CCM Winds' 2010 Prism XIII Concert

CCM Conducting Alumni Receive Prestigious Award from the Solti Foundation

We are honored to announce that two conducting alumni of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) were among 11 musicians recently announced as recipients of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, a grant prize given to help up-and-coming conductors further their careers.

Christopher G. Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) and Stefano Sarzani (CCM 2012-2013) join a group of only 46 conductors to receive this award since it was founded by the Solti Foundation in 2004. As the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young composers, the Solti Foundation is currently the only American organization to grant such awards annually.

Christopher Allen.

Christopher Allen.

Both alumni are in high demand worldwide. Allen, who is currently the John L. Margo Resident Conductor for the Cincinnati Opera, is also the Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. His conducting credits include Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Santa Barbara Montana’s Intermountain Opera and South Korea’s Daegu Opera House and the Atlanta Symphony. Along with the Solti prize, Allen was nominated as a finalist for the 2015 International Opera awards in London in the “Newcomer” category.

Stefano Sarzani.

Stefano Sarzani.

Sarzani was recently been appointed Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera for their Summer 2016 season. His collaborations include the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra of Colorado, Atlanta and Sarasota Operas, and numerous orchestras in Italy including Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. A recent finalist for the New World Symphony’s 2015-16 conducting fellowship, he is also highly decorated from numerous competitions, most notably taking second prize in The American Prize competition in 2012.Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

About the Solti Foundation U.S.

Now in its twelfth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s 'The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’

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Come see Leoš Janáček’s fantastical opera The Cunning Little Vixen, which opens tonight (Friday) at 8 p.m. and runs through Sunday as part of this year’s Mainstage Series.

Directed by Vince DeGeorge, this anthropomorphic opera explores the intimate relationship between man and nature. This production will be conducted by Mark Gibson and sung in English, with a new translation by CCM Professor Emeritus David Adams.

Learn more about the performance or view the cast list.

Leoš Janácek’s
THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN
An Opera in Three Acts
Critical revised version by Jiri Zahrádka
Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, U.S. and Canadian agent for Universal Edition Vienna, publisher and copyright owner.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 8
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to The Cunning Little Vixen are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 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/cunning-little-vixen.

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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal

Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith

CCM News CCM Slideshows
One of the design inspirations for CCM's new production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN.

Discussing the Cycles of Life Presented in CCM’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ with Director Vince DeGeorge

Leoš Janáček’s fantastical opera The Cunning Little Vixen comes to the CCM stage April 8 – 10 as part of this year’s Mainstage Series. To share what inspired his vision for the anthropomorphic production, Stage Director and Choreographer Vince DeGeorge reflected on the relationship between humans and nature with CCM Public Information Graduate Assistant Charlotte Kies.

A mask from CCM's 2016 production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN. Photography by Mark Lyons.

A mask from CCM’s 2016 production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Could you tell me about your inspiration for the design of the masks in this production?

I’ve had this little vixen figurine for about 10 years. It was a gift from my wife, and it has become a touchstone for this project. You’ll see the geometric nature of the fox sculpture reflected in the masks by third-year graduate student and Costume Designer Oran Wongpandid. They’re very cool looking. There’s a sort of formalism about this little creature that I love, but there’s also a playfulness that embodies the spirit of this production.

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s 'The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

How do they use these masks?

They carry the masks and sometimes wear them. They don’t sing with the masks on. One of the things that is most prevalent in this opera is the relationship between humans and animals. The actors come on stage as humans and they transform into animals in front of the audience. It’s a simple transformation through movement and mask work.

Is this something traditionally done, or is this a new idea of your own?

That’s something that I bring to it. Mark Halpin, the designer of the set, and I have never done a show together but we’ve worked a lot together. He sort of understands my aesthetic and he brought his own point of view to it as well. He has come up with this design that I think really embodies this very human aspect of this story. We become animals to tell a very human story.

'The Cunning Little Vixen'

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

What is that human story?

