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CCM Announces Joe Miller as New Director of Choral Studies

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of choral conductor Joe Miller, DMA, to the college’s roster of distinguished faculty members. A leading authority in the field of choral conducting, Miller is also a two-time graduate of CCM (MM, ‘92; DMA, ‘97). His appointment as professor and director of CCM’s lauded Choral Studies program begins on Aug. 15, 2020, pending approval of the University’s Board of Trustees.

A portrait of new CCM faculty member Joe Miller.Since 2006, Miller has served as conductor of two of the most renowned choral ensembles in the US: the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. He has also served as director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. In addition to his responsibilities at Westminster, Miller has been artistic director of choral activities for the renowned Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, since 2007. He has also served as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra Symphonic Choir since 2016.

“CCM has a distinguished history of choral performance and conductor training, and our alumni occupy leadership positions throughout the world,” said Romanstein. “Joe Miller has worked with the world’s leading ensembles, conductors and artists and I am proud to welcome him back to CCM as a colleague. Joe has a firm grasp of the immense opportunities available to 21st century artists and he will serve as a worthy successor to our illustrious colleague Professor Earl Rivers, who retires this spring after a nearly 50-year tenure at CCM.”

“As an alumnus, I owe much to this great institution,” said Miller. “My education at CCM has provided deep roots that have enabled me to grow a diverse and wide-reaching career, and I am honored to help lead the next chapter of this fine institution. I am excited to partner with my new CCM colleagues to find new ways to connect the dots between our ever-changing technology-minded world and our need for shared human experiences.”

Miller’s appointment concludes a national search that began when Earl Rivers, CCM’s long-time director of choral studies, announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. “I am grateful to our search committee chair Mark Gibson and committee members L. Brett Scott, Gwendolyn Coleman, Robyn Lana, Marie-France Lefebvreand Daniel Weeks for their work finding CCM’s next great ensembles and conducting professor,” said Romanstein.

About Joe Miller

Miller’s recent seasons leading the Westminster Choir have included concert tours in Beijing, China and in Spain, as well as participation in the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona and groundbreaking performances of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields at the historic Roebling WireWorks as part of Westminster’s Transforming Space project.

After viewing a staged performance of Joby Talbot’s demanding Path of Miracles at the 2019 Spoleto Festival USA, D.C. Theatre Scene wrote, “Joe Miller is a fearless artist. His bold leadership and trust in these young singers enabled his choristers to forego the ‘stand and deliver,’ score-bound habits of their genre and ‘walk with him’ on this special journey. Not only did the singers need to memorize their parts, no mean feat, but follow his baton’s bid from any part of the auditorium and sing in any body position. Miller constantly challenged them in the process and inspired them to work confidently, well outside their comfort zone.”

The New York Times described the Westminster Choir’s 2014 Festival performance of John Adams’ El Niño as “superb” and wrote, “Meticulously prepared … the chorus was remarkable for its precision, unanimity and power.” The Wall Street Journal praised the same performance, crediting “the fine Westminster Choir and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, under the direction of Joe Miller.” The Post and Courier wrote about their performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, “This was an evening of near-flawless execution and many moments of ravishing beauty and power. It will go down as a highlight (maybe even THE highlight) of this year’s festival, and, I think, as the work with which Joe Miller established his credentials to lead an extended choral/orchestral masterwork, not just recreating Bach’s music but also putting his own interpretive stamp on the whole.”

Miller has made four recordings with the Westminster Choir. American Record Guide wrote about the choir’s newest CD, Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir, “This is gorgeous singing … with perfect blend, intonation, diction, ensemble and musicality.” The Heart’s Reflection: Music of Daniel Elder was hailed by Minnesota Public Radio’s Classical Notes as “simply astounding.”  Miller’s debut recording with the ensemble, Flower of Beauty, received four stars from Choir & Organ magazine and earned critical praise from American Record Guide, which described the Westminster Choir as “the gold standard for academic choirs in America.”

As conductor of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, Miller has collaborated with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, earning him critical praise. The New York Timeswrote about Symphonic Choir’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Cleveland Orchestra, “Joe Miller’s Westminster Symphonic Choir was subtle when asked and powerful when turned loose.” Recent seasons have included performances with the Philharmoniker Berliner and Sir Simon Rattle; The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel.

Prior to his time at Westminster Choir College, Miller served on the faculty of Western Michigan University, California State University and Whitman College. He is the 2016 recipient of the Maynard Klein Award for Distinguished Service to Choral Music, which is presented by ACDA-Michigan in recognition of artistic excellence and a lifetime of leadership in the field of choral music.

Miller received his DMA in Choral Conducting with a cognate in Voice from CCM in 1997. He received his MM in Choral Conducting from CCM in 1992. In 1987, he graduated cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Music Education and Voice.

About CCM Choral Studies

Recognized by US News and World Report as one of this country’s leading conducting programs, CCM’s Department of Choral Studies is widely known for its excellence in training conductors for successful, lifelong careers in the choral arts.

CCM’s Master of Music and Doctor of Music Arts programs provide professional-level experiences in rehearsals and performances, developing musicianship and technique, and acquiring knowledge of styles, performance practices and repertoire.

MM and DMA graduates of CCM’s Choral Studies programs are conducting and administrating highly successful professional, collegiate, symphonic, secondary, children’s and church choir programs throughout the world.

For more information about CCM, please visit us online at

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Paintings of Monteverdi and Handel.

CCM’s Studio and Undergraduate Opera Series Celebrate the Baroque Era with ‘The Coronation of Poppea’ and ‘Alcina’

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM's studio opera production of 'The Coronation of Poppea.' Photography by Adam Zeek.

