E-Media Professor’s Technology Article Wins International Award for Excellence

Assistant Professor of E-Media Peter DePietro.

Assistant Professor of E-Media Peter DePietro.

Technology is changing the social fabric of cities in Central Europe and pushing them into a new cultural renaissance, according to University of Cincinnati Electronic Media Professor Peter DePietro. His research into this renaissance was praised by the Technology, Knowledge & Society Research Network, which recently awarded DePietro an International Award for Excellence for Volume 12 of The Technology Collection for his article “Tech in Europe: Cultural Reboot.”

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society offers the annual award for newly published research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Technology, Knowledge & Society Research Network. DePietro’s winning article was selected from the ten highest-ranked articles that emerged from the peer preview process. Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Technologies in Society, DePietro’s research compares Europe’s “cultural reboot” of today to the existential movements of the past.

“German existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche advocated for cultural rebirth in Europe,” DePietro wrote. “Europe is experiencing such a rebirth with digital media: creating artistic and social cultures that are wildly interesting and progressive and have technology integrated in them.”

His article argues that Vienna is a “hotbed” of innovative applications of digital media in art. Vienna is creating a new kind of “digital modernism” by creating things that are “different, weird and strange.” DePietro also states that Berlin is poised to become a leader in digital media in Europe by integrating it into art, commerce, education and lifestyle.

“Digital media is bringing together high society and bohemianism, in an effort to create a new economy,” DePietro wrote.

The professor has taught within the E-Media Division at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music since January 2009 and is the founding Director of Digital Innovation Lab: A New Media and Technology Incubator. He’s taught courses at UC that focus on social media, new media, interactive media, electronic game design and development, and digital storytelling and innovation.

“In my career as a scholar, tech artist, digital media leader and teacher, I have known innovation to be the all-important foundation of significant new work,” he said. “Innovation is authentic. Innovators are makers.”

DePietro is especially attuned to the effects of innovative digital media and interactive technologies on culture. He previously served as the founding Director of Digital and New Media for the Clinton Foundation in New York and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. DePietro analyzed new technologies and implemented those that best communicated former President Bill Clinton’s post-Washington message, and led a team in the design and development of new media platforms to support Clinton’s initiatives, among other responsibilities. His team’s work won an international award.

DePietro is also the author of the book Transforming Education with New Media, published by Peter Lang International Publishers. He is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, and his research on new media and emerging technologies has been published internationally in academic journals, as well as the mainstream press.

For more information on DePietro’s research, visit www.depietro.com.

About the Technology Collection:
The Technology Collection has an acceptance rate of 58 percent and a circulation of over 64,000. This collection explores innovative theories and practices relating technology to society. The collection is cross-disciplinary in its scope, offering a meeting point for technologists with a concern for the social and social scientists with a concern for the technological. The focus is primarily, but not exclusively, on information and communications technologies. Established in 2005 and currently publishing its 13th volume, The Technology Collection is indexed by EBSCO, the Australian Research Council, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Cabell’s, Genamics Journal Seek and Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory. This collection offers both personal and institutional subscriptions and is published electronically and in print. For more information, please visit www.cgnetworks.org/journals/slr.

About Common Ground Research Networks:

The Technology Collection contains four among the 70 scholarly journals published by Common Ground Research Networks. Common Ground, which was founded in 1984, seeks to take the pivotal ideas and challenges at play within established disciplines and create spaces for interaction that cut horizontally across legacy knowledge structures. As a result, in addition to providing a space for publication within its catalog of journals and their associated book imprints, Common Ground encourages researchers and practitioners to meet at the annual academic conferences that it organizes around the world and then connect and share their work virtually using Scholar, Common Ground’s innovative social knowledge software. For more information, please visit www.cgnetworks.org.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Kevin Michael Holzman Joins CCM Faculty as Assistant Director of Wind Studies

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of the dynamic conductor and educator Kevin Michael Holzman as the college’s new Visiting Professor/Assistant Director of Wind Studies. Holzman’s appointment begins on August 15, 2017.

