Co-Founder of CCM Musical Theatre Helen Laird Honored at Memorial Service on April 7

Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance will hold a memorial to honor Helen Laird, who served as Dean of the College from 1978 to 1993, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at the college’s Rock Hall Auditorium. The memorial will also be streamed live at

Former voice faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), Laird helped establish CCM’s BFA Musical Theatre program in the 1960s. She believed that other forms of singing should be included in a conservatory, so she lobbied former CCM Dean Jack Watson to establish a program in musical theatre, the first of its kind in the country. Watson recruited Jack Rouse to shape the program, which conferred its first BFA degree in musical theatre in 1969 to Pamela Myers. Fifty years later, the nationally-recognized program is one of the top musical theatre programs in the country.

Laird passed away on Oct. 24, 2018, at age 92. A Haddonfield, New Jersey resident for 40 years, Laird was best known throughout the Philadelphia region as Dean of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. Her glorious soprano voice, however, had been heard previously in solo performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which was among many of the leading ensembles throughout the United States and in Europe, with which she sang during her career as soloist and in opera. She became known throughout the musical academic world also for her administrative acumen, which resulted in her election as the first female officer of the National Association of Schools of Music, the primary accrediting body for college music degree programs in the United States.

Born in Harrisburg, Illinois, her exceptional musical talent became apparent from a young age. Singing opportunities came to her very early, and she matriculated at the University of Nebraska as a music major. Following a move by her family to Wyoming, she embarked upon and completed a graduate degree at Columbia University in New York City. After further vocal study and concert appearances in the United States, she went to Europe in 1953, and by 1954 had been engaged for leading roles at the Basel City Theater in Switzerland. Appointments followed at Mainz and Kassel in Germany, and for 14 years she was a leading soprano with performances of major roles in over 40 operas, averaging over a hundred performances per season. She found time to return to the United States for specific engagements. She garnered significant awards, including the first ever Blanche Thebom Award, the Laureate of International Competition in Geneva and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Award for Vocal Performance. Included among her title roles were Verdi’s Aida, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tosca, and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and others. Important also were several Wagnerian roles, including Eva in Die Meistersinger and Senta in The Flying Dutchman. Favorites included Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Chrysothemis in Richard Strauss’ Elektra. A review of her Madama Butterfly in Kassel said, “She created the timeless destiny of Madama Butterfly with her acting ability, with conquering naturalness, and with full use of her dramatic and moving vocal resources.” Of her Ariadne, it was said in Frankfurt, “She unfolded a greatness of interpretation and bewitched the audience with her beautiful voice.” Her repertoire ranged from baroque to contemporary, with a particular attention to American works, which she enjoyed sharing with European audiences.

Seeking to expand her teaching, Laird returned to the United States and accepted the post of voice professor and artist-in-residence at CCM. She taught and administered at CCM for a decade, during which she helped establish the college’s Musical Theatre Program, until she accepted a position at Temple University. She served the university from 1978 to 1993 as Professor of Voice and Opera and Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Laird’s time at the university resulted in major growth for the school, said Boyer College Dean Emeritus Jeffrey Cornelius in an obituary he wrote for her:

“At her retirement she was hailed as an exceptional professor and administrator and as one who encouraged and followed the professional success of her students, among whom are major American figures in opera and musical theater.”

The complete obituary written by Cornelius is available at The Haddonfield Sun has published an obituary at has also published an obituary at

Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance will hold a memorial for Laird at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at the Rock Hall Auditorium, located at 1715 North Broad Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122. The memorial will also be streamed live at

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Join Us for CCM’s Sesquicentennial Alumni Weekend

Reconnect with classmates and faculty, wander the newly renovated halls of CCM and attend the performance that’s been 150 years in the making during the Sesquicentennial Alumni Weekend, hosted by CCM and the UC Alumni Association on April 20-21, 2018.

CCM’s Alumni Weekend begins on Friday, April 20 with a Welcome Happy Hour at the Ladder 19 Bar and Restaurant in the Short Vine district, which includes complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Festivities continue on Saturday, April 21 with a wide range of activities including a Breakfast, CCM toursCCMstories recording sessions, a Keynote Luncheon with alumni and friends, and a CCM “open house.” The weekend culminates with the Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase, which features nearly a dozen alumni guest artists in concert with the CCM Philharmonia!

Alumni Weekend details are available below and online at

Add Your Voice To Our Story!
CCMstories is a project intended to preserve and share the memories of our alumni. Visit our audio booth during CCM’s Sesquicentennial Alumni Celebration on Saturday, April 21, and share your story.

