Melodic Connections musicians on stage during a concert. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

CCM Gives Back: Volunteer at Melodic Connections on April 8

Melodic Connections, a music therapy studio founded by alumna Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, needs help painting its new studio space after a storm ravaged its previous location. Join University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumni and friends for a day of service at the new studio, located at 6940 Plainfield Road, on Saturday, April 8.

The CCM Gives Back volunteer event is organized by the UC Alumni Association, which will provide a pizza lunch for all participants. Volunteers will meet at Melodic Connections on Plainfield Road from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday to paint the new studio space. Please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/CCMgivesback.

Damaged instruments after the flash flood. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Damaged instruments after the flash flood. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Flash flooding caused by a storm devastated the original Melodic Connections studio on August 28. The studio, which provides music therapy services to people of all ages and abilities, was destroyed along with instruments, furniture and equipment.

“We lost everything,” said Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, who graduated from UC with an MM in Oboe Performance in 2002 and an MEd in Special Education in 2002.

Vans floated in four feet of water in the Melodic Connections parking lot. The piano was knocked on its back when water flowed through the studio. Instruments and sound equipment, which were stored on the ground level of the studio, were destroyed along with years of teaching materials. Music therapists poured water out of handmade ukuleles, which had been recently donated from Hawaii.

“Our music therapists were heartbroken,” Nuseibeh said. “The students were calling, offering support and wondering when they would be able to return to their music home. We couldn’t answer. We didn’t know.”

The organization rallied after the storm, with tremendous support from the Greater Cincinnati community. Calls of support, instruments and monetary donations were made to help revitalize Melodic Connections.

“In our darkest moments, we found that our beloved city and community wouldn’t let us stop making music,” Nuseibeh said.

With its original studio in shambles, Melodic Connections had to find a new space for its programs. Now the organization is working to move to its new location so it can continue offering music therapy services to Greater Cincinnati.

Nuseibeh founded Melodic Connections in 2008 after she worked with an autistic student who struggled to communicate with others. She realized that he behaved differently in music class and introduced him to piano. Music gave him a new way of communicating with others. He sang commercial jingles to students in the hallway — his way of saying “hi.” He even sang the Beatles’ Get Back to his teachers to let them know when they were standing too close.

In high school he began taking lessons through CCM’s Preparatory and Community Engagement Program. Now as a young man in his 20s, he is part of the Melodic Connections studio.

“Music has given him a means through which to communicate his beautiful thoughts with the world,” Nuseibeh said.

Melodic Connections offers this opportunity to people of all ages and abilities throughout Greater Cincinnati. Offerings include Adult Programs, Afternoon Classes, Summer Camps and Music in the Schools.

CCMpower provided funding for the Music in the Schools program, which brings music therapy-based learning into 24 area special education classrooms. These programs will still be offered through the new Melodic Connections studio on Plainfield Road.

“This new building will signify a beautiful new Melodic Connections,” Nuseibeh said. “So many more people know now who we are and what we do, so this space will now represent our weaving into the fabric of the Cincinnati music community. It will be a place to build skills so that we can be a part of the rich music culture in this city.”

Melodic Connections students in class. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

Melodic Connections students in class. Photo provided by Melodic Connections.

The new Melodic Connections studio is taking shape but still needs some work before it opens its doors. Volunteers at the CCM Gives Back event will help paint the walls of this new space, which will soon be filled with music.

Volunteers will meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Melodic Connections, located at 6940 Plainfield Road. If you plan to participate, please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/CCMgivesback.

“I am proud of the education I received from CCM,” Nuseibeh said. “In addition to the high standards and beautiful music I was able to create with others in ensemble there, it also created within me a resiliency, grit and determination to achieve great things through music. I know there are other alum that feel the same way and I am truly looking forward to joining them in community on April 8.”

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CCM Dance presents Masterworks and Beyond on April 13-15 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Photo by Will Brenner.

CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Series Concludes with Dance Masterworks and Beyond

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music concludes its 2016-17 Mainstage Series with Masterworks and Beyond, performed by the Department of Dance on Thursday, April 13-Saturday, April 15 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Co-directed by Dance Department Chair Jiang Qi and Associate Professor Deirdre Carberry, the performance features a mixed bill of contemporary and classical ballet.

