Composition Professor Michael Fiday Previews New Work at CCM

Cincinnatians can get an inside look at the development of a new work by CCM Composition Professor Michael Fiday at an informal workshop at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at CCM’s Mary Emery Hall Room 3250.

The workshop will serve as an experimental laboratory for Fiday’s developing piece for New York-based music ensemble Mantra Percussion. While the workshop will not be a performance of the completed work, it is open to those who wish to hear the ensemble and witness Fiday’s compositional process in action.

The Fromm Music Foundation honored Fiday with a $12,000 grant to write the new work. He was one of twelve composers and one ensemble recognized by the foundation, which is housed at Harvard University.

The foundation requires that applicants submit a proposal of the details of the work and its potential performers, but there are no rules about what those details might be. Fiday’s proposal specifically focused on a new piece for Mantra Percussion because of its daring attitude and long relationship with the composer.

“My idea was to write a piece where each member of the ensemble plays an electric guitar, but plays it as a percussion instrument, i.e. laid flat and struck with various kinds of beaters and foreign objects,” Fiday says.

“This idea was the result of previous discussions I’d had with Mantra Percussion over the years, and it’s the kind of idea that can only come from players who do not shy away from a sense of risk and adventure.”

The final product will be somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes long, and Fiday expects that it will premiere either in 2019 or 2020.

Mantra Percussion will hold a free guest artist recital from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22 in the CCM Atrium. The lunchtime concert features Michael Gordon’s Timber. Mantra Percussion performs the piece in the below video, which can also be viewed online at

In addition to the piece for Mantra Percussion, Fiday was recently commissioned to compose two other works for national and local arts organizations. He is currently on sabbatical from CCM to focus on his compositions.

Fiday was awarded a commission for $5,500 from the Barlow Endowment at Brigham Young University to write a 15-minute piece for the Hypercube ensemble. The quartet of saxophone, percussion, guitar and piano held a residency at CCM in February 2017, which included a workshop and two concerts.

“I’m infinitely grateful to both foundations for their generous support, and I’m especially grateful to CCM for the full-year sabbatical I’ve been granted during 2018, all of which will make conducting this work possible.”

The third major project in store for Fiday is a commission from CCM alumna Brianna Matzke (MM Piano Performance 2011). Matzke is the artistic director of The Response Project, a commissioning initiative that asks composers to write a piece of music in response to a pre-existing work or idea.

Fiday is one of 12 composers who are writing works for The Response Project’s Something Is Happening Here, which will feature solo piano works in response to tracks from Bob Dylan’s 1964 album, Highway 61 Revisited. Fiday’s work is in response to “From a Buick 6,” and it will premiere, alongside the other new works, in fall 2018 in Cincinnati.

Fiday is regularly commissioned to write new compositions for multiple organizations, including the National Flute Association and the American Composers Orchestra. In 2016, he was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to write a piece for the One City, One Symphony initiative.

He not only works to create his own new music but also fosters that creativity within his students. CCM has one of the nation’s top 10 music composition programs, according to the US News & World Report. Student composers enjoy opportunities to work with CCM ensembles and community organizations for hearings and performances.

Learn more about CCM’s Composition program at

Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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A graphic announcing the appointment of Thomas Gamboa as CCM's new Assistant Director of Wind Studies.

CCM Welcomes Thomas Gamboa as Assistant Director of Wind Studies

A graphic announcing the appointment of Thomas Gamboa as CCM's new Assistant Director of Wind Studies.

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the addition of esteemed conductor and educator Thomas Gamboa as the college’s new Assistant Director of Wind Studies. Gamboa’s appointment begins on Aug. 15, 2018.

Originally from San Diego, Gamboa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and Music Performance in bassoon from UCLA. He also earned a Masters of Music degree in Conducting from Northwestern University, where he studied with Mallory Thompson. Additional conducting studies include work with Tom Lee, Donald Neuen, Victor Yampolsky, Craig Kirchhoff, Kenneth Kiesler, Neal Stulberg, Jerry Junkin, David Effron, David Loebel, Donald Hunsberger, Michael Votta, Kevin Sedatole, Gary Hill and Mark Davis Scatterday. This spring, he will complete his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Michigan, where he is studying with Michael Haithcock.

