CCM Alumnus Edward Nelson Makes Professional Debut in San Francisco Opera’s ‘Two Women’

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Janelle Gelfand reviews Marco Tutino’s new opera Two Women, which serves as a San Francisco Opera debut for CCM alumnus Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013)!

You can read her full recap online at here.

Originally posted on janellesnotes:

Italian diva Anna Caterina Antonacci took her cue from Sophia Loren as the character Cesira in "Two Women" Italian diva Anna Caterina Antonacci took her cue from Sophia Loren as the character Cesira in “Two Women”

Marco Tutino’s new opera “Two Women,” which takes place in war-torn Italy during World War II, has one stirring moment. Near the end of Act I, Rosetta (sung by Sarah Shafer), the 16-year-old daughter of Cesira, lifts her pure-toned soprano in a poignant prayer for peace. It becomes a touching anthem for the whole village, as they join her a lush chorus, singing “Father, do not abandon us,” as battles are growing closer to their village.

To a full War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Opera presented the world premiere on Saturday of the hotly-anticipated opera, “Two Women” (“La Ciociara”) by Tutino, to his libretto with Fabio Ceresa. As the creators told us in a panel discussion on Friday, the opera is based on Alberto Moravia’s novel, but not so…

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Students in UC's Production Master Class documenting 'Expedition Alaska 2015.'

UC Production Master Class Films 2015 Expedition Alaska Adventure Race

This summer, the University of Cincinnati’s Production Master Class changes venues from California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range to the pristine wilderness of Alaska to document Expedition Alaska 2015, a 350 mile, seven day non-stop adventure race from June 28 to July 5.

A crew of seven UC students is in Alaska now, working with media professionals to develop a documentary film covering this extraordinary sporting event!

A premier qualifying race for the Adventure Racing World Series, Expedition Alaska 2015 features ocean kayaking, whitewater rafting, glacier trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking. Four person teams, comprised of the world’s best endurance athletes, will navigate by map and compass through the stunning scenery of the world’s most remote, famous and beautiful terrain, the Kenai Peninsula.

The UC Production Master Class involves an interdisciplinary group of students and faculty from the University of Cincinnati who work with nationally recognized television and film professionals to produce digital media content that reaches a national and global audience.

Since 2012, the UC Production Master Class has involved over 90 UC students hailing from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

UC Production Master Class.Developed by CCM Professor Kevin Burke and UC Alumnus and Emmy award-winning producer Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001), the UC Production Master Course was first funded by a three-year grant from the UC Forward Collaborative, an initiative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan. Earlier this year, UC President Santa Ono pledged additional funding, which allowed the production to continue beyond its initial three-year grant period.

The goal was to create a transformative, “hands-on” experience for the students by taking them out of the classroom and into the field to produce the documentary series that could be distributed to a national television audience.

The project’s initial three years focused on the Gold Rush Expedition Race, a grueling 275-mile race through the California wilderness. Three 90-minute films were produced to document that race. All three films have aired nationally on NBC’s Universal Sports Network.

The 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film was recently nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the professional category of Best Documentary – Cultural/Topical. You can learn more about that nomination by visiting http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=21859.

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CCM Village in the spring of 2014. Photography by Dottie Stover.

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Peter Landgren Reappointed to New Seven-Year Term

The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the reappointment of CCM Dean Peter Landgren to a new seven-year term, extending his tenure through June 30, 2023.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren

Peter Landgren, Dean and Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at CCM.

The standard procedure for college deans at UC requires that they go through a decanal review during the penultimate year of their appointment to determine if they will be reappointed for a new term.

This exhaustive process includes a comprehensive review by faculty and staff at the college, as well as UC leadership.

“I feel such a close connection to those with whom I work at UC, to the students who become remarkable fellow alumni of our college and to the generous community who invests in CCM’s UnCompromising Excellence,” said Landgren. “I am proud to continue guiding my alma mater, providing consistent leadership through the next UC comprehensive campaign.”

