielder); Dale Scott (Former MLB umpire) and many others.

The video features 22 CCM students and alumni representing multiple areas of the college including violin, cello, clarinet, double bass, oboe, flute, piano, harp, horn and more. It also includes CCM Professor of Music (Tuba and Euphonium) Tim Northcut. It was produced by CCM Commercial Music Production alumni Armin Meyer and Grant Bayer, who are audio engineers at Cincinnati’s Zated Records. Many of these students and alumni also participated in Sheckler’s virtual performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” CCM students and alumni involved in the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” performance include:

  • Armin Meyer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)
  • Grant Bayer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)
  • Natalie Orth (BM Violin, ’20)
  • Jonathan Lin (BM Violoncello, ’18)
  • Carolyn Regula – former DMA Violoncello student
  • Peter Ryan (MM Violoncello, ’19) – current DMA Violoncello current
  • Sarah Minnemanm – current DMA Oboe student
  • Patrick Grimone (BM Oboe, ’19)
  • Taylor Overholt (BM Clarinet, ’19)
  • Collin Goff – current BM Music Education and Clarinet
  • David Goist (BM Violin, ’16; MM Violin, ’18)
  • Kanako Shimasaki – current DMA Violin student
  • Taylor Fleshman (BM Harp, ’18)
  • Evan Sacks-Wilner – current BM Tuba student
  • Li-han Eliza Tseng (DMA Violoncello, ’19)
  • Katie Riley – current BM Flute student
  • Ryan Penshorn – former BM Horn student
  • Eliza Edge (BM Horn, ’19)
  • Phillip Palmore (BM Horn, ’20)
  • Taiga Benito – current BM Double Bass student
  • Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19)
  • Tim Garner (BM Commercial Music Production, ’19)

The performance has earned media attention from the Cincinnati EnquirerWGN-TVBackstage and Spectrum News.

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The four members of the Ariel Quartet, string quartet-in-residence at CCM, pose on a couch with their musical instruments. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

Stream the Ariel Quartet’s Final CCM Concert of 2019

Although the theaters and concert halls at the University of Cincinnati’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned College-Conservatory of Music are temporarily silent, audiences can still experience world-class performances through CCM’s new CCMONSTAGE Online video series. This week’s release showcases the Ariel Quartet’s concert of fugues from Oct. 22, 2019.

The performance features W.A. Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546; Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1, Op.7; and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130 and 133.

The concert from Oct. 22, 2019, features Beethoven’s Große Fuge (or “Great Fugue”), which the Ariel Quartet performed in its debut Beethoven cycle at CCM in the 2013-14 performance season. Arts reporter Janelle Gelfand praised the ensemble’s performance: “From start to finish, the musicians wonderfully captured Beethoven’s emotional grit and fire, coupled with some of the most sublime music ever written.”

Described by the American Record Guide as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power,” the Ariel Quartet has earned a glowing international reputation. The ensemble is comprised of Alexandra “Sasha” Kazovsky, violin; Amit Even-Tov, cello; Gershon Gerchikov, violin; and Jan Grüning, viola. The group was formed in Israel in 1998 and has served as CCM’s string quartet-in-residence since 2012.

The Ariel Quartet’s 2019-20 CCM concert series was made possible by the generous contributions of an anonymous donor, The Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander, Mrs. William A. Friedlander, Dr. Randolph L. Wadsworth, Mr. & Mrs. J. David Rosenberg, Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen, Elizabeth C. B. & Paul G. Sittenfeld, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman, Dr. & Mrs. Theodore W. Striker and Mrs. Harry M. Hoffheimer.

Receive updates on future CCMONSTAGE Online performances by subscribing to our mailing list.

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Featured image at top: Ariel Quartet members Jan Grüning, Amit Even-Tov, Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra “Sasha” Kazovsky. Photo/Marco Borggreve

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Watch CCM Wind Symphony’s Performance of Omar Thomas’ “A Mother of a Revolution”

In November 2019, the UC College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony presented a special concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising. Exclusively featuring works by LGBTQ+ composers, the performance showcased Omar Thomas’ A Mother of a Revolutionwhich is available to watch online.

