Composition Student Wins International Schwarzman Scholarship

Throughout her four years as a University of Cincinnati student, Rachel Walker has split her time between the U.S. and China to study music. She hopes to create an arts organization that serves as a bridge between the two countries and now, as a newly named Schwarzman Scholar, her goal is nearly in sight.

Rachel Walker

Rachel Walker. Photo by Jackie Stevens.

Walker, who graduates tomorrow from the UC College-Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s of music in composition, will join students from 30 countries and 75 universities as a member of the second class of Schwarzman Scholars. The new international program is designed to shape future leaders by giving students a better understanding of the changing geopolitical landscape. It funds travel costs, a stipend and one-year tuition for a master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

This won’t be Walker’s first trip to Beijing. As a sophomore at CCM, Walker began teaching herself Mandarin and was encouraged by Professor Emeritus Joel Hoffman to spend a year studying traditional music at the China Conservatory.

“This experience, in addition to trips to Taiwan and Beijing on grants from the UC Research Council and CCMpower [a volunteer fundraising organization] respectively, have made an unspeakable impact on me as a person and an artist,” Walker says. “I have been researching Chinese instruments and collaborating extensively in Beijing, but have felt an increasing need to broaden my understanding of China past the traditional music world alone.”

She worked with UC’s office of Nationally Competitive Awards and the Office of the Provost to prepare her application for the Schwarzman Scholarship. Three hundred semifinalists were invited for in-person interviews before international panels composed of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives and other global leaders narrowed the selection to the 129 Schwarzman Scholars. Eileen Strempel, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at UC, helped coach Walker for the interview.

“Working with Rachel was a delight,” Strempel says. “She is an exciting composer who is determined to move music from a passive experience into a global community-building exercise. Her vision, distinctive creativity and perseverance position her perfectly to make the most of the Schwarzman Award.”

Walker was chosen after a rigorous selection process that evaluated leadership skills, academic ability and strength of character. As a Schwarzman Scholar, she will pursue a MA in Management of Global Affairs with a concentration in Public Policy. She wants to expand her network and leadership skills by learning more about how businesses and arts organizations run in China.

“The prestige of this award demonstrates to the world that the UC experience gives students the tools they need to compete with the best in the world,” says UC Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of the Honors Program, Raj Mehta. “We are proud that Rachel’s success and her future work will continue to build upon the global reach and reputation of our university.”

After the scholarship she plans to start a new organization that creates more dialogue between the new music and folk music worlds in China and the U.S. She has experience in creating and running an arts organization. In 2015, she and another CCM composition student, Ivan Alexander Moscotta, founded Cincinnati Soundbox — a chamber music series aimed at diversifying the Queen City’s music scene with works from local and national composers.

Walker will continue her musical research while in Beijing and hopes to write more compositions that utilize Chinese instruments. Her composition I touched the ground while floating away uses the pipa, a pear-shaped instrument sometimes called the Chinese lute, and the yangqin, a Chinese hammered dulcimer. The piece is available for streaming on Sound Cloud; more of Walker’s work is featured on her website, www.rachelcwalker.com.

“I’m humbled by this opportunity and am excited to return to Beijing,” Walker says of her acceptance into the Schwarzman Scholars program. “It’s been a nice surprise as I close out my time at CCM.”

About Schwarzman Scholars
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org.

CCM News Student Salutes
Preparatory Ballet Concert. Photography by Kyuran Ann Choe.

CCM Prep Presents Fall Youth Ballet Concert This Weekend

CCM Preparatory students present classic and contemporary winter-themed works during the Fall Youth Ballet Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10 at Patricia Corbett Theater. Jonnie Lynn Jacobs-Percer directs.

The annual concert features excerpts from story ballet Paquita, excerpts from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Patineurs, a new ballet setting of popular children’s book The Snowy Day and the snow scene from the end of the first act of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

The Snowy Day opens the program with original choreography by CCM Prep dance instructor Heather Stevenson. The piece is based on Ezra Jack Keats’ immensely popular 1962 children’s book of the same name, which won the 1963 Caldecott Medal. It tells the story of a small boy experiencing the first snowfall of winter with childlike awe and excitement. Stevenson set this ballet to Jacques Offenbach’s waltz of the snowflakes from his operetta Le voyage dans la lune.