Holzman earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Music Director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Dr. Mark Scatterday. As the Frederick Fennell Conducting Fellow and 2016 recipient of the prestigious Walter Hagen Prize for Excellence in Conducting, Holzman served as Associate Conductor of the world-renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Wind Orchestra. He regularly appeared as a conductor for OSSIA New Music, including the world premieres of Jo Kondo’s Variations (Triskelion) and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez’s Welcome Jo! He also studied with Professor Neil Varon, Director of Eastman Orchestras.

In summer 2016, Holzman was invited to serve as an associate conductor on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s first tour in Europe, where he conducted the Eastman Harmonie in Salzburg, Vienna and Prague. He also collaborated with prominent composers David Maslanka and Bert Appermont for the “Celebration of the Symphony” concert with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. The performance was Eastman’s first live-streamed large ensemble concert, which included the North American premiere of Appermont’s Symphony No. 2 The Golden Age. He also served as an Assistant Producer for the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s recent release Sierra Live and upcoming album featuring the music of Jeff Tyzik.

Beyond Eastman, Holzman has worked with professional ensembles including the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In April 2017, he was appointed conductor of the Music in the American Wild ensemble, a National Endowment for the Arts grant-funded ensemble that commissioned eleven new works in celebration of the 2016 U.S. National Parks Centennial. Holzman recently completed a studio-recording project of commissioned compositions, set for release this fall. In 2016 Holzman formed and began serving as Music Director of the Upstate Brass Band — an exciting brass ensemble that performs in upstate New York and was commissioned to record a series of new brass band arrangements by renowned composer/trombonist Bill Reichenbach.

Holzman became the founding Music Director and conductor of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Wind Ensemble in fall 2016. He successfully recruited and led the ensemble’s inaugural year, and it is now the college’s largest instrumental ensemble. While pursuing his MM in conducting at the University of Arizona (UA), Holzman had the opportunity to teach and conduct as Interim Principal Conductor for the Wind Symphony at UA’s Fred Fox School of Music during the director’s extended absence from 2012 to 2014. He also served as the Director and Coordinator of the UA Symphonic Band and High School Honor Band, where he collaborated with local and regional music teachers to provide the experience of college-level ensemble training to talented young musicians.

In his six years of teaching university-level instrumental conducting, Holzman has designed innovative curriculum and course materials for beginning and intermediate conducting courses as part of undergraduate music performance and education curricula. Holzman is a passionate advocate for access to music in all schools. He recently served as Volunteer Coordinator for ROCmusic, an El Sistema-inspired community music program in Rochester, New York, and he assisted with the UA Outreach Honor Band during his tenure in Tucson, Arizona. He is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha, Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternities.

Please join us in welcoming Holzman to the CCM family this fall!

Learn more about CCM’s illustrious faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
Spring scenes on campus, CCM.

Thank You: CCM Celebrates Faculty and Staff Retirements

As the academic year comes to a close, we celebrate the careers of nine retiring faculty and staff members who have given nearly 250 years of combined service to UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. These members of the CCM family have dedicated themselves to continuing the college’s legacy as a leading training center for the performing and media arts.

View photos of their time at CCM:

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Retiring Faculty Members Share Memories:

