Donor Spotlight: Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford

The Crawfords have a deep, lifelong love of music and the arts that led them to connect with CCM

Dr. Alvin Crawford, retired Chief of Orthopedics and founding director of the Spine Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, has had a distinguished, internationally renowned career as an orthopedic surgeon. In his honor, the Spine Center was renamed the Crawford Spine Center.

But his first love was music.

He started playing trumpet in seventh grade, eventually switching to clarinet. He started college as a music major and wanted a career as a studio musician. In his sophomore year of college, he made a decision that changed the lives of thousands of children across the world: he decided to become a physician.

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM's Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM’s Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Crawford attended Meharry Medical College in 1960, a time when most if not all southern schools were segregated. He applied for admission to the University of Tennessee and became the first African-American to enroll in this southern medical school. He could not transfer because the University of Tennessee did not consider Meharry Medical College an accredited medical school.

“I became an academic orthopedist, but continued to play,” he says. “I was hired by UC to head the Pediatric Orthopaedic service. Once my wife and I found out what CCM was all about, we decided to get involved. After I retired at Cincinnati Children’s, I was able to attend the jazz improvisation course for freshmen and we started coming to performances. Last year I took jazz history.”

Continuing to live out his love of music, Dr. Crawford helped form a group called “The Wannabes,” which plays for nonprofits and has played an opera gala. From there he joined the Queen City Concert band, a community band in Cincinnati.

Jean Crawford’s interest in music stretches back to the piano lessons she took as a child. She was a teacher and high school counselor and sang in choruses through college.

“I always encouraged my students to get involved and take any type of arts as electives,” she says. “When I served on the Cincinnati Opera board, I saw that most of our singers in the chorus were from CCM. When we attended CCM’s Moveable Feast, we realized the caliber of musicianship here and were hooked on CCM.”

Mrs. Crawford talks about the opportunity she did not have, but that she wants all children to have. “I lived in the segregated south and the opportunities to attend and participate in the arts were limited,” she says. “So my goal is to make sure that the performing arts are available to all communities. In this area, school districts have limited support for funding the arts. Through the prep schools, CCM provides arts exposure to them. Also, students from CCM go to public schools to give the children more exposure. I think that’s important. And to do that you need money.“

“I think they’re doing something [at CCM] that’s really important,” Dr. Crawford adds. “I became involved in the CCM Dean’s Advisory Council and I can see that the people here care. They care, and they want to put out a good product. And once I became involved with CCMpower, I was able to meet the kids and see what they’re doing.”


Who will you empower NEXT?

In order to recruit and retain top talent, CCM must be able to offer competitive scholarship and grant opportunities to our students. CCMpower raises funds through membership and special events in order to provide the resources that attract the best and brightest students. Learn more about how you can empower the next generation of CCM stars.


Story by Joseph Rubino

Featured image at top Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Dena Cranley, Barbara Gould, Jean Crawford and Dr. Alvin Crawford at CCM’s 2020 Moveable Feast. Photo/Andrew Higley

CCM News Student Salutes

What to stream in quarantine: CCM connections in shows and movies

As you scroll through streaming options, look out for these shows and movies that have local ties

You’ve finished working remotely for the day, just returned home from a walk and now you’re looking for some screen-time entertainment. Instead of watching that show for the 100th time, try turning to something that features the work of UC College-Conservatory of Music alumni.

The list of streaming suggestions below feature the work of CCM alumni from across the college including Acting, Musical Theatre, Electronic Media, Theatre Design and Production, Composition and Wig and Make-Up graduates.

Have another suggestion to add to our list? Submit your tip to us online. Please include the name of the alum and degree program, the name of the TV show or film and the available streaming options.

Shows

Blue Bloods

Musical Theatre alumna Leigh Ann Larkin, née Wielgus (BFA, ’02) has a recurring role as medical examiner Megan Carson on the CBS television series Blue Bloods. The police procedural drama stars Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg. Learn more about Larkin’s role on the show.

Available to watch on the CBS website and Hulu.


Dead to Me

Distinguished CCM Acting alumna Diana Maria Riva (BFA, ’91; MFA, ’95) plays Detective Ana Perez on Netflix’s Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. The dark comedy returns with a second season on May 8. Learn more about Diana Maria Riva.

Available to watch on Netflix.


Fuller House

CCM Acting alumna Eydie Faye (BFA, ’99) is a writer and editor on Netflix’s Fuller House, which follows the Tanner family as DJ Tanner-Fuller shares a home with her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy, who help raise her three boys. The final episodes of the series will drop on June 2. Learn more about Faye’s workLearn more about Fuller House.

