The Application Deadline is Approaching for the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship

Get paid to perform with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra while earning a full scholarship to pursue your graduate degree at CCM as a CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow.

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra are accepting applications for the 2020-22 class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2019. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this program provides an unparalleled learning experience for graduate-level violin, viola, violoncello and double bass players coming from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. Symphony Magazine recently spotlighted the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship in a story that focused on the “new cultural and economic directions redefining and expanding the role of the conservatory in the 21st century.”

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Benefits: 

  • Perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO.
  • Receive compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.
  • Receive full tuition scholarship support while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music or Artist Diploma program at CCM.
  • Receive a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000 from CCM.
  • Receive access to orchestral audition and professional development stipends.

In addition, as many as five CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows can be selected annually to participate in an eight-week summer residency with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra through a partnership with the Chautauqua Institution of New York.

Participants will be paired with CSO coach/mentors for the duration of their Fellowship. An administrative liaison will also be assigned to support Fellows. Download the informational poster.

Get a look inside the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship in a feature story on Fellow Anita Graef (MM Cello, ’19). You can also learn about Fellow Ian Saunders’ (AD Double Bass, ’19) experience in the fellowship in a radio interview with Cincinnati Public Radio WVXU.

Important Dates

CCM and the CSO are now accepting applications for the 2020-22 class of Fellows. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2019. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Live auditions with CCM faculty will be held on Jan. 17-18Jan. 24-25 and Feb. 14-15 of 2020.

Finalists will audition for the CSO on March 14, 2020, in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

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CCM Welcomes World-Renowned Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter for Master Class on Sept. 27

CCM students and the general public are invited to attend a free master class with acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter on Friday, Sept. 27.

Four-time Grammy Award-winner Anne-Sophie Mutter presents a master class at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 in CCM’s Mary Emery Hall Room 3250. The “undisputed queen of violin-playing” (The Times, London), Mutter will work with CCM string students during the two-hour session, which is free and open to the general public.

Mutter’s visit to CCM coincides with her weekend performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which features her on Beethoven’s Violin Concerto to celebrate the composer’s 250th birthday. The CSO concerts are presented on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 at Music Hall. For more information about the events with the CSO, please visit cincinnatisymphony.org.

Please contact Associate Professor of Violin, Won-Bin Yim for more information on the master class at CCM.

About Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter is a musical phenomenon: for more than 40 years the virtuoso has now been a fixture in all the world’s major concert halls, making her mark on the classical music scene as a soloist, mentor and visionary.

The four-time Grammy Award winner is equally committed to the performance of traditional composers as to the future of music: so far she has given world premieres of 27 works – Unsuk Chin, Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutoslawski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir André Previn, Wolfgang Rihm and John Williams have all composed for Anne-Sophie Mutter. Furthermore, she dedicates herself to numerous benefit projects and to supporting tomorrow’s musical elite: in the autumn of 1997 she founded the “Association of Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation e.V.”, to which the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation was added in 2008. These two charitable institutions provide support for the scholarship recipients, support which is tailored to the fellows’ individual needs. Since 2011, Anne-Sophie Mutter has regularly shared the spotlight on stage with her ensemble of fellows, “Mutter’s Virtuosi”. 

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s 2019 concert calendar features performances in Asia, Europe, North and South America, once again reflecting the violinist’s musical versatility and her unparalleled prominence in the world of classical music: in March she has performed the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s Ghost Trio at Carnegie Hall. In San Francisco, she will give the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s String Quartet – both works were commissioned by her and are dedicated to the violinist. In September she will perform for the first time in her career as part of an open-air concert. Entitled Across the Stars, this event features some of the most outstanding works by John Williams, who has won several Oscars for his compositions, and takes place on Munich’s Königsplatz. Most of the works on this open-air programme are special arrangements made for Mutter. August sees the release of her CD recording of this new Williams repertoire, which has not been heard in this form anywhere else so far. Another thematic focus in 2019 are the violin concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which she performs throughout Europe and in the USA. In South America and in Europe, she appears with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and plays the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Daniel Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma – an extraordinary cast. Together with “Mutter’s Virtuosi”, the ensemble of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation, she performs for the first time in South America.

