CCM Jazz Studies Alumni Accept Faculty Positions in Tennessee and Texas

Two CCM alumni have accepted faculty positions at major universities; Michael Schults (MM Jazz Studies, 2012) is now an Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Memphis, and Thomas Zinninger (MM Jazz Studies, 2009; DMA Saxophone, 2013) is an Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Jazz at Texas A&M University–Kingsville.

Michael Shults

Michael Shults

For the past four years, Schults has been an Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. During his time as a graduate student at CCM, he taught improvisation and coached jazz combos and bands. He studied with James Bunte, Rick VanMatre, Phil DeGreg and Kim Pensyl.

Shults was a finalist in the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Artist Competition and was the winner of the Graduate College Soloist category in the 2012 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards Issue. He has performed by invitation as a featured soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance biennial conference, the Jazz Education Network conference, the Wisconsin Music Educator’s Association conference and the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association conference.  He is a founding faculty member of the Kansas City Saxophone Workshop, along with Zach Shemon, alto saxophonist of the PRISM Quartet. Shults has also served on the faculty of the Eugene Rousseau Saxophone Workshop at Shell Lake Arts Center. He is currently the alto saxophone chair in the Coalescent Quartet.

Zinninger moves to Texas A&M-Kingsville from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he taught saxophone and led the jazz ensemble. He was both a graduate student and a faculty member while he was at CCM, where he taught courses in jazz improvisation and jazz appreciation.

His performance credits include the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Frank Simon Band, Chamber Winds of Louisville, Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, RL Big Band and the Don Krekel Orchestra. As a soloist, he premiered new arrangements for saxophone at the 16th World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland as well as the 2012, 2014 and 2017 North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences.

Congratulations to both of these CCM graduates for their success!

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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM's Mainstage Production of "Gianni Schicchi," directed by Andreas Hager.

CCM Opera and Voice Alumni Win Prestigious Fellowships

Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM's Mainstage Production of "Gianni Schicchi," directed by Andreas Hager.

CCM Voice alumnus Samson McCrady in the title role of CCM’s Mainstage Production of Gianni Schicchi, directed by CCM Opera alumnus Andreas Hager.

Two of CCM’s stars of tomorrow recently received prestigious positions in the world of opera. Alumnus Andreas Hager (AD Opera Directing, 2018) was awarded one of two JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowships from the National Opera Association. Additionally, Washington National Opera selected CCM Voice alumnus Samson McCrady, baritone, to fill one of only 11 spots for vocalists in its prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Cincinnati audiences saw their artistry in action during CCM’s recent Mainstage production of Gianni Schicchi, in which McCrady performed the title role and Hager directed.

Hager was selected as a JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellow for his summer 2018 work with Wolf Trap Opera, during which he will assist on productions of Idomeneo and Rigoletto. The fellowship includes a stipend to attend an opera stage directing program, and the opportunity to offer a presentation on their fellowship experience at a subsequent NOA National Conference.

Hager’s directorial work spans opera, film, theatre and alternate reality games. Recent directing credits include Il barbiere di Siviglia (Houston Grand Opera), Gianni Schicchi (CCM) and La belle Hélène (Opera North). In addition, he has worked with Opera Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Opera and Opera Columbus. He recently graduated from CCM with an Artist Diploma in Opera Directing and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema Studies from Oberlin College, where he also studied piano performance. He is a winner of Opera America’s Director-Designer Showcase and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.

As a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist, McCrady will perform the roles of Elk/Camel/Butcher in Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, Wagner in Gounod’s Faust and Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca during the Washington National Opera’s 2018-19 season. McCrady will also sing in WNO’s “A Concert of Comic Masterpieces.”

Because many young artists return for a second season, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program only accepts a handful of new vocalists each season. This year the program welcomed seven new singers and four returning singers, as well as one new and one returning pianist, out of hundreds of applicants.

The artists in this program have an abundance of performance opportunities, including extensive performances at the Kennedy Center and in community-oriented events. They participate in the WNO’s major performances as supporting characters, including free preview performances that will be live streamed on the Kennedy Center’s website.

