Leonard Bernstein

CCM Celebrates Bernstein’s Broadway Legacy in Concert

The CCM Philharmonia and Musical Theatre stars of tomorrow present Broadway hits from Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser and Jule Styne in concert on Sunday, Feb. 25.

The CCM Philharmonia and Musical Theatre stars of tomorrow present Broadway hits from Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser and Jule Styne in concert this Sunday, Feb. 25.

One of the world’s most comprehensive celebrations of Leonard Bernstein’s musical legacy continues at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music on Sunday, Feb. 25. CCM’s Bernstein Festival presents “Lenny and Friends on Broadway,” featuring the CCM Philharmonia with Musical Theatre alumni and students in concert at 7 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium.

To celebrate Bernstein’s Broadway legacy, the concert showcases popular music from Wonderful Town, On the Town and West Side Story. Highlights also include hit selections from Jule Styne’s Gypsy, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate and Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The acclaimed CCM Philharmonia will be joined by current Musical Theatre students Bailee Endebrock and Frankie Thams, along with recent graduates Paul Schwensen and Emily Kristen Morris, for this Prestige Series performance. Luke Flood, Henry Lewers, Buddy Langley and Mark Gibson conduct.

Tickets are on sale now for CCM’s “Lenny and Friends on Broadway.” For ticketing information visit the CCM Box Office or refer to the event information below.

Leonard Bernstein at 100 logo.About CCM’s Bernstein Festival
Leonard Bernstein at 100 is the world-wide celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein and his monumental career as a composer, conductor, educator, musician, cultural ambassador and humanitarian. CCM’s Bernstein Festival continues through November 2018, spanning two concert seasons and over a dozen major performances! Highlights include Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, the Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront, The Age of Anxiety, Trouble in Tahiti, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, Chichester Psalms, Songfest, Fancy Free and much more. View a complete listing of upcoming performances at ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/save-the-date/bernstein-centennial-festival.
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Repertoire
BERNSTEIN: Overture to Wonderful Town (1952-53)
LOESSER: Selections from Guys and Dolls (1950)
BERNSTEIN: Selections from On the Town (1944)

– Intermission –

STYNE: Overture to Gypsy (1959)
PORTER: Selections from Kiss Me Kate (1948)
BERNSTEIN: Selections from West Side Story (1957)
LOESSER: Selections from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1957)

Performance Time
7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati 

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

Single tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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 CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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A graphic promoting CCM's 2018 Movable Feast and Blue-Note After Party, featuring alumnus Brian Newman.

CCM’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Continues with Moveable Feast Showcase and Blue-Note After Party on Friday, Jan. 19

A graphic promoting CCM's 2018 Movable Feast and Blue-Note After Party, featuring alumnus Brian Newman.

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music commemorates 150 years of excellence in the performing and media arts when its Moveable Feast fundraising event returns on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Featuring a special guest appearance by alumnus Brian Newman (Jazz Studies, att. 1999-2003), this year’s anniversary-themed Feast also celebrates the contributions of two CCM supporters with unique ties to the college’s history: Tom Baur and Peter Landgren.

Hosted by CCMpower — a dedicated volunteer group comprised of fans, advocates and alumni — Moveable Feast gives guests a chance to sample artistic and culinary delights throughout CCM’s newly renovated facilities. The funds raised by the event enable CCMpower to “fuel the future of the arts” by awarding student scholarships and grants.

Attendees roam through the expansive CCM Village at their leisure, socializing and enjoying dinner-by-the-bite and cocktails provided by Jeff Thomas Catering while creating their own menu of artistic experiences. Guests plan their own schedule of 20-minute samplings of student and faculty entertainment, including Jazz, Choral, Musical Theatre, Piano, Opera, Acting, Dance and Orchestra performances, along with tours of CCM’s Electronic Media facilities, Lighting Design labs and other backstage areas.

A photograph of CCM alumnus and Moveable Feast guest artist Brian Newman.

CCM alumnus Brian Newman.