On October 16 2019 Anne-Sophie Mutter will be honoured with the Praemium Imperiale in the category music; in June she received the Polar Music Prize. Poland awarded the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for Cultural Achievements to Anne-Sophie Mutter in March 2018, making her the first German artist to receive such an honour. In February 2018 she was named an Honorary Member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Romania awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of a Grand Officer to Anne-Sophie Mutter in November 2017; during the same month France honoured her by presenting her with the insignia of a Commander of the French Order of the Arts and Literature. In December 2016, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports awarded her the “Medalla de oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes” (Gold Medal for Merits in the Fine Arts). In January 2015 Anne-Sophie Mutter was named an Honorary Fellow of Keble College at the University of Oxford. In October 2013 she became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, after winning the medal of the Lutoslawski Society (Warsaw) in January. In 2012 the Atlantic Council bestowed the Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award upon her. In 2011 she received the Brahms Prize as well as the Erich Fromm Prize and the Gustav Adolf Prize for her social activism. In 2010 the Technical-Scientific University of Norway in Trondheim bestowed an honorary doctorate upon her; in 2009 she won the European St. Ulrich Award as well as the Cristobal Gabarron Award. In 2008 Anne-Sophie Mutter was the recipient of the International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize as well as the Leipzig Mendelssohn Prize. The violinist has been awarded the German Grand Order of Merit, the French Medal of the Legion of Honour, the Bavarian Order of Merit, the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria, and numerous other honors.

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Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions for detailed driving directions to CCM Village.Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the end of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit the UC Parking Services website for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

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Mark Gibson conducts the CCM Philharmonia at Moveable Feast.

Giora Schmidt Joins CCM Philharmonia in Season-Opening Concert

The CCMONSTAGE Orchestra Series opens with the CCM Philharmonia and faculty artist Giora Schmidt on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music begins its new, five-part CCMONSTAGE Orchestra Subscription Series with the CCM Philharmonia this Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Corbett Auditorium.

Acclaimed violinist and faculty artist Giora Schmidt joins the CCM Philharmonia for a performance of Dvořák’s radiant Violin Concerto in A Minor for the season-opening concert. The program also includes Brahms’ second symphony and a selection of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances.

The performance on September 20 marks the beginning of a new, five-part orchestra subscription series featuring the CCM Philharmonia collaborating with special guests like Louis Langrée and Leslie Dunner. Patrons can still buy tickets and reserve seats for all CCMONSTAGE concert subscription offerings.

Complete program information for the 2019-20 CCMONSTAGE Orchestra Subscription Series is below. Additional concert performances are offered outside of this new five-part orchestra series, visit ccmonstage.universitytickets.com for details.
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7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20
• Orchestra Series •
SEASON-OPENING CONCERT
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
Featuring faculty artist Giora Schmidt, violin
DVOŘÁK: Slavonic Dance in C Major, Op. 46, No. 1
DVOŘÁK: Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: Prices start at $25; student and group discounts available. Buy tickets online.
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7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3
• Orchestra Series •
PRIDE OF RUSSIA
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
Featuring faculty artist Dror Biran, piano
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Russian Easter Overture
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 102
PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: Prices start at $25; student and group discounts available. Buy tickets online.
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7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1
• Orchestra Series •
CSI HALLOWEEN: POST-MORTEM
CCM Philharmonia and Chamber Orchestra
Mark Gibson, music director
Featuring guest artist Leslie B. Dunner, conductor and chief medical examiner
LISZT: Totentanz
SAINT-SAËNS: Carnival of the “Dead” Animals
BRITTEN: “Dead” Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: Prices start at $20; student and group discounts available. Buy tickets online.
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7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31
• Orchestra Series •
THE LONG GOODBYE
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 81a, “Les Adieux
MAHLER: Symphony No. 9 in D Major
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: Prices start at $25; student and group discounts available. Buy tickets online.
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7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15
• Orchestra Series •
WELCOME TO CCM, MAESTRO LANGRÉE
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director
Louis Langrée, conductor
DEBUSSY: Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune
RAVEL: Piano Concerto
BERLIOZ: Symphonie Fantastique
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: Prices start at $29.50; student and group discounts available. Buy tickets online.
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Purchasing Tickets and Subscriptions

Interested in guaranteeing your seats for all five CCM Philharmonia concerts? You can still subscribe to the entire series for $99. Pricing is inclusive of all fees. All performances are reserved seating.

Subscribe to the CCMONSTAGE Orchestra five-concert package for just $99.