Landgren was named dean of CCM in September of 2011, and his leadership has resulted in a long list of accomplishments already, including:

  • securing the internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet as CCM’s string quartet-in residence;
  • creating a collaboration with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati World Piano Competition and CCM, which completed a successful third year earlier this month;
  • realizing the mantra Get CCM Off the Hill through enhanced community engagement efforts, which were made possible by key staff hires and grant support from ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and other regional private and foundation support;
  • refocusing CCM’s vision and mission for the 21st century through the college’s ONECCM initiative;
    • Vision: CCM-UnCompromising Excellence
    • Mission: CCM provides life-changing experiences within a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment
    • Objective: To educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage
  • partnering with faculty search committees to hire over 20 new full-time tenure-track faculty in four years – these new faculty, working collaboratively with current faculty, will ensure CCM remains and excels as a preeminent institution for the media and performing arts;
  • participating in the Provost’s Cluster-Hire initiative through the Digital Media Collaborative, along with two other UC colleges (the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences);
  • overseeing the creation of The Village News, CCM’s new electronic newsletter.

In the review confirming Landgren’s reappointment, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Beverly Davenport noted, “We couldn’t be more pleased to reappoint a UC alum to lead our world class College-Conservatory of Music for a second term as dean. Through his engagement at the local, regional, national and international level, Peter has helped elevate CCM and the University of Cincinnati to great heights. I look forward collaborating with Peter to build upon CCM’s renowned reputation at the University of Cincinnati.”

The new term for Landgren will officially begin in July 2016 and will run through June 2023. He will also continue to serve as the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at CCM.

Please join us in congratulating Dean Landgren on his reappointment!

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The 2013 UC Gold Rush team at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

UC Production Master Class Documentary Film Receives Regional Emmy Nomination

We are happy to report that the University of Cincinnati student-produced 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film has been nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences! The nomination is in the professional category of Best Documentary – Cultural/Topical.

UC Production Master Class.A three-year project of the UC Production Master Class, the Gold Rush Expedition Race documentaries chronicle one of the foremost expedition races in the world. Each 90-minute documentary features an international field of 50 elite athletes tackling a grueling 275-mile course through the California wilderness as they test their mental and physical limits in the toughest competition in North America. All three films have aired nationally on NBC’s Universal Sports Network (you can view upcoming broadcast times here).

Since 2012, the UC Production Master Class has involved over 90 UC students hailing from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

The project was conceived by CCM Division of Electronic Media Professor Kevin Burke and professional television director/producer and distinguished CCM alumnus Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001), who advise the project and provide professional guidance and feedback to the students during all phases of the documentaries development.

Student teams shoot, edit, script and produce the Gold Rush Expedition Race films on location in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. “Although there is professional mentoring and oversight during the project,” Burke explains, “it is primarily produced and edited by the students, which makes it a unique example of successful experiential learning and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The UC Production Master Course was first funded by a three-year grant from the UC Forward Collaborative, an initiative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan. Earlier this year, UC President Santa Ono pledged additional funding, which will allow the production to continue beyond its initial three-year grant period. The presidential investment represents Ono’s ongoing support of interdisciplinary digital media projects and experiential learning at the University of Cincinnati.

“We are delighted with this nomination and are grateful to President Ono, UC Provost Beverly Davenport and the UC Forward Collaborative for their support of yet another successful example of experiential learning at UC,” says Burke.

Burke and Leitten served as Executive Producers on the 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race, alongside UC students Callie Peters and Ben Proctor.

The 51st Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards will be held at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington, Ky. Winners will be announced on July 25. The Ohio Valley Region includes Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, most of West Virginia, southern Indiana, southern half of Ohio and northern half of Kentucky. Learn more by visiting http://ohiovalleyemmy.org/awards.

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CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick scores Tony win with Broadway's FUN HOME.