Available to watch on Netflix.


McMillion$

E-Media alumnus Brian Lazarte (BFA, ’14) co-directed McMillion$ with James Lee Hernandez, and the documentary series was picked up by Mark Walhberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas and TV network HBO. McMillion$ centers on the McDonald’s monopoly fraud case, revealing the largely untold story that involves the FBI and the mafia, elaborate undercover stings and a slew of fascinating characters. Learn more about Lazarte’s workLearn more about the docuseries.

Available to watch on Hulu and HBO streaming platforms.


The Waltons

In the mood for some classic TV? Try these popular creations from alumnus Earl Hamner Jr. (CCM, ’48; UC HonDoc, ’08). Hamner was a member of UC’s first class of broadcasting graduates and worked at local radio station WLW before he began writing for TV and film. He created The Waltons and also wrote episodes of the original The Twilight Zone and the original animated film adaptation of Charlotte’s WebLearn more about Hamner’s work.

The Waltons and Charlotte’s Web are available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

The Twilight Zone is available to watch on Hulu.


Waco

E-Media alumnus Elliot Greenberg (BFA, ’01) edited this six-part TV miniseries based on the 1992 Waco, Texas, siege. Learn more about the miniseries. Greenburg has also worked on films including Fantastic FourClerks IIQuarantine and more. Learn more about Greenberg’s work.

Waco is available to watch on Netflix and the Paramount Network.


Movies

A Wrinkle in Time

E-Media alum Dan Schroer (BFA, ’99) worked as the second assistant “a” camera in the family-friendly coming-of-age tale A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Schroer has worked on multiple blockbuster films including InceptionInterstellarThe Dark Knight Rises and DunkirkLearn more about Schroer’s work.

A Wrinkle in Time is available to watch on Disney+.


Gone Girl

CCM Theatre Design and Production alumna Dawn Swiderski (BFA, ’89) was the art director and CCM Acting alumnus Cooper Thornton (MFA, ’92) played Dr. Benson in the suspenseful drama, Gone Girl. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, the thriller is based on Gillian Flynn’s bestseller about a man suspected of wrongdoing when his wife goes missing. Learn more about the CCM connections in Gone Girl.

Available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video and available to watch on Hulu with a Live TV subscription.


The Hunger Games

Emmy Award-winning CCM Wig and Make-Up alumnus Bradley Look (MFA, ’88) is one of the most sought-after make-up artists in the industry. His work can be seen in The Hunger Games film series, Captain Marvel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor, to name a few. He won an Emmy for his work as a make-up artist on Star Trek: Voyager in 1996 and recieved Emmy nominations for his work on How I Met Your MotherPushing DaisiesEnterprise and Star Trek: Deep Space NineLearn more about Bradley’s work.

The Hunger Games series is available to watch on Hulu with a Live TV subscription.

Captain MarvelCaptain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor are available to watch on Disney+.


The Jungle Book

Before moving to the Star Wars universe, E-Media alumnus Nicholas Lipari was assistant editor on the live-action remake of The Jungle Book. The Disney favorite is reimagined with help from Hollywood voices including Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kinglsey (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Christopher Walken (King Louie) and more. Learn more about Lipari’s work.

Available to watch on Disney+.


Novitiate

CCM Composition alumnus Tyler Bradley Walker (DMA, ’10) was the music supervisor of Novitiate and enlisted the help of fellow CCM Composition alumnus Christopher Stark (MM, ’07) to score the music-heavy feature film. Novitiate is about a 17-year-old girl who trains to become a nun as the Roman Catholic Church undergoes radical changes in the early 1960s. Maggie Betts directs the film, which stars Melissa Leo, Dennis O’Hare, Dianna Agron and Margaret Qualley. Learn more about Walker and Stark’s work.

Novitiate is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The force is strong with CCM E-Media alumnus Nicholas Lipari (BFA, ’12) who served as assistant editor on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie follows the daughter of an Imperial scientist who joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans. Learn more about Lipari’s work on Rogue One.

Available to watch on Disney+.


Randy Edelman’s Epic Film Scores

Interested in something with a noteworthy score? Film composer and distinguished UC alumnus Randy Edelman (CCM ’69; UC HonDoc, ’04) has more than 100 compositions to his name. His scores for such movies as The Last of the MohicansGhostbusters IIThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and While You Were Sleeping all earned him BMI Film Music Awards. His other film score credits include DragonheartThe Indian in the Cupboard and The Mask, to name a few. Learn more about Edelman’s work.