Additional concert performances are offered outside of this new five-part orchestra series, visit CCM’s new e-box office for details.

Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online though our e-box office, over the phone at 513-556-4183 or in person at the CCM Box Office in the Atrium of UC’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.

Learn about additional ticket options for current CCM students.

Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions for detailed driving directions to CCM Village.

Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the end of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit the UC Parking Services website for information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.


A preeminent institution for the performing and media arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio. All event dates and programs are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM Announce 2019-21 Class of Diversity Fellows

Five outstanding string players have been selected for the next class of the prestigious Diversity Fellowship program.

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected five outstanding musicians for the next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. Born out of a mutual desire to make American orchestras more inclusive, this prestigious performance fellowship program was launched in 2015 with a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Foundation approved a renewal grant of $850,000 in 2017, providing funding for the innovative program through June 2021.

With this collaborative Fellowship program, CCM and the CSO hope to provide new opportunities for underrepresented musicians, while simultaneously fostering a more inclusive environment in the orchestral industry.

“Reflecting our community and the world around us at every level — on stage, around the office, in the board room, and in neighborhoods throughout the region — is one of our highest priorities,” said CSO President Jonathan Martin. “We welcome the new class of Fellows, look forward to the artistic contributions of the continuing class, and congratulate the Fellows who are now completing the program after two years.”

Here is the incoming class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows:
Magdiell Antequera, 23 (violin)
Jordan Curry, 24 (violin)
Cristian J. Diaz, 28 (viola)
Michael Martin, 24 (double bass)
Denielle Wilson, 23 (cello)

“The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship embodies the University of Cincinnati’s commitment to experience-based learning and community partnerships,” said CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein. “Our five newest Fellows possess enormous talent, and we are delighted to welcome them to Cincinnati. Once you have an opportunity to see the Fellows perform, you will understand why we boast that ‘Next Lives Here.’ We are grateful for the ongoing generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through which CCM and the CSO can continue to work together to make the arts more inclusive.”

These five exceptional string players will officially join the two-year fellowship program in August 2019 bringing the total number of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows to nine for the 2019-20 academic year and performance season.

The second class of Diversity Fellows, which is comprised of Anita Graef (cello), Ian Saunders (double bass), Weiyi Shao (violin), and Dan Wang (viola) recently completed the program at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.

“The combination of performing with a major professional orchestra while getting a graduate degree from a top conservatory provides the ideal combination of educational and professional development,” said Yan Izquierdo, who will begin his second year in the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship in the fall. “I believe this Fellowship has significantly enriched my career and I highly recommend it to any music student, particularly those seeking opportunities in American orchestras.”

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Ian Saunders, CCM Dean Stanley Romanstein and CSO Instructional Programs Manager Carol Dunevant recently stopped by WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition to discuss the fellowship program with host Michael Monks. Listen to the full segment at www.wvxu.org.

How the Fellowship Works

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program is open to exceptional violin, viola, cello, and double bass players coming from historically underrepresented populations in classical music.

The program’s tagline — “Bravos Without Barriers” — gets to the heart of its mission: eliminating obstacles that can prevent extraordinary musicians from achieving their full potential.

Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music (MM) or Artist Diploma (AD) graduate degree program at CCM. Each class of Fellows is selected through a rigorous series of auditions, which saw hundreds of graduate-level musicians audition for CCM faculty members. Select players were invited back to Cincinnati for a final round of auditions judged by CSO musicians in Springer Auditorium at Cincinnati Music Hall on March 16, 2019.

Each Fellow receives full tuition scholarship support from CCM, in addition to a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and a one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000. Each Fellow also receives compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.

Meet the Incoming Fellows

Magdiell Antequera, Master of Music (MM) student, Violin
Venezuelan violinist Magdiell Antequera, 23, made his first debut as a soloist in with the Falcon Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela at the age of 10 and has continued to play as a guest soloist in various orchestras in South America and the United States. His work has been praised by legendary violinists including Midori Goto, Margaret Batjer, and Glenn Dicterow. Antequera has participated in multiple master classes and private lessons with acclaimed professors from a number of conservatories including the Juilliard School, and has won and received recognition from important competitions such as the Solo Competition at the Academia Latinoamericana de Violin (Venezuela), Thursday Musical Competition (Minnesota), Schubert Club Competition (Minnesota), Texas Rising Stars, Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy), and others.