New for 2018! In honor of CCM’s 150-year legacy of inspiring the stars of tomorrow, this year’s program also features a performance by alumnus Brian Newman, who will solo with the Jazz Orchestra as the “opening course” on Moveable Feast’s artistic menu. As an accomplished trumpeter and vocalist, Newman’s brand of jazz resurrects the magic of Old New York, refreshing the glamorous era with nuances of his own rock-‘n’-roll edge. Bandleader for Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Newman will also cap off the evening at the new Blue-Note After Party. Featuring performances by Newman and a rotating cast of CCM alumni and students, this exclusive after party lasts from 10:30 p.m. until midnight, allowing attendees to dance the night away after the conclusion of Moveable Feast. Tickets to the Blue-Note After Party are sold separately; complete Moveable Feast and Blue-Note After Party ticket options are below.

In celebration of CCM’s Sesquicentennial, this year’s Moveable Feast honors CCM alumnus and former dean Peter Landgren, who now serves as President of the UC Foundation and Vice President for Advancement at UC, and Tom Baur, descendant of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music founder Clara Baur.

The cover to the January 2018 issue of Movers and Makers magazine, featuring Tom Baur.Learn more about Baur’s unique connection to CCM in the December/January issue of Movers & Makers Cincinnati, available on newsstands now or online at moversmakers.org/2017/12/12/ccms-sesquicentennial-surprise-a-gift-from-family-of-founder-clara-baur/.

Moveable Feast and Blue-Note After Party Event Date
Friday, Jan. 19, 2018

Schedule of Events
Moveable Feast:

  • Cocktails and Appetizers: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Prelude Performance feat. Brian Newman and the CCM Jazz Orchestra: 7:30-8 p.m.
  • Performances and Dinner-by-the-Bite: 8-10 p.m.
  • Finale Performance feat. the CCM Philharmonia: 10-10:30 p.m.

Blue-Note After Party: 10:30 p.m.-Midnight

Location
CCM Village, University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Moveable Feast and the Blue-Note After Party are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/MoveableFeast2018 or over the telephone at 513-556-2100. Blue-Note After Party tickets are sold separately, unless purchased through a Sesquicentennial Sponsor package.

  • Sesquicentennial Sponsor Package: $600 – price includes two tickets to Moveable Feast, two tickets to the Blue-Note After Party and two tickets to CCM Musical Theatre’s “Not Famous Yet” Showcase (April 5, 2018), valet parking for Moveable Feast/Blue-Note After Party and program recognition
  • Patron Package: $225 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast, one ticket to CCM Musical Theatre’s “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, valet parking for Moveable Feast and program recognition
  • Host Ticket: $150 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast, valet parking for Moveable Feast and program recognition
  • General Public Tickets: $100 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast
  • CCM Alumni and Young Professional (40 and under) Tickets: $75 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast
  • Blue-Note After Party (Sold Separately): $25 – price includes admission to after party and dance from 10:30 p.m. to midnight

Seating is limited. Event proceeds raised by CCMpower support student scholarships for CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” and also help fund student and ensemble travel, master class opportunities and collaborative projects.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

About CCMpower
The result of a merger of the Friends of CCM and the CCM Alumni Governing Board, CCMpower is a volunteer group of fans, advocates and alumni dedicated to empowering students and fueling the future of the arts through scholarship opportunities and more. This new organization is a combination of people who love and support the arts along with graduates of CCM investing back in their school. To learn more, visit ccm.uc.edu/ccmpower.

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Angels playing heavenly instruments

CCM Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Perform J.S. Bach’s Monumental ‘Mass in B Minor’

The beloved choral work will be presented in two concerts on Nov. 4 and 5 at two Cincinnati churches. Tickets available through the CCM Box Office.

CCM’s Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Orchestra combine forces for two monumental performances of J.S. Bach’s grand choral-orchestral achievement, Mass in B Minor. Under the direction of Earl Rivers, the work will be performed in concert at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4,  at Christ Church Cathedral and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Knox Church.