Our recording professionals and story prompters will be on hand to guide alumni through the process. Story booth recording sessions are 20 minutes and are available on a “first come, first served” basis. Alumni can register for this unique opportunity by filling out the online form at

Recordings of alumni remembrances will be accessible online for future generations of CCM students and alumni.

Keynote Luncheon Includes Distinguished Alumni and Friends
Featuring a panel discussion on “The Changing Role of Conservatories in Preparing Tomorrow’s Artist” with Larry Hamby, Jack Rouse and Tim Cynova from noon-1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. Moderated by E-Media Professor Hagit Limor, topics include:

  • Changing World of the Music and Performing Arts Industries
  • Role of Technology in the Arts
  • Business of the Business
  • Creating Your Brand/Entrepreneurship

“Open House” Features a Variety of CCM Departments and Divisions!
Connect with students, hear the latest from faculty and see a few performances. Explore our program or hop between classrooms during the open house from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 21 throughout CCM Village! Participating groups include: Dance, Jazz Studies, E-Media, Arts Administration, Musicology, Strings, Piano, Voice and Theatre Design and Production!

With events happening all weekend, you’re sure to find something that will leave you feeling inspired. Visit for a complete list of events and registration information.

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CCM Village at night. Photo by Jay Yocis.

CCM Presents a Concert 150 Years in the Making with Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase

Audiences have the rare opportunity to see an eclectic group of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) alumni perform with current students for one night only on Saturday, April 21, in the newly renovated Corbett Auditorium. A concert 150 years in the making, the Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase marks the culmination of CCM’s yearlong anniversary celebration!

The CCM Philharmonia student orchestra will be joined by nearly a dozen remarkable alumni for a program set to include Strauss’ Overture to Die Fledermaus, Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3, Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns and much more. CCM faculty members Mark Gibson and Roger Grodsky conduct.

Alumni guest artists include a Solti Conducting Award-winner, a Naumburg gold medalist, a Tchaikovsky Competition Prize-winner, stars from the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway, military band members and more, all of whom studied at CCM before taking distinguished positions on the world’s stage. A full list of alumni guest artists can be found below.

In addition to this once-in-a-lifetime concert event, CCM and the UC Alumni Association will host an Alumni Weekend where graduates can reconnect with classmates and faculty. CCM’s 150th Anniversary Alumni Weekend begins with a Welcome Happy Hour at the Ladder 19 Bar and Restaurant in the Short Vine district on Friday, April 20, and continues with a wide range of activities on Saturday, April 21, including tours of CCM’s newly renovated facilities and a Keynote Luncheon scheduled to feature Tim Cynova, Larry Hamby and Jack Rouse, moderated by CCM Professor of E-Media Hagit Limor. Full Alumni Weekend details are available online at

Tickets for CCM’s Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase Concert are on sale now through the CCM Box Office. Complete event information is below.

Listed in Order of Appearance

CCM alumnus Christopher Allen.Christopher Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011), recipient of last year’s $30,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award — the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the United States. He has been featured in Opera News magazine as “one of the fastest rising podium stars in North America.”

CCM alumnus Anton Nel.Anton Nel (MM Piano, 1984), first prize winner in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall. The classical pianist is an acclaimed Beethoven interpreter and has enjoyed a multifaceted career that has taken him to North and South America, Europe, Asia and South Africa.

CCM alumnus Yang Liu.Yang Liu (AD Violin, 2014), former prize winner of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and first prize winner of China’s National Violin Competition. He has appeared internationally at major festivals and venues such as the Kennedy Center, Oficina Music Festival in Brazil, Algarve Music Festival in Portugal and throughout China.

CCM alumna Tamara Wilson.Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004), acclaimed soprano who has received multiple honors, including the 2016 Richard Tucker Award. Wilson was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and she made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December 2014 in the title role of Aida; the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes.”

CCM alumna Janelle Reichman.Janelle Reichman (BM Jazz Saxophone, 2005), a clarinetist and saxophonist whose rich tone and creative melodies landed her a spot in the International Association for Jazz Education Sisters-in-Jazz Quintet. She has performed with musical greats such as Doc Severinsen, Les Paul, Ann Hampton Callaway, Sherrie Maricle and DIVA, Dave Liebman, Donny McCaslin and many others.

CCM alumna Helene Schneiderman.Helene Schneiderman (MM Voice, 1979; AD Opera, 1981), an award-winning mezzo-soprano who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2017 as Annina in Der Rosenkavalier. She has been a company member in Germany’s Stuttgart State Theatre since 1984 and made her Royal Opera House debut in 1995 as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. In 2018, she will play the role of Madame Larina in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Eugene Onegin.