I think the human story is that every day, life is happening all around us. Often times we are too distracted, or aggressive, or controlling to notice. If you actually take the time to be aware, you will experience everything that’s going on around you. You may not experience all of it, but you will be more receptive to experiences. That’s the journey of the Forester, from very aggressive and controlling, to very open and receptive.

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s 'The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

The Vixen has a different journey. She starts very innocent, open and receptive. Then events occur that change her to become more aggressive and more controlling. She eventually finds her way back into a much more open and receptive place with her love, the Fox.

What’s so beautiful about this opera is that it runs in cycles, in circles. Someone starts a scene and ends up in almost the same place, but something has changed within them. There is a giant cycle that’s going on within the entire opera and the Vixen has a cycle that’s running through her and the Forester. We don’t see the top of the Forester’s cycle but we see him changing back to this more open and receptive person. The music just cycles and cycles in a wonderful repetition and revision that Janáček is an expert at creating.

That sort of fits in with what I’ve read.

The opera is full of life cycles! But within them are tiny little journeys that are going on within ALL of the characters.

That is one aspect that makes this opera so amazing, and another reason why Mark and I decided to set it in a more distilled, abstract way, as opposed to setting it in the 1920s or in Czechoslovakia. To nail it down to a certain time period could diminish the universality of the performance. It doesn’t have a time period, but I think the story in itself is timeless. I’m not saying this is the way to approach this opera, this is the way we approached it.

'The Cunning Little Vixen'

CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

Is this opera often translated into English?

Well, I’m not an expert at that. What I can say is that when I was an undergrad here, David Adams was my voice teacher. Then he did the translation of my first opera here!

That’s a nice little cycle!

Yes, it is! And even though he is a professor emeritus here, David has been at a lot of rehearsals. He has been really involved. It’s been fantastic to work with him in a very different way and still learn from him.

Was it his choice to put this in English?

Actually, David wrote this for Professor Kenneth Shaw’s production here but then retired after spending a lifetime here. This is one of our ways to thank and honor him and the work that he’s done for CCM.

Are English-sung operas a theme this year?

Well, that’s something that we as a department really made an effort to do this year. Both Mainstage Operas were in English, which is more challenging to sing than other languages. The students need to learn how to sing in English and make it understandable and not lose their vocal quality.

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Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen runs April 8 – 10 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Mark Gibson conducts with stage direction and choreography by Vince DeGeorge. This production will be sung in English, with a new translation by CCM Professor Emeritus David Adams. You can learn more about the production here.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
A mask from CCM's 2016 production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series Presents ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ April 8 – 10, 2016

CCM brings you Leoš Janácek’s anthropomorphic opera, The Cunning Little Vixen, from April 8 – 10 as part of this year’s Mainstage Series. Instead of the typical protagonists of kings, queens and courtly staff, the stars of Janácek’s opera are foxes, dragonflies and badgers, and a host of woodland creatures, as well as the humans who try to tame them. Mark Gibson conducts with stage direction and choreography by Vince DeGeorge. This production will be sung in English, with a new translation by CCM Professor Emeritus David Adams.

The story begins with a Forester who, asleep at the base of a tree after a long night of drinking, awakens to the sight of a playful vixen cub. Delighted with his newfound furry friend, the Forester stumbles home to his farm to show his family. Discontent with her life in captivity, the cunning Vixen plots her escape, ruffles some feathers among the farm animals, and flees into the night. The Forester is then devastated and left alone to pine after his lost treasure.

Meanwhile, the Forester’s drinking buddies have troubles of their own. The Schoolmaster lusts after a young woman engaged to another man, and the Priest struggles to reconcile a misstep in his past with his present life of piety. Each man finds himself tormented by his own obsession, and struggles to accept the natural progression of life and death when it is out of his control.

One of the design inspriations for CCM's new production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN.

One of the design inspriations for CCM’s new production of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN.

Inspired by a serial comic strip printed in the local paper, Leoš Janácek uses music and dance to breathe life into the characters he saw on the page. DeGeorge said a muse in the form of a little wooden vixen, gifted from his wife 10 years ago, inspired his vision for CCM’s production of the opera.