Antequera attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s School as a member of the Pre-Conservatory Program from 2012–15, where he studied with Sally O´Reilly at the University of Minnesota. In 2015 he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Brian Lewis and kept an active solo career.


Jordan Curry, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Violin
Jordan Curry, 24, resides in West Olive, Michigan. He began playing violin at the age of six using the Suzuki method. A graduate of West Ottawa High School in Holland, Michigan, Curry continued to play violin and study music throughout his formative years.

He has participated in the Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University, the Michigan All-State Orchestra, and the Holland Area Youth Orchestra. Curry furthered his studies with Korean violinist Young Shin and Mihai Craioveanu, professor of violin at Hope College.

He received his bachelor’s degree in violin performance at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo under the instruction of professor Renata Artman Knific. Curry plays a violin from famed maker Mario Miralles on loan from acclaimed violin soloist Tai Murray. He recently received his master’s in violin performance the University of Denver under Linda Wang.


Cristian J. Diaz, Master of Music (MM) student, Viola
Cristian Diaz, 28, is a violist from Colombia who holds a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Colombia’s National University- Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree in chamber music from Kent State University. His former professors include members of the acclaimed Miami String Quartet, Keith Robinson and Cathy Meng Robinson, and his viola professor Joanna Patterson Zakany, member of the prestigious Cleveland Orchestra.

Diaz has been part of many orchestras across the globe, and was runner up in the Kent State University concerto competition (2017), he was selected to become part of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra Academy 2018 in Dortmund, Germany, winner of the inaugural Diversity Fellowship of the CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, and is also a member of the Efferus String Quartet.

He has attended the XI Cartagena Music Festival (Colombia, 2017), the first and second International Festival of String Quartets (Colombia, 2015 and 2016), III Bogota’s Viola Festival (Colombia, 2015), Santa Catarina Music Festival FEMUSC (Brazil, 2012), and also the Kent Blossom Music Festival (2019). Diaz will begin his master’s degree at CCM in the fall of 2019 where he will study with professor Catharine Lees.


Michael Martin, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Double Bass
Raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Michael Martin, 24, began his study of the double-bass with local Suzuki pedagogue Domenick Fiore in early high school, after years of playing in school ensembles and teaching himself at home. Quickly finding that he had a deep love of the bass and music, he joined the Philadelphia Sinfonia and Young People’s Philharmonic youth orchestras in the area, and began further studies with Joseph Conyers of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

An alum of Oberlin Conservatory (B. Mus., 2017) and Northwestern University (M. Mus.,2019), Martin studied with renowned bass pedagogues Tracy Rowell (Oberlin Conservatory, CIM Mari Sato Preparatory Program) and Andrew Raciti (Milwaukee Symphony, Northwestern University). Other mentors have included Peter Dominguez (Oberlin Conservatory) and Scott Dixon (the Cleveland Orchestra). In addition to his studies with Rowell and Raciti, Martin spent his summers as an undergraduate studying the method of bass virtuoso Francois Rabbath at the Domaine Forget International Academy in Charlevoix, Quebec. He has also been an Orchestra Fellow at the Emmanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival Orchestra Institute in Houston, Texas.

Martin plays a modern instrument made especially for him by Christopher Savino, and a bow by acclaimed Canadian bow maker Reid Hudson.


Denielle Wilson, Master of Music (MM), Cello
Denielle Wilson, 23, is a cellist from Lithonia, Georgia. She currently lives in Evanston, Illinois, plays in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and maintains a studio of private cello students. She completed an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2017, having majored in cello performance and music education. Her musical mentors have included Hans Jørgen Jensen, Joel Dallow, and Nan Kimberling. She has spent summers at the Meadowmount School of Music, Bowdoin Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Grant Park Music Festival. She plays in a piano trio with her siblings, and they enjoy sharing classical and religious music with their local community.


Learn more about the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship by visiting ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

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A picture of CCM faculty member Donald Hancock holding his Emmy Award.

Emmy Award-Winning Producer Donald Hancock is Named Assistant Professor of Film and Television Production at CCM

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the appointment of Donald Hancock to the position of Assistant Professor of Film and Television Production in CCM’s Division of E-Media. Hancock joined CCM’s faculty as an adjunct in 2012. His new appointment will begin on Aug. 15, 2019.

A picture of CCM faculty member Donald Hancock holding his Emmy Award.

