A graphic honoring CCM alumna Amy Wright as CNN's Hero of the Year for 2017.

CCM Alumna Amy Wright Named CNN Hero of the Year

CCM alumna Amy Wright accepting recognition as CNN's Hero of the Year for 2017. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN.

CCM alumna Amy Wright accepting recognition as CNN’s Hero of the Year for 2017. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN.

CCM alumna Amy Wright (BFA Musical Theatre, 1993) was named CNN’s Hero of the Year for 2017 during a special televised ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 17. Introduced by hosts Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper, Wright received the honor thanks to her ongoing work as an advocate for disabled people.

Wright’s advocacy comes in the form of a coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. After Amy and her husband, fellow CCM alum Ben Wright, spent time performing on Broadway and in various film and TV projects, Wright opened Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in January 2016, named for two of her children who were born with Down syndrome.

Working with the knowledge that over 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed nationwide, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee created a path for people with these disabilities to become more valued, accepted and included in the community. Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has grown to employ 40 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and has been featured on The Today Show, Rachael Ray, CNN, Harry, Good Morning America, HLN, People Magazine and Southern Living Magazine.

While accepting her CNN Hero of the Year award, Wright commented, “I am bringing this home to the 40 employees who work at Bitty & Beau’s because they are my heroes. And most of all to my two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who are my inspirations. I want you to know, because I know you are watching, that I would not change you for the world, but I will change the world for you.” You can view more of Wright’s acceptance speech at .

With this award, Wright will receive $100,000 to grow her cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017 will receive a $10,000 cash award. Donations made to the designated nonprofit organization of each Top 10 CNN Hero, via CNNHeroes.com and crowdrise.com/cnnheroes, will be matched up to $50,000 through January 7, 2018.

“My employees are not broken; 200 million people across the world living with an intellectual or developmental disability are not broken,” Wright said on Sunday night. “What is broken is the lens through which we view people with disabilities.”

Now in its 11th year, the Peabody Award and Emmy-winning “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” has profiled more than 300 heroes and has received upward of 85,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

Please join us in congratulating Amy Wright on this much-deserved award!

You can learn more about Bitty & Beau’s Coffee by visiting www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com.

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A banner for the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

CCM Alumnae Tamara Wilson and Amanda Woodbury Receive Major Awards from Richard Tucker Music Foundation

We are ecstatic to report that CCM alumnae Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) and Amanda Woodbury (MM Voice, 2012) have both received major awards from the prestigious Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

Wilson, a soprano who studied with Barbara Honn while attending CCM, has been named winner of the 2016 Richard Tucker Award. Dubbed the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” the Tucker Award carries the foundation’s most substantial cash prize of $50,000, and is conferred each year by a panel of opera industry professionals on an American singer at the threshold of a major international career. Featuring such luminaries as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, David Daniels, Christine Goerke and Joyce DiDonato, the list of past winners reads like a who’s who of American opera. Wilson is a previous recipient of the Foundation’s Sara Tucker Study Grant in 2008 and Richard Tucker Career Grant in 2011.

Barry Tucker, president of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the Brooklyn-born tenor, commented, “I first met Tamara Wilson when she auditioned for – and won – a Sara Tucker Study Grant in 2008. I was blown away not only by the power and sheer beauty of her voice, but also by how grounded she is as a person. Last year, when I was listening to the Saturday matinee broadcast of Aida from the Met and realized it was her singing the title role, I couldn’t have been more impressed by how she’s evolved as an artist. She has a bright future ahead of her, and we are thrilled to have her as our 2016 Richard Tucker Award winner.”

Wilson is not the only CCM-trained singer honored by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation this year. Woodbury, a soprano who studied with William McGraw while attending CCM, has been named a 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. Selected through a vocal competition, these grants are provided to singers who have begun professional careers and who have already performed roles with opera companies nationally or internationally. As previously reported, Woodbury was awarded the Foundation’s Sara Tucker Grant in 2014.

About the Richard Tucker Music Foundation
Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization that honors the artistic legacy of the great American tenor through support of talented American opera singers and by bringing opera into the community.

The Foundation’s awards program offers grants for study, performance opportunities and other career-enhancing activities, thereby providing professional development for singers at several levels of career-readiness. You can learn more about the Richard Tucker Music Foundation by visiting richardtucker.org/about.

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

About Tamara Wilson
American soprano Tamara Wilson made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December of 2014 in the title role of Aida, when the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes,” and observed: “Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”

Nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera after her English National Opera debut last fall as Leonora in La forza del destino, the soprano will make further debuts next season at the Bayerischer Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grand Prize Winner at Barcelona’s Annual Francisco Viñas Competition, a winner of the George London Award and the recipient of both a 2008 Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

After launching the present season headlining Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, Wilson returned to Oper Frankfurt as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo; sang Lucrezia in Verdi’s I due Foscari in Santiago, Chile; made her Cleveland Orchestra debut; and joined Marin Alsop for Mahler in São Paulo. Back in the States after touring Japan as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, the soprano looks forward to taking Brahms’s German Requiem on an East Coast tour with Seraphic Fire and singing Desdemona in Otello at Cincinnati’s May Festival, in celebration of James Conlon’s 37th and final year as Music Director. Last season Wilson made her role and house debuts headlining Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, following recent debuts at Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Carnegie Hall. In addition to being a CCM graduate, Wilson is also an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

CCM alumna Amanda Woodbury.