Up next is Les Patineurs, which depicts a group of Victorian skaters frolicking on a frozen pond, with choreography by Jonnie Lynn Jacobs-Percer. After Les Patineurs CCM Prep musicians will take the stage to play a short musical interlude.

The quintessential snow scene from The Nutcracker follows with choreography by CCM Prep dance instructor Ana Bird. This ballet is one of the most beloved holiday traditions for many families and performers, and Tchaikovsky’s music has become a nearly universal sign of the holiday season.

The program’s finale, Paquita is a story ballet set in Napoleonic Spain about a young girl who falls in love with a nobleman. The ballet was first performed in 1846 at the Paris Opéra Ballet with choreography by Joseph Maziller and music by Édouard Deldevez. CCM Prep dancers will perform additional scenes that were added to the ballet in 1881 by composer Ludwig Minkus and choreographer Marius Petipa.

To receive further information please contact CCM Prep at 513-556-2595, email ccmprep@uc.edu or visit ccm.uc.edu/prep.

Performance Time
7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9
7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10

Patricia Corbett Theater

$15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE. 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.

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.

Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
CCM Moveable Feast. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II

Moveable Feast Returns to CCM Village on Jan. 20, 2017

Cincinnati’s premier fundraiser returns in early 2017 when the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) presents its annual “Moveable Feast.”

Hosted by the CCMpower volunteer group of fans, advocates and alumni, this unique benefit event features students from all corners of the college in an evening of live entertainment and by-the-bite cuisine. Funds raised by Moveable Feast enable CCMpower to award student scholarships and grants. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

A stunning showcase of CCM’s world-class performing and media arts programs, Moveable Feast gives guests a chance to sample artistic and culinary delights throughout the college’s state-of-the-art facilities. Attendees roam through the expansive CCM Village at their leisure, socializing and enjoying dinner-by-the-bite 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.

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare

New for 2017! Each year, CCM’s Moveable Feast provides Cincinnati audiences with an opportunity to see the performing and media arts “stars-of-tomorrow” before they’re famous. This year’s program also features a performance by one of CCM’s acclaimed “Broadway babies,” as alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) returns to CCM to provide a preview of her next Broadway role! Recently cast as Anya in the new Broadway musical production of Anastasia, which features music by acclaimed composer and fellow CCM graduate Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982), Altomare will perform the Oscar-nominated song “Journey to the Past” with the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra as the “opening course” on this year’s artistic menu.

Anastasia’s promotional team will be on campus to film Altomare’s Moveable Feast performance, which will then be used to promote the show’s Broadway run. Anastasia opened to rave reviews at the Hartford Stage; the show comes to Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre on March 23, 2017.

Altomare’s performance kicks off three hours’ worth of fully customizable arts experiences. Cocktails and dinner-by-the-bite provided by Jeff Thomas Catering will be served throughout the evening.

Event Time
6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20

CCM Village, University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to “Moveable Feast” are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.uc.edu/support/events or over the telephone at 513-556-2100.

  • Celebrate CCM Package: $500 (package price includes two tickets to Moveable Feast and two tickets to CCM Musical Theatre’s 25th Annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase in March, name on Moveable Feast invitation and program, valet parking for Moveable Feast and parking voucher for Showcase)
  • Host Package: $200 (package price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast and one ticket to CCM Musical Theatre’s 25th Annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase in March, name on Moveable Feast invitation and program, valet parking for Moveable Feast and parking voucher for Showcase)
  • Host Ticket: $125 (ticket price includes valet parking, name listed on Moveable Feast invitation and program)
  • General Public Tickets: $75 (ticket price includes a discounted CCMpower membership)
  • CCM Alumni and Young Professional (40 and under) Tickets: $50 – discounted ticket price only available until Dec. 15, 2016.

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.

ccmpowerAbout 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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CCM Alumni Stage New Broadway Musical “Anastasia”

Graduates from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music work in every aspect of the arts from teachers and composers to performers and theatre designers. Now, one alumna is taking on the role of a long-lost princess in a new musical composed by a fellow graduate — Anastasia.

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) will perform the title role in Anastasia, which follows the story of a woman who leaves the Russian Empire and travels to Paris in the 1920s to discover the mystery of her past. The score is written  by acclaimed composer Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982) and his long-time writing partner Lynn Ahrens.