An accomplished conductor, Gamboa previously held the rank of Captain and served active duty as Conductor and Commander of the United States Air Force Band at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He later served as Associate Conductor and Flight Commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He earned his commission from Officer Training School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in February 2011.

Gamboa traveled with the Band of the Air Force Reserve on numerous national and international tours including Spain, Germany, Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait. He also helped plan, execute and edit the band’s final television broadcast Holiday Notes from Home 2011, which featured country music group Little Big Town and singer/songwriter Lee Ann Womack as guest artists. The Band of the Air Force Reserve celebrated a historic second nomination for an Emmy Award in Entertainment Programming for this broadcast, which was viewed by 1.1 million people in 174 countries.

A seasoned educator, Gamboa taught and served as the Instrumental Music Director and Music Department Chair at West Adams Preparatory High School in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Central Los Angeles. During his tenure, he founded and conducted the high school’s marching band, wind ensemble, chamber orchestra and symphonic orchestra. He was also a conducting and chamber music instructor for the National High School Music Institute, where he served as Assistant Conductor for the Wind Ensemble. Additionally, Gamboa taught drum major camps with the United Spirit Association during the summer for more than 15 years. In addition to teaching, he designed the conducting curriculum and trained instructors throughout his time with the drum major camps.

On the announcement of CCM’s new Assistant Director of Wind Studies, mcclung commented:

“Current and future students will benefit from Professor Gamboa’s extensive experience as a conductor and educator. He makes an excellent addition to CCM’s Division of Ensembles and Conducting, and I am grateful to Wind Studies Search Committee Chair Terence Milligan and committee members James Cully, Kevin Holzman, Ann Porter and Aik Khai Pung for their efforts with this successful search.”

Please join us in welcoming Professor Gamboa to the CCM Family!

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Graphic welcoming Denise Tryon to CCM's faculty.

CCM Welcomes Denise Tryon as Associate Professor of Horn

Graphic welcoming Denise Tryon to CCM's faculty.

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the addition of acclaimed hornist Denise Tryon to the college’s roster of distinguished performance faculty members. Tryon’s appointment as Associate Professor of Horn begins on Aug. 15, 2018.

An accomplished performer and educator, Tryon is a native of Roseville, MN, and has served as Horn Professor at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore since 2007. Previously, Tryon was fourth horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra (2009-17). She has also held positions with the Detroit (2003-09), Baltimore (2000-03), Columbus (1998-2000) and New World (1995-98) Symphonies as well as participated in the Colorado Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival. A celebrated solo performer, Tryon has performed recitals in Sweden, Norway, Poland, Japan, Canada and the United States.

In 1989 Tryon graduated from the famed Interlochen Arts Academy and in 1993 received her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston. She received the Presidential Scholarship while in the Artist Diploma Program at NEC with the Taiyo Wind Quintet, which won the Coleman Chamber Competition and worked with renowned composers such as Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, John Harbison and György Ligeti.

An active and esteemed educator, Tryon is sought out for her master classes. She has taught extensively in the United States, Scandinavia, Europe, Asia and South America. Beth Graham of the Warsaw Philharmonic and founder of the Warsaw Horn Workshops explains, “In just a few seconds of listening to a student she can diagnose deep-seated problems and give immediate fixes, often with a healthy dose of humor as well. The transformations she can accomplish in just a short time are truly remarkable.”

Tryon released her debut solo album, SO•LOW, in 2015. As a part of this album, she commissioned four new pieces for low horn and piano. A review by Gramophone Magazine observed, “Tryon plays these works with sonorous fluidity and dexterity, ending with a bit of captivating acrobatics.” SO•LOW received a Global Music Award, Bronze Medal.