Hancock is an Emmy Award-winning producer, professor and an active member of the media community. He has an MA in Film and Television from Savannah College of Art and Design and a BFA in E-Media from CCM. Hancock currently works as a producer at CET, Cincinnati’s PBS Member Station. He has produced “The Art Show,” CET’s weekly art magazine program, since 2013. He also produces content for a variety of partners with CET, including ArtsWave and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Hancock won a Regional Emmy Award for “Cincinnati’s Music Hall: The Next Movement,” a 60-minute documentary that he co-wrote, produced and shot. The documentary details the historic $150 million renovation of Cincinnati’s National Historic Landmark. Watch a promotional spot for the documentary below.

In 2013, Hancock was chosen as one of 25 producers from around the country to participate in the PBS/CPB Producer’s Academy, whose goal is to engage a talented pool of diverse producers in public broadcasting. Hancock has also partnered with WGBH and PBS to produce content around national programming including “Finding Your Roots,” “American Experience” and “Downton Abbey.”

For the past seven years, Hancock has been an adjunct professor at CCM, teaching Digital Video and Integrated Media Production courses to sophomore and junior-level students. In his spare time, he serves on the Executive Board for the UC Center for Film and Media Studies, as well as the community advisory board at Elementz Urban Arts Center. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, a member of the Broadcast Education Association and volunteers as a Big Brother in the Big Brother Big Sisters Program.

Dean Romanstein thanked search committee members Kevin Burke (chair), Peter DePietroJohn HebbelerTondra Holt and Hagit Limor for their work on finding CCM’s new Assistant Professor of Film and Television Production.

Please join us in congratulating Donald Hancock on his new appointment!

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CCM Alumnus Returns for World Premiere concert:nova Performances

michael ippolito

Michael Ippolito (BM Composition, 2003) returns to Cincinnati this month for a collaboration with concert:nova, an innovative chamber music collaboration featuring members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble will present the world premiere of a new work by Ippolito on “Cello+,” a concert featuring two cellists and their respective romantic partners, plus a few other friends.

Ippolito is currently an assistant professor of composition at Texas State University. His works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony and many more. He has received awards from both the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he earned fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and the Copland House’s Cultivate program. In addition to his studies at CCM with emeritus faculty member Joel Hoffman and current CCM professor Michael Fiday, Ippolito studied with John Corigliano at the Juilliard School.

The two musical couples featured on the program are violinist Stefani Matsuo and cellist Hiro Matsuo, with CCM faculty clarinetist Ixi Chen and her husband, cellist Ted Nelson. Also featured are concert:nova artistic directors Henrick Heide, flutist, and Michael Culligan, percussion.

“Cello+” will be presented at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2019 at Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Tickets range from $25 to $30 and can be purchased via the concert:nova website.

concert:nova is a boundary-pushing ensemble that challenges the audience to engage with the music in various ways. It’s mission is to transform hearts, minds and communities through thought-provoking musical exploration. The musicians collaborate with a cavalcade of interdisciplinary artists from all over the city, region and globe in a diverse array of surprising venues to create provocative, intimate, interactive, and unforgettable experiences that remove the barrier between the artists and the audience.

Learn more about concert:nova at concertnova.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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Anita Graef performs with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow.

Bravos Without Barriers: Inside the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Anita Graef performing with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Anita Graef performing with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Anita Graef really wanted a cello for her birthday when she turned two years old. She remembers being frustrated when her parents made her wait until she was four. Now the 24-year-old graduate student plays cello with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Graef is in her second year of the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, which connects students with paid professional performance experiences with the CSO while they receive full tuition scholarships to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). The program is currently accepting applications for Fall 2019.

Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship aims to change the face of American orchestras by making them more inclusive. It provides new opportunities for exceptional violin, viola, cello and double bass players from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. The program utilizes a broad definition of diversity that encompasses race and culture while also including first-generation college students and individuals who took non-traditional pathways to higher education.

The program’s tagline — “Bravos Without Barriers” — gets to the heart of its mission: eliminating obstacles that can prevent extraordinary musicians from achieving their full potential.

“All of these people running the program have invested in me, believe in me and support me,” Graef says about her time in the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship. “It’s incredibly moving that all of these people want to see me succeed and are in my corner.”

Anita Graef plays her cello at age four.

Anita Graef plays her cello at age four.

