Kevin McCollum talks to CCM musical theatre students at a master class.

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Kevin McCollum Joins CCM’s Faculty as Distinguished Visiting Professor

Peter Landgren, dean and Thomas James Kelly professor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), has appointed leading Broadway producer Kevin McCollum to the position of Distinguished Visiting Professor. McCollum’s initial appointment will be for three years and will become effective in August of 2015.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

A distinguished alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, McCollum (BFA Musical Theatre, 1984; HonDoc, 2005) is the Tony Award-winning producer of RentAvenue QIn the HeightsMotown the Musical and many other acclaimed Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions. Earlier this spring, McCollum received two more Tony nominations for his current productions of Something Rotten! (Best Musical) and Hand to God (Best Play). He also received 12 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, and nine Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

As a Distinguished Visiting Professor at CCM, McCollum’s influence on the college’s students and programs will be broad, focusing his work on musical theatre, although his entrepreneurial expertise will also be applied to aspects of auditioning, career development, arts administration and more.

Through this new appointment, McCollum will also work with faculty and administrators to develop a new musical theatre incubator program at CCM. A collaborative venture between CCM and Alchemation, McCollum’s Broadway producing office, this incubator will be designed to support the creation of new musical theatre works, utilizing McCollum’s entrepreneurial expertise and CCM’s abundance of talent.

“We are very excited to bring Kevin back to CCM as a member of our faculty,” says Dean Landgren. “Kevin is arguably the most accomplished and successful producer working in theatre today. Given his diverse background and his proven expertise in the business of the performing arts, his presence on our faculty will enhance the already world-class training that our students receive.”

“CCM was an essential part of my professional training and I am thrilled to return to such a top-notch institution,” says McCollum. “There are many things that attracted me to this position on CCM’s faculty; Peter Landgren’s bold leadership and openness to collaboration, the level of excellence found in the faculty, the highly accomplished young artists and the state-of-the-art facilities of my Alma Mater. I am proud to be counted amongst the internationally renowned faculty of this great institution. CCM has a longstanding commitment to presenting new works, and I am equally proud to help develop a program that will usher in the next generation of musical theatre artists.”

Speaking of the significance of an incubator program for musical theatre, Landgren explains, “Keeping with the University of Cincinnati’s proud tradition of cooperative education and experiential learning, this collaboration with Kevin and Alchemation will present our students with extraordinary opportunities to hone their craft while working to develop future theatre classics. Developing Broadway’s blockbusters-of-tomorrow with CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow is a win-win.”

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre's Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre’s Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

About Kevin McCollum
With a career spanning 25 years in the theatre industry, Kevin McCollum remains one of the most prolific and successful producers on Broadway today. He has received the Tony Award for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004) and Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize. He produced Motown the Musical (Broadway and National Tour), The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, which won five Tony Awards, Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, [title of show] in 2008, the touring and Broadway productions of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the off-Broadway hit De La Guarda, the recent hit revival of West Side Story and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

In 1995 McCollum co-founded the Producing Office, and has since created Alchemation, a theatrical and media producing company committed to new work. In addition to his training at CCM, McCollum earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California.

In 1995, McCollum received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He is represented on Broadway this spring with the original musical Something Rotten! and the New American Play Hand to God. His wife is actress and fellow UC graduate Lynette Perry-McCollum (BM Musical Theatre, 1985).

About Alchemation
Founded in 2012, Alchemation is a theatre and media company under McCollum’s leadership. Productions under the Alchemation banner include Motown the Musical, Something Rotten!Hand to God and the third season of theatrical web-series Submissions Only. In the summer of 2013, McCollum entered a joint venture with 20th Century Fox to develop titles from the Fox catalogue into stage properties.

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. Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, CCM provides life-changing experiences within a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment.

CCM’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at our core since that time. 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 faculty and staff and its state-of-the-art facilities make possible the professional training and exceptional education on which CCM believes the future of the arts relies. 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 and Theory; Electronic Media; Ensembles and Conducting; Keyboard Studies; Music Education; Performance Studies and Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration.

The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1000 major public performances each year, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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Talya Lieberman in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Hansel and Gretel.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Artist Diploma Student Talya Lieberman Wins Outstanding Performance Award at 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

CCM artist diploma student Talya Lieberman.

CCM artist diploma student Talya Lieberman.

We are happy to report that soprano Talya Lieberman, an Artist Diploma candidate in CCM’s Opera program, won the Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number during the final round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition.

Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, this year’s competition was held at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music on April 18. Named in honor of Weill’s musical assistant on Broadway, the Lys Symonette Award comes with a cash prize of $3,500.

Now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theatre singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. The judges of this year’s competition were Rebecca Luker, James Holmes and Theodore S. Chapin. You can view a full list of this year’s competition winners by visiting www.kwf.org/previous-winners.

Lieberman is the latest in a long line of CCM-trained singers to take home top honors at the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theater singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

About Talya Lieberman
Originally from Forest Hills, New York, Talya Ilana Lieberman is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at CCM as a student of CCM Professor of Voice William McGraw.

A soprano, Lieberman will be singing Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Young Artist this coming summer. She has been invited to make her recital debut with the San Francisco Opera Center as part of their Schwabacher Debut Recital series this spring. She was most recently seen performing Gretel in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

This past summer she sang the title role in Handel’s Semele as part of the Schwabacher Concert Series (Merola Opera Program). Highlights from 2013-14 include performing selections from Canteloube’s “Chants d’Auverge” with the CCM Philharmonia, as well as performing David del Tredici’s “Haddock’s Eyes” with CCM’s Café MoMus ensemble. She won the Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition (Columbus Opera, 2014) and Alida Vane International Voice Competition (2013) in Latvia, where she studied on a Fulbright scholarship for the 2012-13 school year.

Lieberman made her New York City debut prior to departing for Latvia, singing in concert with Schubert & Co. In the summer of 2012 she participated in the voice program at the Chautauqua School of Music, where she was featured in Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras” with the cello studio.

Lieberman is a convert from the orchestra pit and started singing after receiving her master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the tutelage of Judith Saxton. She completed her BA at Duke University with highest distinction in linguistics (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude). She is a two-time winner of full tuition and stipend—winning the Russell-Seybold Award and Italo Tajo Award, respectively—at CCM’s annual Opera Scholarship Competition.

Lieberman has lived a few lives before coming to opera full-time; she worked on sleep apnea research as a research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, served as program coordinator for the El Sistema inspired program Play On, Philly!, and had a short stint as a singer-songwriter. She is an avid student of contact improvisation and various forms of meditation. She loves reading, writing, editing, working with children, teaching and being an aunt.

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BEA logo.

CCM E-Media Faculty Member Hagit Limor Receives ‘Best of Festival’ Honors at this Year’s Broadcast Education Association Convention

Hagit Limor, Assistant Professor of Electronic Media at CCM.

Hagit Limor, Assistant Professor of Electronic Media at CCM.

CCM Assistant Professor of Electronic Media Hagit Limor received the “Best of Festival” award in the Faculty News Competition at this year’s Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Festival of Media Arts. She was recognized for her report on fake memorabilia being sold at charity auctions.

The BEA’s Festival of Media Arts is a competitive festival open to both faculty and student members of the BEA. Any full-time student attending a BEA institutional members receives free membership in the association.

This year’s festival ran from April 12 – 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The festival received 1,352 entries in 2015 and went on to recognize 17 “Best of Festival” winners. Each “Best of Festival” award recipient was honored with the presentation of a specially produced tribute video and a $1,000 cash award from the Charles and Lucille King Family. You can view a roundup of all of the 2015 Best of Festival King Foundation Award Winners by visiting www.beaweb.org/2015/bof.

You can watch Limor’s original report on fake autographed memorabilia below.

Limor joined CCM’s Division of Electronic Media (CCM E-Media) after an extensive career in broadcast journalism and as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists. She teaches media writing, ethics and journalism, taking students from the classroom and newsroom into the studio for taped productions.

Limor has served as an anchor, general assignment reporter and investigative reporter at  network-affiliated stations in five markets, currently at Cincinnati’s Fox 19 WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, where she serves as investigative reporter. She’s covered news stories throughout  the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia, including the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Limor’s abilities as a writer and reporter have garnered her dozens of national, state and local awards for investigative, documentary, general assignment and feature reporting. She’s won 10 Emmy Awards, three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a National Headliner Award, national finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association, and other national awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Society of Environmental Journalists, plus more than 100 state Associated Press, state SPJ and local SPJ awards.

In December of 2014, Limor was recognized by the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education for her work using the media as a vehicle for speaking out against hatred.