This year marks my 48th year of continuous work — 21 years as a singer/actress, and another 20 years as a college professor and theatre producer. In 2009 my husband and I retired to Cincinnati, where I received an unexpected invitation to return to CCM — my alma mater — to teach musical theatre voice as an adjunct professor. These past seven years have been a total joy. I call it simply “the gift I gave myself.” As an older professional, it means so much to continue to contribute and feel appreciated. I’ve been truly honored to work with wonderful colleagues, and to have been given the opportunity to teach and mentor my talented and remarkable students. A number of my students surprised me in New York with a champagne brunch on April 2 to celebrate my retirement. I have no words to express what that meant to me, and the joy I feel, seeing them claim their places on Broadway and other stages, following their dreams. I would like to thank UC for recognizing and honoring the work of adjunct faculty. It is rare for a university to recognize adjunct contributions, and I salute UC for doing so. I’ll be forever grateful that I have been able to come full circle, and share the training I received at CCM with another generation of students. CCM is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary. I look forward to continuing to serve on the CCMPower board, raising money for scholarships, and helping to ensure that CCM will be here for another 150 years, training and graduating outstanding music professionals. – Kimberly Daniel de Acha
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Some of my favorite times at CCM revolve around hearing and interacting with such a wonderful faculty, be it at their concerts, at committee meetings, or in day by day interaction. I feel honored to have worked with such stellar teachers and artists! – Mary Stucky
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When I started fall 1975, DVAC was the Schmidlapp Gymnasium, Memorial was a women’s dorm, the main way to the garage was from Calhoun down to CCM garage — the connector tunnel didn’t exist. Werner Hall and Starbucks weren’t here and CCM had about half of the students it does now. It was an exciting time for me, as I was starting in LaSalle Quartet. We did four concerts a year in Corbett and two to four international tours a year. I worked with so many wonderful colleagues over all these years, some are sadly no longer with us. Almost my whole professional life has been at CCM, more than four decades worth of experiences. – Lee Fiser
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In 1999, I received a call asking me to teach at CCM. Who would have thought that almost two decades later my passion for teaching has only increased because of the talented students and faculty that I have had the pleasure of working with! Thank you all so much! – Patti James
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There’s something a touch poetic for me about retiring along with Lee Fiser — the final retirement from the LaSalle String Quartet. I came to the CCM faculty as a quite young person. It was the Quartet who were instrumental in getting Percussion Group Cincinnati the appointment to CCM. Some of my strongest memories of that first decade here are the Quartet’s concerts on Corbett stage, and I endeavored to live up to the beautiful standards that they had set. I wanted a percussion group in the late 20th century to be able to function just as the greatest string quartets always had, and I am grateful to CCM for giving me and my colleagues that opportunity and support. – Allen Otte

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Brett Scott leading CCM's Chorale at this year's Moveable Feast gala event.

Professor Douglas Knehans’ New Choral Music Album Receives Rave Reviews

Lux Dei features new works for choir composed by CCM Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar Douglas Knehans and sung by the CCM Chorale, under the direction of CCM Professor Brett Scott. Recently released by ABLAZE Records, the new album has garnered praise in multiple music reviews for its accessibility and beauty. 

Knehans' "Lux Dei" choral music album is available for purchase through Ablaze Records.

Knehans’ “Lux Dei” choral music album is available for purchase through ABLAZE Records.

“I’ve always admired composers who can write music that sounds modern but feels ancient,” wrote Jean-Yves Duperron in a review of Lux Dei published by the Classical Music Sentinel. “The contemporary style and technique make it seem new, different and fresh, while the general character of the writing allows for an overall outlook that takes you back through the centuries to the days of early music.”

The review applauds Knehans’ music for being “well rooted and accessible and always seems to hit an emotional nerve.” Duperron concludes that the new album “should be of great appeal to anyone interested in new choral music.”

Fanfare Magazine published Colin Clarke’s glowing review of Lux Dei in the March/April edition of the magazine. The review spotlights the CCM Chorale for its “rich, sonorous blend” in the “beautifully balanced recording.”

Clarke praises each of the album’s six stellar works, which includes Knehans’ Three Psalms — a prizewinner at the First International Sacred Choral Music Festival in the Czech Republic. Lux Dei also showcases Knehans’ Panis Angelicus, Epicideum Hathumode, Two Looks at Silence and Symbolum Apostolorum. Organist Christina Haan joins the CCM Chorale on Missa brevis, the album’s only accompanied piece.

“This is a radiant disc of music by a composer who is blessed with a tremendous imagination and who clearly has great affinity with writing for choir,” Clarke wrote. “There is a huge amount of beauty to be found here. Put simply, Knehans locates and amplifies the spiritual within the religious.”

Click to read the full reviews by Classical Music Sentinel and Fanfare Magazine.

Douglas Knehans. Photo by Tina Gutierrez.

Douglas Knehans. Photo by Tina Gutierrez.

About Douglas Knehans
Douglas Knehans is the Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He has received awards from the American Music Center, the NEA, the Australia Council Performing Arts Board, Yale University, the MacDowell Colony, Opera Australia, The Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The National Symphony Orchestra, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Meet the Composer and a host of others.