Alongside a selection of traditional and new works, Masterworks and Beyond includes the world premiere of day of wakening over the sea of night, with choreography by CCM Assistant Professor André Megerdichian and music by CCM composition alumnus and accompanist Bradley Harris.

The program begins with George Balanchine’s masterwork Valse-Fantaisie, a classic ballet set to music by Mikhail Glinka. CCM’s performance is restaged by guest artist Viki Psihoyos, who works with the George Balanchine Trust to offer Balanchine Technique Workshops. Up next in Masterworks and Beyond is Flower Festival, with music composed by Edvard Helsted and choreography by August Bournonville. This one-act ballet is restaged by Qi and Carberry.

The program continues with two works that feature brand new choreography. CCM Associate Professor Michael Tevlin choreographs Revelries, a new traditional ballet performed with music by Gaetano Donizetti. Guest artist Roger Van Fleteren, who is the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of the Alabama Ballet Company, choreographs “unRAVELed” a new contemporary ballet with music by Maurice Ravel.

The grand finale of the program is the world premiere of day of wakening over the sea of night. Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s mythological writings, this new work is a viscerally engaging, athletically mesmerizing landscape of contemporary dance. The piece features a reimagined stage space, which creates a shifted perspective, heightened by live musicians with a mystic world groove.

Masterworks and Beyond is a collection of diverse works, which showcase the versatility of the students and faculty in CCM’s Department of Dance. Tickets are available for purchase through the CCM Box Office.

Valse-Fantaisie is performed by permission of the George Balanchine Trust.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, April 13
8 p.m. Friday, April 14
2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15

Please note: UC’s Nippert Stadium will also host an FC|Cincinnati game at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, 2017. The full FC|Cincinnati Soccer game schedule can be found at www.fccincinnati.com/2017-schedule.

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Masterworks and Beyond 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/mainstage/masterworks-and-beyond.html.

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

Dance Sponsor: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM
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Story by CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies

Photo by Will Brenner.

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CCM Presents Staged Version of Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will showcase J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion at Cincinnati’s Christ Church Cathedral at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. Conducted by CCM Director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers with stage direction from artist diploma candidate Andreas Hager, the performance features faculty artist Daniel Weeks and student aria soloists.

Known for its stunning choruses, interplay between recitative and aria and sublime storytelling, St. Matthew Passion has made an enduring mark in music history as a sublime example of a musical setting of the passion story. Thanks in part to a grant from the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, CCM’s staged performance illuminates the dramatic intensity of this Baroque masterwork, which retells the compelling story of the events leading up to the trial of Jesus, his crucifixion and burial.

“Bach was interested in the spiritual drama of the crucifixion, not only of Jesus but of society,” said Hager, a first-year artist diploma candidate in opera stage direction. “Our production explores the moral culpability we all face living in a complex world. From Judas to Peter to Pilate — no one can escape from the consequences of their choices.”

“Our production is spare and minimalist, allowing the full force of Bach’s music to take the forefront.”

The CCM Chamber Choir, Cincinnati Children’s Choir and CCM Philharmonia will combine forces to perform this massive work. To make this work come to life on stage, the CCM production emphasizes the piece’s storylines by designating arias to specific characters.

The story is presented by a narrator called the Evangelist, played by faculty artist Daniel Weeks, tenor, with student soloists as Jesus (Samson McCrady, bass-baritone), Pilate (Christian Pursell, baritone) and aria singers (Ashley Fabian and Jackie Stevens, sopranos; Reilly Nelson and Paulina Villarreal, mezzo-sopranos; Thomas J. Capobianco, tenor and Eric Shane Heatley and Joseph Mazzara, baritones).

CCM has a long history with St. Matthew Passion, which dates back to a February 1970 performance that featured alumna Kathleen Battle (MM Voice, 1971) singing the aria, “Aus liebe.” The college most recently performed the work in November, 2011. This staged performance, held at Cincinnati’s St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, was the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Join us for CCM’s latest production of this iconic masterwork. St. Matthew Passion will be performed at 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 9 at Christ Church Cathedral, located at 318 East Fourth Street.