The Last of the MohicansGhostbusters IIThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and While You Were Sleeping are available to rent on Amazon Prime Video. While You Were Sleeping is also available to watch on Hulu with a Showtime subscription.

Dragonheart is available to watch on Netflix.

The Indian in the Cupboard is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and is available to watch on Hulu.

The Mask is available to watching on Hulu with a Cinemax subscription.


Have another suggestion to add to our list? Submit your tip to us online. Please include the name of the alum and degree program, the name of the TV show or film and the available streaming options.

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A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

Take a Guided Virtual Tour of CCM Village

Follow along as musical theatre graduate Madison Hagler provides a virtual look at CCM’s facilities

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CCM Announces Kristy Swift as New Assistant Professor of Musicology

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of musicologist and organist Kristy Swift, PhD and DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. Swift’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Musicology – Educator begins on Aug. 15, 2020. A two-time alumna of CCM, Swift (DMA Organ, ’98; PhD Musicology, ’13) is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology – Educator.

A portrait of new CCM faculty member Kristy Swift.Swift’s research interests include digital humanities, film music, historiography, identity and music, music history pedagogy, music of Cincinnati and opera. Her monograph Thinking About Music History: Textbooks and the Canon is forthcoming from Clemson University Press. She is a member of the CCM Cincinnati Sounds: Exploring a Musical City Through Digital Exhibits project team, which received the UC Strategic Collaborative Award.

Swift has presented her research at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, Society for American Music, Music and the Moving Image and Music History Pedagogy Conferences. Her work has been published in the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, The Diapason and Music Research Forum. Swift has taught hybrid and traditional face-to-face courses in American opera, madness in opera, opera and disability, politics and opera, protest(ed) music, Copland, Handel, Verdi, Wagner, research and writing, and graduate and undergraduate music history surveys at CCM and at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

As soloist and accompanist, she has performed throughout the United States in venues ranging from local Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky sites to Carnegie Hall. She has also served as director of music and organist at churches in Ohio and Florida.

Swift earned a PhD in musicology and DMA in organ studying with Roberta Gary at CCM. She also received an MM in organ studying with William Bodine and BM in education from the University of Florida. She served on the organ committee at Newtown United Methodist Church in Cincinnati for the installation of the M. P. Rathke Opus 8 pipe organ.

“I am grateful to Musicology Search Committee Chair Jonathan Kregor and committee members Amy Beegle, Jenny Doctor, Scott Linford and Stephen Meyer for their collaborative effort on this successful search,” said Romanstein. “We look forward to welcoming Kristy Swift to her new position at CCM this fall.”

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world stage.

CCM’s world-class facilities provide a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment. In 2017, the college completed a $15-million renovation of its major performance spaces, ensuring that CCM’s facilities remain state-of-the-art.

The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts. Learn more at ccm.uc.edu

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Celebrates Class of 2020

CCM is so proud of our graduates and of the faculty and staff who helped guide their success

After investing countless hours in classrooms, practice rooms, studios, workshops and rehearsal halls, the Class of 2020 is graduating from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. Congratulations!

Photo of CCM Village as the cover for the Graduation Convocation program.

Click the image to download CCM’s 2020 Graduation Convocation program. Design by Mikki Graff.

The CCM community is inspired by the Class of 2020’s resilience during this unprecedented crisis and is proud to welcome this year’s graduates to our global network of alumni. Graduates join a network of thousands of UC alumni including artists, entrepreneurs, researchers, leaders and professionals around the world.

“I wish we could gather in Corbett Auditorium to recognize and celebrate all you’ve achieved,” CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein says. “I’d like nothing more than to shake your hand, to look you in the eye and say, on behalf of CCM’s faculty and staff, ‘Congratulations! Well done!’ Unfortunately, COVID-19 has relegated us to a virtual celebration.”

“Please know how proud we are of you and of what you’ve done,” Romanstein adds. “CCM’s reputation as a nationally ranked and internationally renowned institution rests with you. The faculty and I look forward to following your journey, wherever it may take you.”

