CCM Director of Development Sarah Mizelle

UC Alumna Sarah Mizelle Joins CCM’s Office of Development and External Relations

University of Cincinnati alumna Sarah Mizelle has been named CCM’s new Director of Development and External Relations. A graduate of UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business (MBA, 2011) and College-Conservatory of Music (MA Arts Administration, 2013), Mizelle begins her new position on Monday, May 22.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah back to the UC Foundation and CCM,” says Karen Tully, CCM’s Senior Director of Development and External Relations. “I had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah while she served as a graduate assistant in CCM’s Development and External Relations Office from 2009 to 2011. She quickly became a valuable member of our team, coordinating many of the outreach and special events sponsored by CCMpower, our volunteer fundraising organization. We are delighted to have her rejoin the CCM family.”

Mizelle returns to CCM with a decade’s worth of leadership experience in building strong school communities through student, alumni and donor engagement. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Madeira Schools Foundation, where she successfully oversaw a $600,000 capital campaign to build a new fitness center at Madeira High School. During her tenure, the Madeira Schools Foundation’s annual auction also achieved the highest gross profit since its inception in 1985.

Prior to her position at the Madeira Schools Foundation, Mizelle was Executive Director of the Friends of the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), an organization dedicated to securing resources that enhance SCPA’s creative environment and enable the development of each student’s artistic potential.

Mizelle worked in CCM’s Development Office during her time as a student in CCM’s Arts Administration graduate program. She also served as manger of social media marketing and public relations for a CCM summer festival in Spoleto, Italy, in 2011.

Mizelle received her BM in Music Education from Miami University, Oxford, in 2004. She has continued her involvement in music and the performing arts throughout her career, volunteering for such organizations as People Working Cooperatively (PWC) Ohio and Cincinnati Music Theatre. At Cincinnati Music Theatre, Mizelle served as vocal director for productions of The Music Man and Sunset Boulevard and artistic director for Crazy For You, each of which won an Orchid Award for Excellence from the Cincinnati Association of Community Theatres.

“The arts have been an enormous part of my life and have shaped who I am today,” says Mizelle. “I am beyond thrilled to return to CCM, an institution where the arts thrive everyday. I am proud to have the opportunity to further the mission of such a truly special place.”

Please join us in welcoming Sarah Mizelle back to the CCM family!

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CCM Summer Merchandise Available for Online Purchase

The countdown to buy official UC College-Conservatory of Music summer merchandise has begun. Red-and-white baseball tees, black tank tops, grey T-shirts and women’s athletic shorts, all emblazoned with the new UC-CCM logo, are available for purchase online through June 2.

CCM's summer line of officially branded merchandise is available online https://uc.ignitecx.com/CCMSummer.

CCM’s summer line of officially branded merchandise is available online https://uc.ignitecx.com/CCMSummer.

Organized by the CCM Student Tribunal, the summer line of “CCM Swag” can be ordered online at uc.ignitecx.com/CCMSummer.

The profits from the CCM merchandise sales help students achieve goals that would be impossible without additional financial assistance, including hosting master classes and putting on undergraduate productions, as well as projects that promote the well-being of the student body in general, such as purchasing additional music stands for the Memorial Hall practice rooms.

About CCM Tribunal
CCM Tribunal is the undergraduate Student Government at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The Tribunal is comprised of students from every department within CCM.  The organization’s mission is to provide support for CCM students by sponsoring projects that would otherwise not come to fruition. In addition, CCM Tribunal hosts school-wide social events throughout the year, provides concessions for CCM’s Mainstage Series productions, holds fundraisers for community engagement programs like WhizKids and participates in UC’s Relay for Life.  All of these efforts go toward creating ONECCM!

You can learn more about the CCM Tribunal by visiting ccm.uc.edu/tribunal.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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Alumnus Christopher Allen Receives $30K Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The Solti Foundation U.S. recently announced that CCM Alumnus Christopher Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) is the recipient of the $30,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award — the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the U.S.

“We are most pleased to announce Christopher Allen will receive this year’s Solti Conducting Award,” stated Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher, previously recognized with a Career Assistance Award in 2016, exemplifies our objective of supporting talented young American Conductors as they continue to develop their orchestral and operatic conducting skills. His exceptional young career promises to fulfill our goal and extend Sir Georg’s legacy.”

This year, the Solti Foundation U.S. increased the monetary value of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from $25,000 to $30,000 to help “ensure that our young conductors have the opportunity to demonstrate their musicianship, leadership and full potential to the broadest possible audience,” Van Horn said.

Recipients may use the financial grant in various ways to further his or her career, whether it be further studies, purchases of scores, travel, etc. The Award also brings door-opening introductions within the industry and valuable access to mentors. The Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises experts from all areas of the classical music industry.

Christopher Allen.

Recently named the John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Allen is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. His 2016-17 season highlights include debuts with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s La fille du regiment, with Florida Grand Opera conducting Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls, and with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis leading the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. He also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and guested at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he led Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Recently, he made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera.

