CCM's Concert Orchestra.

Award-Winning Conductor and Educator Aik Khai Pung is Named Assistant Professor of Orchestral Studies at CCM

Aik Khai Pung, Assistant Professor of Music in Orchestral Conducting at CCM.

Aik Khai Pung, Assistant Professor of Music in Orchestral Conducting at CCM.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of Aik Khai Pung to the position of Assistant Professor of Music in CCM’s Department of Orchestral StudiesPung first joined CCM’s faculty on a visiting basis in 2014. His new appointment becomes effective on August 15, 2015.

An all-around conductor and educator, Pung is music director of the CCM Concert Orchestra, NANOWorks Opera and Café MoMus, CCM’s contemporary music ensemble.

An alumnus of CCM, Pung (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2009; DMA Orchestral Conducting, 2014) studied under Mark Gibson, Annunziata Tomaro, Xu Xin, Zhang Yi and Ulrich Nicolai. He has also worked with Gustav Meier and JoAnn Falletta. Pung holds a BA from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in addition to his degrees from CCM.

Prior to his engagement at CCM, Pung taught at Earlham College in Indiana, Akademie der Chinesische Bunte Blätter in Munich and Peking University in Beijing. He has served as head instructor of the Orchestral, Choir and Opera Conducting Workshop in Malaysia, and was a clinician for Montclair State University John J. Cali School of Music Orchestra Festival in New Jersey.

On top of his passion for teaching, Pung is actively involved in music festivals around the world such as Lincoln Center Festival (New York), Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, S.C.), CCM Spoleto (Spoleto, Italy), Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (Lucca, Italy), Georgetown Festival (Penang, Malaysia) and Luminato Festival (Toronto, Canada) where he conducts and assists opera productions as well as symphonic concerts.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Pung plays the piano, violin, Er-hu (Chinese traditional fiddle), Chinese dulcimer and viola da gamba. On top of instrumental music, he is equally involved with vocal music. He programs and performs new operas as the music director of NANOWorks Opera. Aside from the music from the Classical and Romantic eras, Pung has conducted his research on the music of Guo Wenjing, Toshio Hosokawa, Nico Muhly, John Adams, Philip Glass and young composers such as CCM alumna Jennifer Jolley (MM Composition, 2009; DMA Composition, 2012), Danny Clay, Eric Knechtges, Li ShaoSheng and Marie Incontrera, among others.

Pung won second prize in the Taiwan Chinese Orchestra (TCO) International Conducting Competition (2015) and was the Special Award winner for Conducting Chinese Music at the First Hong Kong International Conducting Competition (2011).

He was the first international conducting student to be accepted to the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music, the top conservatory in China, where he was awarded outstanding student in 2005.

You can learn even more about Aik Khai Pung by clicking herePlease join us in congratulating him on his new appointment.

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CCM Students and Alumni Featured in NANOWorks’ Season Closing Productions June 27 – 29

Composer (and CCM alumna) Jennifer Jolley.

Composer (and CCM alumna) Jennifer Jolley, co-founder of NANOWorks.

We are delighted to report that North American New Opera Workshop’s (NANOWorks) season-closing production of Marie Incontrera’s At the Other Side of the Earth and Eric Knechtges’ Last Call will feature a number of current and former CCM students!

This exciting double-bill production opens with the Midwestern premiere of Incontrera’s riot girl opera, showcasing the talents of sopranos Molly Hanes (MM, 2013), Autumn West (MM, 2013) and Esther Kang (MM, 2012), along with bass-baritone Ben Flanders (MM, 1998). Instrumentalists for this piece include violinists Nick Naegele (BM, 2007; MM, 2008; AD, 2010) and Dylan Firlie (current BM student), along with rehearsal pianist Stephen Variames (AD, 2014).

The production also features the world premiere of Knechtges’ Last Call, an opera loosely based on Cincinnati’s gay bar scene. That work features mezzo-soprano Lauren McAllister (MM, 2014) and sopranos Stacey Sands (MM, 2010) and Katherine Krueger (MM, 2012).

Aik Khai Pung (MM, 2009) conducts both operas.

NANOWorks’ season-closing double-bill runs June 27 – 29 at the Cabaret Room above the Below Zero Lounge. Learn more about both works by visiting www.nanoworksopera.com.

NANOWorks was co-founded by CCM alumna Jennifer Jolley (MM, 2009; DMA, 2012) and is dedicated to raising the spotlight on young singers, composers, librettists, directors, choreographers and other company artists in order to give them a stepping stone to national attention.

Last July, Opera News’ Kyle MacMillan profiled Jolly and observed that NANOWorks is based in Cincinnati “partly because Jolley and her collaborators live there and partly because of the rich pool of vocal talent there, due to the presence of the respected University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.”

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