CCM Village at night

CCM’s Music Theory and Musicology Society hosts student conference Sept. 11-12, 2020

CCM Village at night

The conference is designed to engage UC and non-UC students in the broad field of music scholarship

The Music Theory and Musicology Society (MTMS) at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) hosts its eighth biennial student conference on Sept. 11 and 12, 2020 (rescheduled from April 3-4). Entitled “Conversations in Music,” the conference is designed to engage both UC students and students from other institutions in the broad field of music scholarship.

The conference features keynote speakers Daniel Goldmark (Case Western Reserve University) and Jennifer Beavers (University of Texas at San Antonio). It will be held in conjunction with the long-running Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series at CCM.

The conference will include pre-recorded video presentations and live interactive sessions held virtually via Zoom. Please fill out the registration form below to receive emails with further information and links to access the presentation videos and Zoom platform.

Please note that the times listed in the schedule are in Eastern time zone.

Schedule

Friday, Sept. 11

2 p.m.

PIXAR’S MEMORIES: CONTEMPORARY CARTOON MUSIC SPEAKS TO THE PAST
Daniel Goldmark, Case Western Reserve University

The ever-increasing popularity of Hollywood animation, driven in part by the dominance of Pixar, has come about not just through technological advances or the breaking down of decades-old biases about cartoons being just for kids, but also through the emotionally nuanced storytelling deployed recently by studios. While practically all of Pixar’s features are overrun with issues of nostalgia, their more recent films—Inside OutFinding DoryCars 3Incredibles 2Toy Story 4—do more than simply revel in the remembrance of times past (real or imagined): they also explore the creation of memory and the reasons why memories fade or endure. Sound and music have played key roles in the recollections and impressions of all these films. In this presentation, I look at trends in scoring and sound design in animation to show how the melodies of childhood—and adulthood—are being used to drive the stories of recent Hollywood animated features—and how these stories revolve around how our notions of the past speak to the present and guide our future.


4:30 p.m.

MEET-AND-GREET “RECEPTION”


5:30 p.m.

PRESENTER Q&A SESSION


Saturday, Sept. 12

8-9:30 a.m.

CONFERENCE WORKSHOP
This year’s conference will include a workshop led by ethnomusicologist and CCM faculty member Scott Linford, PhD, inviting conference participants to engage in an interactive discussion focused on the application of sound studies in the areas of musicology, music theory and ethnomusicology.


10 a.m.-2 p.m.

PRESENTER Q&A SESSIONS


2 p.m.

The Music Theory and Musicology Society Conference Keynote
RAVEL’S SONIC ILLUSIONS
Jennifer Beavers, University of Texas at San Antonio
Ravel’s interwar compositions and transcriptions reveal a sophisticated engagement with timbre and orchestration. Of interest, is the way he uses timbre to connect and conceal passages in his music. In this talk, I look at the way he manipulates instrumental timbre to create sonic illusions that transform expectations, mark the form, and create meaning. I examine how he uses instrumental groupings to create distinct or blended auditory events. Using a sound-based analytical approach, I develop these descriptions of timbre and auditory scenes to interpret ways in which different timbre-spaces function. Through techniques such as timbral transformations, magical effects, and timbre and contour fusion, I examine the ways in which Ravel conjures sound objects in his music that are imaginary, transformative or illusory.


Conference Registration

Register for the conference by filling out an online form.

CCM’s Music Theory and Musicology Society engages all interested members of the UC community to discuss issues relating to music theory and musicology. The MTMS regularly maintains forums for the purpose of discussing theoretical, historical and cultural topics in music. Past MTMS Conference programs are available online.

Please e­mail all inquiries to MTMS Executive Board Members Rebecca Schreiber, Jacy Pedersen, Hannah Blanchette and Kabelo Chirwa at ccm.mtms@gmail.com.

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Stay Connected: CCMONSTAGE Online’s Latest Newsletter

Experience the artistry and expertise of our students, alumni, faculty and staff through our CCMONSTAGE Online e-newsletter. Our latest edition features performance videos, stories and other resources designed to help us stay connected.

UC plans to welcome back students to campus on Aug. 24 for the start of the fall semester. A thoughtful blend of in-person and virtual offerings, in addition to enhanced health and safety measures, will provide students with the best collegiate experience possible in this new era of living and learning. Learn more about UC’s Return to Campus.

Sign up to receive CCM’s e-newsletter at ccm.uc.edu/subscribe.

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Internationally acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge joins CCM’s opera faculty

Eldridge has worked across eight countries at some of the world’s most famous opera houses. His work has been praised by critics for its “thoughtful and effective” staging, with “detailed characterizations and considered through-lines” a hallmark of his directing style. Read more.


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FAQs and Online Resources

Please refer to our coronavirus resource website to help answer your frequently asked questions. This website is updated as new information develops, so please check back often. See more UC answers to your important questions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati’s response to COVID-19, please visit uc.edu/publichealth.


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Theatre lighting and projection designer Steven Piechocki joins CCM’s faculty

 

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of Steven Piechocki, MFA, to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. An accomplished lighting/projection designer and a skilled educator, Piechocki’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology began on Aug. 15, 2020.

CCM Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology Steven Piechocki

CCM Assistant Professor of Lighting Design and Technology Steven Piechocki

As a theatrical lighting and projection designer, Piechocki’s focus is on new technologies and their application for live entertainment. As an educator he is especially interested in projection and digital media production, and the integration of digital video, animation and motion graphics into event design and live performances.

Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati, Piechocki taught projection design and lightboard programming at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was also on staff as the Projection and Media Specialist for the Meadows School of the Arts. There he designed projections for theatre and dance including Machinal, As You Like It, Bolero and Rhapsody in Blue (choreographed by Alex Sanchez).

Piechocki has spent six seasons as the master electrician and a lighting/projection designer with the Lyric Repertory Company, a professional summer stock theatre in Logan, Utah. At Lyric Rep he has designed lights and/or projections for Murder for Two, Macbeth, A Raisin in the Sun (directed by Eric Ruffin) and Sense & Sensibility (directed by J.R. Sullivan, adapted by Sullivan and Joseph Hanreddy).  

