Composition Professor Michael Fiday Previews New Work at CCM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about CCM’s Composition program at ccm.uc.edu/music/cmt.
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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

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.

CCM News

CCM Announces Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events

CCMFall2014EventCalendarCover

Click on the image above to view CCM’s Fall 2014 Calendar Booklet.

This fall, CCM will present more than 100 public performances, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully staged opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions. You can learn more about our performance schedule below or you can stop by the CCM Box Office and pick up a copy of our Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events!

Download a copy of CCM’s Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events today. Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office.

Single tickets for CCM’s Mainstage and Concert Series performances go on sale today! Subscription and flex ticket packages are also still available.

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.

Event Information
All events listed below take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Please see individual event information for single ticket prices and ordering information. All event dates and programs are subject to change.

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 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 News

CCM Announces Spring 2014 Calendar of Major Events

Download CCM's Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet today.

Download CCM’s Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet today.

UPDATED March 7, 2014: CCM is delighted to announce its spring 2014 schedule of major events. The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 150 major public performances from Jan. 12 through May 18, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

Highlights of CCM’s spring concert series include the return of Cincinnati’s premiere fundraiser “A Moveable Feast” on Jan. 17, the Ariel Quartet’s Beethoven Cycle running Jan. 23 – March 29, a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle by guest artists Gerald Finley and Julius Drake on Feb. 5, the fifth annual Bearcat Piano Festival running Feb. 6 – 11, the 17th annual PRISM concert on Feb. 23, a performance of John Adams’ El Niño on March 2 and a celebration of the music of jazz legend Thelonius Monk on March 9.

CCM’s Mainstage Series also continues in early 2014 with a production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, directed by guest artist D. Lynn Meyers, running Feb. 5 – 9; the CCM debut of the iconic musical Les Misérables, running Feb. 27 – March 9;  Donizett’s comedic opera Don Pasquale, running April 3–6; and the quintessential romantic ballet Giselle, running April 17–19.

Learn more about these and dozens of other performing and media-arts events by referring to the list below. You can also view a digital copy of CCM’s Spring 2014 Calendar Booklet here.

CCM News

CCM Fall 2013 Calendar of Major Events – October, November and December Updates

Please note the following corrections and updates to CCM’s schedule of major events for the fall:

  • CCM’s Verdi Intensive Conducting Workshop will present a FREE exhibition concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, in Corbett Auditorium. The performance will feature selections from Verdi’s La Traviata and Don Carlos in a concert setting. Maestro Mark Gibson and 12 aspiring conductors from all corners of the United States will lead CCM’s Philharmonia and Concert Orchestras during this unique performance. Featuring Christopher Bozeka, tenor; Summer Hassan, soprano; Joseph Lattanzi, baritone; and Xi Wang, soprano.
  • Michael Fiday’s Oct. 12 Faculty Artist Recital has been rescheduled for Jan. 29, 2014.
  • The CCM Philharmonia‘s celebration of Richard Wagner‘s bicentenary on Saturday, Oct. 12, will feature footage from the 1983 film Wagner, which includes some imagery intended for mature audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
  • The 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, screening of Tony Palmer’s film Wagner in UC’s MainStreet Cinema has been cancelled.
  • In honor of the 50th anniversaries of both Cincinnati Ballet and CCM Dance, the 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, performance of the Fall Dance Concert will now feature a special appearance by dancers from Cincinnati Ballet! They will present excerpts from Val Caniparoli’s Caprice and from Cincinnati Ballet’s annual favorite The Nutcracker, along with excerpts from the company’s upcoming world premiere of the ballet King Arthur’s Camelot.
  • Due to overwhelming demand, CCM has added a 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, matinee performance to this years Feast of Carols holiday concert. CCM’s fabulous choirs and outstanding guest choirs will now perform at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on both Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.
You can always find the most up-to-date information on CCM’s calendar of events at ccm.uc.edu. Define your inspiration at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.
CCM News

CCM Presents Acclaimed Flutist Molly Alicia Barth and Guitarist Dieter Hennings In Concert This Week

CCM’s Guest Artist Series proudly presents Grammy Award-winning flutist (and CCM alumna) Molly Alicia Barth and acclaimed guitarist Dieter Hennings in concert at 8 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Tickets to this performance are free. Reservations are not required.

Barth and Hennings’ Jan. 24 performance is scheduled to include a performance of CCM Associate Professor of Composition Michael Fiday‘s Five Haiku for alto flute and guitar, along with Philippe Hurel’s Loops, Juan Trigos’ From Partita, André Jolivet’s Ascèses, Herbet Vazquez’s El jardín del pasaje púrpura, David Lang’s Vent, Jean Micahel Damase’s Quatre Facettes and Toru Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea.

Grammy Award-winning flutist Molly Alicia Barth.

Grammy Award-winning flutist Molly Alicia Barth.

About Molly Alicia Barth
Described as “ferociously talented” by The Oregonian, Grammy-Award winning flutist Molly Alicia Barth is an active solo, chamber and orchestral musician, specializing in the music of today. As a founding member of the new music sextet eighth blackbird, Barth toured extensively throughout the world, recorded four CDs with Cedille Records, won a 2008 Grammy (“Best Chamber Music Performance”) and was granted the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award, first prize at the 1998 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the 1998/2000/2002 CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, first prize at the 1997 Coleman Chamber Music Competition and first prize at the 1996 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

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CCM Contemporary Music Ensemble Presents Works by Renowned Young Composer Nico Muhly

Visiting Composer Nico Muhly.

Visiting Composer Nico Muhly.

CCM’s Café MoMus: Contemporary Music Ensemble presents the music of celebrated composer Nico Muhly at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Featuring guest artists Tatiana Berman, violin, and Grant Knox, tenor, the performance is presented in conjunction with the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts. Admission to the concert is free.

CCM News