Performance Date
3 p.m. Sunday, April 9

Location
Christ Church Cathedral
318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45246

Purchasing Tickets
Single tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

Single tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Directions
Christ Church Cathedral is located at the corners of Fourth and Sycamore Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio. For directions and additional information, please refer to http://cincinnaticathedral.com/belong.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Sponsored by the Cambridge Charitable Foundation

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CCM Slideshows: Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’

Here is your first look at CCM Opera’s Mainstage production of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Directed by artist diploma student Marcus Shields, this heroic Greek tale runs Thursday, March 30-Sunday, April 2 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Hailed as Mozart’s first great opera seria, Idomeneo is a classic story of unrequited love, sacrifice and revenge. The plot focuses on a king who is lost at sea during his journey home from war. To survive, he strikes a deal with vengeful god Neptune, but the king is then faced with an impossible decision — to sacrifice his entire nation or his son.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

View the slideshow above for your sneak peek of the production.

For more information on Idomeneo, read our press release and behind-the-scenes interview with lighting designer Oliver Littleton.

IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, March 30
8 p.m. Friday, March 31
8 p.m. Saturday, April 1
2 p.m. Sunday, April 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Idomeneo are $31-35 for adults, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 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/mainstage/idomeneo.html.

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

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Summer scenes on campus, CCM.

CCM Summer Hosts Opera Bootcamp for Singers, Conductors and Pianists

The UC College-Conservatory of Music combines its annual Opera Bootcamp and Opera Studio summer programs into a dynamic new program designed to develop career skills for conductors and singers alike. If you are an aspiring pianist, coach, stage director, conductor or singer, apply for the new Opera Bootcamp summer program, which occurs July 8-30 at CCM.

Training singers and conductors alongside each other builds a depth of understanding often not acquired until well into your professional career. In the three-week program, participants will mount two opera productions, Gianni Schicchi and Les mamelles de Tirésias, and one program of staged Mozart scenes and arias — all with orchestra and in their respective original languages. Both French and Italian language instruction will be offered to support the assigned repertoire.

Opera Bootcamp faculty includes internationally renowned professionals from CCM and visiting faculty members. CCM faculty includes Mark Gibson, Amy Johnson, Kathryn Lorenz, William McGraw, Andrea Tutt, Marie-France Lefebvre and professor emeritus David Adams. Visiting faculty members include Vernon Hartman, stage director; Steven Mosteller, coach; Joyce Miller, Italian language instructor; Jose Maria Condemi, stage director; Ken Weiss, coach; and Louis Pelletier, coach.

Professional biographies for each faculty member are available online at ccm.uc.edu/summer/collegiate-adult/opera-bootcamp/faculty.

All singers begin Opera Bootcamp with a two-day intensive on July 8 and 9, which includes training in traditional lyric stagecraft, Michael Chekhov acting technique, period movement, dances used in opera and career mentorship specific to the industry. These special sessions are led by Johnson, Tutt and Hartman. Conductors and pianists begin their Opera Bootcamp training on July 10.

This program is process oriented. It’s bootcamp! You are trained. The skills taught can be applied quickly and effectively to have great impact on your success as an artist.

CCM’s 2017 Opera Bootcamp is now accepting applications. The application deadline is April 15, 2017; enrollment for CCM Summer Programs is limited.

Visit ccm.uc.edu/summer/collegiate-adult/opera-bootcamp for application details and more information on Opera Bootcamp.

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Study Baroque Music in CCM Summer Program for Harpsichord and Cello

Keyboardists and cellists are invited to apply for the Continuo: Harpsichord and Cello summer workshop at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. Led by CCM Assistant Professor of Keyboard Michael Unger, the program runs June 5-7, 2017.

“This will be our third summer offering the Continuo: Harpsichord and Cello workshop,” Unger said. “I am excited that cello and harpsichord students have the great opportunity to collaborate with each other, to learn about continuo and chamber music techniques, and to experiment with Baroque performance practice questions through the hands-on study of eighteenth-century repertoire.”

Participants will study with Unger, who is a multiple award-winning harpsichordist and cellist, and visiting faculty member Adriana Contino, an internationally acclaimed cellist from Anderson University.

During the three-day program, students will participate in solo chamber music coachings, group performance classes on Baroque technique and interpretation, and seminars on Baroque performance practice and continuo technique. Students will also have opportunities to perform in recitals on June 6 and 7.

CCM’s 2017 Continuo: Harpsichord and Cello workshop is now accepting applications. The application deadline is April 15, 2017; enrollment for CCM Summer Programs is limited.