Piechocki received his MFA in Theatre Design and Technology from Utah State University, specializing in lighting and projection design. At Utah State he designed lights and projections for multiple shows including Bonnie and Clyde, Emma, Disney’s Tarzan and Ah, Wilderness! (directed by Paul Barnes). While in graduate school, Piechocki was a Regional and National Lighting Design Finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in Washington, DC, for his design of the musical A Catered Affair. At KCACTF he workshopped under Tony-nominated designer Beverly Emmons and was awarded a Lighting Design Fellowship with the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT.

Originally an actor, Piechocki interned with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre after receiving his BFA in Theatre Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University. He then became an early company member for the Texas Repertory Theatre, under the artistic direction of Craig A. Miller in northwest Houston, before shifting his focus to design and technology.

“Steven’s interest and expertise in emerging theatre design technologies will give our students a competitive advantage as they begin their professional careers. As both a designer and an educator, Steven is an ideal successor to our dear colleague Mark Williams, who retired earlier this year,” said Romanstein. “I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of our search committee, which was co-chaired by Greg Falcione and Denton Yockey, and included Rebecca Bromels, Susan Felder, Sharon Huizinga and Matthew Tibbs.”

About CCM Lighting Design and Technology

CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production (TD&P) offers both a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) and master of fine arts (MFA) with specialization in Lighting Design and Technology, along with many other TD&P degree programs.

The production and the actors are unexpressive unless audiences can see them on stage. Good lighting design goes beyond the need for basic visibility into the realm of shadows, angles and colors as well as the subtleties of timing and rhythm. Lighting designers work closely with stage directors to bring out the intent of the production through mood atmosphere, composition and focus. Technicians must work with the sensitivity of an artist so that onstage dramatic effect and timing are achieved and maintained.

Students in the four-year undergraduate program take studio and production courses in all areas, beginning with introductory and basic courses and progressing to advanced sequences in a major area. Additionally, students study theatre history, script analysis, dramatic literature, English, world history and arts history, as well as other liberal arts and electives. Graduate students follow a similar, more special­ized structure in a two-year (or three-year) program. The balance among theater-related, academic and free-elective courses is established by NAST (National Association of Schools of Theater), which has accred­ited CCM’s programs.

Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu


Featured image at top: New CCM faculty member Steven Piechocki’s projection designs for a past production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Internationally acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge joins CCM’s opera faculty

 

CCM Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the addition of acclaimed stage director Greg Eldridge to the college’s roster of distinguished performing and media arts faculty members. Eldridge joins CCM as Associate Professor of Opera Directing.

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Greg Eldridge. Photo/Andrej Uspenski

Originally from Australia, Eldridge has worked on over 60 productions across eight countries at some of the world’s most famous opera houses. His work has been praised by critics for its “thoughtful and effective” staging, with “detailed characterizations and considered through-lines” a hallmark of his directing style.

A former recipient of a Bayreuth Scholarship from the Wagner Society of Victoria, Eldridge is one of only two people to have graduated from both of the world’s most prestigious opera directing programs – the Merola Program in San Francisco and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme in the UK. He has received 5-star reviews for his work for the national opera companies of Australia, Iceland and the United Kingdom, and has been the recipient of awards including Most Outstanding Director (OperaChaser Awards, 2018) and Best Director (Broadway World Awards in Sydney, 2019).

After receiving the 2004 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Philosophy, Eldridge studied Opera Directing at The Opera Studio Melbourne in Australia and the Accademia Europea di Firenze in Italy before relocating to the United Kingdom. After serving as Trainee Resident Director at The King’s Head Theatre in London, Eldridge worked on productions including I gioielli della Madonna for Opera Holland Park, all four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen for Longborough Festival Opera, Così fan tutte for the Landestheater Rudolstadt and he became the youngest director ever engaged by the state opera company in his hometown when he directed Ludus Danielis for Victorian Opera.

In 2013, Eldridge became the youngest – and first Australian – director to join the young artist program of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in London. There, he worked under luminary directors including Sir David McVicar, Sir Richard Eyre, John Copley and Kasper Holten, along with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Mark Wigglesworth, Alexander Joel, Nicola Luisotti, Marc Minkowski, Ivor Bolton and Gianandrea Noseda. Eldridge has also worked alongside international opera stars including Jonas Kaufmann, Sondra Radvanovsky, Rolando Villazón, Sonya Yoncheva, Sir Bryn Terfel, Anne Sofie von Otter, Sir Willard White, Dame Sarah Conolly, Nina Stemme, Roberto Alagna, Denyce Graves, Angela Gheorghiu and many others.

In 2016, The Royal Opera created a new position especially for Eldridge – the Jette Parker Associate Director – and Eldridge joined the board of Stage Directors UK (SDUK), the industry body representing and advocating for directors of live theatre throughout the United Kingdom. During his time on the board, SDUK published papers exposing inequalities in the freelance artist sector, provided evidence-based studies to government bodies and authored a major report alongside the National Theatre, RADA and The Old Vic that provided recommendations for structural changes in the way arts training organizations and theatres engage with directors from underrepresented demographics.

Eldridge has contributed articles to publications including Limelight Magazine, The Guardian UK and OperaNow Magazine, and has given guest lectures at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and St John’s College Cambridge, among others. He holds an Exceptional Talent visa from the United Kingdom, and has been recognized as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability by the United States government.

“CCM’s Departments of Opera and Voice provide unparalleled training programs for singers, stage directors and opera coaches. Our students will benefit from Greg’s vast experience on the world stage,” said Romanstein. “I want to thank our search committee – which was co-chaired by Robin Guarino and Denton Yockey, and included Bill McGraw, Mary Stucky, Jim Gage and Mark Gibson – for their help identifying CCM’s next great opera faculty member.”

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 the field today.

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which is widely considered to be the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. In 2019, soprano Elena Villalón (BM Voice, ’19) was named a Grand Finals Winner at the competition while she was still finishing her undergraduate degree at CCM. CCM’s other recent Grand Finals Winners include Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, ’16) in 2018, Amanda Woodbury (MM Voice, ’12) and Yi Li (AD Opera, ’13) in 2014 and Thomas Richards (MM Voice, ’13) in 2013. At least two CCM singers advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions in this year’s Met National Council Auditions: artist diploma students Amber Monroe and Teresa Perrotta.