McCrady and the other Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists will also perform in recitals in Washington, D.C. art galleries and museums, as well as a series of master classes at the Kennedy Center and elsewhere. They will be seen onstage during the WNO’s American Opera Initiative Festival, during which they will have the opportunity to work with living composers and librettists on brand-new works.

Additionally, the program has an exchange program with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre Young Artists Opera Program, which includes a few students from each program visiting the other and performing with their newfound peers.  Next summer, the WNO will send several of its young artists to Moscow for this exchange, culminating in two concerts with the Bolshoi Theatre’s young artists.

During his time at CCM, McCrady studied with Voice Professor Bill McGraw. He performed the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, the King of Scotland in Handel’s Ariodante and Jesus in a staged version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Outside of CCM, McCrady performed the Mandarin in a semi-staged version of Puccini’s Turandot (Kentucky Symphony Orchestra), Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Queen City Opera), Edward G. Robinson in Robert Xavier-Rodriguez’s Frida (Cincinnati Opera) and Geronimo in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto (Cincinnati Chamber Opera). Before he came to CCM, McCrady received a Bachelor of Music from Roberts Wesleyan College.

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CCM Welcomes Judith Mikita As Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance

Judith Mikita

CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung has announced the appointment of Judith Mikita to the position of Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance, with a focus in modern choreography. Mikita has served as an adjunct dance instructor at CCM for more than 20 years. Her new appointment will officially begin on Aug. 15, 2018.

Mikita is a choreographer and performer with more than 30 years of professional experience. Her choreography has been presented by the American Dance Festival, the New York International Independent Film Festival, Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center and the Biagiotti Art Gallery in Florence, Italy, among others. She has also choreographed for Cincinnati’s Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cleveland Fringe Festival, Covington’s Carnegie Art Center and New York’s White Mountain Dance Festival.

As an artist and educator, Mikita has served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Columbia College and Antioch College and as artist-in-residence at Wright State University and the University of Utah. She has also choreographed at Miami University, Northern Kentucky University and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

As a performer, Mikita has toured nationally with the Chicago-based dance companies of Shirley Mordine, Jan Erkert and Bob Eisen. She has worked with Martha Clarke of Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Lucas Hoving of the José Limón Dance Company, Marnie Thomas of the Martha Graham Dance Company and Gus Solomons, Jr. of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Mikita is a founding member of the Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance and has served on the board of directors for OhioDance and Cincinnati’s Contemporary Dance Theater. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from University of Michigan.

On the announcement of Mikita’s appointment, mcclung commented:

“Judith Mikita’s extensive experience in modern dance and professional work with arts institutions, festivals and dance companies throughout the country will benefit CCM’s BFA students in refining their contemporary dance technique.”

Please join us in welcoming Judith Mikita to the CCM family!

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International Trombone Festival Features Performances by CCM Alumni

CCM alumni are preparing to take over that stages at the International Trombone Festival, which features performances and recitals from a number of alums and professor Tim Anderson. Hosted at the University of Iowa, the festival runs July 11-14, 2018.

The Elysian Trombone Consort. From left to right, Chad Arnow, Nate Silar, Brett Shuster and Timothy Anderson.

The Elysian Trombone Consort. From left to right, Chad Arnow, Nate Silar, Brett Shuster and Timothy Anderson.

The festival features a performance by the Elysian Trombone Consort, which includes Nate Siler (DMA Trombone, 2012), Chad Arnow (BM Trombone, 1997; MM Trombone, 1999; DMA Trombone, 2014), Anderson and Brett Shuster. The quartet will give a new music recital at 1:30 p.m. on July 11 at the festival.

Devoted to the development of trombone repertoire, the Elysian Trombone Consort frequently premieres and performs new works including the compositions of David Fetter, Rodney Oakes, Frank Gulino and John Siler. The group also premiered John Crouch’s Concerto for Four Trombones and Wind Ensemble with the Peabody Wind Ensemble and previously with the CCM Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble in 2012.