Stephen Flaherty

Inspired by the beloved films, the musical features a book by playwright Terrence McNally with Tony Award-winning director Dark Tresnjak leading the production. The company includes Derek Klena as Dmitry, Ramin Karimloo as Gleb, Mary Beth Peil as Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, John Bolton as Vlad Popov and Caroline O’Connor as Countess Lily Malevsky-Malevitch.

More information on the production is available online at www.anastasiabroadway.com. Previews for Anastasia begin on March 23 and it opens on Broadway April 24.

However, patrons to CCM’s annual Moveable Feast event on Jan. 20, 2017 will hear a special preview performance as Altomare returns to perform Journey to the Past and Once Upon a December from the musical with the CCM Philharmonia. This year’s Moveable Feast was recently featured by Rick Pender in Movers and Maker’s magazine. Pender calls the event “one of the city’s most imaginative and expansive arts fundraisers.”

“It’s a grand celebration of the numerous artistic disciplines that attract CCM’s talented students — musicians, singers, dancers, actors, designers — passionate young performers and behind-the-scenes artists who are launching careers in the arts,” he wrote.

Additional details for CCM’s Moveable Feast will be announced on Monday, December 5. Visit ccm.uc.edu for updates.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News
Photography by Will Brenner.

Alum James Cunningham Choreographs New Work in Classics with a Twist at CCM

Alumnus James Cunningham (BFA Ballet Performance, 2010) returns to CCM to choreograph the world premiere of La Nymphe Brisée, one of the four short dance pieces that make up CCM’s final Mainstage performance of 2016, Classics with a Twist. The dance performance opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 4 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

Cunningham, a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, says La Nymphe Brisée loosely revolves around how people can become entangled with negative influences. The score was written by two composers — Youngwon French, who works as a pianist with the Cincinnati Ballet, and CCM composition graduate student Bradley Harris.

“Youngwon came to me one day last winter with this piece of music that she wrote late one night,” recalls Cunningham. “Immediately when I heard it, I was drawn to its haunting sorrow and simplicity.”

Cunningham says they originally didn’t have an outlet to make the work come to life but then he was approached by Jiang Qi, CCM Dance Department Chair, about guest choreographing for Classics with a Twist.

“I figured it would be the perfect chance to use this beautiful piece of music,” Cunningham says. “With a high energy beginning, a beautiful middle and a lyrical and peaceful ending, I set out to make a dance.”

Youngwon French’s piece became the central movement of the three-part work. Bradley Harris wrote two pieces to serve as bookends, the first upbeat and the second lyrical and serene. It’s certainly unusual for music of any kind to have multiple composers, but the collaborative experience of pairing fresh choreography with original music is also new to Cunningham.

“With this new composition I had the chance for the first time to be able to discuss directly with the composer and make adjustments. While respecting each other’s creativity, of course. I believe this makes the collaborative final product a much richer piece of art.”

Many CCM alumni visit the college as guest artists to coach students who share the same goals, dreams and worries that they once held, and perhaps still do. It can be a nostalgic and inspiring experience for the alumni but it also connects students with like-minded professionals as they pursue their careers.

“It brings back a lot of memories for sure,” Cunningham says. I think similar shared experiences with professors and classes has helped me to bond and break the ice with this new generation of students. The whole feeling is kind of full circle to me. It’s about giving back and touching the future. All art is cyclical and passed on, dance is no exception.”

Not only did Cunningham learn the art of ballet as a student at CCM, but he also honed a number of new skills that have made him a better dancer and choreographer.

Because of his time at CCM, Cunningham can confidently apply “out-of-the-ordinary” stage make-up and discuss stage lighting with lighting designers. He adds that courses in anatomy and injury prevention have done “wonders to save [his] career, too.”

“CCM gives you more than just how to smile under the spotlight onstage,” Cunningham says. “It provides a full range of knowledge of the performing world around you.”

Cunningham is now in a position to share all of that knowledge, both experiential and academic, with current CCM students as they work to create an entirely new piece of art.

To see La Nymphe Brisée, make plans to attend Classics with a Twist, which runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4 at CCM.

The performance also includes Schubert’s Winterreise choreographed by Jiang Qi, Alexander Glazunov’s Scènes de ballet choreographed by Michael Tevlin and Warm Hearts and Hot Feet, a collage of iconic works from the ’40s and ’50s, choreographed by André Megerdichian.