CCM singers also recently won awards in other prestigious national competitions. Jessica Faselt won a $10,000 award and Alisa Jordheim (DMA Voice, ’15; MM Voice,’ 10) won a $1,000 Encouragement award at the 2020 George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers. Jasmine Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) won the silver medal in the 2020 American Traditions Vocal Competition. Edward Nelson (BM Voice, 2011; MM Voice, 2013) won first prize at the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup. Perrotta also advanced to the finals of the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition.

In addition, CCM Opera productions have received some of the National Opera Association Production Competition’s highest honors throughout the years.

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.

Learn more at ccm.uc.edu.


Featured image at top: A production photo of La scala di seta directed by Greg Eldridge at Royal Opera House Covent Garden London. Photo/Holly Pigot

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

Watch CCM’s 2020 Musical Theatre Senior Showcase

A group shot of CCM Musical Theatre's Class of 2020

Although the theaters and concert halls at UC’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned College-Conservatory of Music are temporarily silent, audiences can still experience world-class performances through the CCMONSTAGE Online video series. This week’s release features the CCM Musical Theatre Class of 2020’s Senior Showcase, which was performed on March 12, 2020, in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Featuring hit songs from Broadway, Off-Broadway and pop music, the Senior Showcase was created by CCM’s Musical Theatre Class of 2020 under the supervision of faculty. This year’s showcase was directed by CCM Musical Theatre alumnus Justin Bohon and advised by Rachel Hoffman. The showcase was associate directed by Katie Johannigman and produced by Diane Lala and Denton Yockey. Musical direction by Julie Spangler. The showcase also features an original song by CCM Acting alumnus Todd Almond.

Receive updates on future CCMONSTAGE Online performances by subscribing to our mailing list.

Get to know the graduating seniors by reading their professional summaries! 


Get to know CCM Musical Theatre’s Class of 2020

Andrew Alstat: Originally from Pomona, Illinois. Regional credits: Chuck Cranston in Footloose (The Muny), Albert in Newsies (Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts), Emmett in Legally Blonde, Billy Crocker in AnythingGoes (McLeod Summer Playhouse). CCM credits: Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show, Frederick in TheHunchback of Notre Dame, Angie the Ox in Guys and Dolls, Jesus Christ Superstar. Proud member of AEA. For more, visit andrewalstat.com and follow @a12tat on Instagram.


Nick Berninger:Originally from Wayne, New Jersey. Regional credits: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder (The D’Ysquith Family), Cabaret (Emcee), The Little Mermaid (Scuttle/Chef Louis) at Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, New Jersey Regional premier of School of Rock (Dewey Finn) at Union County PAC, South Pacific (Billis), Cats (Bustopher/Gus) at Interlakes Summer Theatre. CCM credits: 42nd Street (Julian Marsh), Guys and Dolls (Nicely Nicely Johnson), Mack and Mabel (Fatty Arbuckle) Seussical (Horton u/s) and The Secret Garden (Ben). Workshops/Readings: Home Street Home (Big John), Nasha America (Uncle Vadim) and Rocket Science (Doyle) with the CCM Musical Theatre Incubator Project. Proud member of the AEA. For more, visit nickberninger.com and follow @nick_berninger on Instagram. 

Kurtis Bradley Brown: Originally from Louisville, Kentucky. Regional credits: 42nd Street at Bucks County Playhouse, Sondheim on SondheimNewsies and Legally Blonde at the Lexington Theatre Company in the Euan Morton track, as the Crutchie understudy and as “Kiki, the colorist” (fierce!), respectively. CCM Credits: Dickon in The Secret Garden and many more. Currently training at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. For more, visit kurtisbradleybrown.com and follow @kurtisbradleybrown on Instagram.

Michael Canu: Originally from Rochester, Michigan. Regional credits: A Chorus Line (Mark) at the Cape Playhouse, Mamma Mia! (Sky) and West Side Story (Snowboy) at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, Footloose (Ren McCormack) and Newsies (Albert, Jack u/s) at the Clinton Showboat Theatre and The Nutcracker (Russian Soloist) with Michigan Ballet Theatre. He was also apart of the first symphonic version of Children of Eden (Adam) with Rochester Summer Music Theatre. CCM credits: 42nd Street (Andy Lee), Jesus Christ Superstar and Guys and Dolls (Harry The Horse). Michael won the Battaglia Scholarship Award for performance excellence in a musical. For more visit, michaelcanu.com and follow @michael_canu on Instagram.

Matt Copley: Originally from Detroit, Michigan. Regional credits: Grease and Oklahoma! at Pittsburgh CLO. Footloose (Ren) and Newsies at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts. Hockey: The Musical! (World Premiere) at City Theatre Detroit. Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy) at Riverbank Theatre. CCM credits: Guys and Dolls (Nathan Detroit), The Hunchback of Notre DameJesus Christ Superstar. Additional credits: Writer, Composer and Creator of blueprint the musical, Niko in Home Street Home workshop. Proud member of AEA. For more, visit matt-copley.com and follow @matt_copley on Instagram.

Madison Deadman: Originally from Ann Arbor, MI. Regional credits: Rock of Ages (Young Groupie) at PCLO, Cabaret (Sally Bowles) at Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, Les Miserables (Eponine), Joseph… Dreamcoat (Narrator) and Little Women (Amy) at Encore Musical Theatre Company, The Addams Family (Wednesday) at Thunder Bay Theatre. CCM credits: Godspell (Jesus), Theory of Relativity (Caroline). Workshops: Home Street Home (Mom) with Kevin McCollum, Jeff Marx and NOFX; Rocket Science (Jenny Ryerson) with Richard Israel. Television: PBS special: SciEngiMathePloration. Film: A Girl Like Her (Emily Sailler). Print: model for Kotex UBY. For more, visit madisondeadman.com and follow @mjdeadman on Instagram.