The Mass in B Minor is the Mount Everest of the Late Baroque period. It represents Bach’s supreme achievement of universality, assembling a monumental setting of the Ordinary of the Mass that presents a breadth of musical style greater than any other choral-orchestral work in the Western canon. “The Mass in B Minor is a synthesis of every stylistic and technical contribution Bach made to music,” Rivers says.

“Audience members unfamiliar with Bach’s Mass in B Minor may be surprised by the range and variety of musical styles within the 27 movements,” Rivers says. “Full-throttled chorus and orchestra movements with high Baroque trumpets, flutes, oboes, bassoons, timpani, organ, harpsichord and strings are contrasted with solo and duet movements that reflect the virtuoso operatic arias that were beloved in the Late Baroque.”

The two performances of the masterwork will showcase different student soloists from CCM’s opera and voice programs. Baroque specialists Adriana Contino, cellist, and Garry Clarke, violinist, have coached the CCM Philharmonia and vocal soloists in preparation for the concerts.

The Nov. 4 performance will feature BM Voice student Page Michels, soprano; second-year MM Voice student Abigail Hoyt, mezzo-soprano; second-year DMA Voice student Jill Phillips, mezzo-soprano; second-year MM Voice student Dongwhi Baek, tenor; and second-year MM Voice student Samson McCrady, baritone.

The Nov. 5 performance will feature first-year AD Opera student Murrella Parton, soprano; first-year AD Opera student Kayleigh Decker, mezzo-soprano; second-year AD Opera student Amber Fasquelle, mezzo-soprano; first-year AD Opera student Benjamin Lee, tenor; and second-year DMA Voice student Matthew Worth, baritone.

“Enabling CCM students to study, rehearse and perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor is an essential component of CCM’s commitment to providing our students a comprehensive immersion in Baroque performance practices,” Rivers says. “As Mass in B Minor represents the highest musical achievement of the Late Baroque, it is a filing work to perform in CCM’s 150th Anniversary Season.”

Event Information
4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4
Location: Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5
Location: Knox Church, 3400 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to both performances of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor are $15 for adults, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office. Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Directions
Christ Church Cathedral is located at the corners of Fourth and Sycamore Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio. For directions and additional information, please refer to cincinnaticathedral.com/belong.

Knox Church is located at the corner of Michigan and Observatory avenues, one block off Hyde Park Square in Cincinnati. For directions and additional information, please refer to knox.org.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Choral Studies Sponsor: Jan Rogers

Choral Studies Sponsor: Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation

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CCM Philharmonia at Moveable Feast 2017

CCM Philharmonia Opens Sesquicentennial Concert Series on Friday, Sept. 8

CCM begins its Sesquicentennial Concert Series with a season-opening performance on Friday, Sept. 8! The CCM Philharmonia performs Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute, Brahms’ Third Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony in concert at 8 p.m. in Patricia Corbett Theater.

All UC students can receive one free ticket to Friday’s concert with a valid ID beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6. Single tickets for all 2017-18 Mainstage and Concert Series performances are on sale now.

CCM’s Department of Orchestral Studies will give ten concerts in fall 2017, including free and ticketed performances. Programing information for CCM’s Fall 2017 Orchestra Series is below.
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Event Information
All events listed here take place in CCM Village on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Admission is free to many CCM performances, although some events do require purchased tickets or reservations. Please see individual event information for details and ordering information.

All event dates and programs are subject to change. Visit ccm.uc.edu or contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 for the most current event information.

Purchasing Tickets
Unless indicated otherwise in the event listings below, tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Single tickets, subscription packages and flex ticket packages are on sale now!