Upcoming 2017 summer engagements include leading the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park concert for the second year in a row and conducting Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflote. Next season, Allen returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain and make his Atlanta Opera debut conducting La fille du regiment.

Allen’s previous honors include a Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, which launched his career. He was then fostered by Placido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. As a CCM student, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.

“It is with special joy that the Artistic Committee has chosen Christopher Allen for this year’s larger Solti Conducting Fellowship award,” said Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher has already successfully begun his journey into both the operatic and symphonic worlds. Sir Georg Solti would indeed be pleased.”

About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its thirteenth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). Since then, it has awarded over $412,500 in grants to American conductors.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award – The largest grant currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $30,000 grant is given annually to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger. The Award, also known as The Solti Fellow, includes door-opening introductions, ongoing professional mentoring, and introductions to two of Chicago’s most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Past recipients include Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, Cristian Macelaru, James Feddeck, Case Scaglione, Eric Nielsen and Anthony Barrese.

The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award – The amount of the Career Assistance Awards varies.

Opera Residency Program – Introduced in the 2014-15 season, the program places former award recipients with a distinguished opera house for one-on-one mentoring and coaching of an opera during the company’s professional season. Conductors cannot apply, but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee.

The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply.

For more information on the Solti Foundation U.S., visit soltifoundation.us.

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CCM Alumna Betsy Wolfe to Replace Sara Bareilles in Broadway’s ‘Waitress’

CCM Musical Theatre alumna Betsy Wolfe (BFA 2004) has made a name for herself by winning major roles, including Cordelia in the current Broadway revival of Falsettos, which was recently nominated for five Tony Awards. She will take on her next Broadway role as Jenna Hunterson in Waitress on June 13.

Waitress features music and lyrics by six-time Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles, who is currently playing Jenna on Broadway. Bareilles is leaving the show on June 11, and Wolfe will take her place.

The musical is about a waitress and excellent pie-maker (Jenna) who feels trapped in her loveless marriage and small town. A baking contest and the arrival of an attractive young doctor help her realize her dreams, giving her a chance at a fresh start. With a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, the musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name.

Wolfe was recently awarded CCM’s 2017 Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award, which recognizes the outstanding professional achievements of young graduates of the college’s Musical Theatre program. She returned to CCM in March for the annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase and spoke to students about her career.

Local audiences may remember Wolfe from the enormously successful semi-staged version of The Music Man, which she starred in with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in May 2015.

Since graduating from CCM, Wolfe has starred in 110 in the Shade, Everyday Rapture, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Bullets Over Broadway and Falsettos. She also starred in the off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years and in Merrily We Roll Along at City Center Encores. She’s been a hot commodity on the concert circuit as well, having soloed with the Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops, New York City Ballet and more.

For more information about Wolfe visit broadwayworld.com/people/Betsy-Wolfe/.

For more information on Waitress visit waitressthemusical.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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40 Years in the Making: Alumnus Returns to CCM for His Degree

In 1976 Randall Kent was in his senior year at the University of Cincinnati when he left school to focus on working full time at his own company Stagecraft Inc. Forty years later, he returned to UC’s College-Conservatory of Music to finish his studies and earn a BFA in Costume Design and Technology.

Randall Kent with his former students from McAuley High School.

Randall Kent with his former students from McAuley High School. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent is the Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School and continues to serve as the president and CEO of Stagecraft Inc. With his company, Kent has created character costumes and mascots for amusement parks, sports teams, movies and universities. As a student, he created the UC Bearcat costume that was used from 1975 to 2006.

Kent’s passion for costume design began in the summer of 1972 at the Kings Island amusement park. He performed daily in the park’s classic Hanna-Barbera costumes, which were “old, hot and in disrepair,” Kent remembers.

He began studying technical theatre at CCM that fall and returned to Kings Island with the skills he learned in class. Kent took apart the park’s costumes and made new designs, turning 10 old costumes into 30 new costumes — from Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear to The Banana Splits.

As Character Supervisor at Kings Island, Kent repaired character costumes like Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear.

As Character Supervisor at Kings Island, Kent repaired character costumes like Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

In 1975 former ice hockey team the Cincinnati Stingers reached out to Kings Island for a referral company that could design and build a new mascot. Kent created the Stinger Bee “Slapshot” mascot through Stagecraft Inc. and launched his professional career.

The business was so successful that Kent left CCM a year after Stagecraft Inc. began. The company created costumes for Disney, Six Flags, Universal Studios and multiple universities from Maryland to Oregon. Stagecraft’s mascot costumes were featured in films The Waterboy, The Program and Old School. Stagecraft most recently created character costumes for Mentos gum, Miami Savings Bank, Walnut Hills High School and Roger Bacon High School.