Bailee Endebrock: Originally from Herrin, Illinois. Regional credits: Mamma Mia (Sophie), Singin’ in the Rain (Kathy Selden), Oklahoma! (Dance Captain) at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts. A Chorus Line (Maggie) and Sondheim on Sondheim (Leslie Kritzer Track) at The Lexington Theatre Company. The Sound of Music (Liesl) and Bring it On (Campbell) at McLeod Summer Playhouse. CCM credits: 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), The Secret Garden (Dance Captain/Alice), Yeast Nation (Jan-the-Sweet), Guys and Dolls (Hot Box Girl). For more, visit baileeendebrock.com and follow @bailee_endebrock on Instagram.

Zoë Grolnick: Originally fromBoulder, Colorado. Regional credits: Rock of Ages at Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Godspell at Center Stage Theatre Company. CCM credits: 42nd Street (Anytime Annie), Guys and Dolls (Hot Box Chick), Theory of Relativity (Jenny), A Chorus Line (Vicki/Swing), Hunchback of Notre Dame and Seussical. For more, visit zoegrolnick.com and follow @zoegrolnick on Instagram.

Delaney Guyer: Originally from Seattle, Washington. Delaney studied Meisner at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York for two months following her sophomore year. She has performed in regional theatres across the country including the 5th Avenue Theatre of Seattle, Village Theatre of Issaquah, Washington, the Lexington Theatre Company in Kentucky, the KNOW Theatre of Cincinnati and Sound Theatre Company of Seattle. CCM credits: The Rocky Horror Show (Magenta)and Yeast Nation (Jan The Sly) Secret Garden (Lily), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Kayleen). For more, visit delaneyguyer.com and follow @delaneyguyer on Instagram.

Madison Hagler: Originally from Rainsville, Alabama. Regional credits: Gabe in Next to Normal (Porthouse Theatre), Pastor Olgethorpe in Smoke on the Mountain and Ensemble/Brother in Joseph…Dreamcoat (Totem Pole Playhouse). CCM credits: Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, Judas/John the Baptist in Godspell, Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Tap Ensemble in 42nd Street, Gargoyle/ King Louis XI in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Seussical the Musical, Children of Eden and Lewinsky in Rocket Science, a new musical workshop. As an expert magician, Madison has toured the southeast with his grand illusion show, and has appeared as Magic Consultant for shows such as Pippin, Godspell, Big Fish and The Bartered Bride. For more, visit madisonhagler.com or follow @MadisonAdamsHagler on Instagram. 

Elijah Lee King:Originally from Arlington, Virginia. Regional credits: Man of La Mancha (Pedro) and Music Man at Porthouse Theatre, Mamma Mia! at Totem Pole Playhouse and Joseph…Dreamcoat (Joseph) at City of Fairfax Theatre Co. CCM credtis: The Secret Garden (Ian Shaw), 42nd Street (Assistant Director), Yeast Nation (The Youngest), Guys and Dolls (Big Jule), Jesus Christ Superstar (Solider), The Little Mermaid Ballet (King Triton), Mack and Mabel (Ensemble). TV/Film: Power (STARZ), I Was Possessed (Lifetime), Copycat Killers (REELZ) and Evil Kin (Discovery ID). For more, visit elijahleeking.com and follow @Elijah_Lee_King on Instagram.

Kylie Liya Page:Originally adopted from China, from New York. Broadway credits: 2006 revival Les Miserables (Young Cosette/ Eponine) at the Broadhurst Theater. National Tours credits: How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Annie Who/ u.s. Cindy Lou), Les Miserables (Young Cosette/ Eponine) at Theater of the Stars. Readings/Workshops: The Nightingale by Duncan Shiek/Steven Sadar (Nightingale) NYSAF with James Lapine and at Vassar College with Moises Kaufman. Nasha America (Jackie) at CCM. Film/TV: Friends From College (Teenager) Netflix, Gossip Girl (Constance Girl) CW Network/ Netflix, Ninja Assassin (Young Kariko) Warner Bros., Step Up 3D (Ice Cream Truck Girl) Disney. Off Broadway: Carousel (Louise) NAAP at the Peter J. Sharp Theater. CCM credits: (Dance Ensemble) in Jesus Christ SuperstarThe Hunchback of Notre Dame42nd Street at CCM. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. For more, visit kylieliya.com and follow @kylieliya on Instagram. 

Sam Pickart: Originally from Wisconsin. Regional credits: Anything Goes (Billy Crocker) and Saturday Night Fever (Gus) at Mac-Haydn Theatre, Mamma Mia (Sam Carmichael) and Bonnie & Clyde (Bob Alcorn) at Summer Repertory Theatre, Parade (Frankie Epps) at Greendale Theatre. CCM credits: The Secret Garden (Dr. Neville Craven), Guys and Dolls (Benny Southstreet), Theory of Relativity (Paul), 42nd Street (Pat Denning), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Tribunal/Gargoyle). For more, visit sampickart.com and follow @sampickart on Instagram.

Erich W. Schleck: Originally from Seattle, Washington. Regional credits: Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter) and Newsies (Finch) at NCC Summer Theatre, Spring Awakening (Melchior) and Cabaret (Emcee) at Ballyhoo Theatre and the Original Cast Recording of A Christmas Story: The Musical with the 5th Avenue Theatre. CCM credits: The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff), Yeast Nation (Jan-the-Wise), Guys and DollsJesus Christ SuperstarSondheim on SondheimChildren of Eden and the CCM Musical Theatre Incubator of Rocket Science (Heston). He originated the role of Rodrich in Nasha America in Cincinnati and NYC with Alchemation. Erich is also a choreographer with work that includes Big Fish (Village Theatre), Spring AwakeningWizard of OzRENT and Once on this Island (5th Avenue Award Recipient). His original dance show This Moment premiered at CCM during a workshop in Spring 2019. For more, visit erichschleck.com and follow @erichschleck on Instagram.

Hank von Kolnitz: Originally from Alexandria, Virginia. Regional credit: West Side Story (Big Deal) at The Lex; Little Mermaid (Prince Eric), Jesus Christ Superstar (Pontius Pilate) at the Clinton Area Showboat. West Side Story (Riff), Chicago and The Drowsy Chaperone at Santa Rosa Summer Rep; Mamma MiaBest Little Whorehouse in Texas at Totem Pole Playhouse. CCM credits: Rocky Horror Picture Show (Eddie/Dr. Scott), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ensemble), Seussical (Ensemble U/S Wickershams), Guys and Dolls (Rusty Charlie) and more. For more, visit hankvonkolnitz.com and follow @hankvonko on Instagram.