CCM alumna Allene Hackleman.Allene Hackleman (BM Horn Performance, 2002), principal horn of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Hackleman is a member of the Canadian National Brass Project, a large ensemble made up of some of the finest brass players in the country.

CCM alumna Julie Beckel Yager.Julie Beckel Yager (Horn Performance, att. 2004), horn player with the Indianapolis Symphony and Ronen Chamber Ensemble. She was previously a member of the Honolulu Symphony and has also performed for three summers with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, touring throughout Europe, Asia and South America.

CCM alumnus Nathaniel Willson.Nathaniel Willson (MM Horn Performance, 2005), joined the U.S. Navy Band as a French Hornist in 2014, after serving more than four years with the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland. Prior to joining the Navy, he was a member of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and the Sarasota Orchestra.

CCM alumna Jennifer Paul.Jennifer Paul (MM Horn Performance, 2003), a member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band since 2004 and assistant section leader since 2016. Prior to joining the U.S. Marine Band, she served as a teaching assistant for CCM’s horn studio from 2001-03 and was a freelance musician in Philadelphia.

CCM alumna Betsy Wolfe.Betsy Wolfe (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004), a Broadway star who has appeared in Waitress, 110 in the Shade, Everyday Rapture, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Bullets Over Broadway and Falsettos. She has also soloed with the Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops, New York City Ballet and more. Wolfe was the recipient of CCM’s Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award in 2017.


STRAUSS: Overture to Die Fledermaus (1874); featuring the CCM Philharmonia led by Christopher Allen
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 82 “Emperor” (Movement 1) (1811); featuring Anton Nel, piano
WALLER: Ain’t Misbehavin’; featuring Janelle Reichman, saxophone
WARREN: There Will Never Be Another You; featuring Janelle Reichman, saxophone
WAGNER: “Mild und leise,” from Tristan und Isolde (1859); featuring Tamara Wilson, soprano
ROSSINI: “Cruda sorte,” from L’Italiana in Algeri (1813); featuring Helene Schneiderman, mezzo-soprano
SCHUMANN: Konzertstück for Four Horns, Op. 86 (1849); featuring Allene Hackleman, Julie Beckel Yager, Nathaniel Willson, Jennifer Paul, soloists
BROWN: “A Summer in Ohio,” from The Last Five Years; featuring Betsy Wolfe, vocalist, with Roger Grodsky, conductor
BAREILLES: “She Used to Be Mine,” from Waitress; featuring Betsy Wolfe, vocalist, with Roger Grodsky, conductor
SCHWARTZ: “Meadowlark,” from The Baker’s Wife; featuring Betsy Wolfe, vocalist, with Roger Grodsky, conductor
SAINT-SAENS: Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61 (Movement 3); featuring Yang Liu, violin
STRAUSS: Champagne Song from Die Fledermaus; featuring Tamara Wilson, soprano, and Helene Schneiderman, mezzo-soprano

8 p.m. Saturday, April 21

Please note: UC’s Nippert Stadium will also host an FC Cincinnati game at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The full FC Cincinnati Soccer game schedule can be found at

Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Tickets for CCM’s Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase Concert are $20 general, $15 non-UC students, and FREE 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 through our e-Box Office! Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

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 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

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Cincinnati World Piano Competition 60th Anniversary Concert

Cincinnati World Piano Competition to hold 60th Anniversary Concert at CCM

In lieu of a summer competition series, the Cincinnati World Piano Competition (CWPC) will hold a 60th Anniversary Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at CWPCCorbett Auditorium, located at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

This special one-night-only performance honors CWPC founder and former Executive Director Gloria Ackerman, who retired in 2013. It features pianists Angela Cheng, Daria Rabotkina and CWPC Artistic Director Awadagin Pratt performing repertoire for piano and orchestra with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) led by Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada.

“This recognition for Gloria’s remarkable contributions is overdue and it’s particularly fitting that we honor her with a concert featuring two past CWPC medalists along with Awadagin, who is, of course, a world-renowned pianist in his own right,” said CWPC Board Chair Jack Rouse.

The program will open with Ravel’s Piano Concerto, performed by 1983 CWPC Gold Medalist Angela Cheng. Cheng, who went on to win the Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, was also the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition. She is consistently praised for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty and superb musicianship. In addition to guest appearances with the major orchestras in her home country of Canada, Cheng regularly performs with orchestras and in recital across the US and Europe.

Strauss’ Burleske will be performed by 2002 CWPC Silver Medalist Daria Rabotkina who, according to the Washington Post, has impressed audiences and critics alike with her “clearly prodigious musical gifts.” She went on to win the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, has received top prizes at many international competitions, and has worked with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev and Giancarlo Guerrero, among others.