CCM Alumnus Chris Fenwick’s Latest Project Wins Big at 2015 Tony Awards

We would like to extend our ecstatic congratulations to CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick (BM Piano, 2001), who serves as music director for the Broadway hit Fun Home! At last night’s Tony Awards ceremony, Fun Home won a stunning five awards, including the Tony for Best Musical! Based on the popular graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, the musical is also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!

You can watch a performance from last night’s ceremony featuring the cast of Fun Home below.

Fenwick has served as musical director for a number of recent Broadway shows, including Rocky, The Addams Family and the 2007 revival of Grease. Congratulations Chris!

CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick with the cast and creative team for 'Fun Home' at the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony.

CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick with the cast and creative team for ‘Fun Home’ at the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony.

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'The Birth Song Cycle' rehearsals featuring Audrey Luna, Libby Larsen, Lydia Brown and Gwen Detwiler. Photography by Joseph Fuqua II.

CCM Faculty and Alumni Artists Premiere New Work by Grammy Award-Winning Composer Libby Larsen at SongFest 2015

This summer, a trio of faculty and alumni artists from CCM will premiere a new work by Grammy award-winning composer Libby Larsen.

The Birth Song Cycle will be performed at the Colburn School’s Thayer Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 12, as part of this year’s SongFest Signature Series of concerts. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Birth Song Cycle was written for CCM Associate Professor of Voice Gwen Coleman Detwiler and CCM alumna Audrey Luna (MM Voice, 1988). The two sopranos will collaborate with internationally renowned pianist and CCM Associate Professor of Opera Lydia Brown in performing this cutting edge composition, giving fresh and current perspective to the powerful subject of childbirth.

While the canon of vocal literature touches on many deeply felt human experiences, the profound transformation of childbirth is scarcely addressed. Larsen’s The Birth Song Cycle breaks that taboo, exploring those human sensations of exuberance and loss, of pain and triumph that are the emotional fabric of childbirth.

Through humor and lyricism, Larsen illuminates our humanity with a genius blending of music and the words of modern authors including Pheobe Damrosch, M. K. Dean, Jennifer Gilmore, Lauren Groff, Langston Hughes, Heidi Pitlor, A. E. Stallings, Cheryl Strayed, Akiko Yosano and Gina Zucker.

You can learn more about this and other SongFest 2015 events by visiting www.songfest.us/2015-festival.

Following the work’s world premiere at SongFest, The Birth Song Cycle will be performed as part of CCM’s 2015-16 Faculty Artist Series on Saturday, Sept. 26.

About Libby Larsen

Grammy award-winning composer Libby Larsen.

Grammy award-winning composer Libby Larsen.

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most prolific and most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over 12 operas. Her music has been praised for its dynamic, deeply inspired and vigorous contemporary American spirit. Constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world, Larsen has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

Larsen has been hailed as “the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively” by USA Today; as “a composer who has made the art of symphonic writing very much her own” by Gramophone; as “a mistress of orchestration” by Times Union; and for “assembling one of the most impressive bodies of music of our time” by Hartford Courant. Her music has been praised for its “clear textures, easily absorbed rhythms and appealing melodic contours that make singing seem the most natural expression imaginable” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Libby Larsen has come up with a way to make contemporary opera both musically current and accessible to the average audience.”

Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1994 Grammy as producer of the CD The Art of Arlene Augér, an acclaimed recording that features Larsen’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. Her opera Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today. The first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. Larsen’s many commissions and recordings are a testament to her fruitful collaborations with a long list of world-renowned artists, including the King’s Singers, Benita Valente and Frederica von Stade, among others. Her works are widely recorded on such labels as Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Decca, and Koch International.

As a past holder of the 2003-04 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Library of Congress and recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Larsen is a vigorous, articulate champion of the music and musicians of our time. In 1973, she co-founded (with Stephen Paulus) the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has been an invaluable advocate for composers in a difficult, transitional time for American arts. Consistently sought-after as a leader in the generation of millennium thinkers, Larsen’s music and ideas have refreshed the concert music tradition and the composer’s role in it.

About Gwen Coleman Detwiler

CCM Associate Professor Gwen Coleman Detwiler.