About CCM Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the oldest in the country and was the first of its kind. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for the accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide.

The program provides professional conservatory training designed to help singers, dancers and actors become accomplished musical theatre performers. Students participate in a number of productions while in residence and create a freshman and a senior showcase, the latter functioning as their New York debut for agents and casting directors. In addition, students undertake courses in English, history, psychology, dramatic literature, social and ethical issues and the humanities.

CCM Musical Theatre is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. CCM Musical Theatre graduates are working on Broadway and throughout the nation in such productions as AnastasiaHamiltonWaitressMoulin RougeThe Phantom of the OperaThe Book of Mormon, Pippin, WickedJersey BoysLes Misérables, Kinky Boots, Big Fish, Newsies and The Lion King. Students represent CCM in national and international touring productions, in dinner theatres and theme parks, on cruise ships, on television, in talent agencies, as producers and in many of the related entertainment fields.

The Musical Theatre program is part of a larger academic division known as TAPAA: Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration. At the time of its establishment in 1991, the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM 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.

Learn more about CCM’s BFA Musical Theatre program.

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Alumnus recruits MLB stars and musicians for virtual rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’

Warm up for the start of the Major League Baseball season with a special virtual performance of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that showcases UC College-Conservatory of Music students and alumni with MLB players. The performance is available to watch online.

Alumnus Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19) brought 200 people together for the performance, which was professionally produced with help from former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The performance features singers and musicians from CCM and the Brooklyn College. Filling out the roster for the project are Bret Saberhagen (pitcher in the Royals Hall of Fame and 1985 World Series champion and former Met); Jim Day (FOX Red’s baseball announcer); Susan Roush Dellinger (author of “Red Legs and Black Sox” and granddaughter of Baseball Hall of Famer Edd Roush); Nick Martinez (pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball and former Ranger’s pitcher); Aristides Aquino (Red’s outfielder); Dale Scott (Former MLB umpire) and many others.

The video features 22 CCM students and alumni representing multiple areas of the college including violin, cello, clarinet, double bass, oboe, flute, piano, harp, horn and more. It also includes CCM Professor of Music (Tuba and Euphonium) Tim Northcut. It was produced by CCM Commercial Music Production alumni Armin Meyer and Grant Bayer, who are audio engineers at Cincinnati’s Zated Records. Many of these students and alumni also participated in Sheckler’s virtual performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” CCM students and alumni involved in the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” performance include:

  • Armin Meyer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)
  • Grant Bayer (BM Commercial Music Production, ’18)
  • Natalie Orth (BM Violin, ’20)
  • Jonathan Lin (BM Violoncello, ’18)
  • Carolyn Regula – former DMA Violoncello student
  • Peter Ryan (MM Violoncello, ’19) – current DMA Violoncello current
  • Sarah Minnemanm – current DMA Oboe student
  • Patrick Grimone (BM Oboe, ’19)
  • Taylor Overholt (BM Clarinet, ’19)
  • Collin Goff – current BM Music Education and Clarinet
  • David Goist (BM Violin, ’16; MM Violin, ’18)
  • Kanako Shimasaki – current DMA Violin student
  • Taylor Fleshman (BM Harp, ’18)
  • Evan Sacks-Wilner – current BM Tuba student
  • Li-han Eliza Tseng (DMA Violoncello, ’19)
  • Katie Riley – current BM Flute student
  • Ryan Penshorn – former BM Horn student
  • Eliza Edge (BM Horn, ’19)
  • Phillip Palmore (BM Horn, ’20)
  • Taiga Benito – current BM Double Bass student
  • Harrison Sheckler (BM Piano, ’19)
  • Tim Garner (BM Commercial Music Production, ’19)

The performance has earned media attention from the Cincinnati EnquirerWGN-TVBackstage and Spectrum News.

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CSO Diversity fellows performing at Music Hall

CSO and CCM announce 2020-22 class of Diversity Fellows

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected four outstanding musicians for their next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. Born out of a mutual desire to help American orchestras be more inclusive and to better represent the communities they serve, the performance fellowship program was launched in 2015 with a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through the collaborative program, CCM and the CSO provide graduate level academic study and professional development and performance opportunities for the Diversity Fellows while simultaneously catalyzing a more inclusive environment for underrepresented musicians in the orchestra field. The program’s tagline — “Bravos Without Barriers” — gets to the heart of its mission: eliminating obstacles that can prevent extraordinary musicians from achieving their full potential.

“The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra exists to serve our community. Our entire community.” said CSO President Jonathan Martin. “But how can we authentically serve our entire community if a significant part of that community doesn’t see themselves reflected in our organization? The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship is one of many steps we are taking to address this disparity. By providing professional opportunities to a more diverse group of outstanding musicians, we hope to cultivate—and begin changing —the next generation of American orchestral musicians.”

“The University of Cincinnati’s ‘Next Lives Here initiative is built on the interdisciplinary pillars of innovation, inclusion and impact, and the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship program is a perfect example of how those three principles can lead us into a new era,” said CCM Dean Stanley Romanstein. “Our Fellowship is designed to remove the barriers that can prevent talented musicians from pursuing professional carriers in music, but the work to change the face of American orchestras is ongoing. If we’re serious about enhancing racial and ethnic diversity in the arts, orchestras and conservatories have to work together to become more accessible to a diverse population of artists, and we have to do everything possible to help prepare them for long-term success.”

Four exceptional string players will officially join the two-year fellowship program in August 2020, bringing the total number of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows to nine for the 2020-21 academic year and performance season. The new Fellows are:

  • Maalik Glover, violin
  • Amy Nickler, double bass
  • Max Oppeltz-Carroz, cello
  • Javier Otalora, viola

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program is open to exceptional violin, viola, cello and double bass players coming from historically underrepresented populations in classical music. The program is highly competitive, and each class of Fellows is selected through a rigorous series of auditions. Every year, hundreds of candidates audition for CCM faculty members for admission to the Conservatory. From that pool a select group is then invited back to Cincinnati for Diversity Fellowship auditions with CSO musicians. The program saw its largest finalist group ever during the 2019-20 audition cycle, with 21 applicants invited to the final round of physically distanced auditions on March 14, 2020.