A Mother of a Revolution celebrates the bravery of trans women, particularly Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, a pioneering leader of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, an LGBTQ+ bar and, today, a National Historic Landmark. This raid sparked a series of riots and protests that served as a significant catalyst for the country’s modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Pride Month, celebrated each year in the month of June, honors the Stonewall Uprising as well as the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.

CCM Wind Symphony music director and conductor Kevin Michael Holzman looks to find relevant anniversaries of important events to share with students and the community, which inspired him to program the concert of all LGBTQ+ works. Other works featured in the concert included Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Higdon’s Mysterium, Clay Mettens’ Un-Masqued and Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man.

“The contributions to music (and all of the fine arts) from LGBTQ+ artists are truly incredible; despite this fact, they are so rarely recognized explicitly,” says Holzman, CCM Interim Division Head of Ensembles and Conducting. “Many of these artists suffered tremendously and were treated as outcasts socially and professionally, particularly in the years prior to the turn of the millennium. An equal or greater number never felt safe coming out due to discrimination.”

The LGBTQ+ rights movement has seen significant success in recent years. Major milestones include when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in 2015 and ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status in a landmark case on June 15, 2020. Despite these victories, hate and prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community remain prevalent in many parts of the U.S. and world.

CCM Wind Symphony’s performance was sponsored by the CCM Harmony Fund, which supports artistic works that fight hate and prejudice through the performing arts. This Fund was created based on the belief that the arts inspire imaginative thinking, encourage conversations, present contrasting attitudes and help us examine our own viewpoints. For the month of June, Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts in Newport, Kentucky, is selling pride cupcakes and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the CCM Harmony Fund.

Kevin Michael Holzman and Omar Thomas in front of CCM's booth at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in December 2019.

Kevin Michael Holzman and Omar Thomas in front of CCM’s booth at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in December 2019.

“I think it’s our job as music directors to recognize the powerful voice we have to amplify composers and musicians, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented,” Holzman says. “Our students at CCM represent so many diverse backgrounds and cultures, and it’s my responsibility to make sure they feel seen and heard. The first step, in my opinion, is to program works by composers with whom they identify. I also think it’s important that our audiences also feel seen and heard, and can relate to not only the music we perform but to the artists they see on stage and the composers on the program.”

Holzman has pledged that he will continue to program more works by female composers, Black composers and composers coming from other underrepresented populations in the future. Concert programming is just the start, though, and Holzman has formed a working group of graduate students to identify other ways to partner with the Black community and Cincinnati Public Schools.

Holzman first met A Mother of a Revolution composer Omar Thomas two years ago, when he programed Thomas’ Of Our New Day Begun on his first concert as Director of Wind Studies at CCM. Of Our New Day Begun honors the nine people who were murdered in a tragic mass shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (commonly referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.

“I knew I had to get to know the composer who wrote the work to be able to do it justice, and it turned into a great friendship,” Holzman says. “I’ll be a champion of Omar’s music and voice forever.”

Read about UC and CCM’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and a just community.

About Omar Thomas

Described as “elegant, beautiful, sophisticated, intense and crystal clear in emotional intent,” the music of Omar Thomas continues to move listeners everywhere it is performed. Born to Guyanese parents in Brooklyn, New York in 1984, Thomas moved to Boston in 2006 to pursue a Master of Music in Jazz Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music after studying Music Education at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is the protégé of lauded composers and educators Ken Schaphorst and Frank Carlberg, and has studied under multiple Grammy-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider.

Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing “great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future,” educator, arranger and award-winning composer Thomas has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. It was while completing his Master of Music degree that he was appointed the position of Assistant Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music at the surprisingly young age of 23. He was awarded the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2008, and invited by the ASCAP Association to perform his music in their highly exclusive JaZzCap Showcase, held in New York City. In 2012, Thomas was named the Boston Music Award’s “Jazz Artist of the Year.” Following his Berklee tenure, he served on faculty of the Music Theory department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas’ music has been performed in concert halls the world over. He has been commissioned to create works in both jazz and classical styles. His work has been performed by such diverse groups as the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, the San Francisco and Boston Gay Mens’ Choruses, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in addition to a number of the country’s top collegiate music ensembles. Thomas has had a number of celebrated singers perform over his arrangements, including Stephanie Mills, Yolanda Adams, Nona Hendryx, BeBe Winans, Kenny Lattimore, Marsha Ambrosius, Sheila E., Raul Midon, Leela James, Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan. His work is featured on Dianne Reeves’s Grammy Award-winning album, “Beautiful Life.”

Thomas’ first album, “I AM,” debuted at No. 1 on iTunes Jazz Charts and peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Albums Chart. His second release, ” We Will Know: An LGBT Civil Rights Piece in Four Movements,” has been hailed by Grammy Award-wining drummer, composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington as being a “thought provoking, multi-layered masterpiece” which has “put him in the esteemed category of great artists.” “We Will Know” was awarded two OUTMusic Awards, including “Album of the Year.” For this work, Thomas was named the 2014 Lavender Rhino Award recipient by the History Project, acknowledging his work as an up-and-coming activist in the Boston LGBTQ community. Says Terri Lyne: “Omar Thomas will prove to be one of the more important composer/arrangers of his time.”

Learn more about Omar Thomas on his professional website.


Feature image at top: CCM Wind Symphony in rehearsal. Design/Mikki Graff. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services.

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Hope After Hate: E-Media Professor Shares Father’s Holocaust Experience

CCM E-Media Professor and Emmy Award-winning journalist Hagit Limor shares her father’s Holocaust survival story with lessons to inspire action against hatred and bigotry today

The spring 2020 edition of UC Magazine features a cover story about the ground-breaking “Hope After Hate” project launched by CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor. The story is available to read online.

Inspired by her father’s story of struggle and survival during the Holocaust, Limor set out to create “Hope After Hate: Moniek’s Legacy” to share his experience through immersive theatre and virtual reality. In October 2019, Limor’s Media Topics class of 15 students traveled to Poland and Germany to retrace her father’s journey. They will use the photos, videos and research collected during the trip to create an immersive play and virtual reality experience for the “Hope After Hate” project.

“Hope After Hate” will be an innovative, new kind of theatre — part play, part video and part virtual reality. Projections of historical settings will surround the audience during the immersive play, creating a virtual set in which they sit and interact with the actor portraying Moniek Limor. The “Hope After Hate” team is also creating a separate 15-minute virtual reality experience that will immerse users in Moniek’s story with goggles and hand sensors.

Viewers will be transported into the attic where he hid with his family as a child, into the Hasag-Pelcery labor camp where he was enslaved for more than a year as an adolescent, into the cattle-car train that transported him to the Buchenwald concentration camp when he was 14 and into the camp itself, where he was an inmate for four months. The project explores how people struggle to hold on to their humanity when surrounded by hate and fear. It also shares historical lessons in an effort to turn bystanders into upstanders who will speak out against hatred and bigotry today.

“Hope After Hate” unites students, faculty and staff from across UC, including undergraduate and graduate students majoring in E-Media, Acting, International Affairs, Political Science, Geography and History. CCM Acting Professor Susan Felder is adapting Limor’s memoir of her father’s experience into a script for the immersive play. Additionally, the “Hope After Hate” team is collaborating with CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Sharon Huizinga on how to create projections for the play. UC’s Center for Simulations and Virtual Environments Research (UCSIM) is building the VR experience with the 360-degree photos and videos that students captured while on the trip.

Read UC Magazine’s cover story on “Hope After Hate” to learn more about the project. Readers can also view photo galleries of images taken during the study abroad trip and watch a student-created documentary on the project.