The geometric nature of the figurine, which is featured on the program cover, is reflected in the masks worn and carried by the characters as they transform throughout the opera.

“One of the things that is most prevalent in this opera is the relationship between humans and animals. The actors come on stage as humans and they transform into animals in front of the audience,” DeGeorge said. “There’s a sort of formalism about this little creature that I love but there’s also a playfulness that embodies the spirit of this production.”

It’s that very spirit, the transformative essence and flow of cycles within the opera, that Janácek masterfully elicits in your ears. Janácek will mesmerize you with his lush harmonies and sweeping melodies, Hollywood strings, flittering elfin-like woodwinds solos, and powerful romantic brass, in this fantastical tale of the intimate relationship between man and nature.

Join us in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium, this April 8-10, to explore the human condition within the enchanted world of music and dance.

Leoš Janácek’s
THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN
An Opera in Three Acts
Critical revised version by Jiri Zahrádka
Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, U.S. and Canadian agent for Universal Edition Vienna, publisher and copyright owner.

The Creative Team

  • Mark Gibson, conductor
  • Vince DeGeorge, stage director and choreographer
  • Marie-France Lefebvre, musical preparation
  • Mark Halpin, scenic designer
  • Jeremy Dominik, lighting designer*
  • Oran Wongpandid, costume designer*
  • Kelly Yurko, wig & make-up designer
  • Kristen Budke, properties designer*
  • Susan Moser, choreographer
  • Michael Medina, stage manager*
  • John Murton, assistant conductor (Sunday matinee)*
  • Maria Fuller, rehearsal pianist*
  • Levi Hammer, rehearsal pianist*
  • Michael Medina, rehearsal pianist*

* CCM student

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 8
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to The Cunning Little Vixen are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 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/cunning-little-vixen.

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.

____

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal

Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith

CCM News
Logo for the University of Oklahoma's 4x4 Prizes for Composers and Conductors.

CCM Student and Alumnus Find Success at University of Oklahoma Conducting Competition

Both a current doctoral student and a recent CCM alumnus made the finals of the University of Oklahoma’s second-ever 4×4 Competition for Conductors and Composers. The competition took place last month and was open to both conductors and composers currently enrolled in a degree program or studying with a recognized professional composer or conductor.

Current CCM student Jiannan Cheng won second place in the conducting competition. A native of China, Cheng is currently pursuing her DMA in conducting under Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson. For her finish, Cheng received a $1,000 cash prize and was able to collaborate with the second-prize winning composer to perform one of their works during a concert with the OU Symphony in February.

Also making the finals was CCM alumnus Boon Hua Lien (MM Wind Conducting, 2013), who studied at CCM and was a teaching assistant under Director of Wind Studies Glenn D. Price. A native of Singapore, Lien currently lives in Rochester, New York, where he is pursuing his DMA in Orchestral Conducting (and serves as a teaching assistant) at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. He is also a conducting fellow with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!

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Cherished by music-lovers since its 1843 premiere, DON PASQUALE will delight audiences of all ages. Mark Gibson conducts this beloved opera buffa, with stage direction by Omer Ben-Seadia. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Announces 2016 Opera Scholarship Competition Results

Five voice students were named winners of CCM’s 2016 Opera Scholarship Competition, which was held on Saturday, March 12, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

Since its inauguration in 1976, the annual competition welcomes current and incoming CCM voice students to compete for scholarships and cash prizes, and a panel of judges composed of opera industry professionals selects each year’s class of prizewinners.