Obviously, Graef eventually received the cello she so coveted. She began studying cello when she was four years old and made her concerto debut at age 12. Her parents are both professional musicians — her father, Richard Graef, is the assistant principal flutist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and her mother, Emily Seaberry Graef, is the founder and flutist of Chicago’s Juliani Ensemble. They encouraged her to pursue any career she desired and did not want to pressure her to follow in their musical footsteps — but she did anyway.

Graef was home schooled until junior high school, which gave her a flexible schedule to practice cello, explore Chicago and get involved in a number of other activities. She was a competitive horseback rider until college, played volleyball for six years, trained in ballet for seven years and studied piano for 10 years. She was also involved in sports, art classes, photography and worked on her high school year book.

“There were a lot of other things that I really enjoyed doing, but I never seriously considered anything else,” Graef says. “I feel like most of my formative years were me planning for the future and banking on becoming a professional musician.”

She was able to sample what life was like for professional musicians through her parents. When her father went on tours with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Graef, her mother and siblings went with him. Together, they visited Europe and China.

Graef earned her bachelor’s degree in cello from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. When she arrived at CCM to audition for the college’s graduate cello program, a few professors encouraged her to attend an introductory meeting about the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship.

“I was blown away,” she remembers. “It sounded like an incredible opportunity at a great place while getting a degree, which was really important to me.”

“I think it’s definitely accomplishing its goal in helping prepare you for the future through academic training and professional experience,” Graef adds about her experience in the program so far. “Getting a master’s degree debt-free is amazing.”

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship accepts up to five fellows each year, and is currently accepting applications for the 2019-21 class. Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music or Artist Diploma degree program at CCM. Each Fellow receives full tuition scholarship support from CCM, in addition to a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and a one-time Graduate School Deans Excellence Award of $3,000. Each Fellow also receives compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.

As a master’s student, Graef balances her time between course work and performance work. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays tend to be busier days where she is usually at school from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a mix of classes and ensemble meetings. Her fall semester at CCM includes courses in music theory, music history, a chamber music seminar with the Ariel Quartet and more. After class, she practices cello or works on school projects.

Shannon Lock, violin, Hyeji Park Miranda, piano, and Anita Graef, cello, after their trio recital.

Shannon Lock, violin, Hyeji Park Miranda, piano, and Anita Graef, cello, after their trio recital.

She is the principal cellist in the CCM Philharmonia and she performs in a trio with CCM students Shannon Lock, violin, and Hyeji Park Miranda, piano. Graef’s favorite concert at CCM was when she performed works by Haydn and Shostakovich with the trio.

“I’m always busy, but busy in the way I want to be — working as a musician,” Graef says. “I’m really grateful to be here and am really inspired on a daily basis.”

When she isn’t in class or at the CSO, Graef enjoys exploring Cincinnati and spending time with friends. She has visited many of Cincinnati’s museums and parks — she loves Eden Park — and is always looking for restaurant recommendations. Graef is also passionate about weight lifting, which helps her posture as a musician, and loves cooking and reading.

She stays on top of everything by looking ahead, staying goal-oriented and communicating with her professors, she says. Graef takes private cello lessons with CCM professor Ilya Finkelshteyn, principal cellist of the CSO, who also mentors her at the orchestra.

“One of the most beneficial parts for me has been the one-on-one lessons I get with my teacher,” Graef says.

“Playing with the CSO is really eye opening. It will push you to be even better than you were before and more alert. It teaches you the ins and outs of what it takes to be in a professional orchestra and the kind of skills you need for that kind of work.”

She most recently performed in the CSO’s “One City: Beethoven 9” concert at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. Last year, during her first year as a Diversity Fellow, Graef performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 with the CSO. Graef is looking forward to performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at the CSO’s 2018-19 season finale in May.

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship program is currently accepting applications for its 2019-21 class of fellows. Now in her final year of the program, Graef has some words of wisdom for future fellows:

“It’s a very rigorous program but it’s incredibly rewarding. You learn a lot about music, about yourself, about the process of working and obtaining a permanent job in a symphony orchestra and you’ll meet incredible people along the way and make lifelong relationships.”

Join the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship
CCM and the CSO are now accepting applications for the 2019-21 class of Fellows. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2018. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Apply online now at ccm.uc.edu/admissions/application/gradapplication.

Questions? Email us at ccmadmis@uc.edu.

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