CCM Associate Professor Gwen Coleman Detwiler.

Soprano Gwen Coleman Detwiler has been praised by music critics for possessing a voice of “divine beauty” with “sparkling coloratura” and “impressive high-flying top notes.” Her solo concert work includes appearances with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Detwiler made her European debut as the soprano soloist for the Klassiche Musikfest’s performances of Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten and Beethoven’s Mass in C at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria. Her opera role repertoire includes Gilda in Rigoletto, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Blonde in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, the Governess in Turn of the Screw, Monica in The Medium and the title role in Cendrillon, among others. Dr. Detwiler can be heard on the Newport Classic’s CD recording of Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe and as the leading soprano, Suleika, on Centaur Record’s world-premier recording of Schubert’s Der Graf von Gleichen.

In recital, Dr. Detwiler’s repertoire includes literature spanning Baroque chamber music, German lieder, and the modern American art song. Audiences have enjoyed her performances at the Chautauqua Institute in New York, Summerfest Chamber Music Festival in Missouri, the Grandin Chamber Music Festival in Ohio, the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Ohio, the Fredonia Opera House in New York, the Château de Vianden in Luxembourg and in Central City, Colorado, among many others.

A 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council regional winner, Dr. Detwiler has won numerous national awards for her artistry, including a MacAllister Award, the Italo Opera Award, a Presser Award and the Naftzger Young Artists Auditions first prize. She received her vocal and opera training at Northwestern University, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Opera Center Merola Young Artist Program.

Dr. Detwiler is currently an associate professor of voice at CCM. In the summer of 2012, she joined the faculty of SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. In addition, she has taught at the Spoleto Festival in Italy (2011), the Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg (2010) and the State University of New York at Fredonia (1999-2010). Her vocal students have sung on the some of world’s most illustrious stages from the New York Metropolitan Opera to the stages of Broadway, others have attended prestigious graduate schools in the United States and in Europe. Dr. Detwiler was the recipient of the 2006 Revolutionary Woman on Campus Award and the 2001 Outstanding Professor Award. Dr. Detwiler performs and provides vocal master classes throughout the United States. She currently lives in the greater Cincinnati area with her husband, Jim, and two children, Jacob and Katelyn.

About Audrey Luna

CCM alumna Audrey Luna.

CCM alumna Audrey Luna.

Audrey Luna has been heard in international festivals and concert halls across the US, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. She launched her career abroad on tour with the famous Hagen Quartet and in Germany as a fest soloist in Bremen, where she was lauded as “musically and theatrically first class… with technical sovereignty, she laid before us so much warmth, expression, and sensitivity that it was pure joy.”

Luna has enjoyed a widely varied career opera, oratorio, chamber music, art song recitals and contemporary music. Among her credits are the Salzburger Festspiel, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiel, Mettlach Chamber Music Festival, Jerusalem Festival, Shanghai Spring Festival, Lexington Bach Festival, Konzerthaus Wien, Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Queens Hall, the Louvre, St. John the Divine and the Kennedy Center to name a few.

Luna’s love of chamber music has led to collaborations with not only the Hagen Quartet, but also the Artis Quartet, Baseler Quartet, Ciompi Quartet, Amernet Quartet, Carpe Diem Quartet and the Bennewitz Quartet. She works regularly with renowned percussionist and CCM faculty member Allen Otte in recital and experimental theatre and recently performed at the Lucerne Festival with Walter Levin (of CCM’s legendary string quartet-in-residence the LaSalle Quartet) in his lecture recitals. A frequent collaborator with pianists Brad Caldwell and CCM Eminent Scholar in Chamber Music James Tocco, she has appeared in numerous recitals across the Midwestern United States and at the Great Lakes Chamber Festival. Recent performances with Laura Hynes and their soprano duo Detour de Force, have received wide acclaim.