To learn more about the Continuo: Harpsichord and Cello workshop, please visit ccm.uc.edu/summer/collegiate-adult/harpsichord-cello.

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A model of the scenic design for CCM's production of 'Idomeneo.'

CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Lighting Design for Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’

First-year graduate student Oliver Littleton’s first lighting design work was in churches, small theaters and tiny clubs. Now his designs will be seen in the Mainstage production of Idomeneo at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.

The opera opens on Thursday, Mach 30 and continues through Sunday, April 2 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are available through the CCM Box Office.

Littleton began his theatre training in Alabama at the age of 12. He wanted to be an actor, but always had an interest in lighting design. After earning a BFA in technical theatre from Adelphi University in New York, Littleton chose to pursue his graduate studies at CCM. He enrolled in CCM’s Theatre Design and Production program, where he studies lighting design and technology.

Light plays a key role in creating the “gods and monsters” in CCM’s production of Idomeneo. In an interview with CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies, Littleton shared some of his thoughts on the expressive power of lighting and its effect in Mozart’s first great opera seria.

What drew you to the lighting design program at CCM?
I loved the opportunity to be the lighting designer for a huge variety of genres including dance, opera, theatre and musicals. I value our large production scale and commitment to modern technology in all areas of the technical and design departments. Most important is probably my comfort within the culture of the CCM community.

It’s a hardworking environment that demands excellence, and does its best to surpass being just an educational institution in order to produce great art in a variety of fields.

How does your lighting design for Idomeneo compare to your work in other CCM productions?
This is my first Mainstage production at CCM so obviously scale is the big one! I designed Middletown in the fall and Transformations just a month ago, both in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre. Though they presented unique challenges, the sheer size of those productions was much smaller than this.

We’ve heard that lighting plays a significant role in establishing the abstract setting and in creating the “gods and monsters” of Idomeneo. Can you describe how you use light to create these “special effects?”
The metaphors of gods and monsters in this production of Idomeneo, in my mind, are far more important than their physical presence in the opera. To this end the “gods and monsters” are expressed in lighting with the contrast between restraint and excess.  Using color, intensity and texture to contrast between safe comfort, otherworldly mystery and grimy disappointment helps tell the story of monsters and heroes.  Our sea monster is of the mind.  It is doubt, hate, selfishness and it gets expressed with rich vivid color and powerful waves of light.  I want the lighting to drive this change and make the audience question who really are the monsters and gods of the piece.

A god-like face can be seen in Littleton's lighting design concept for 'Idomeneo.'

A god-like face can be seen in Oliver Littleton’s lighting design concept for ‘Idomeneo.’ Photo provided by Oliver Littleton.

What other roles does the lighting play in this opera?
When you start looking at abstract or ethereal lighting design, the first pitfall you see lighting designers take is forgetting that the point of the production is for audience members to sit in seats and watch people do things. All the fancy design in the world doesn’t amount to anything if the patrons can’t see the performers and understand what is going on in the story. The first job of every lighting designer is the help interpret the story and we do that in a number of ways. Lighting some areas of the stage while leaving others dark tells the audience where to look and focus. Using toplight and backlight that makes it difficult to see facial features gives a sense of drama and tension, while front light imbues a naturalistic nature to the stage. Every choice is informed by the question, “How does this serve the story,” and any choice that is not enslaved to it must be mercilessly eliminated.

Do you have anything else to add about your experience working on Idomeneo?
Idomeneo is a criminally underrated opera that is one of Mozart’s greatest offerings musically. I hope that everyone who watches the show leaves the theater saying things like “what a wonderful and interesting production” or “that was a beautiful way to share that music and story with us.” If they are talking about my lights or the set more than the characters’ choices or vocal prowess, then we as a design team have failed.

The greatest joy I take in my work is contributing to performers sharing stories and feeling with the audience. I hope this show does that for everyone who comes to see it.

CCM’s production of Idomeneo is directed by CCM artist diploma candidate Marcus Shields and conducted by Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung. It is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Find more information on the production in our press release.

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IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Mar. 30
8 p.m. Friday, Mar. 31
8 p.m. Saturday, April 1
2 p.m. Sunday, April 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

 Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Idomeneo are $31-35 for adults, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 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/mainstage/idomeneo.html.

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
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

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