“Hope After Hate” is sponsored by Cincinnati’s Holocaust and Humanity Center, and has already received support from private donors as well as Cincinnati’s Jewish Innovation Funds and the CCM Harmony Fund. This support offset travel expenses during the study abroad trip and funded some production expenses. However, the class is still actively collecting donations for projectors needed for the play and virtual reality equipment. Visit hopeafterhate.com for updates on the project and to learn how to get involved. 

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Long Beach Opera’s production of The Central Park Five. Photo credit: Long Beach Opera

CCM alumnus Leslie B. Dunner conducts Pulitzer Prize-winning opera ‘The Central Park Five’

Long Beach Opera’s production of The Central Park Five. Photo credit: Long Beach Opera

Anthony Davis’ opera won the prestigious prize after Dunner led the world premiere in June 2019

CCM graduate Leslie B. Dunner (DMA Orchestral Conducting, ’82) conducted the premiere of Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five last June with California’s Long Beach Opera. In May, the opera won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Composed by Davis with a libretto by Richard Wesley, the opera was described by the jury of the prestigious award as, “a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.”

The Central Park Five’s musical style combines elements of jazz, hip-hop, blues and other historically African-American genres. The opera centers on the five African American and Latino teenagers who were unjustly convicted of a Central Park assault in the 1980s, but were exonerated through DNA evidence 13 years later.

CCM audiences may remember Dunner from his recent appearance on campus. In October 2019, Dunner returned to CCM to conduct the Philharmonia in its “CSI Halloween: Post-Mortem” performance. While on campus, Dunner connected with CCM conducting students over dinner and worked with them in studio class as well as in rehearsals to prepare for the performance.

An award-winning conductor with a glowing international reputation, Dunner is the Music Director of the South Shore Opera Company in Chicago and serves as the conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Dunner began rehearsals for The Central Park Five shortly after his teaching and conducting work at the Interlochen Arts Academy ended for the 2018-19 school year. In an interview for Interlochen’s website, Dunner commented on the importance of telling the stories and struggles of black Americans through the lens of opera.

“Anthony Davis said something very interesting,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “He had an interview where he was asked what he thought was relevant with opera. Because the interviewer said, ‘Opera was becoming a dead medium.’ And Anthony replied, ‘No. It’s not a dead medium. It’s a dead medium for your stories. It’s not a dead medium for our stories because our stories have not been told in opera.’”

For Dunner, the story of the Central Park Five is very personal. “I grew up in the area where all of this took place,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “I lived eight blocks away. I used to go to that part of Central Park as a kid. All of what went on during that time I have been through.”

From the Central Park Five to today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement, stories of cultural, racial and socio-economic injustices regularly make headlines across the country. “The cycle is still being perpetuated,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “What happened to them should not be happening anymore. Yet it is still happening. That is the relevance. That’s why this was important.”

One month after Dunner led the world premiere of The Central Park Five at Long Beach Opera, another opera focused on wrongful convictions premiered at Cincinnati Opera. The stories of six people who were wrongfully imprisoned and then freed were told in Blind Injustice, a collaboration with CCM, UC’s Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) and the Young Professionals Choral Collective. Based on casework by the OIP and the book “Blind Injustice” by UC law professor and OIP Director Mark Godsey, the highly acclaimed opera was directed by CCM Professor of Opera Robin Guarino and featured several current and former CCM students in the cast.

Efforts to share diverse stories through the performing arts is not limited to tales of wrongful convictions and struggle. In February, Dunner conducted the Toledo Symphony in a program that highlighted classical musicians of color. Selections included excerpts from Nkeiru Okoye’s opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, Duke Ellington’s The River Suite, André Previn’s Honey and Rue and William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1, among other pieces. As Music Director and Interim Artistic Director of Chicago’s South Shore Opera, Dunner furthers the company’s mission to provide greater opportunities for professional artists of color, especially local black artists, in performances of classic and contemporary operas.

“We are just now coming to the foreground,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “So we are using this medium to tell our stories, and we are modifying the medium so that it’s relevant to our population, and that’s what’s interesting, and that’s what’s exciting, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”

Read Dunner’s full interview on Interlochen’s website.

Learn more about Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, The Central Park Five.

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