Luna’s extensive work in contemporary music is marked by her invitation to sing with the Hagen Quartet at the historic opening of the Schoenberg Institute in Vienna and to premier music of Chinese composer Qu Xiao-Song at the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival. Dramatic work with Dagmar Birke led to the commission of the monodrama CLOTHO, based on original writings of Camille Claudel, for soprano, percussion and computer. Her most recent contemporary music projects include work in Paris with Hungarian composer György Kurtag, which resulted in her recording of his Kafka Fragmente, as well as work with Chinese composer Chen Yi, German composer and guitarist Wolfgang Netzer and American composers Moiya Callahan, CCM Professor Mara Helmuth, Allen Otte and John Corigliano. Luna also appeared in New York City Opera’s Showcase of American Composers series.

Luna currently teaches at Miami University of Ohio and during the summer teaches voice and the Alexander Technique at SongFest at the Colburn School. Her students are singing in opera houses internationally, have toured worldwide with William Christie and Chanticleer and are winners in competitions in the US including the Metropolitan Opera Regional and District Council Auditions, Columbus Opera and NATSAA. Luna’s students sing with young artist programs and in opera houses across the US and attend some of the most prestigious graduate schools in the US and Europe: CCM, Eastman, Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, Rice University, the Royal College of Music in London and Paris Conservatory. Luna has mentored students to win Fullbright, Marshall and Frank Huntington Beebe scholarships.

Luna has sung with such noted conductors as Niklaus Harnoncourt, Marcello Viotti, Anthony Pappano, Jesús López-Cobos, Helmut Rilling, José-Luis Novo, Stephen Cleobury and Stephanie Gonley. Luna is recording the music for soprano and percussion in Mode Records’ integrated edition of the complete music of John Cage with Percussion Group Cincinnati, as well as the voice and percussion music of Qu Xiao-Song for Peer Publishers. She can be heard on the Bonneville Classics, Oehms Classics, and arsmoderna labels.

About Lydia Brown

CCM Associate Professor Lydia Brown.

CCM Associate Professor Lydia Brown.

Lydia Brown has performed extensively as a soloist and collaborative pianist throughout the world. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she currently serves as assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera.

Brown won the Second Prize of the 1996 New Orleans International Piano Competition and was honored as an NFAA Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Her recital appearances include notable venues such as the Salle Cortot, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, the Dusseldorf InselFestival, Alice Tully Hall, 92nd St. Y, Caramoor, the Goethe Institute of New York, the Phillips Gallery and Steinway Hall among others.

Brown holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano from the Juilliard School as well as degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. She studied art song with Elly Ameling and pianist Rudolf Jansen and has served on the musical coaching staffs of the Spoleto Festival USA, Opera Cleveland, Chautauqua Institute Voice Program, the Marlboro Music Festival and the Ravinia Steans Institute.

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CCM Professor Kevin Burke with UC students Joe Walsh and Jack Fitzgerald. Photography by Kaori Funahashi.

Next Installment of Student-Produced ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ Film Series Premieres on May 27 on the Universal Sports Network

The newest installment of the University of Cincinnati‘s student-produced Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film series will receive its national broadcast premiere on NBC’s Universal Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27.

Created by UC’s Production Master Class, the 90-minute long documentary film is part of a three-year series about the Gold Rush Expedition Race, one of the world’s premier expedition races. The race features an international field of 50 elite athletes as they trek, mountain bike, climb and kayak along a grueling 275 mile course admits the beauty of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The race is part of the Adventure Racing World Series.

The 2014 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary will air 10 times on USN. The cable network aired the 2012 and 2013 installments of this action-packed documentary series last October. You can learn more about those initial broadcasts by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/student-produced-film-series-airs-on-universal-sports-network.

The UC Production Master Class involves an interdisciplinary group of students and faculty who work with nationally recognized television and film professionals to produce digital media content that reaches a national and global audience.

Since 2012, it has involved three UC Professors, a UC alumnus, a cadre of media professionals and over 90 students from nine different academic programs at CCMDAAP and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the 2014 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary’s broadcast schedule, please visit goldrushracedoc.com/2014-premiere.

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