Limor also is very active for the cause of journalism on a national level. She’s served as President of the national Society of Professional Journalists, representing 8,000 journalists across the United States after holding several other national and local offices, including president of the Greater Cincinnati SPJ chapter. She currently serves as national chair of the Society’s Legal Defense Fund, member of the Ethics Committee and recently served on the committee that rewrote the Society’s widely quoted Journalism Ethics Code. Limor also sits on the board of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, which promotes excellence and ethics in journalism through educational programs and grants for journalism-related projects.

Beyond journalism, Limor volunteers throughout the Tri-State, and was honored by the Bethesda Foundation for her local service. She also emcees, speaks and hosts events for various community organizations.

She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

Learn more about CCM’s accomplished faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

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Fulbright Logo and Pin.

CCM Students Simon Barrad, Natalie Douglass and Julia Seeholzer Receive Fulbright Grants

We are overjoyed to report that three of the University of Cincinnati’s five Fulbright Grant Recipients for 2014-15 are CCM students!

Congratulations to Simon Barrad, Natalie Douglass and Julia Seeholzer for this tremendous honor!

CCM student Simon Barrad.Simon Barrad is a recipient of the 2015-16 Fulbright Arts Grant to Finland. Barrad is musical arts masters candidate in CCM’s voice studies program. While in Finland, he will study, teach, and perform at the Metropolia University and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and plans to use Finnish and American song as a bridge for cultural exchange. Barrad was inspired to apply for the Fulbright to Finland because of his interest in Finnish art song and because his grandfather’s family lives there. While a student at UC, Barrad has been a soloist at the Cincinnati Opera, sang the title role in Owen Wingrave for CCM Mainstage Opera, and has performed in various recitals and religious services. This week, he will be performing as Guglielmo in CCM’s Mainstage Production of Così fan tutte! Barrad earned a BM in Vocal Performance from CSU Long Beach. After completing his Fulbright grant, Barrad plans to return to the US to continue gaining performance experience.

CCM student Natalie Douglass.Natalie Douglass is a recipient of the 2015-16 Fulbright Research Grant to Hungary. Douglass will graduate with her doctorate in Horn Performance from CCM this May. While in Hungary, Douglass will earn her Kodály Music Pedagogy diploma at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, which she plans to use as postdoctoral research for her dissertation topic, aural teaching techniques for the French horn. While a student at UC, Douglass performed in Oman, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland and was the opening lecture at the International Horn Society Symposium in London. Douglass earned a MM in French Horn Performance and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing her Fulbright grant, Douglass plans to use Kodály methods to improve the way brass performance is taught to young performers.

CCM student Julia Seeholzer.Julia Seeholzer is a recipient of the 2015-16 Fulbright Arts Grant to Poland. Seeholzer is a masters candidate in CCM’s composition program. While in Poland, Julia will study at the Fryderyk Chopin University and plans to compose a cantata for the Musica Sacra choir. Julia was inspired to travel to Poland because of the country’s traditional and modern choral repertoire, which informs her own work. While a student at UC, Seeholzer served as the Secretary of the Society of Composers Club, Director of the Huls’ Angels Chamber Choir, Student Coordinator for the Midwest Composer Symposium, and as a mentor to undergraduate composition students.  Seeholzer earned a B.M. in Music Composition from Berklee College of Music. After completing her Fulbright grant, Seeholzer plans to return to the US to pursue a DMA.

Stay tuned to The Village News to learn even more about Barrad, Douglass and Seeholzer!

CCM students interested in applying for Fulbright grants or other similarly prestigious scholarships and awards can find resources and assistance for doing so in UC’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.

Get to know all of UC’s 2014-15 Fulbright Award Recipients by visiting uc.edu/nca/award-winners.

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New York Polyphony press photos, November, 2011.

CCM Alumnus Craig Phillips Receives GRAMMY Nomination

CCM alumnus Craig Phillips.

CCM alumnus Craig Phillips.

We are delighted to report that acclaimed bass-baritone and CCM alumnus Craig Phillips (MM Voice, 1998) has been nominated for his second GRAMMY Award as a member of the male vocal quartet New York Polyphony.

The group has been nominated for its 2014 Christmas album, Sing Thee Nowell. This is the group’s second consecutive nomination in the “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” category.

“Most of the music we sing was written before 1600, so it isn’t exactly ‘mainstream,’ even by classical music standards,” Phillips explains. “So receiving a GRAMMY nomination is very validating, on both a professional and personal level. We are very committed to what we do, and work hard to create performances that are passionate and compelling to modern ears. The GRAMMY nomination (now our second!) proves that we’ve managed to move the needle, so to speak.”