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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FALL 2017 ORCHESTRA SERIES

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8
FAITH, DOUBT AND REASON: IN HONOR OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 107 (Reformation)
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE
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8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15
CCM Concert Orchestra
Aik Khai Pung, music director and conductor
FRANCK: Le Chausseur Maudit
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade, Op. 35
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
Admission: FREE
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8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4
VIVA ROMA!
CCM Philharmonia, CCM Chamber Choir and Cincinnati Children’s Choir
Featuring Voice faculty members Amy Johnson and Kenneth Shaw, along with student soloists
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
BERLIOZ: Roman Carnival Overture
RESPIGHI: Fountains of Rome
PUCCINI: Tosca Act I
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE
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7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18
CCM Concert Orchestra
Aik Khai Pung, music director and conductor
BACH/STOKOWSKI: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, B.W.V. 565
MIKLÓS RÓZSA: Viola Concerto, Op. 37
Featuring the winner of the CCM Viola Concerto Competition
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
Location: Princeton High School, 100 Viking Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246
Admission: FREE
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8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24
Café MoMus
Aik Khai Pung, music director
ADAMS: Shaker Loops
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE
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TIME CHANGE:  7:30  8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25
PIANOPALOOZA PLAYS PROKOFIEV
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
Featuring Piano faculty member Ran Dank and winners of the CCM Piano Concerto Competition
CCM’s fabulous piano faculty members join forces with the CCM Philharmonia to perform phenomenal works of Prokofiev.
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 10
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16
March from The Love For Three Oranges
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
LOCATION CHANGE: Dieterle Vocal Arts Center, Room 300 Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207
Admission: FREE
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4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4
J.S. BACH’S MASS IN B MINOR
CCM Philharmonia, CCM Chamber Choir and CCM Student Soloists
Earl Rivers, music director and conductor

The Mass in B Minor, BWV 232, is the Mount Everest of the Late Baroque period. Bach’s supreme achievement of setting the Mass text for soloists, chorus and orchestra summarizes his writing for voices and instruments, not only in the variety of styles, compositional devices and range of sonorities, but also in the high level of technical polish.
Location: Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE
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5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5
J.S. BACH’S MASS IN B MINOR
CCM Philharmonia, CCM Chamber Choir and CCM Student Soloists
Earl Rivers, music director and conductor
The Mass in B Minor, BWV 232, is the Mount Everest of the Late Baroque period. Bach’s supreme achievement of setting the Mass text for soloists, chorus and orchestra summarizes his writing for voices and instruments, not only in the variety of styles, compositional devices and range of sonorities, but also in the high level of technical polish.
Location: Knox Church, 3400 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE
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7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17
SCHUBERT, STRAVINSKY AND BEETHOVEN
CCM Philharmonia

Mark Gibson, music director
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
SCHUBERT: Overture to “Rosamunde”
STRAVINSKY: Pulcinella Suite
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B-Flat Major, Op. 60
Location: Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207
Admission: FREE
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8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21
CCM Concert Orchestra
Aik Khai Pung, music director and conductor
RACHMANINOFF: The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29
BARBER: Violin Concerto
Featuring the winner of the CCM Violin Competition
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (Unfinished)
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Admission: FREE
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Orchestral Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Joseph W. Hirschhorn

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CCM150Header

CCM’s 2017-18 Season Brochure Now Available In Print and Online

Welcome to CCM’s Sesquicentennial Performance Season!

The cover to CCM's 2017-18 Season Brochure.This season, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding with an unparalleled series of performances and special events designed to highlight a tradition of innovation and excellence dating back to 1867.

The history of CCM’s success involves three institutions separate in their origins but united by a common cause: the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the College of Music of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati. Sometimes partners and sometimes rivals, these three institutions would eventually join forces to establish one of the world’s premier schools for the performing and media arts.

In the year ahead, we will look back on CCM’s illustrious history, celebrate the careers of our impressive alumni and showcase the talents of our incredible students and faculty members. We look forward to welcoming you to the CCM Village to experience our ongoing history, the artistry of our alumni and a chance to experience the stars of tomorrow.

Download a digital copy of CCM’s 2017-18 brochure today (7.1 MB). Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office.

Subscription and flex ticket packages are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. For more details about CCM’s 2017-18 performance schedule, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or visit ccm.uc.edu.

Learn more about CCM’s Sesquicentennial by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/sesquicentennial-celebration.