The Diversity Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music (MM) or Artist Diploma (AD) graduate degree program at CCM. The program also includes private lessons, mock auditions, professional development and audition travel assistance, career development workshops and mentorship from CSO musicians.

Each Fellow receives full tuition scholarship support from CCM, in addition to a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and a one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000. Each Fellow also receives compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.

The program also partners with the Chautauqua Institution which offers Fellows a summer residency with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and professional development opportunities during its nine-week summer season.

Twelve musicians have graduated from the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship to date. The third class of Diversity Fellows, which is comprised of Camellia Aftahi (double bass), Yan Izquierdo (violin), Arman Nasrinpay (violin) and Alexis Shambley (violin), recently completed the program at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. Alumni have gone on to work with orchestras such as the Dallas, National, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, as well as continuing as freelance artists and educators across the country.

Meet The Fellows

Maalik Glover

Maalik Glover

Maalik Glover

Master of Music (MM) student, Violin

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Maalik Glover has studied the violin since the age of 11. Glover’s first significant accomplishment was his acceptance into the Talent Development Program, an initiative launched by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra that targets gifted African-American and Latino music students to further develop their future careers as accomplished classical musicians. This program allowed him to meet and study with his first teacher, Justin Bruns (associate concertmaster of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra), during his adolescence. In 2015, Glover graduated with a Fine Arts Diploma Seal from Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts.

Glover has performed in Italy, Canada and throughout the U.S. He made his first professional orchestra debut in October 2017 when he subbed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of George Del Gobbo. Glover has also spent two summers performing with the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy in Powell River, British Columbia. While there, he received intense orchestral training from Dennis Kim and Richard Roberts, concertmasters of Pacific Symphony and Montreal Symphony Orchestra, respectively.

In May 2019, Glover graduated summa cum laude from Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music. During his time here, he studied with Boris Abramov, principal second violinist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. While attending the Schwob School of Music, Glover received recognition at competitions such as being awarded an honorable mention in the Schwob School of Music Concerto Competition and was a finalist in Lagrange Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition.


Amy Nickler

Amy Nickler

Amy Nickler

Artist Diploma (AD) student, Double Bass

Born and raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Amy Nickler began playing the violin at age six. Six years later she switched to the double bass and has loved it ever since.

In recent years, Nickler has participated as a fellow in several festivals and orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra NOW, Oslo Kammerakademi, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and Miami Music Festival. In July 2016, Nickler was a winner of the Concerto Competition honoring Ida Haendel with the opportunity to perform as a soloist in the New World Center with the Miami Music Festival Orchestra. Aside from performing, Nickler enjoys her time as a teaching artist for the Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc. and the Volta Music Foundation in Havana, Cuba.

Nickler received her Bachelor of Music at Lynn Conservatory in 2017 with Professor Timothy Cobb and she received her Master of Music at Yale School of Music with Professor Donald Palma in 2019.


Maximiliano Oppeltz-Carroz

Maximiliano Oppeltz-Carroz

Maximiliano Oppeltz-Carroz

Artist Diploma (AD) student, Cello

Max Oppeltz-Carroz started playing the cello at the age of four as a student of El Sistema in Caracas, Venezuela. As a part of the world-renowned music program, Oppeltz-Carroz played in the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the Chacao Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Caracas Municipal Orchestra. He studied with Cesar Noguera, Marek Gajzler and German Marcano. He also participated in numerous master classes with cellists such as Natalia Gutman and Phillip Muller.

In 2014, Oppeltz-Carroz moved to the U.S. to study at the Juilliard School with Professor Richard Aaron. As an undergraduate student, Oppeltz-Carroz participated in several lessons and master classes with cellist Franz Helmerson and studied chamber music with musicians such as Roger Tapping, Sam Rhoades, Sylvia Rosenberg and Jerome Lowenthal. In 2016, Oppeltz-Carroz was fortunate to attend the Music Academy of the West, the highlights of which were taking lessons with Lynn Harrel and performing alongside faculty Warren Jones and Kathleen Winkler.

In 2018, Oppeltz-Carroz moved to Denver to study at the Lamont School of Music as a Newman Graduate Fellow under Matthew Zalkind. While in Denver, he was fortunate to perform alongside faculty both at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music and at the Denver Chamber Music Festival.

Oppeltz-Carroz is extremely grateful to be playing on a 1880 French cello from the Caussin School, generously loaned by the Virtu Foundation.


Javier Otalora

Javier Otalora

Javier Otalora

Artist Diploma (AD) student, Viola

Javier Otalora was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, and began playing violin at age six. In 2018, he graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied violin with Gregory Fulkerson and Sibbi Bernhardsson and viola with Kirsten Docter and Peter Slowik. Otalora is also a recent graduate of the University of Michigan where he received his Master of Music in viola performance with Caroline Coade on a full scholarship.

Otalora was an Orchestral Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival in 2019 and has attended summer festivals such as the Meadowmount School, the Red Rocks Chamber Festival, the Dali Chamber Festival and Spoleto Festival USA. Otalora is a passionate orchestra, chamber and contemporary music player. He has performed with musicians and groups such as the Lansing Symphony, the Aspen Conducting Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, the University of Michigan’s Contemporary Directions Ensemble and Sibbi Bernhardsson from the Pacifica Quartet.

Otalora is also involved in music education, having taught violin and viola in Panama for two consecutive years through Oberlin’s “Panama Project.” In addition, he has taught violin, viola and chamber music at the Oberlin Community Music School and was also a strings teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 2017, Otalora received the Martin L. King Career Grant which allowed him to return to Panama that summer and run his own chamber camp at the University of Panama. In his free time, Otalora  enjoys eating pizza with friends, reading about airplanes, and fixing computers and printers.