In 2009 Tryon founded yearly horn seminar Audition Mode with Karl Pituch. In 2010 she was an International Horn Society (IHS) Northeast Workshop Featured Artist. She was a contributing artist at the IHS Symposium in San Francisco in 2011, as well as one of the Solo Artists at the Nordic Hornfest in Norway in 2012. Tryon was on the horn faculty at BIBA (Blekinge International Brass Academy) in Sweden in 2013. She has been the Featured Artist at the Warsaw Horn Workshops in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Tryon was a Featured Artist at the IHS MidNorth Horn Workshop in 2014 and 2016, and in 2015 she was a Featured Artist at the IHS Symposium in LA. In 2016, Tryon was on faculty during the brass weeks at Domaine Forget. Tryon was the Featured Artist at the IHS NorthWest Horn Workshop in 2017.

On the announcement of her appointment, mcclung commented, “Tryon is a superb addition to our faculty and a most appropriate successor to Professor Randy Gardner, who retires this spring after a distinguished 22-year tenure at CCM. Tryon’s expertise as a performing artist, orchestral musician and pedagogue will help us continue to prepare future generations of performing artists for positions with leading orchestras and on the world’s stage. I am grateful to Horn Search Committee Chair James Bunte and committee members Timothy Anderson, Timothy Northcut, Sandra Rivers and Alan Siebert for their work and dedication to find CCM’s next great horn professor.”

You can learn  more about Tryon by visiting

Please join us in welcoming Professor Tryon to the CCM family!

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CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Hamlet' Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Fight Choreography in ‘Hamlet’


Catch CCM’s 150th Anniversary Mainstage Series opening production of Hamlet at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28. Presented in the newly renovated Patricia Corbett Theater, the Bard’s classic tragedy runs through Sunday, Oct. 1. Tickets available through the CCM Box Office.

Set in the 1920s, CCM’s production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells a story of lost romance, betrayal, murder and madness. Hamlet Fight Choreographer Gina Mechley gives audiences an inside look at how she prepared students to illustrate the play’s conflict with stage combat.

This is Mechley’s first show at CCM as a fight choreographer, but she is no stranger to the realm of stage combat. She is currently teaching at CCM as an adjunct instructor. One of the few female certified teachers in the country with the Society of American Fight Directors, Mechley has served as the fight director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Ballet Company and the Cincinnati Opera, among others. Get a sneak peek at CCM’s Hamlet in the photo gallery below:

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Working on CCM’s production of Hamlet has been “the icing on the teaching cake,” Mechley says. She adds that her job was made easier because CCM Acting students are heavily trained in stage combat.

The intensive training in CCM’s Acting program is designed to prepare students for careers on stage, film, television and in the creation of new works. The curriculum includes training in various acting techniques, dialects, voice-over work, as well as armed and unarmed stage combat.

CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Hamlet' Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Photo by Mark Lyons.

Hamlet Director Susan Felder set CCM’s production of the play in the 1920s, but the contemporary setting does not dramatically change the tragedy’s violent climax that occurs when Hamlet confronts his enemies in Act II.

“Being set in the 1920s did not have a huge impact on the final duel,” Mechley says. “We are still using rapiers as a part of the sport or game that will unfold. Textually, it is set up as a contest and the use of swords would remain the same no matter what year it takes place.”

Mechley’s favorite moments in Hamlet’s fight choreography are when the fights get “close, personal and sloppy.” She looks forward to seeing how the audience will react to certain moments in the stage combat.

The most challenging aspect of the fight choreography was transferring what was learned in the rehearsal hall to the stage, Mechley adds. Hamlet‘s set includes steps and a trap door that opens to a 3-to-4-foot hole at center stage, which is used during the fight scenes.

“Fight direction is about storytelling — physically expanding on an emotional journey,” Mechley says. “The fights in Hamlet are so heavily based in character-driven emotion, that it just didn’t feel right to create a fight from only my viewpoint. It had to be created from the eyes of the director, the heart of Laertes and Hamlet, the physical souls of the actors and the skills of a fight director.”

“Collaboration created what I believe to be an extraordinary journey!”