This is our story. This is your season.
Join us for a celebration 150 years in the making!

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CCM Presents Staged Version of Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will showcase J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion at Cincinnati’s Christ Church Cathedral at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. Conducted by CCM Director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers with stage direction from artist diploma candidate Andreas Hager, the performance features faculty artist Daniel Weeks and student aria soloists.

Known for its stunning choruses, interplay between recitative and aria and sublime storytelling, St. Matthew Passion has made an enduring mark in music history as a sublime example of a musical setting of the passion story. Thanks in part to a grant from the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, CCM’s staged performance illuminates the dramatic intensity of this Baroque masterwork, which retells the compelling story of the events leading up to the trial of Jesus, his crucifixion and burial.

“Bach was interested in the spiritual drama of the crucifixion, not only of Jesus but of society,” said Hager, a first-year artist diploma candidate in opera stage direction. “Our production explores the moral culpability we all face living in a complex world. From Judas to Peter to Pilate — no one can escape from the consequences of their choices.”

“Our production is spare and minimalist, allowing the full force of Bach’s music to take the forefront.”

The CCM Chamber Choir, Cincinnati Children’s Choir and CCM Philharmonia will combine forces to perform this massive work. To make this work come to life on stage, the CCM production emphasizes the piece’s storylines by designating arias to specific characters.

The story is presented by a narrator called the Evangelist, played by faculty artist Daniel Weeks, tenor, with student soloists as Jesus (Samson McCrady, bass-baritone), Pilate (Christian Pursell, baritone) and aria singers (Ashley Fabian and Jackie Stevens, sopranos; Reilly Nelson and Paulina Villarreal, mezzo-sopranos; Thomas J. Capobianco, tenor and Eric Shane Heatley and Joseph Mazzara, baritones).

CCM has a long history with St. Matthew Passion, which dates back to a February 1970 performance that featured alumna Kathleen Battle (MM Voice, 1971) singing the aria, “Aus liebe.” The college most recently performed the work in November, 2011. This staged performance, held at Cincinnati’s St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, was the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Join us for CCM’s latest production of this iconic masterwork. St. Matthew Passion will be performed at 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 9 at Christ Church Cathedral, located at 318 East Fourth Street.

Performance Date
3 p.m. Sunday, April 9

Location
Christ Church Cathedral
318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45246

Purchasing Tickets
Single tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

Single tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Directions
Christ Church Cathedral is located at the corners of Fourth and Sycamore Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio. For directions and additional information, please refer to http://cincinnaticathedral.com/belong.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Sponsored by the Cambridge Charitable Foundation

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Mark Gibson conducts the CCM Philharmonia at Moveable Feast.

Discussing CCM’s Polish Festival with Professor Mark Gibson

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music is proud to present an interdisciplinary collection of concerts in the month-long Polish Festival running Sept. 9 through Oct. 2.

200px-herb_polski-svg

The coat of arms of Poland.

Through a series of classical and jazz concerts, lectures and a special art installation, CCM’s Polish Festival celebrates the wealth of extraordinary music and creative expression of one of the world’s great cultures.

The festival’s opening concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, with a performance by the CCM Philharmonia in Corbett Auditorium. CCM Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson will lead the Philharmonia in a concert featuring the world premiere of American Dreams by alumnus Piotr Szewczyk (BM Violin, 2000; MM Violin and Composition, 2003). The program will also include Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra. Naumburg Gold Medalist and CCM faculty artist Soyeon Kate Lee will join the Philharmonia for a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Follow this link to the Polish Festival Schedule to view all of the events: http://ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/concerts/orchestras/polishfest.

CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies sat down with Polish Festival Artistic Director Mark Gibson to learn more about the creation and inspiration behind the event.

What originally inspired you to create the Polish Festival?
The initial inspiration came through discussion with Polish friends on the wealth of extraordinary music from Poland, especially in the last century. I jokingly suggested that the only reason we don’t perform more of it is because the names are unfamiliar and daunting. After overcoming that minor stumbling block, the music on the other side – masterworks by Lutosławski, Szymanowski, Skrowaczewski, Penderecki and more – immediately rose to the level of challenge and quest.