About the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

With a rich tradition that dates back 125 years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is considered one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles. Led by Louis Langrée, the Orchestra’s distinguished roster of past music directors includes Frank van der Stucken, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ysaÿe, Fritz Reiner, Eugene Goossens, Max Rudolf, Thomas Schippers, Michael Gielen, Jesús López Cobos, and Paavo Järvi. Matthias Pintscher will be the Orchestra’s Creative Partner beginning with the 2020-21 season, and past Creative Directors include Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Lang Lanag, Philip Glass, Branford Marsalis and Jennifer Higdon. The Orchestra also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, founded by Erich Kunzel in 1977. John Morris Russell has led the Pops since 2010 and Damon Gupton is Principal Guest Conductor.

Since its beginnings, the CSO been a proponent of the music of its time, performing the American premieres of works by important composers including Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók, and commissioning many works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including two iconic works by Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait. The Orchestra continues to commission works, amplifying new voices from a diverse array of backgrounds.

With groundbreaking initiatives including CSO Proof, CSO Look Around, LUMENOCITY and the MusicNOW Festival collaboration, the Orchestra champions innovation. As an ambassador for Cincinnati, the region, and for the U.S., the CSO has toured extensively, most recently to Asia and Europe in 2017. The CSO was the first American orchestra to be featured on a national radio broadcast and continues to reach millions of listeners across the country and around the world through the airwaves, digital streaming and commercial recordings on the CSO’s own Fanfare Cincinnati label.

The Orchestra also performs, records and tours as the Cincinnati Pops and elevates Cincinnati’s vibrant arts scene by serving as the official orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet.

Committed to inclusion and relevance and to enhancing and expanding music education for the children of Greater Cincinnati, the Orchestra works to bring music education, in its many different forms, to as broad a public as possible. Education and outreach programs currently serve more than 80,000 individuals annually. The groundbreaking CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship, a nationally recognized program in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, provides  Masters degree-level education and professional development and performance opportunities for extraordinary young musicians from  historically underrepresented populations in classical music.

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. The school’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at its core since that time.

CCM offers nine degree types (BA, BM, BFA, MFA, MM, MA, AD, DMA, PhD) in nearly 120 possible majors. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world stage.

CCM works to bring out the best in its students, faculty and staff by valuing their unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. CCM’s student population hails from 43 different US states and 32 different countries. The school’s roster of eminent faculty members regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success.

For more information about CCM, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.


Featured image at top: CCM graduate students Jordan Curry and Magdiell Antequera perform with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. Photo/Mark Lyons.

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The four members of the Ariel Quartet, string quartet-in-residence at CCM, pose on a couch with their musical instruments. Photo by Marco Borggreve.

Stream the Ariel Quartet’s Final CCM Concert of 2019

Although the theaters and concert halls at the University of Cincinnati’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned College-Conservatory of Music are temporarily silent, audiences can still experience world-class performances through CCM’s new CCMONSTAGE Online video series. This week’s release showcases the Ariel Quartet’s concert of fugues from Oct. 22, 2019.

The performance features W.A. Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546; Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1, Op.7; and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130 and 133.

The concert from Oct. 22, 2019, features Beethoven’s Große Fuge (or “Great Fugue”), which the Ariel Quartet performed in its debut Beethoven cycle at CCM in the 2013-14 performance season. Arts reporter Janelle Gelfand praised the ensemble’s performance: “From start to finish, the musicians wonderfully captured Beethoven’s emotional grit and fire, coupled with some of the most sublime music ever written.”

Described by the American Record Guide as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power,” the Ariel Quartet has earned a glowing international reputation. The ensemble is comprised of Alexandra “Sasha” Kazovsky, violin; Amit Even-Tov, cello; Gershon Gerchikov, violin; and Jan Grüning, viola. The group was formed in Israel in 1998 and has served as CCM’s string quartet-in-residence since 2012.

The Ariel Quartet’s 2019-20 CCM concert series was made possible by the generous contributions of an anonymous donor, The Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander, Mrs. William A. Friedlander, Dr. Randolph L. Wadsworth, Mr. & Mrs. J. David Rosenberg, Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen, Elizabeth C. B. & Paul G. Sittenfeld, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman, Dr. & Mrs. Theodore W. Striker and Mrs. Harry M. Hoffheimer.

Receive updates on future CCMONSTAGE Online performances by subscribing to our mailing list.

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Featured image at top: Ariel Quartet members Jan Grüning, Amit Even-Tov, Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra “Sasha” Kazovsky. Photo/Marco Borggreve

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CCM Arts Administration Student wins Gena Branscombe Project Award

In its inaugural year, the Gena Branscombe Project has awarded its 2020 scholarships to four women, including UC College-Conservatory of Music Arts Administration student Sydney Pepper. The scholarships support the winners in their continuing pursuit of undergraduate and graduate studies and shine “a light on exceptional emerging, talented, women in music.”

CCM Arts Administration student Sydney Pepper. Photo/Provided.

CCM Arts Administration student Sydney Pepper. Photo/Provided.

Named after influential composer and advocate of contemporary American music Gena Branscombe (1881-1977), the Project awarded Pepper the 2020 Emerging Arts Administrator scholarship. It also awarded the 2020 Emerging Composer scholarship to Catherine Willingham, the 2020 Emerging Conductor scholarship to Genevieve Welch and gave a 2020 Emerging Conductor Honorable Mention award to Michaela Gleason. Read more about the award winners in the online announcement.

Pepper will begin her second year in CCM’s MA/MBA Arts Administration program in August. Her experience in Cincinnati spans from working in CCM Preparatory and Community Engagement to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. She was originally scheduled to serve as a development intern for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis this summer, but COVID-19 cancelled those plans. Instead, Pepper is doing development work for both the Portland Bach Experience in Maine and for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

“The [CCM] Arts Admin program has transformed and expanded my love of the field,” says Pepper, who previously attended Clark University to pursue a vocal performance degree. “A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined the amount of knowledge that I would have gained throughout this year, but I am so very grateful. Not only am I grateful for all of the learning opportunities, but I could never express enough my gratitude to Professors Jean Hamilton and Rebecca Bromels as well as my cohort, all of whom have made a year full of uncertainty and challenges so, so much easier.”

Pepper’s first experience as an arts administrator was with the Portland Bach Experience, where she began as an intern and worked her way to Festival Manager. In her senior year at Clark University, she served as the Marketing and Box Office Coordinator for Music Worcester, Inc. and as the President of the Clark University Choirs. Under her supervision, the Clark University Choirs performed a 21st century revival of lost composer Gena Branscombe’s Pilgrims of Destiny.