CCM’s Mainstage Series presents Hamlet through Oct. 1, 2017 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Additional student discounts are available through the CCM Box Office. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

Learn more about CCM’s Acting program at Applications are now open for CCM’s fall 2018 class; apply online at


Creative Team

  • Susan Felder, director
  • Logan Greenwell, scenic designer*
  • Oliver Tidwell Littleton, lighting designer*
  • Matthew Birchmeier, sound designer*
  • Ashley Berg, costume designer*
  • Meredith Keister, hair and make-up designer
  • Gina Mechley, fight choreographer
  • Anna Naderer, stage manager*

* CCM student

Cast List

  • Chandler Bates as Bernardo/Ensemble
  • Jeremy Maislin as Francisco/Priest/Ensemble
  • Gabriella DiVincenzo as Horatio
  • Will Clark as Marcellus/Ensemble
  • Carter LaCava as Ghost/Gravedigger/Ensemble
  • Landon Hawkins as Claudius
  • Ella Eggold as Gertrude
  • Briley Oakley as Lord Voltemand/Ensemble
  • Madison Pullman as Cornelius/Messenger/Ensemble
  • Rupert Spraul as Hamlet
  • Isaac Hickox-Young as Lord Polonius
  • Nicholas Heffelfinger as Laertes
  • Kenzie Clark as Ophelia
  • Josh Reiter as Rosencrantz
  • Matt Fox as Guildenstern
  • Mafer Del Real as Player King/Ensemble
  • Sarah Durham as Player Queen/Ensemble
  • Abby Palen as Gravedigger/English Ambassador/Ensemble
  • Jacqueline Daaleman as Osric/Ensemble
  • Lauren Carter as Fortinbras/Ensemble

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29
  • 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1

Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Hamlet are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Sept. 27 preview performance are just $15.

Student rush tickets will be sold one hour before each performance to non-UC students for $12 or $15, based on availability. UC students can receive one free student rush ticket with a valid ID, based on availability.

Customizable subscription packages are also available for CCM’s 2017-18 Mainstage Series.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

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 for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit 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 Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

CCM News

CCM Faculty Member Heather Verbeck Honors Legacy of Jack Wellbaum in Concert

CCM Professor Heather Verbeck.

CCM Professor Heather Verbeck.

CCM faculty member Heather Verbeck commemorates the legacy of her former instructor, late CCM faculty member Jack Wellbaum, in a new work for piccolo and piano composed by internationally acclaimed flutist Timothy Hagen. Verbeck will perform the Cincinnati premier of In a Yellow Wood during her faculty artist recital on Thursday, September 28.

Wellbaum had a legendary Cincinnati presence as a musician, arts administrator and teacher. He graduated from the Cincinnati College of Music in 1948 and began his tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1950 as its principal piccolo player — a position he held for 38 years. Wellbaum also worked as the CSO’s personnel manager from 1972-1990.

Jack Wellbaum taught at CCM from 1960 until his retirement in 2008.

In 1960, after his alma mater merged with the Conservatory of Music to become the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Wellbaum began teaching flute and piccolo at CCM. He instituted a weekly piccolo class on Monday nights, which continued through his retirement in 2008. Wellbaum passed away in December 2011, at the age of 89.

Now Verbeck, who once sat in Wellbaum’s weekly piccolo class, proudly teaches it.

“Those who knew Jack Wellbaum understood him to be a straightforward man of great character and integrity, someone you could depend on for steadfast friendship and honest but gentle counsel,” Verbeck says.

“He was a treasured mentor and colleague to me and to many others. His piccolo playing, like his teaching style, was a thing of beauty — refined but uncomplicated. The successes of his many past pupils, who were inspired to play better and to work harder in his presence, stand as evidence of his profound influence.”

Wellbaum included his sage and succinct advice as commentary in Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo, a resource of 36 common orchestral piccolo audition excerpts.