His music has been praised by the Washington Post as “beautiful,” by the Miami Herald as “wildly inventive,” by the Australian as “brilliantly catchy and eerily bright” and by Fanfare Magazine as “…effective…incisive… and hauntingly beautiful.”

Knehans’ music is available on ERM Media, Crystal Records, Move Records, New World Records and ABLAZE Records. His full biography is available online at douglasknehans.com.

For more information on CCM’s Division of Composition, Musicology and Theory visit ccm.uc.edu/music/cmt.

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Story by CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies

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Mezzo-soprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Voice in August of 2017.

Acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum Joins CCM Voice Faculty

Mezzo-soprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Voice in August of 2017.

CCM Interim Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the addition of acclaimed mezzo-soprano Quinn Patrick Ankrum, DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished voice faculty members. Ankrum’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Voice becomes effective on August 15, 2017.

Celebrated for her strong lyric voice, sizzling coloratura facility and engagingly sincere personality, Ankrum has performed a wide variety of repertoire spanning the centuries from Claudio Monteverdi to John Harbison. She has sung with opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States, as well as with the National Orchestra of Mexico in Mexico City.

In the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons she demonstrated her versatility as she collaborated on the operatic, recital and concert stages with musicians in Missouri, Texas, New York, Florida and Kansas, along with international engagements in Toulouse, Paris, Mondavio (Italy) and Oban (Scotland). She will return to the U.K. this May where she will appear in a recital featuring the music of American composers at East of England Organ Day at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, as well as in a concert featuring the music of Rameau with the East Anglian Academy.

Ankrum is an advocate of contemporary composers. She recently premiered Romanian composer Vlad Burlea’s chamber piece “Oglinda” (Texas and Kansas 2016) and created the role of the Mother in the world premiere of J. Todd Frazier’s opera Breath of Life (Lubbock, Texas, 2015).  In addition, she co-premiered John Harbison’s chamber work Crossroads with colleagues at Texas Tech University (2013). She is the co-creator of Living Song Project with pianist and University of Oklahoma faculty member Elizabeth Avery, DMA. This unique database project promotes the art song and vocal chamber music of living American composers.

In addition to being an active performer and teacher, Ankrum takes an interest in musicians’ health and wellness. She is an Andover Educator trainee, and will be licensed to teach the course What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body when she finishes her training.

Ankrum received degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio (BM, MAT), the University of Colorado at Boulder (MM) and the University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music (DMA), where she studied with Robert McIver. She was a Young Artist in the Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artists Program and the Baltimore Opera Studio, and participated in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program.

She has been a finalist and winner in numerous regional and national competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions (Rocky Mountain Region) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards competition (2nd place winner, 2006). She has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Fredonia, Nazareth College (Rochester, New York) and Texas Tech University (Lubbock).

Please join us in welcoming Ankrum to the CCM family this fall!

Learn more about CCM’s illustrious faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
The Ariel Quartet, string quartet-in-residence at CCM.

Ariel Quartet Continues CCM Concert Series on Jan. 24

Dubbed “rock stars of the classical scene” by the Cincinnati Enquirer, the internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet rings in the New Year with a program of Beethoven, Bartók and Schubert on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Corbett Auditorium.

For this concert, the Ariel Quartet will be joined by two of CCM’s newest faculty artists, Rachel Calin and Ran Dank.

Rachel Calin

CCM faculty member Rachel Calin.

An Associate Professor of Double Bass at CCM, Rachel Calin has been called “a lyrical soloist in command of her instrument,” by the New York Times. In 1994 she won the Juilliard Concerto Competition, making her concerto debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra. Subsequently, she has made concerto appearances with the Burlington Ensemble, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra and the Sejong Soloists. As a chamber musician, Calin has appeared in concert throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. She can be heard on NPR’s Performance Today, both in live and recorded broadcasts, and has collaborated with Myung-Wha Chung, Lawrence Dutton, Frank Huang, Ron Leonard, Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, among others.