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM’s studio opera production of ‘The Coronation of Poppea.’ Photography by Adam Zeek.

CCM will present the operatic works of Claudio Monteverdi and Frideric Handel this spring with L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) running Feb. 20-22 and Alcina running Feb. 27-March 1 both in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

As part of CCM’s Studio Opera Series and Opera d’arte-Undergraduate Opera Series, respectively, these productions offer free admission but reservations are required.

Associate Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott conducts both productions.

Despite both focusing on royalty, these masterworks’ themes couldn’t be more different. Directed by Assistant Professor of Music in Opera and Directing Emma GriffinThe Coronation of Poppea is one of the first operas based on real-life historical figures. Monteverdi focuses on the infamous Roman emperor Nero and his affair with a married woman named Poppea Sabina, who, through betrayal, banishment and murder, becomes the emperor’s new wife.

By comparison, Alcina, with direction by Professor of Voice Kenneth Shaw, weaves a lighter, more magical tale. A warrior king is whisked away to a magical island where the sorceress Alcina seeks to place him under her spell of love, and possibly transform him into an animal or tree when she becomes bored of him. Mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers and light-hearted episodes are plentiful in Handel’s opera, which will take the CCM stage for the first time since 1985!

Monteverdi continues to be recognized (due in part to his 1607 masterpiece L’Orfeo) as the first truly renowned opera composer. His Vespers of 1610 is performed often, including CCM’s own presentation this past November by the Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra. Meanwhile, Handel’s monumental oratorio The Messiah remains highly popular in its own right and is a Christmas staple for numerous choirs and orchestras across the world.

Both productions will provide an intimate experience for audiences and performers alike inside CCM’s cozy Cohen Family Studio Theater. Tickets will become available for reservation the Monday before each opening–Feb. 16 for The Coronation of Poppea and Feb. 23 for Alcina. Mark your calendars to see two of the greatest works of the Baroque by two of its greatest composers!

UC Professor Lauren Ginsberg from McMicken College’s Department of Classics will host a free talkback session on the historical origins of The Coronation of Poppea immediately following the Sunday, Feb. 22, performance of the opera. The talkback session will also take place in the Cohen Family Studio Theater and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Rafael de Acha provides an in-depth preview of CCM’s upcoming productions of The Coronation of Poppea and Alcina for Seen and Heard InternationalRead the preview online here.

Ray Cooklis examines the “otherworldly appeal” of early music – including both of CCM’s opera productions –  in the February edition of ExpressCincinnati. Read the story online here.

The Catacoustic Consort provides an overview of all of the Early Music performances happening in Cincinnati this February here.

Event Information
All events listed below take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Tickets can be reserved in person at the CCM Box Office or over the telephone at 513-556-4183. Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

All event dates and programs are subject to change. Visit or contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 for the most current event information.

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 new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit


8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22 (a talkback session will immediately follow this performance)
• Studio Opera Series •
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Francesco Busenello
Brett Scott, conductor
Emma Griffin, director

Love, power, morality, corruption… Monteverdi’s final masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, is often described as his greatest achievement, combining mythic and very human themes and featuring some of his most glorious music. One of the first operas to use historical events and people, it tells the story of Nero’s infatuation with the young and beautiful Poppea as she tries to make him divorce his wife Ottavia and take her as his new queen and empress of Rome. The Coronation of Poppea is a rich, complex and thoroughly modern work; a world populated by ruthless and all-too-human characters where lust and ambition ultimately triumph over virtue.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 16. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27
2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 (the previously announced Saturday matinee performance has been canceled)
2 p.m. Sunday, March 1
• CCM Opera d’arte – Undergraduate Opera Series •
Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Riccardo Broschi
Brett Scott, conductor
Kenneth Shaw, director
Amy Johnson, producer

A sorceress, an enchanted island, disguised lovers and mistaken identities are woven together beautifully with some of Handel’s most memorable melodies.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
L. Brett Scott leading CCM's Chorale at the 2012 Moveable Feast gala event.

CCM Professor Brett Scott Named Director of Cincinnati’s Musica Sacra Chorus

We are happy to report that CCM Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott has been appointed as Music Director of Cincinnati’s Musica Sacra Chorus.

Scott was nominated by Dr. Helmut J. Roehrig, who founded Musica Sacra in 1965. Dr. Roehrig will now assume the title and duties of Music Director Emeritus, and will continue to be involved in some decision-making aspects of the Chorus.

Scott has been a faculty member at CCM since 2007. He conducts the CCM Chorale and the Opera D’Arte undergraduate operas, and is also director of Cincinnati Camerata.

He is currently Vice President of the National Collegiate Choral Association, and has conducted, taught and lectured in Canada, Portugal and Cuba as well as throughout the United States. At the recent 2013 Portugal International Choral Festival, he conducted the ESML Chamber Choir to Gold and a first place finish in their category.

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CCM Faculty Member Joins the Leadership of National Choral Organization

CCM Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott.

CCM Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott.

CCM Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott was recently elected Vice President of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), a service organization dedicated to the needs of collegiate-level choirs and their conductors.

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CCM Slideshows: Anything Goes

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Shipboard shenanigans abound as CCM presents Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. The beloved musical opens Thursday, February 25 and offers an extended run performance, ending with a Sunday matinee on March 7. The show is a vintage affair of fabulous music and dazzling dance, set aboard the S.S. American cruise liner. Anything Goes, performed in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater, promises to turn back time to the 1930’s for an evening of irresistible humor and excitement.

CCM Slideshows