The concert closes with Pratt performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. In addition to serving as CWPC Artistic Director and Professor of Piano at CCM, Pratt is internationally acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involved performances in recital and with symphony orchestras. He last performed with the CSO in 2011 for Paavo Järvi’s triumphant final concerts as the Orchestra’s Music Director.

“It is always an honor and pleasure to make music with the world-class musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,” Pratt said.

As previously announced, this special CWPC performance on July 30 at CCM’s Corbett Auditorium is being presented in lieu of this summer’s competition while the organization examines and explores ways to further build on recent successes.

“Most international competitions do not occur annually and that’s one of the many issues we’re exploring,” Pratt said. “The CWPC remains committed to fostering the talent of young pianists.”

Tickets for the CWPC’s 60th Anniversary Concert are on sale at the Music Hall Box Office, online at, or by phone, 513-381-3300.

About the Cincinnati World Piano Competition

Founded in 1956, the CWPC has undergone many changes, artistic, strategic, and otherwise in its 60-year history. One of the most pivotal of these changes occurred in 2013 when the CWPC joined forces with two of Cincinnati’s most revered cultural institutions: the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where Artistic Director Awadagin Pratt also serves on the faculty. The Competition occurs on CCM’s campus and three finalists are afforded the opportunity to perform with the CSO during the final round. Both CCM and the CSO also assist the CWPC with administrative resources.

Awadagin Pratt
Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting. In recognition of this achievement and for his work in the field of classical music, Pratt recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins. Has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University.

In 1992 Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since then, he has played numerous recitals throughout the US including performances at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies among many others. Internationally, Pratt has toured Japan four times and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Colombia and South Africa.

In November 2009, Pratt was one of four artists selected to perform at a White House classical music event that included student workshops hosted by the First Lady, Michelle Obama and performing in concert for guests including President Barack Obama. He has performed two other times at the White House, both at the invitation of former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Pratt is currently Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is also the Artistic Director of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition in Cincinnati as well as the Artistic Director of the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM. He is a Yamaha artist.

Cheng 4(1)Angela Cheng
In addition to regular guest appearances with virtually every orchestra in Canada, Cheng has also performed with the Alabama Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Utah Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. In the spring of 2012, Ms. Cheng made her highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut with the Edmonton Symphony. She also made her debut at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in a recital with Pinchas Zukerman during the summer of 2012. Highlights this coming season include the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Sinfonia Toronto, Vancouver Symphony and the Winnipeg Symphony.

In 2009, at the invitation of Pinchas Zukerman, Cheng toured both Europe and China as a member of the Zukerman Chamber Players. She joined them again in the spring of 2010 for a U.S. tour, which included concerts at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York. Subsequent seasons have seen multiple tours of Europe, Asia and South America, including performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Schleswig-Holstein, Salzburg and Ravinia festivals.

An avid recitalist, Cheng appears regularly on recital series throughout the United States and Canada and has collaborated with numerous chamber ensembles including the Takács, Colorado and Vogler quartets. Her festival appearances include Chautauqua, Banff, Colorado, Houston, Vancouver, the Festival International de Lanaudière in Quebec and the Cartegena International Music Festival in Colombia.

Cheng has been Gold Medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition. Other awards include the Canada Council’s coveted Career Development Grant and the Medal of Excellence for outstanding interpretations of Mozart from the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Daria Rabotkina
Rabotkina’s concerto highlights include San Francisco and New World Symphonies, Kirov (Mariinsky) Orchestra, Moscow State Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Hudson Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Concepción and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Her orchestral collaborations include conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Feltsman, Julian Kuerti, JoAnn Falletta, Benjamin Shwartz, and Giancarlo Guerrero. Rabotkina has given recitals at the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Ravinia’s Rising Stars, Dame Myra Hess and PianoForte Salon Series in the Chicago area, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in Denmark, Switzerland and Japan.

Winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Rabotkina has received top prizes at many international competitions and participated in Russia’s White Nights Festival, Finland’s Kuhmo Festival, Copenhagen’s Summer Festival and Germany’s MusikFest in Kreuth. In the US, Rabotkina has appeared at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Music Academy of the West and PianoSummer at New Paltz.

Rabotkina was born in Kazan, Russia, into a family of musicians and gave her first solo recital at the age of ten. Her earliest musical steps were guided by her parents, Guzel Abdoullina and Sergei Rabotkin, both outstanding pianists, and Nora Kazachkova at the Special Music School in Kazan. She received her education at the Kazan State Conservatory and Mannes College of Music in New York City under the tutelage of Vladimir Feltsman. Rabotkina also holds a Doctorate degree and the Artist Certificate from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Natalya Antonova. Rabotkina will be joining the faculty of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in the fall of 2016.