Incoming CCM faculty member Ran Dank.

CCM faculty member Ran Dank.

An Assistant Professor of Piano at CCM, Ran Dank has been described as, “a strong player with technique and imagination,” by the New York Times. He has received numerous awards, including a coveted place on the Young Concert Artists roster in 2009. He is a laureate of the Cleveland International Competition, the Naumburg Piano Competition, the Sydney International Piano Competition and was First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Prior to his appointment at CCM, Dank most recently served as the Director of Piano Studies at the College of Charleston. He holds degrees from Tel Aviv University in his native Israel, as well as Master’s and Artist Diploma degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City. Dank joins his wife, Soyeon Kate Lee, who became a member of CCM’s faculty in August of 2014.

Repertoire
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3
BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 6 in D Major, Sz. 114
SCHUBERT: Piano Quintet in A Major, D. 667 (“Trout Quintet”)
*Featuring Rachel Calin and Ran Dank

Performance Time
8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

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 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 U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor

Anonymous, The Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander, Mrs. William A. Friedlander, Dr. & Mrs. Randolph L. Wadsworth, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Bloom, Mr. & Mrs. J. David Rosenberg, Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen, Mr. & Mrs. Paul G. Sittenfeld, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman, Dr. & Mrs. Theodore W. Striker and The Thomas J. Emery Memorial
Ariel Quartet Sponsors

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Composition Professor Writes New Work for Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s theme for its One City, One Symphony initiative is personal for the musicians involved — including Michael Fiday, associate professor of composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Focusing on the theme of “home,” the One City, One Symphony initiative is the CSO’s community-wide project that aims to unite people through music. The initiative’s Thanksgiving weekend concert features the world premiere of Fiday’s CSO-commissioned symphony alongside works from American composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and John Williams at 8 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26 at the Taft Theatre.

“Cincinnati has been my cultural home base for 14 years,” says Fiday, who began teaching at CCM in 2004. “In that time I’ve become close friends, acquaintances and colleagues with a good number of CSO musicians and gotten to know their sound quite well.”

CCM Professor Michael Fiday teaching a composition student. Photo by Andrew Higley.

CCM Professor Michael Fiday teaching a composition student. Photo by Andrew Higley.

Fiday, whose recent work with the CSO was featured in Movers and Makers magazine, chose to incorporate the “home” connection in symbolic ways. The piece’s title, Three for One, is an allusion to the One City, One Symphony initiative and how Fiday approached the orchestra.

There aren’t many solos in Three for One. Fiday treated the orchestra as if it were “a collective body moving together towards a common goal.”

He began working to create his 15-minute piece with the CSO in January 2016. Three for One isn’t a symphony in the traditional sense, Fiday says. He describes it as a three-movement work with a fast-slow-fast format that is similar to the emotional arc of a full-length symphony.

The three movements each focus on a family of instruments — woodwinds in the first movement, strings in the second and brass in the third. The other instruments join the fray to reinforce the sound as the music builds with the entire orchestra playing as one.

Fiday titled the first movement “starting over” and describes it as “brief, punchy and puckish.” The second movement, “presence/absence” is a slow elegy dedicated to composer Richard Toensing, a former teacher, mentor and friend of Fiday’s who passed away two years ago. “Twitter,” the final movement, is fast and split into two halves. Fiday describes the first half as “gossamer and transparent” and the second half as “fairly blunt and aggressive.”

The CCM-based composer brings his own unique style to the One City, One Symphony concert’s all-American program but also celebrates the American roots nested within the musical styles of all of the composers.

“I think it’s impossible for me, or any other American composer for that matter, to not have American elements in our work,” he says. “Sometimes we don’t even notice them because they’re bred so deeply in our bones.”

Fiday favors using perfect fifth harmonies, which create that great “open” sound that is instantly recognizable as American-bred. His love of jazz found its way into Three for One as well. Some of the “crunchier” harmonies in the piece harken back to legendary jazz artists Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk, Fiday says.

“The rhythmic profile, which is a very important element of almost all of my music, stems from my love for both jazz and popular music — music that is propulsive and energetic, yet also unpredictable.”