Visit the CCM Box Office website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Classics with a Twist are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 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 at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

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. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

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

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

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM

Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Student Salutes
CCM Village panoramic photo; Winter of 2015. Photography by Curt Whitacre.

CCM Holiday Gift Guide: Treat Family and Friends to Performing Arts

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music has gifts for all of the art lovers on your shopping list this holiday season. Whether it’s CCM-branded merchandise, tickets to a performance or hiring student musicians for your holiday party, CCM offers something for everyone.

Holiday “CCM Swag”
090116-Ignite 3131-CCM-G185The undergraduate student government (CCM Tribunal) is selling officially branded sweatshirts, long-sleeve T-shirts and hoodies online through Dec. 1. Proceeds benefit student projects throughout the college such as undergraduate masterclasses, Memorial Hall music stands and more.

Prices vary from $18 to $25; items will ship by mid-December to arrive before the holidays. Please visit uc.ignitecx.com/CCMHoliday to place your order.

Book CCM Talent For Hire
Photography by Dottie Stover.Need some carolers for your holiday party? Or a pianist during your family dinner? CCM students and alumni are available to provide live entertainment for your event through Talent for Hire.

Book some of CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” to perform at your event before they go on to the world’s stage. Talent for Hire’s online referral service will connect you with student artists, from singers to actors or instrumentalists. Pay is determined by the individual performers.

Find more information and book CCM Talent for Hire online at ccm.uc.edu/talentforhire.html.

Feast of Carols Holiday Celebration, Dec. 3 and 4
CCM's Feast of Carols Holiday ConcertThis annual concert features yuletide favorites performed by the CCM Concert Orchestra, CCM choral ensembles and outstanding high school and community choirs from the Tristate. Performances take place at 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for non-UC students and free for UC students with a valid ID. For tickets and information, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.html.

cccholidayconcertCincinnati Children’s Choir, Dec. 10
CCM ensemble-in-residence, the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, presents its annual Holiday Concert with performances at 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium. All 450 members of the ensemble, including CCM resident choirs and satellite choirs from across the Tristate area, will perform holiday songs from around the globe.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for non-UC students and free for UC students with a valid ID. For tickets and information, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.html.

Join us in 2016-17 as CCM presents a season of passion, courage and romance.Mainstage Series Subscriptions and Single Tickets Available
For the acting, dance, musical theatre and opera lovers in your life, CCM offers a variety of Mainstage Series subscription packages. The final performances of the 2016 season occur Dec.1-4, featuring Classics with a Twist from the Department of Dance.

The series continues February through April with suffragette drama Her Naked Skin, Broadway master Jerry Herman’s powerful musical Mack and Mabel, Mozart’s epic opera Idomeneo and the Department of Dance’s celebration of Masterworks and Beyond

Choose between 4-Show or 3-Show Subscriber Packages to ensure the theater aficionados in your life get the most from their Mainstage experience. Packages range from $69 to $112.

Or pick and choose your favorite shows by purchasing single tickets. Prices range from $17 to $35.

For more information on Mainstage Series tickets, please contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.html.

CCM has hundreds of additional performing and media arts events from December through May. Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information and a schedule of events.


CCM News
Alum Julie Eicher teaches a masterclass for dance students at CCM.

CCM Slideshows: Dance Alum Returns to Lead Masterclass for Students

Alumna Julie Eicher (BFA Ballet Performance, 2012) taught current CCM dance students some new moves and shared career advice in a masterclass on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Eicher is currently visiting Cincinnati as part of the national Broadway tour of The Phantom of the Opera, which runs through Nov. 27 at the Aronoff Center.

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Although she is a recent graduate of CCM, Eicher’s resume is already impressive. She has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera, and she was part of the 2014 Under Armour commercial that featured Misty Copeland. Additional credits include Rob Ashford’s Carousel at the Lyric Opera of Chicago featuring Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale, Die Fledermaus at Houston Grand Opera and Young Frankenstein directed by Kevin P. Hill. Ballet company credits include Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Ballet Neo and Artisan Dance Company.

Named one of the top programs to consider by Dance Magazine, CCM’s Department of Dance became the country’s second university program to develop a major professional company in 1965. While enrolled, students have numerous opportunities to perform in full-length ballets, one-act ballets or new works by faculty and guest artists.

See what CCM Dance faculty and students have been working on in their upcoming Mainstage Series production, Classics with a Twist, on Dec. 1-4 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Story and photos by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle.

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