On the second day of the International Trombone Festival, alumnus Russ Zokaites (MM Trombone, 2010; DMA Trombone, 2017) presents a lecture on commissioning new music at 9 a.m. and a recital of new works for bass trombone at 11:30 a.m.

Russ Zokaites.

Russ Zokaites.

Zokaites will be assisted by alumna Brianna Matzke (MM Piano Performance, 2011; DMA Piano Performance, 2014) and Anderson. His recital features works by Will Timmons (MM Trombone Performance, 2009), Inez McComas (DMA Composition, 2009) and Carrie Magin (MM Composition, 2010; DMA Composition, 2013).

“I aim to increase appreciation for classical music through education and performance,” Zokaites says. “By creating a community surrounding musical pursuits, we can make music for everyone. Collaboration creates energy and excitement. This enthusiasm is contagious and encourages curiosity in audience members. We create for them.”

Zokaites has commissioned and premiered 19 works that utilize the bass trombone, and he has performed new music at the American Trombone Workshop, the International Horn Symposium, National Sawdust and the ArtSeedZ Festival in the Netherlands. He was a fellow at the 2012 Alessi Seminar and is an artist for Lätzsch custom trombones.

The International Trombone Association, whose mission is to promote the trombone and all trombone-related activities around the world, hosts the annual International Trombone Festival at a different university each year. In addition to the festival, the I.T.A. also produces a quarterly magazine, publishes sheet music, commissions new works for trombone and holds competitions, along with other activities. Visit the festival’s website for more information.

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CCM Sound Design Alumnus Wins Daytime Emmy for Disney’s Broadway Hits Broadcast

Theatre will always be Matt Kraus’ first love, but the CCM alumnus has made a name for himself by taking on diverse sound design opportunities in multiple mediums. He’s worked on theatrical productions with Liza Minelli and Kristen Chenoweth, and has also been involved in many live telecasts such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar live in concert.

Most recently, Kraus (BFA Sound Design, 2001) won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for his work on the TV broadcast of Disney’s Broadway Hits at Royal Albert Hall. Directed by Jeff Lee, the production brought well-known Disney artists and beloved hits to the London stage.

The broadcast featured the BBC orchestra, led by Keith Lockhart, and nine Broadway vocalists including CCM alums Alton Fitzgerald (BFA Musical Theatre, 1986) and Ashley Brown (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004). It also included the West End cast of Aladdin, a children’s choir of 100 singers and award-winning composer Alan Menken. Kraus has worked on similar shows with Disney over the years but says that this production was much larger.

“The logistics were daunting, as we were loading into the iconic venue and performing all in the same day,” he remembers. “We prepared for months to make sure that once we arrived at Royal Albert Hall, we would have all the tools at hand that we’d need to do the show.”

“The hardest part was keeping the audio team on track to make sure that we kept up with the tight schedule and quality of the audio. All that while getting nine primary vocalists and a world-renowned orchestra comfortable and happy with the sound.”

Disney’s Broadway Hits at Royal Albert Hall aired to much acclaim internationally on SKY TV, Broadway HD and BBC Radio. Kraus says he has enjoyed his work with Disney Theatrical because the productions always bring together a talented team of artists, musicians and directors.

Kraus has worked on many live telecasts, including Macy’s July 4th Fireworks, Tony Bennet’s 90th Birthday Celebration at Radio City, The Wiz, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and the 2016 International Jazz Day broadcast live from the White House. He has also been the audio coordinator on remote shoots of the Tonight Show, which has filmed all over the country. He’s worked on hundreds of high-profile events like iHeart Radio’s annual Music Festival in Las Vegas, a Gucci/H&M Fashion Show featuring Prince and Nicki Minaj, and Elton John’s 60th Birthday Celebration at St. John the Divine.

Kraus is now a nationally-known sound designer, but he still fondly remembers his time as a student at CCM. He recalls countless late nights drafting and finishing CCM tech rehearsals and finishing the long days with “a milkshake at UDF and a high five.” He credits CCM with molding him into the sound designer he is today.