The 2016 CCM Opera Scholarship Competition winners are:

Kayleigh Decker (first year Master of Music student)
From Woodstock, Md., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Corbett Award ($15,000)
The Corbett Award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Christian Pursell (first year Master of Music student)
From Aptos, Calif., studying with Thomas Baresel
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Italo Tajo Memorial Scholarship Fund (established by Mr. Tajo’s wife, Mrs. Inelda Tajo) in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Erica Intilangelo (second year Master of Music student)
From Fairfield, Conn., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Andrew White Memorial Award ($12,500)
This award is supported by the Andrew White Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Murrella Parton (first year Master of Music student)
From Seymour, Tenn., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Seybold-Russell Award ($10,000)
The Seybold-Russell Award is supported by the Seybold-Russell Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Grace Newberry (first year Master of Music student)
From San Rafael, Calif., studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the John Alexander Memorial Award ($10,000)
This award is sponsored by the John Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The following student also received an award as part of the competition:

Alexandra Schoeny (incoming Doctor of Musical Arts student)
From Cincinnati, Ohio
Prize: Corbett Incentive Award for new graduate students ($2,000)
This award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The judges’ panel for CCM’s 2016 Opera Scholarship Competition included:

  • Michael Heaston, Director of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and Advisor to the Artistic Director at Washington National Opera and Associate Artistic Director of Glimmerglass Festival
  • Peter Kazaras, Professor of Music and Director of Opera at UCLA Herb Albert School of Music
    Stage Director
  • Viswa Subbaraman, Artistic and Music Director of the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee

About CCM Opera
The Department of Opera at CCM boasts one of the most comprehensive training programs for opera singers, coaches and directors in the United States. Students at CCM work with some of the most renowned teachers and artists active in opera today.

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. As recently reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, four singers with ties to CCM advanced to the semi-final round of this year’s Met Auditions.

In addition, CCM’s Mainstage and Studio Series of Opera have received some of the National Opera Association Production Competition’s highest honors throughout the years, taking home six of the 18 non-professional prizes awarded in 2010 and four prizes in 2011.

CCM Opera graduates have performed on the stages of the world’s greatest opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera, Metropolitan Opera (New York), Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera (London), La Scala (Italy) and more.

CCM’s 2015-16 opera season concludes next month with Janáček’s classic The Cunning Little Vixen (April 8 – 10), conducted by Mark Gibson with stage direction by Vince DeGeorge. Learn more about the production at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/cunning-little-vixen.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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CruelSister(web)

CCM Welcomes Pultizer Prize-Winning Composer Julia Wolfe for Residency in March of 2016

Composer Julia Wolfe. Photo by Peter Serling.

Composer Julia Wolfe. Photo by Peter Serling.

CCM welcomes 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe for a two-day residency on March 10 and 11, 2016. During her stay in Cincinnati, Wolfe will work with students in CCM’s Composition Department during their Composition Symposium.

“I’ve known Julia Wolfe since the early 1990s, when we both had residencies in Amsterdam,” explains CCM Professor of Composition Michael Fiday. “It’s such a thrill to be hosting her as a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer at CCM all these years later.”

In addition to her time with CCM’s rising artists, Wolfe will also attend the CCM Philharmonia’s annual “American Voices” concert at 8 p.m. on March 11, where Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson will lead the ensemble in a performance of Wolfe’s 2004 work Cruel Sister.

A monumental half-hour piece inspired by an old English tale of the same name, Cruel Sister will be performed along with the world premiere of a new symphony by CCM Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar Douglas Knehans and a concerto performance of Jennifer Hidgon’s Soprano Sax Concerto featuring CCM Faculty Artist and Performance Studies Division Head James Bunte.

“Julia’s music is both sensitive and visceral, and Cruel Sister is a powerful and bracing piece,” says Fiday. “We’re excited she’ll be here to spend time with our performers and our composition students. Can’t wait!”

Wolfe recently won the Pulitzer Prize for her concert-length oratorio Anthracite Fields, which chronicles the lives and hardships of miners in Pennsylvania’s coalfields. She has also regularly collaborated with and written for some of the world’s most recognized ensembles including the Kronos String Quartet, the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Orchestra. She is also the co-founder of Bang on a Can, a New York-based community whose mission is to create and perform new music.

Later on this March, the Kronos Quartet and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will perform Wolfe’s My Beautiful Scream as part of this year’s MusicNOW Festival.

Learn more about Julia Wolfe by visiting juliawolfemusic.com.

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