Kent’s passion led him to teaching when he followed his daughter to McAuley High School twelve years ago. He began volunteering as the high school’s Technical Theater Director, which later became an official paid position. Kent oversaw the costume design for the school’s productions of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins, both shows won Cappie awards for best costumes.

Kent's costumes in McAuley High School's production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Kent’s costumes in McAuley High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent made an immediate connection with his students, who ultimately inspired him to go back to school. He returned to CCM to finish the degree he left behind 40 years previously and graduated with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology in December, 2016.

Three of his students from McAuley High School joined Kent in his last semester; two are in CCM’s costume design program and one is in the stage design program. Ironically, they were in the same technical theatre class together at CCM.

“It seemed quite natural that we be in class together and quite rewarding for me that I could have that kind of effect on my students,” Kent says. “I hope to send more to CCM in the future.”

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards.

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

After he graduated from CCM, Kent jumped into his role as Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School. He and his students designed and built everything from the costumes to the set for the school’s spring musical All Shook Up, which ran April 7-9. The show was nominated for 24 Cappie awards, including best costumes.

Kent plans to continue to grow his passion for theatre at the high school and Stagecraft Inc.

“Getting that piece of paper was very rewarding and made me feel like I had come full circle,” Kent says of his degree from CCM. “It validated me as a artist and business man. It also ensured that I could teach as the teacher of record.”

Congratulations to all of CCM’s 2016-17 graduates! Photos from this year’s Graduation Convocation Ceremony will be posted to the CCM Village News later this week.

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CCM Horn Student Named 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artist

CCM student Michelle Hembree is one of 10 winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. Hembree is a third-year undergraduate horn student who studies with CCM Winds and Percussion Department Chair Randy Gardner.

“Michelle Hembree is one of the most musically gifted and intellectually brilliant students I’ve had the privilege to teach during my long career,” says Gardner. “She is also an upbeat, friendly and enthusiastic person who is respected by and popular with her fellow students and faculty alike.”

As a winner of the competition, Hembree will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, 2017, which will take place during the Music for All Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 24-July 1, 2017. Winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage and will participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career.

Hembree will perform Eugene Bozza’s En Foret at Ball State this summer. As a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Hembree will receive a professional recording of the performance, a professional photography session and services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations.

“I am excited to perform this summer,” says Hembree. “En Foret is a fun piece with a little bit of everything in it. This is a great opportunity to network and meet other musicians, as well as learn more about the performance and education industry.”

Hembree joins a distinguished company of more than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program’s inception. CCM alumnus Austin Larson (BM Horn, 2012) became a Yamaha Young Performing Artist in 2011; he is now a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Many winners have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alex Han, saxophonist with Marcus Miller; Otis Murphy, professor, Indiana University; Conrad Jones, principal trumpeter with the Indianapolis Symphony; and Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist.

“The YYPA Program is a significant opportunity for young musicians who are embarking on careers as professionals, and one of the most visible and distinctive ways that Yamaha offers valuable support for music education,” said John Wittmann, director of education and artist relations, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “We are pleased to honor Michelle at this pivotal stage in her career.”

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, visit http://4wrd.it/YYPA.

About Michelle Hembree
Hembree has received numerous awards and accolades during the course of her young career. She is the CCM Kemp Horn scholar of her class and has won numerous awards including second place in the Three Arts Scholarship Competition, the CCM Undergraduate Instrumentalist Solo Contest, YoungArts Merit award, Meridian Symphony Solo Competition and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Solo Competition. She has participated in several ensembles including the Sarasota Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A., Voksenasen Norwegian Summer Academy and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In the spring of 2016, Hembree performed first horn on Schumann’s “Konzertstück for Four Horns” with Seven Hills Sinfonietta. Hembree has played with renowned artists including Valery Gergiev, Larry Rachleff, Joshua Bell and Nicholas McGean. Her previous teachers include Dr. David Saunders and Lawrence Johnson.

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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Story by CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies

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Paulina Villarreal with fellow 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition prize winners and judges. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

CCM Alums and Students Win Awards in Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to announce that three current and former CCM students won awards as finalists in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the prestigious competition was held on Saturday, April 22, in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) won Third Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000. Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali each received prizes of $3000 as finalists in the competition.

Fourteen artists competed in the final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition. You can learn more about all of this year’s winners by visiting www.kwf.org.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Villarreal, Habersham and Rogali 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 Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, 2016) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; AD Opera, 2010) won First Prize in 2011.

For this year’s competition, each finalist presented four selections from the operatic, Golden Age, contemporary musical theatre repertoires and the music of Kurt Weill to compete for prizes totaling more than $75,000.

The panel of judges included renowned stage director Anne Bogart, Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley and returning judge Rob Berman, who was most recently seen on Broadway as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea.

Over the last 20 years, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown from a small contest exclusively for students of the Eastman School of Music, to one of the widest-reaching international vocal competitions. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. This season, LLC laureates can be seen in seven Broadway shows, at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Komische Oper, in concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on national and international theatrical tours and heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings.

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.

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