Although Fiday has been commissioned to write compositions for multiple organizations, including the National Flute Association and the American Composers Orchestra, Three for One is his first commission for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m very proud of the CSO for their increased interest in commissioning new music; a situation I think has improved greatly in the time I’ve been in Cincinnati, particularly during the past four or five years,” he says.

Fiday 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.

Engaging one of CCM’s own composers exemplifies One City, One Symphony’s “home” theme, uniting the community through locally-made music. According to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “By connecting music the CSO performs to themes relevant in our everyday lives, One City, One Symphony inspires us, provokes our thinking, and celebrates our shared humanity.”

For more information about the concert, visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org or call the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at 513-621-1919.

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
Richard Hess taught a Viewpoints Training master calss in Estonia.

Acting Department Chair Visits Estonia To Teach Viewpoints Training Master Classes

Richard Hess traveled to Estonia to teach two Viewpoints Training master classes

Richard Hess at the Tartu Uus Teater.

CCM Professor of Acting and Department Chair Richard Hess recently traveled to Northern Europe to teach Viewpoints Training master classes to professional actors working in two Estonian theaters — Theatrum and Tartu Uus Teater.

Hess has shared Viewpoints Training master classes across the U.S. and internationally for the past 20 years. Initially developed for dancers in the 1970s by choreographer Mary Overlie, Viewpoints Training was then adapted for actors by director Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. It focuses on improvisational movement techniques that brake down two dominant issues performers deal with — time and space — into nine categories or “viewpoints”: tempo, duration, kinesthetic response, repetition, shape, spatial relationship, architecture, floor pattern and gesture.

Hess engaged the Estonian actors in a series of improvisational movement exercises where unified group action was the desired goal. “What you create with another actor is always more interesting than what you can create alone,” Hess said. “Needing and being needed are core principles of good acting.”

In the final exercise of the master class, Hess instructed the actors to pair up and — without speaking or planning — support a portion of their partner’s body weight to create a new shape that they couldn’t create alone. Hess first told them to support 50 percent of their partner’s weight, then directed everyone to support the entire weight of one person. “This requires actors to give generously and to be supportive in undeniable ways,” he said.

In the final Viewpoints exercise, Hess told the actors "all hands must support the entire weight of Karl Edgar."

In the final Viewpoints exercise, Hess told the actors “all hands must support the entire weight of Karl Edgar.”

“The Estonian actors were so powerful and focused,” Hess added. “There is an obvious muscular quality to their work and it was gratifying to see them embrace the master class with enthusiasm and bravery. Estonian theatre is extremely impressive.”

The actors traveled from theaters across Estonia to participate in Hess’ Viewpoints Training master class, he said. They gathered in Uus Teater in Tartu, Estonia and Theatrum, which is headed by playwright and director Andri Luup in Tallinn, Estonia. Luup, who is known for writing and directing the film “Kinnunen,” arranged for Hess to offer the master classes.

“The work was simply on the nose,” said participant Karl Edgar Tammi, a professional actor from the Teater Must Kast in Tartu. “I was introduced to a set of great exercises, improvisation, stage presence and awareness, creativity, working with partners, space and, of course, music. It was colorful, refreshing and inspiring. I will practice and try and mix it into the current theatre scape of Estonia!”

As chair of CCM’s Acting Department for the past 22 years, Hess has taught actors who work throughout the world on stage, television and film. He is no stranger to traveling internationally in the name of theatre. In 2011, Hess brought eight CCM Acting students and alumni to Kenya as part of the Dadaab Theatre Project. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology. In 2015, Hess brought six students and one faculty member from Kenyatta University to CCM so they could participate in the 48-Hour Film Festival.

Look for a Village News post later this week about Hess’ upcoming production of Middletown, running in Cohen Family Studio Theatre Oct. 20-22 as part of CCM’s Studio Acting Series. Admission is free but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 17.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
Rehearsals for CCM's April 2016 production of SWAN LAKE.