With the permission of Wellbaum’s family, Verbeck organized a consortium of 42 commissioners to raise the funds for In A Yellow Wood, composed by Timothy Hagen. The consortium includes Wellbaum’s former students, colleagues from his time at the CSO, piccolo makers and other professional musicians who recognize the contributions Wellbaum made to the arts world.

“Like many other professional flutists, I have found Jack Wellbaum’s Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo to be an indispensable resource, full of generous wisdom,” wrote Hagen.

“In writing this piece, I have found myself inspired to be the best composer I could be and, more importantly, the best person I could be….I hope In a Yellow Wood brings joy to all those who play and hear it and keeps alive the legacy of Jack Wellbaum, a truly marvelous human being.”

In a Yellow Wood is a single-movement, 10-minute piece for piccolo and piano. Verbeck performed the piece at the National Flute Association’s Annual Convention in August. She will give the Cincinnati premier of the new work during her faculty artist recital at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 in CCM’s Watson Recital Hall.

“This Commissioning Project was inspired by a desire to continue to celebrate the legacy of Jack Wellbaum,” Verbeck says. “Seeing this project come to fruition has been a career highlight for me. It is my hope to introduce future generations of piccolo players to Mr. Wellbaum through this new work.”

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Demarre McGill

Acclaimed Musician Demarre McGill Joins CCM Faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute

Demarre McGill

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of lauded flutist Demarre McGill as Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute. Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, McGill is a leading soloist, recitalist, and chamber and orchestral musician.

A native of Chicago, McGill began playing the flute at age seven. He attended Chicago’s Merit School and was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. At age 15, he appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony.

McGill received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner. He continued his studies with Baker at The Juilliard School, where he received a Master of Music degree.

McGill has appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Baltimore Symphony.

In September 2017, McGill will return as principal flute of the Seattle Symphony. He previously served as principal flute of the Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Florida Orchestra and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He recently served as acting principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, McGill is a founding member of The Myriad Trio and is a former member of Chamber Music Society Two. He has participated in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Marlboro Music, La Jolla Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival and Stellenbosch Chamber Music Festival in South Africa, among others.

McGill is the co-founder and artistic director of the chamber music organization Art of Élan. In 2014, he founded the McGill/McHale Trio with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Michael McHale. The trio’s first CD, Portraits, was released by Cedille Records on August 11.

Media credits include appearances on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center, A&E Network’s The Gifted Ones and NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News. McGill also appeared on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood with his brother when they were teenagers.

Please join us in welcoming Professor McGill to the CCM family!

Learn more about CCM’s illustrious faculty by visiting

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Violinist Giora Schmidt Joins CCM Faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung is proud to announce the appointment of acclaimed violinist Giora Schmidt as Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin.

Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “impossible to resist, captivating with lyricism, tonal warmth, and boundless enthusiasm,” Schmidt has appeared with many prominent symphony orchestras including Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Toronto, Vancouver and the Israel Philharmonic. He made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the Barber Violin Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony.

In recital and chamber music, Schmidt has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, San Francisco Performances, the Louvre Museum in Paris and Tokyo’s Musashino Cultural Hall. His festival appearances include the Ravinia Festival, the Santa Fe and Montreal Chamber Music Festivals, Bard Music Festival, Scotia Festival of Music and Music Academy of the West.

Born in Philadelphia in 1983 to professional musicians from Israel, Schmidt began playing the violin at the age of four. He has studied with Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman at the Manhattan School of Music, and the late CCM faculty member Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School.

Schmidt was the first prize winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Competition in 2000, the recipient of a 2003 Avery Fisher Career Grant and won the Classical Recording Foundation’s Samuel Sanders Award in 2005. From 2004 to 2006 he was selected to be a Starling Fellow at The Juilliard School.

Committed to education and sharing his passion for music, Schmidt was on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Perlman Music Program from 2005 to 2009. Through technology and social media, he continues to find new ways of reaching young violinists and music lovers around the world. Over 70,000 people from around the world follow his Facebook page,

Please join us in welcoming Professor Schmidt to the CCM family!

Learn more about CCM’s illustrious faculty by visiting

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