In addition to CCM’s degree recipients, we also acknowledge this year’s student and faculty award recipients:

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Achievement Award: Melinda Hunt
  • Sigma Alpha Iota Scholastic Award for Outstanding Achievement: Adelaide Young
  • Ernest N. Glover Award for Outstanding Teaching: Tricia Sundbeck

CCM also celebrates five retiring faculty members who have dedicated themselves to continuing the college’s legacy as a leading training center for the performing and media arts:

  • Earl Rivers, professor of music and director of choral studies, 1973-2020
  • Dean Mogle, professor and head of costume design and technology, 1989-2020
  • Alan Siebert, professor of trumpet, 1990-2020
  • Mark Williams, professor of lighting design and technology, 2009-2020
  • Stephen Allee, professor of music, 2015-2020

We look forward to a time in which we can all come together again to mark these momentous milestones in person. Until then, please accept our digital congratulations on behalf of CCM’s faculty, staff, friends and alumni.

Congratulations to CCM’s Class of 2020!

View the list of CCM’s 2020 graduates.

You can also download the online version of the Graduation Convocation program booklet.


#UCGrad2020

UC President Neville G. Pinto invites the university community to participate in a two-day virtual graduation celebration on May 1-2, 2020. To mark this important milestone, UC Student Affairs and its Commencement Office has planned the following digital activities, which will be based in their Twitter account @StuAffUC and use the hashtag #UCGrad20.

A Day of GRAD-itude

Every hour from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, May 1, Student Affairs will share a sampling of thank you messages from graduates as they show their GRAD-itude to those who have been a part of their journey to graduation.

Celebration Saturday

Commemorate your achievement by taking a walk down memory lane. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, Student Affairs will tweet every half hour to celebrate the day with you. Follow along for fun flashbacks, interactive polls, lots of great GIFs and a chance to tell us about your memorable moments at UC. If you happen to be online at 4:30 p.m., you’ll catch a message from President Pinto and then finish the festivities at 5 p.m. with a virtual cap toss.

Until we can see one another again in person, please stay in touch and and stay connected at alumni.uc.edu


Featured images of CCM’s 2019 Graduation Convocation by Jay Yocis 

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CCM Announces Megan Steigerwald Ille as New Assistant Professor of Musicology

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of musicologist Megan Steigerwald Ille, PhD, to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. Steigerwald Ille’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Musicology – Educator begins on Aug. 15, 2020.

A portrait of new CCM faculty member Megan Steigerwald Ille.Steigerwald Ille is a musicologist whose research and teaching considers the intersections of operatic, popular and digital cultures in the 21st century in the United States and Canada. Her book-in-progress, Opera for Everyone: Experimenting with American Opera in the Digital Age, explores changing modes of spectatorship and performer labor in contemporary opera in the US through an in-depth ethnographic study of the LA-based experimental opera company called The Industry.

She has articles forthcoming in the Journal of the Society of American Music and The Opera Quarterly. Since 2018 she has served as a Postdoctoral Fellow of Digital Cultures in the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis.

Steigerwald Ille completed her PhD in Historical Musicology and a certificate in Ethnomusicology at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.

“I am grateful to Musicology Search Committee Chair Jonathan Kregor and committee members Amy Beegle, Jenny Doctor, Scott Linford and Stephen Meyer for their work finding CCM’s next great musicology professor,” said Romanstein. “We look forward to welcoming Megan Steigerwald Ille to the CCM family.”

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world stage.

CCM’s world-class facilities provide a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment. In 2017, the college completed a $15-million renovation of its major performance spaces, ensuring that CCM’s facilities remain state-of-the-art.

The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts. Learn more at ccm.uc.edu

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Announces Shelina Brown as New Assistant Professor of American Music

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of musicologist Shelina Brown to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. Brown’s appointment as Assistant Professor of American Music begins on Aug. 15, 2020.

A portrait of new CCM faculty member Shelina Brown.Brown holds an MA and PhD from UCLA’s Department of Musicology. Her primary research project centers on experimental vocal practices and cultural resistance within underground music scenes. Brown’s dissertation project, “Yoko Ono’s Experimental Vocality as Matrixial Borderspace: Theorizing Yoko Ono’s Extended Vocal Technique and her Contributions to the Development of Underground and Popular Vocal Repertoires, 1968-Present,” focused on Yoko Ono’s extended vocal techniques of the late 1960s and early 1970s that came to influence a range of counter-hegemonic vocalists throughout the late 20th century.

Brown’s methodological approach draws upon contemporary feminist psychoanalytical theories, adapting these for the purpose of musical analysis of vocality and gendered subjectivization. In this vein, her theoretical approach to music studies aims to bring feminist psychoanalysis into dialogue with posthuman thought, queer studies and critical race theory.