Building a Ballet: E-Media students give inside look at CCM’s ‘Swan Lake’

CCM Electronic Media and UC journalism students take us behind-the-scenes with a look at the rehearsals for next week’s production of Swan Lake. The video series chronicles all of the work and dedication students, faculty and staff put into the lavish new production of Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet.

Students within the News Writing and Reporting class, taught by Assistant Professor of E-Media Hagit Limor and Journalism Professor Bob Jonason, created the videos, which star faculty and students within CCM’s Dance Department.

In the video above, Dance Department chair and Swan Lake co-director Jiang Qi discusses the work that goes into presenting such an iconic ballet. He explains:

Swan Lake is one of the top classical ballets in the repertoire. It’s almost textbook. You learn Swan Lake and then you get much stronger. This is an art form that requires a lot of physical and mental endurance to get through.”

The videos and photos, created by students Brevin Couch, Mark D’Andrea, Tyler Dunn, Daniel Honerkamp, Ailish Masterston and Andrew Wilkins, can be viewed on the Building a Ballet website. Visit the website to view interviews with dance students Madison Holschuh (Odette), Sam Jones (Prince Siegfried), and Kiahna Saneshige (Odile). The package was recently featured in Cincinnati Magazine.

Swan Lake is only the second story ballet ever presented as part of CCM’s Mainstage Series. The production runs April 22 – 24 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

Co-directed by Jiang and Professor Deirdre Carberry, the production features students from CCM’s BFA Ballet program, which Dance Magazine has hailed as one of the country’s “top programs to consider.”

The lavishly staged spectacle features accompaniment by CCM’s lauded Concert Orchestra under the direction of Professor Aik Khai Pung.

This production marks the first time in CCM’s nearly 150-year history that a dance production has featured brand new costumes designed and built in-house. You can learn more about the work that went into costuming Swan Lake here.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 22
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 23
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Swan Lake 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/mainstage/swan-lake.

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 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.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Production Sponsors: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter, Teri Jory & Seth Geiger and Graeter’s

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Story by Curt Whitacre

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Dean Mogle holds the white and black swan design sketches for CCM's production of Swan Lake.

From Sketch to Stage: The Making of CCM’s ‘Swan Lake’ Costumes

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There is a shortage of tutu makers in the world, said CCM Professor and Head of the Costume Design and Technology Program Dean Mogle, who faced the daunting task of designing costumes for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet.

CCM is working to fix that shortage by training the next generation of costume designers and technicians, whose work will debut on stage in the conservatory’s first ballet production to have costumes designed and built in-house.

A timeless tale of love, magic and mystery, Swan Lake will grace the Corbett Auditorium stage from April 22-24, marking the second time in CCM’s nearly 150-year history that a full-length story ballet has been included in the Mainstage Series.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Staff and students within the Costume Design and Technology program have worked on the ‘Swan Lake’ costumes for the past 18 months.

Presented by CCM’s Department of Dance, the ballet uses three different casts and the principal roles are all double cast ­— which is challenging for the costume shop students and staff responsible for ensuring the pieces fit each dancer correctly.

“You have to understand what dancers go through—what they need,” Mogle said. “Balance becomes really important.”

Costume designers and technicians must consider the weight of the fabrics and headpieces so the dancer can retain their natural balance. There is also limited “real estate” on the costume for artistic expression or characterization, Mogle said. If a female dancer needs to be lifted, safety dictates the fabric around her waist can’t be too slick and can’t get caught on anything.

“The ballet world is a totally different beast.”

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Newly designed costumes for the Hungarian Czardas in Act III of ‘Swan Lake,’ made by costume students and staff. To the far right is Prince Siegfried’s jacket, made by Jessica Barksdale.

Mogle, with a team of students and faculty within the Costume Design and Technology program, has worked on the Swan Lake costumes for the past 18 months. They’ve borrowed and modified some costumes from a previous CCM performance of Brigadoon and the Broadway production of Cyrano, The Musical. Costumes for the principal and specialty roles in the ballet are newly designed and made.

Iconic white tutus, bodices, vibrant dresses and rich fabrics have taken over their workshop. The costumes are designed in the traditional style typically associated with the classic ballet. CCM plans to reuse and rent out some of them after the performance.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Jessica Barksdale is building Mogle’s design for Prince Siegfried’s costume, which will be worn in Acts III and IV.