“Current students should be open to all kinds of opportunities that may come their way,” Kraus advises. “It’s normal to be focused on one medium or design aspect, but there are so many rewards to becoming a well-rounded artist with diversified projects.”

“Theatre will always be my first love, but I’ve had some really amazing experiences working on concerts, live events and television.”

Learn more about CCM Sound Design at ccm.uc.edu/theatre/tdp/sound.

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CCM Alumnus Marcus Shields Returns As Visiting Assistant Professor of Opera Directing

UC College-Conservatory of Music Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of CCM alumnus Marcus Shields (MM, 2015; AD, 2017) to the position of Visiting Assistant Professor of Opera Directing. Shields’ appointment will officially begin on Aug. 15, 2018.

Shields is a New York City-based director who specializes in the presentation and performance of classical music and opera. His experience ranges from installation/performance art to fully produced theatre, blending his artistry as a pianist, singer, visual artist and director into works that probe the boundaries of genre.

He has served on the directing staff of the Lyric Opera Chicago, Atlanta Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and the Curtis Institute of Music. Directing credits include La Vida Breve with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts, and a touring production of The Bolcom Cabaret with engagements at the Neue Galerie in New York and the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

Recently, Shields directed Bernstein’s Mass at Cincinnati’s May Festival, which attracted a sold-out crowd at Music Hall. At CCM he directed a semi-staged production of Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake and the 2017 Mainstage Opera production of Mozart’s Idomeneo, which was praised by arts reporter Janelle Gelfand as “striking” and a “rare treat.” In the fall of 2018, Shields will direct Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca at New York City’s Madison Theater.

Recipient of the 2018 Stage Directing Fellowship at San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program, Shields holds a Master of Music degree in Voice and an Artist Diploma degree in Opera Direction from CCM. In 2017 he was a recipient of the Drama League Opera Directing Fellowship in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera and Wolf Trap Opera.

On the announcement of Shield’s appointment, mcclung commented:

“CCM opera and voice students will benefit from Shields’ expertise as an opera director, visual artist and diction coach. His experience at San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program, Atlanta Opera and Chicago’s Lyric Opera promises to enrich CCM’s renowned opera program, ranked third in the country according to the most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking. I am grateful to the Search Committee Chairs Alan Yaffe and Robin Guarino for their collaborative effort on this successful search.”

Please join us in welcoming Marcus Shields to the CCM family!

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Stanley E. Romanstein Named Dean of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

An accomplished leader in education and the arts as well as a UC alumnus, Romanstein’s appointment follows a national search for CCM’s next dean.

Kristi A. Nelson, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Cincinnati, today announced the appointment of Stanley E. Romanstein, PhD, as Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Romanstein’s appointment becomes effective July 1, 2018, pending approval of the University’s Board of Trustees.

“I am delighted to welcome Stanley Romanstein back to his alma mater as Dean of UC’s College-Conservatory of Music,” said Nelson. “He is an outstanding organizational leader, entrepreneur and scholar, in addition to being a proud UC alumnus. I was most impressed with his passion for arts advocacy, his engaging interpersonal skills, and his forward-thinking and student-centric approach to education.”

Romanstein is an accomplished nonprofit executive with 22 years of leadership and management experience in education and the arts. He comes to CCM from Georgia State University’s Creative Media Institute, where he has served as a professor of practice/music and the arts for the past four years. He also serves as a principal at BLJackson Associates, a consulting firm that works with arts, humanities and education-focused nonprofits across the country. Romanstein was previously President and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, President and CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center, Director of Development at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Executive Director of the Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore School for the Arts Foundation, and Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at St. Lawrence University.

“I have firsthand knowledge of CCM’s excellence in music and arts education and I am a proud beneficiary of those high standards. I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to my alma mater’s continued success as its next dean,” said Romanstein. “CCM’s reputation as a leading performing and media arts school is 150 years strong, and that reputation continues to grow thanks to the talents and dedication of its faculty, staff, alumni, donors, volunteers and community partners. Working together, we will continue to nurture the talents of our students and inspire future generations of artists, teachers, creative thinkers, innovative problem-solvers and media-savvy arts entrepreneurs.”