A Canadian national raised in Kyoto, Japan, Brown also holds a Master’s in Comparative Literature specializing in modern Japanese literature. Prior to commencing studies in musicology, Shelina was employed as a sessional lecturer of modern Japanese literature at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Brown’s article “Scream from the Heart: Yoko Ono’s Rock ’n’ Roll Revolution” has been published in Sheila Whiteley’s compilation, Countercultures and Popular Music (Ashgate, 2014). She is currently preparing an article, Of Insects and Interstices: Yoko Ono’s Experimental Short Film, Fly (1970) and the Synaesthetic Un-Mapping of the Abstract Female Nude,” which will be forthcoming in 2021. Brown has presented papers at annual meetings including SEM (Society for Ethnomusicology), IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music), AAS (American Association for Asian Studies) and EMP (Experience Music Project).

A long-term participant in underground and independent music scenes, Brown has been active as a vocalist and instrumentalist in several new wave and garage rock bands over the past 10 years. She still maintains close ties to the Los Angeles underground, and looks forward to exploring music scenes across Ohio.

“I send my gratitude to our search committee comprised of Jonathan Kregor (chair), Stefan Fiol, Jeongwon Joe, Matthew Peattie and Shauna Steele for their work in finding CCM’s next great professor of American music,” said Romanstein. “We look forward to welcoming Shelina Brown this fall.”

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world stage.

CCM’s world-class facilities provide a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment. In 2017, the college completed a $15-million renovation of its major performance spaces, ensuring that CCM’s facilities remain state-of-the-art.

The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts. Learn more at ccm.uc.edu

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Musical Family Gives Living Room Performance of Beethoven String Quartet

A family of musicians stuck at home during the pandemic found a perfect venue for a chamber music performance — their living room. The four string players, including two UC College-Conservatory of Music students, performed the first movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3 and shared it online for music lovers everywhere to enjoy.

The home concert features Cleveland Orchestra violinist Kathleen Collins and her children: Daniel Fields, a student violinist at CCM; Matthew Fields, a student cellist at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University; and Maya Fields, a student violist at CCM.

The performance received rave reviews from the family’s live-audience member, Cleo the dog. Tune into the performance on CCM’s YouTube channel.


Video provided by Maya Fields

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Cincinnati Enquirer: CCM Alum Writes Custom Songs During Pandemic

As performing arts centers around the world announce event cancelations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, musicians are finding new ways to share and create their art. The Cincinnati Enquirer recently featured how one UC College-Conservatory of Music alumnus is sharing his work through a unique business model.

Ryan Fine. Photo/Ryan Fine

Ryan Fine (BFA Commercial Music Production, ’17) is a Nashville-based performer, songwriter, pianist and producer who suddenly found himself with an empty calendar when performances were canceled. So, he started Fine-Tuned Custom Songs to create original works for music lovers during the pandemic.

Fine will create an original song based on what the customer wants. Customers can request songs for any occasion, specify the tone and style of music. Prices for the songs start at $50.

Read the full article.

Fine has been writing and producing custom songs for kids going through traumatic experiences with the Songs of Love Foundation since 2016. He was voted Best Instrumentalist of 2019 by readers of the Nashville Scene. As an artist he has over 275,000 streams on Spotify. Cincinnati audiences may remember his jazz pop group Ryan Fine & The Media, which performed a set at the Midpoint Music Festival in 2016. Learn more about Fine on his professional website.


Feature image at top: Ryan Fine at the piano. Photo/Ryan Fine

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Registration is now open for all 2017-18 CCM Prep courses

CCM Announces Joe Miller as New Director of Choral Studies

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of choral conductor Joe Miller, DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. A leading authority in the field of choral conducting, Miller is also a two-time graduate of CCM (MM, ‘92; DMA, ‘97). His appointment as professor and director of CCM’s lauded Choral Studies program begins on Aug. 15, 2020, pending approval of the University’s Board of Trustees.

A portrait of new CCM faculty member Joe Miller.Since 2006, Miller has served as conductor of two of the most renowned choral ensembles in the US: the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. He has also served as director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. In addition to his responsibilities at Westminster, Miller has been artistic director of choral activities for the renowned Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, since 2007. He has also served as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra Symphonic Choir since 2016.