What do you hope students will learn from participating in the Polish Festival concerts?
They are learning that there is so much beyond Chopin, even as we enjoy the rare opportunity to share both Chopin piano concertos with our students and public. Specifically, the Lutosławski Concerto for Orchestra takes its place next to, not beneath, its namesake by Bartók. The Szymanowski “Song of the Night” is nothing less than the most colorful Polish Impressionism, inspired by Ravel but uniquely crafted and painted in sound. And Penderecki’s magnum opus, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” remains one of the most dramatic, powerful evocations of the horrors of war ever committed to paper.

Every score we have programmed, from the legendary opera composer Stanisław Moniuszko to the Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer Włodek Pawlik, bears the mark of mastery and import. They all demand to be heard and experienced.

Besides the fact that the composers of the festival are Polish, how did you program all of the music? Could you tell me what led you to pair Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra for your opening concert?
The opening concert of the CCM Philharmonia season has more than once featured a faculty guest artist as a soloist. I had been looking for a chance to work with Soyeon Kate Lee, former Naumburg Competition winner, ever since her arrival at CCM several years ago. The Chopin was the ideal opportunity; when I asked which of the two concertos she preferred to play, she offered the F Minor. The Lutosławski leapt out as among the most celebratory, virtuosic scores I have never conducted, though I have admired it for decades. We perform Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra in November, so the Lutosławski was therefore an easy choice to open the season. The Philharmonia is eating it up!

As for the remainder of the programming, I had the difficult task of choosing between literally dozens of worthy composers and styles. A work such as Górecki’s gorgeous and moving “Symphony of Sad Songs” is by now part of the canon. Along with the Penderecki Threnody, a broad spectrum of Polish music will be performed. Skrowaczewski’s English Horn Concerto was selected to provide a venue to feature another of our superb students. The Szymanowski Third Symphony, the “Song of the Night,” has been on my wish list for at least 20 years. It will be an honor to share it not only with our students and public, but with the Xavier University Choir and tenor soloist CCM faculty artist Daniel Weeks as collaborators on this performance. Ultimately, there were too many scores to choose from and unfortunately we can’t devote an entire year to Polish music. I hope our public might be inspired to explore further by what they hear.

Did you have a strong relationship with the Cincinnati Polish community before planning this festival?
My primary contact with the Polish community in Cincinnati has been through my jazz colleague, Rick VanMatre, who is married to the brilliant Polish visual artist, Anna Socha VanMatre. In fact, she has donated a major art work, a dramatic piece from her “Metamorphosis” series, for display in Corbett Auditorium for the Festival concerts. Through my friendship with the VanMatre’s, I have been introduced to more members of the local community, notably the scientist Piotr Chomczynski and his wife, Dr. Judith Heiny, whose generous sponsorship makes this festival possible. It has been gratifying to see the support from the local community, in particular the Polish-American Society of Greater Cincinnati, led by Emilia Bacca.

Music making is about community after all, the creation of family through sound. Our family just became significantly bigger.

Is the Polish Festival a one-time event, or do you hope to make it into a recurring celebration of Polish music?
For the past 10 years, we have started our orchestral season with a festival dedicated either to a specific composer or a national style. I felt it was time that Polish music be celebrated in a similar fashion, and though I cannot anticipate another festival dedicated to Polish music, I know that we will continue to feature it in our programming. Next year, we are committing major resources to celebrate the centenary of Leonard Bernstein, one of my conducting teachers and a major influence on the lives of so many American musicians.

Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I promise those who come to our concerts will be delighted with and inspired by the music of Poland, and they will absolutely learn how to pronounce the names of the composers by the end! I encourage one and all to join us for this unique tribute to one of the world’s great musical traditions.

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The Polish Festival runs Sept. 9-Oct. 2 throughout the CCM Village. You can learn more about the festival’s opening concert and other events here.

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