Mogle, who previously designed costumes for the Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker, watched five or six different productions of Swan Lake to prepare for his costume designs. The pieces are still evolving on a daily basis, he said.

“Since we are making the production to last about 30 or 40 years, we don’t ever want to get too wild and crazy with the concept because it is pretty traditional,” Mogle said. “The things that really change in a traditional ballet like this are going to be the specialty characters.”

Those include the newly designed and made pieces that will be worn at the ball in Act III, where the Queen invites potential wives from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Naples and Poland to match with her son, Prince Siegfried.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

A sketch and sleeve of Von Rothbart’s Act III costume, made by Erin Winslow.

At the ball, Prince Siegfried will wear a newly designed black and gold jacket made by Jessica Barksdale, first-year costume technology graduate student. Rothbart, the evil sorcerer who cursed the prince’s love Odette, will wear an intricately detailed costume made by senior costume technology student, Erin Winslow, as part of her capstone project.

Barskdale and Winslow are also making the iconic white and black swan costumes for leading female characters Odette and Odile. Associate Professor of Costume Technology Regina Truhart is managing all costume production for the ballet.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

The in-progress white and black swan costumes for characters Odette and Odile are being made by Jessica Barksdale and Erin Winslow, respectively.

After 27 years at CCM, Mogle is familiar with the 30,000 costume pieces the conservatory has in stock. Luckily, the costume department was able to pull pieces from past performances of Brigadoon and Cyrano to modify them for courtier and peasant costumes in Swan Lake.

The costume department dyed some of the costumes in bright jewel tones and added details such as sashes, sleeves, aprons and hats. Net petticoats were used to make the costumes lighter and easier to dance in.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costumes from the CCM production of ‘Brigadoon’ are being modified for the female peasants in Act I of ‘Swan Lake.’

“Every time we do [Swan Lake], we’ll add more to it and rely less on our costume stock,” Mogle said, adding that when the ballet is performed again in 6 years they will likely build new peasant costumes.

“That’s how some companies do it anyway. They’ll use tutus from many kinds of shows. Pulling together a show like this from all of these different places is a great exercise.”

Acquiring materials is one hurdle but then, of course, the costumes must actually fit.

It helps that musical theatre bodies and dancer bodies are similar in stature, Mogle said. It would cost around $5,000 to reproduce one of the Cyrano costumes today.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costume technicians included three clasp sizes on the ‘Swan Lake’ bodices so they can be adjusted for different dancers.

With three different casts, and double-cast principals, it was important to make the costumes interchangeable for different dancers. The technicians included three clasp sizes for the bodices to make them more adjustable and, in some cases, built extra costumes.

The process and pieces are evolving daily, with more adjustments expected after fittings and the dress rehearsals. A beautiful design can look perfect on a mannequin but flawed when put on a body that needs to breathe, dance and kick. That is why it’s important for the costuming students to learn each step in the creative process, said Mogle.

 “The whole focus of our program is teaching design and technology so designers know how to make stuff and makers know how to design stuff. So they all have the same sensibility as to how things should look and how they should be handled. If the knowledge base in those two roles isn’t strong then things fall apart.”

After the designs are sketched, the appropriate fabrics need to be found, Mogle said of the costuming process. Then there’s making the patterns and cutting them out of the cloth and stitching them together. There’s also fabric painting and dying and mask and jewelry making.

“Each one of those is a profession in itself,” Mogle said. “The more skills you have as a technician and the more kinds of plays and operas and ballets that you can design as a designer, your job market opens up. It’s a good part of training and real life experience.”

Co-directed by Dance Department Chair Jiang Qi and Associate Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry, the Mainstage Series production features students from CCM’s BFA Ballet program. The lavishly staged spectacle features accompaniment by CCM’s lauded Concert Orchestra under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung.

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Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake runs April. 22 – 24 in Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 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/mainstage/swan-lake.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Production Sponsors: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter, Teri Jory & Seth Geiger and Graeter’s
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Story by Rebecca Butts

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