“CCM has a distinguished history of choral performance and conductor training, and our alumni occupy leadership positions throughout the world,” said Romanstein. “Joe Miller has worked with the world’s leading ensembles, conductors and artists and I am proud to welcome him back to CCM as a colleague. Joe has a firm grasp of the immense opportunities available to 21st century artists and he will serve as a worthy successor to our illustrious colleague Professor Earl Rivers, who retires this spring after a nearly 50-year tenure at CCM.”

“As an alumnus, I owe much to this great institution,” said Miller. “My education at CCM has provided deep roots that have enabled me to grow a diverse and wide-reaching career, and I am honored to help lead the next chapter of this fine institution. I am excited to partner with my new CCM colleagues to find new ways to connect the dots between our ever-changing technology-minded world and our need for shared human experiences.”

Miller’s appointment concludes a national search that began when Earl Rivers, CCM’s long-time director of choral studies, announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. “I am grateful to our search committee chair Mark Gibson and committee members L. Brett Scott, Gwendolyn Coleman, Robyn Lana, Marie-France Lefebvreand Daniel Weeks for their work finding CCM’s next great ensembles and conducting professor,” said Romanstein.

About Joe Miller

Miller’s recent seasons leading the Westminster Choir have included concert tours in Beijing, China and in Spain, as well as participation in the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona and groundbreaking performances of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields at the historic Roebling WireWorks as part of Westminster’s Transforming Space project.

After viewing a staged performance of Joby Talbot’s demanding Path of Miracles at the 2019 Spoleto Festival USA, D.C. Theatre Scene wrote, “Joe Miller is a fearless artist. His bold leadership and trust in these young singers enabled his choristers to forego the ‘stand and deliver,’ score-bound habits of their genre and ‘walk with him’ on this special journey. Not only did the singers need to memorize their parts, no mean feat, but follow his baton’s bid from any part of the auditorium and sing in any body position. Miller constantly challenged them in the process and inspired them to work confidently, well outside their comfort zone.”

The New York Times described the Westminster Choir’s 2014 Festival performance of John Adams’ El Niño as “superb” and wrote, “Meticulously prepared … the chorus was remarkable for its precision, unanimity and power.” The Wall Street Journal praised the same performance, crediting “the fine Westminster Choir and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, under the direction of Joe Miller.” The Post and Courier wrote about their performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, “This was an evening of near-flawless execution and many moments of ravishing beauty and power. It will go down as a highlight (maybe even THE highlight) of this year’s festival, and, I think, as the work with which Joe Miller established his credentials to lead an extended choral/orchestral masterwork, not just recreating Bach’s music but also putting his own interpretive stamp on the whole.”

Miller has made four recordings with the Westminster Choir. American Record Guide wrote about the choir’s newest CD, Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir, “This is gorgeous singing … with perfect blend, intonation, diction, ensemble and musicality.” The Heart’s Reflection: Music of Daniel Elder was hailed by Minnesota Public Radio’s Classical Notes as “simply astounding.”  Miller’s debut recording with the ensemble, Flower of Beauty, received four stars from Choir & Organ magazine and earned critical praise from American Record Guide, which described the Westminster Choir as “the gold standard for academic choirs in America.”

As conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, Miller has collaborated with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, earning him critical praise. The New York Timeswrote about Symphonic Choir’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Cleveland Orchestra, “Joe Miller’s Westminster Symphonic Choir was subtle when asked and powerful when turned loose.” Recent seasons have included performances with the Philharmoniker Berliner and Sir Simon Rattle; The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel.

Prior to his time at Westminster Choir College, Miller served on the faculty of Western Michigan University, California State University and Whitman College. He is the 2016 recipient of the Maynard Klein Award for Distinguished Service to Choral Music, which is presented by ACDA-Michigan in recognition of artistic excellence and a lifetime of leadership in the field of choral music.

Miller received his DMA in Choral Conducting with a cognate in Voice from CCM in 1997. He received his MM in Choral Conducting from CCM in 1992. In 1987, he graduated cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Music Education and Voice.

About CCM Choral Studies

Recognized by US News and World Report as one of this country’s leading conducting programs, CCM’s Department of Choral Studies is widely known for its excellence in training conductors for successful, lifelong careers in the choral arts.

CCM’s Master of Music and Doctor of Music Arts programs provide professional-level experiences in rehearsals and performances, developing musicianship and technique, and acquiring knowledge of styles, performance practices and repertoire.

MM and DMA graduates of CCM’s Choral Studies programs are conducting and administrating highly successful professional, collegiate, symphonic, secondary, children’s and church choir programs throughout the world.

For more information about CCM, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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