KHKeitaro Harada
Harada’s passion for musical excellence has led him to be a recipient of multiple awards including the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview and the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival. Completing his first season as Associate Conductor of the CSO, Harada regularly assists Music Director Louis Langrée and conducts the CSO, Cincinnati Pops, and Cincinnati World Piano Competition, as well as assists James Conlon for the May Festival. Harada also holds the positions of Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera and Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony.

With a growing schedule as a guest conductor, the coming season holds several high profile engagements for Harada. He starts the summer at the 2016 Pacific Music Festival by invitation of Valery Gergiev, makes his conducting debut with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall, and leads the world premiere performances of Riders of the Purple Sage for Arizona Opera in 2017. He also makes his conducting debut with Boise Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony and South Bend Symphony Orchestra.

Most recently, Harada made his conducting debut in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic in a sold out performance as well as his debut with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He led performances of Carmen for Arizona Opera and conducted concerts with Tucson Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Sierra Vista Symphony, and Orquesta Filarmónica de Sonora.

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Harada is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Mercer University. He completed his formal conducting training at the University of Arizona with Thomas Cockrell and Charles Bontrager. He has also studied under Christoph von Dohnányi, Robert Spano and Michael Tilson Thomas among others. Harada champions creative programming, development of the orchestra as a part of a community’s cultural fabric, advancement of each musician he encounters, and responsibility as an artistic and civic leader.


CCM News
Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Named ‘Best Musical Theatre College For Broadway Success’

The educational news site Learn U has placed CCM at the very top of its list for Best Musical Theatre Colleges for Broadway Success. The report states:

“In terms of bang for your buck, CCM’s program comes out the winner – it’s the school we gave the #1 ranking to in our list of the best MT programs, and it’s also one of the more affordable options.”

Long lauded as the “gold standard” of BFA musical theatre programs, CCM Musical Theatre is the oldest program of its kind in the country. Establish in 1968 by Helen Laird, with Jack Rouse serving as its first chairman, the program served as the model for the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) in creating their guidelines for the accreditation of musical theatre programs in the United States.

Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Carousel.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

The Learn U report observes, “The thing that really makes CCM stand out is the tremendous success that alumni have had on Broadway. The list of alumni who have gone on to have careers in the entertainment industry is extensive and reads like a who’s who of Broadway stars.” You can learn more about the impressive successes of our alumni by visiting

You can read Learn U’s full report of top musical theatre programs here.

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Remembering the University of Cincinnati’s Wilson Auditorium

UC's Wilson Auditorium.

UC’s Wilson Auditorium.

This month, the University of Cincinnati says goodbye to the 81-year-old Wilson Auditorium, the debut venue for CCM’s Musical Theatre program (with the 1969 production of Sweet Charity) and the onetime home of CCM’s Department of Drama.

Originally opened in December of 1931, the building was constructed in remembrance of Obed J. Wilson, a local self-made businessman and arts advocate. At the time of its opening, the building featured then cutting-edge amenities including a projection room for “motion-and-sound pictures” with the capability of relaying radio broadcasts.

Vacant for the past decade and a half, Wilson Auditorium’s demolition was approved in 2006 and is scheduled to be completed this fall.

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To mark the end of an era, CCM Drama Chair Richard E. Hess looks back on the impressive legacy of Wilson Auditorium:

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Looking Back At CCM’s Original Production of ‘Into the Woods’

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In anticipation of this month’s anniversary production of Into the Woods, we present a look back at CCM’s 1991 production of Into the Woods, the show that celebrated the initial creation of CCM’s endowed chair of Musical Theatre.

CCM Musical Theatre is the oldest program of its kind in the country. Established in 1969, the innovative program was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for accreditation of musical theatre programs nationwide.

Likewise, at the time of its inception in 1991, the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States, the American equivalent of the Chair in Musical Theatre endowed by Cameron Macintosh in honor of Stephen Sondheim at Oxford one year later.

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CCM Slideshows: Hair

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CCM celebrates the 40th anniversary of its musical theatre program with the American Tribal Love/Rock Musical, Hair! Amid the counter-culture revolution of the Age of Aquarius, a tribe of hippies and flower children stage a pacifist rebellion against the Vietnam War and the constraints of the Establishment. They are forced to examine their own beliefs and dreams in this provocative, groundbreaking and profoundly moving musical celebration. Premiered in 1968—the same year the CCM musical theater program was established—Hair is currently enjoying a wildly successful Broadway revival.

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