CCM alumna Amanda Woodbury.

About Amanda Woodbury
An alumna of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Amanda Woodbury was recently honored with the second place and Audience Choice awards in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. She also won the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2014 Sara Tucker Study Grant, and both second place and Audience Choice awards at Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition.

Woodbury made her professional debut as Micaëla in Carmen at Los Angeles Opera, where she returned as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. She then joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, appearing as Tebaldo in Don Carlo and covering the roles of Antonia and Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

This season she sang Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles at the Met, and looks forward to appearing as Musetta in La bohème with the Los Angeles Opera. Having taken part in the Met’s “Rising Stars” concert tour, she looks forward to headlining a new Met production of Roméo et Juliette and making house debuts at PORTopera as Micaëla in Carmen and at Atlanta Opera as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Woodbury completed her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at CCM in 2012, after receiving her Bachelor of Music from Indiana University.

In a 2014 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Woodbury reflected on her recent success and on her time at CCM, telling Janelle Gelfand:

“I sang two roles onstage [at CCM], Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites. I can’t tell you how much that has helped my career. It helped me to prepare for the next step, and just everything they did opened up doors for me. I’m so glad I went to CCM, because I passed up Juilliard for CCM.”

You can read the Enquirer‘s full interview with Woodbury online here.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!
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Story by Curt Whitacre

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The Lotte Lenya Competition.

CCM Students Advance to the Final Round of the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are elated to report that CCM students Talya Lieberman and Reilly Nelson have been named as finalists for the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition. They have been selected alongside 13 other young singer/actors and will take part in the final round of the competition on Saturday, April 16.

Both Lieberman and Nelson also made strong showings in last year’s Lotte Lenya Competition. Nelson advanced to the semifinal round of the competition (along with three other CCM-trained singers), while Lieberman won the Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number during the final round.

Lieberman and Nelson are the latest in a long line of CCM students and alumni who have reached the final rounds of the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theatre 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.

Selected from 31 semifinalists, this year’s finalists represent a diverse range of performers, ages 21 to 31, from across the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel. All will sing repertoire from the operatic, golden age and contemporary musical stages, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill, for a chance win the top prize of $15,000.

Semifinalist judges, Tony Award-winners Jeanine Tesori and Victoria Clark, adjudicated and coached the performers. Clark, who first judged the competition in 2008, noted that “I can feel the leap in overall talent from when I last judged the semifinals.”

Kurt Weill Foundation President Kim Kowalke stated that “this year’s finalists are the largest and most diverse group in the Competition’s 19-year history, with contestants currently working on- and off-Broadway, in national touring companies, and in major regional theaters and opera companies. Many are well on their way to distinguished careers.”

The final round takes place April 16 at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Each finalist will present a 15 minute program of four selections in the daytime round, 11:00-4:00. An evening concert, in which contestants sing only a segment of their programs, follows at 8:00. The concert concludes with the announcement of awards and prizes. Both the daytime round and evening concert are free and open to the public.

All finalists receive a minimum cash award of $1,000, with additional discretionary awards of $3,500 each, and top prizes ranging from $7,500 to $15,000. Total prizes will exceed $60,000.

Returning to judge for the tenth time, international opera legend Teresa Stratas leads the judges’ panel. The Lenya Competition remains the only vocal competition she has ever consented to adjudicate. Joining her on the jury are Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and former American Theater Wing Chairman Theodore S. Chapin (also returning for his tenth time), and Broadway (and Audra McDonald’s) music director, conductor and accompanist Andy Einhorn.

Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. Don’t miss the competition described by Opera News as “target[ing] today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

CCM student Talya Lieberman.

CCM student Talya Lieberman.

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

Recently described by Opera News as “poetically compelling,” “delectably stylish” and “technically refined,” Lieberman is equally at home with operatic, art song and musical theatre repertoire. Starting in September 2016 she will be seen frequently on stage at Komische Oper Berlin, where she will be assuming the soprano position in the Opernstudio. Her upcoming performances include debuts with Cincinnati Opera and Opera Columbus, as well as the title role in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Lieberman returned to Cincinnati this fall after completing a summer as a Filene Young Artist with Wolf Trap Opera, where her ability to “make a point with the merest flick of a finger” (Washington Post) shined in a highly lauded run as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She also appeared in concert with Steven Blier at Wolf Trap in a program celebrating the Broadway legacy of the Rodgers family (The Rodgers Family – A Century of Musicals).

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 and Italo Tajo Awards, respectively—at CCM’s Opera Scholarship Competition.

CCM student Reilly Nelson. Photography by Kate Lemmon (http://www.katelphotography.com).

CCM student Reilly Nelson. Photography by Kate Lemmon (http://www.katelphotography.com).

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.

Nelson is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at CCM.

At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center.

The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at the renowned Tanglewood Music Festival for the summers of 2014 and 2015, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

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Story by Curt Whitacre

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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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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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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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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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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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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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