Romanstein continued, “I have found ideal partners in President Pinto and Provost Nelson and I look forward to working with them to build on CCM’s history and successes while advancing CCM’s role within the university’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here.”

Romanstein’s appointment follows a national search begun in fall 2017. The search was led by the UC Provost Office and chaired by Greer Glazer, Dean of the College of Nursing.

Nelson expressed her gratitude to bruce mcclung, who has served as CCM’s interim dean since July 2016. “I would like to acknowledge the outstanding service of Dean mcclung,” said Nelson. “UC owes mcclung a huge debt of gratitude for his leadership during the past two academic years, culminating with CCM’s 150th anniversary celebration.”

About Stanley E. Romanstein
Stanley E. Romanstein, PhD, brings to his new role at CCM extensive experience as a visionary leader, entrepreneurial strategist, engaging communicator, passionate fundraiser and successful manager.

In November of 2014, Romanstein began his tenure as professor of practice/music and the arts at Georgia State University’s Creative Media Institute, where his work focused on building music industry collaborations. During this time, he also served as a principal at BLJackson Associates, a consulting firm based in Atlanta that works with arts, humanities and education-focused nonprofits across the country. The firm creates and implements tailored solutions to challenges in organizational strategy, governance and development/ fundraising.

Romanstein has 22 years of leadership and management experience in education and the arts. As President and CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (2010-14), he strengthened the orchestra’s connection to the community through expanded concert offerings and a wide range of impactful education offerings. He also created and implemented a new business model that reversed a 12-year history of financial loss and positioned the orchestra for long-term sustainability and artistic achievement.

As President and CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center (2001-10), Romanstein transformed the center from a small organization with a local focus to a highly regarded regional and national leader in its field. He also created and distributed acclaimed new media; this included a collection of four Somali folk tales taken from oral tradition and written down for the very first time, as well as an Emmy Award-winning documentary, Iron Range: Minnesota Building America.

Romanstein proved to be an enthusiastic and productive fundraiser at the Minnesota Humanities Center, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and the Baltimore School of the Arts. He attracted new local, regional and national funding to support the center’s $4 million annual budget, including support from the Minnesota State Legislature by establishing partnerships with the state’s four ethnic councils: American Indian, African American, Latino and Asian. As Director of Development at the University of Minnesota’s Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum (2000-01), Romanstein led what was, at the time, the highest grossing annual fund drive while laying the groundwork for the museum’s successful capital campaign. As Director of Baltimore School for the Arts (1996-2000), Romanstein positioned the school for a successful capital campaign as well as a facility renovation and expansion.

From 1987-96, Romanstein served as an associate professor and chair of the music department at St. Lawrence University, a highly selective liberal arts institution in New York. He refocused the department’s traditional music curriculum to emphasize interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives and created meaningful connections with departments and colleagues across the campus.

Romanstein earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, cum laude, from Carson-Newman College in 1976. He then came to CCM to earn a Master of Music in Choral Conducting in 1980 and a PhD in Music in 1990. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Israel in 1985-86 and in Japan in November-December 1998.

About the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, 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’s 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. More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in the areas of:

  • Composition/Musicology/Theory,
  • Electronic Media,
  • Ensembles and Conducting (Choral Studies, Commercial Music Production, Jazz Studies, Orchestral Studies and Wind Studies),
  • Keyboard Studies (Harpsichord, Organ and Piano),
  • Music Education,
  • Performance Studies (Strings, Voice and Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion) and
  • Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (Acting, Arts Administration, Dance, Musical Theatre, Opera and Theatre Design and Production).

The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1,000 major public performances each year, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported acting, dance, musical theatre and opera productions.

CCM is an accredited institution of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), as well as a member of the University/ Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA).

Learn more by visiting http://ccm.uc.edu.

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