Selected by the New York Times for its “2014 Holiday Gift Guide,” Sing Thee Nowell has enjoyed robust sales, reaching the Top 10 on Billboard Magazine‘s Traditional Classical Album chart. The album, which is the group’s fifth release and third on BIS Records, follows last year’s critically acclaimed and GRAMMY-nominated Times Go By Turns.

The 57th annual GRAMMY’s will be held on Sunday, Feb. 8th. You can learn more about this year’s ceremony by visiting http://www.grammy.com.

About Craig Phillips
Praised for his “handsome, elegant bass” by The New York Times, bass-baritone Craig Phillips is an established operatic and concert soloist. His operatic credits include performances with Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Arizona Opera and Boston Lyric Opera. For his portrayal of Nardo in New York City Opera’s La finta giardiniera, the New York Sun singled-out Phillips as one of the “true lights of the production,” highlighting both his “clear lyric bass-baritone” and “great talent for physical comedy.”

On the concert stage, his credits include performances with the Washington Bach Consort, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Cathedral.

In addition to solo work, Phillips is an active performer in the early music scene, performing regularly with New York City-based ensembles such as Vox Vocal Ensemble, TENET and Clarion Music Society.

Below, take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of New York Polyphony’s GRAMMY-nominated Sing Thee Nowell:

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UC’s College-Conservatory of Music Announces New Scholarship for SCPA Students

Logo for Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts.CCM is proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity for students graduating from the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Cincinnati’s world-class public arts school. This scholarship will be offered to the top SCPA student who successfully applies for admission to CCM each year. The award will cover full tuition for all four years of an undergraduate’s course of study at CCM.

“This commitment to support local talent is in my mind unprecedented and long overdue,” says Peter Landgren, Dean and Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at CCM. “It is my hope that this full scholarship to CCM will serve as a catalyst for all SCPA students, affirming that a college education at CCM – a nationally ranked and internationally renowned institution for the performing and media arts – is an attainable goal.”

“This scholarship opportunity will have a profound impact on our programs at SCPA and will serve as a powerful motivator to our high school students,” says Isidore L. Rudnick, Artistic Director at SCPA.

The inaugural scholarship to CCM will be offered for Fall of 2015 and will cover full tuition through the 2018-19 academic year. CCM’s Dean will select the scholarship recipient each year.

This newly endowed scholarship has been made possible by the funding support of the Friends of CCM volunteer organization and an anonymous family foundation.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the visionary thinking of the local family foundation that agreed to accept the Friends of CCM’s match to fund this initial scholarship,” says Landgren. “While we regularly attract students from 47 US states and 37 countries, this new scholarship allows us to better support the talent that SCPA is nurturing in our own backyard. I am confident that this investment in Cincinnati’s best young artists to study at CCM will yield incredible dividends in the years ahead.”

SCPA students interested in learning more about this opportunity should contact CCM’s Office of Admissions at 513-556-9479 or ccmadmis@uc.edu.

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CCM E-Media alumnus Brad Schnittger.

CCM Alumnus Brad Schnittger Receives Haile Fellowship Award

CCM E-Media alumnus Brad Schnittger.

CCM E-Media alumnus Brad Schnittger.

Congratulations to CCM alumnus Brad Schnittger (BFA Electronic Media, 2002), who has been named one of two 2015 Haile Fellows by People’s Liberty, a philanthropic lab that brings together civic-minded talent to address challenges and uncover opportunities to accelerate the positive transformation of Greater Cincinnati.

The Haile Fellowship provides recipients with $100,000 to work on their projects for one year.

Schnittger will spend 2015 developing MusicLi, a music publishing platform that will afford local musicians the opportunity to properly document, register and publish their musical compositions to an online library, creating a two-sided marketplace for advertising agencies to license and purchase more Cincinnati music. You can learn more about his fellowship goal here.

Schnittger and a fellow-UC alumnus (Brad Cooper, a 2009 graduate of DAAP, is the other 2015 Haile Fellow) were both chosen by a team of external panelists, who evaluated nearly 100 fellowship proposals for feasibility, scalability, innovation and the potential to leave a lasting impact on Greater Cincinnati.

You can learn even more about Schnittger’s project courtesy of John Faherty and the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

People’s Liberty is funded in large part by the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and the Johnson Foundation.

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