About the Gena Branscombe Project

The Gena Branscombe Project is dedicated to the revival and performance of the music of American composer and conductor Gena Branscombe. Founded by Branscombe experts and family members, the project seeks to continue the spirit of Branscombe’s lifelong example of inspiring women in music, by awarding three yearly scholarships in her honor. All proceeds of the revived music go to support the yearly scholarships. The project is run by Kathleen Shimeta, Daniel P. Ryan and Regan Siglin.

About Gena Branscombe

The legacy of Gena Branscombe (1881-1977) is that of composer, conductor and leader of women in music. Composing over 150 arts songs, chamber music, piano pieces and choral works, they were available from 23 different publishers. As a conductor she led MacDowell choruses, the Chicago Women’s Symphony, college choirs, women’s club choruses and her own Branscombe Choral. These groups under her direction performed music by American composers and in particular, American women composers. Holding national office Branscombe was a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, National League of American Pen Women, National Federation of Music Clubs, Society of American Women Composers, Altrusa International and more. At meetings on the state and local levels she encouraged women to be active in their communities’ music organizations and to perform at their own meetings. She organized and presented programs of American music for club members to use as guidelines for programming. Branscombe was a wife, mother of four, pianist, composer, conductor and leader of women whose legacy inspires the Gena Branscombe Project scholarships.

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A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

CCM Acting Faculty, Alumni and Students Embrace Local and National Digital Theatre

A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

Cincinnati Playhouse and the One-Minute Play Festival share creative monologues and short-plays featuring CCM Acting faculty, alumni and students

The pandemic isn’t stopping theatre artists from connecting and sharing their work. Although they can’t gather on stage or perform in front of an in-person audience right now, actors and directors are creating digital spaces to share theatre online.

CCM Acting Professor Brant Russell recently participated in two digital theatre efforts through Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Monologues of Hope series and the national One-Minute Play Festival (1MPF).

“A bunch of us have refused to allow the lack of sanctioned or safe traditional theatre methods to hamper our practice. We can’t gather, we can’t even be near each other, but the need to make work still exists, and the audiences for it are there,” Russell says. “Zoom/digital theatre is a burgeoning practice, and I’m proud CCM is in the mix.”

The Playhouse’s series commissioned 10 local playwrights to write monologues on the theme of hope during the pandemic. Each monologue is performed by a local actor and shared on the Playhouse’s website and social media accounts. So far, the Monologues of Hope Series has shared nine new works, including Russell’s Play for Our Time and Hope Deconstructed by CCM Acting alumna Torie Wiggins (BFA, ’02).

In Play for Our Time, Russell travels back in time to the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1878 to get some advice from Cincinnati Chief Health Administrator Dr. Thomas C. Minor, portrayed by actor Barry Mulholland. The 19th-century doctor is a bit uncomfortable with Russell’s “rectangle device” (smart phone), but he manages to share some timely words of wisdom.

Wiggins’ Hope Deconstructed features actor Ernaisja Curry in a comedic monologue that examines how “we’ve been getting hope all wrong” by associating it with negativity. “Hope should be hopeful. It should sound hopeful; it should look hopeful. It should start in the eyes like smizing, then the rest of the face follows suit, then the tone of voice, then the positive words with a burst of energy,” the actor exclaims in the monologue.

Hope and creativity fuel these digital theatre projects and various online performances across the country. It is evident in the commitment of these teachers, students, actors, directors and theatre companies who are determined to stay connected and share their work in new ways.

“Theatre develops and strengthens community,” says CCM Acting student Anastasia Jacques. “Digital theatre and live performances over Zoom have made me feel so connected to people very far away.”

Jacques participated in the One Minute Play Festival’s (1MPF) Coronavirus Plays Project, which presented 625 plays via Zoom over 11 days. Russell directed 62 of the one-minute plays, which ranged in topic from “old married couples dealing with quarantine to pigeons deciding on whom they should poop,” he says.

Dominic D’Andrea is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the 1MPF, which is the country’s largest and longest consistently running community-engaged theatre project. Russell directed 1MPF plays when it came to Chicago in 2011 and wrote/directed for the IMPF when it came to Cincinnati in 2015. He cast CCM students for the project and passed his directing duties to a CCM Acting student the next year. A CCM Acting student has been directing for the Cincinnati 1MPF each year ever since, and Russell continues to write plays for it.

“We produce about 1,000 plays a year in 15-20 cities and communities, in real life. We just moved what we do online, so it wasn’t that hard for us,” D’Andrea says of the 1MPF Coronavirus Plays Project. “In this case we did a partnership with The Dramatists Guild of America and, for the first time ever, did an open call. We had about 1,300 emails and 625 useable plays from that. We offered the work up to our partnering orgs and alumni directors to stage some of it. So we built a little online coalition.”

Brant Russell directs CCM Acting students, alumni and other actors through Zoom in the 1MPF's Coronavirus Plays Project. Photo/1MPF

Brant Russell directs CCM Acting students, alumni and other actors through Zoom in the 1MPF’s Coronavirus Plays Project. Photo/1MPF

Russell and D’Andrea have known each other for around 15 years, dating back to when they met at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. When D’Andrea launched 1MPF’s Coronavirus Plays Project, he enlisted Russell to direct 62 of them.

D’Andrea estimates that a couple thousand audience members watched the plays through Zoom, and the project involved about 14 directors, 120 actors and 625 writers from 14 different countries.

Russell’s casts included Jacques as well as CCM Acting alumni Ella Eggold (BFA, ’19), Gabriella DiVincenzo (BFA, ’19) and Paige Jordan (BFA, ’20).

Jacques played various roles during the 1MPF project including a loving spouse, a poetic farmer and — her favorite — a doting New Jersey mother. This was the first digital theatre project she has worked on, but it won’t be the last. Jacques is planning to be a guest speaker on “Reliving Childhood,” a YouTube channel launched by CCM Acting students Carlee Coulehan, Sierra Coachman and Noah Buyak. “Reliving Childhood” centers around re-watching TV shows from the students’ youth, and the idea was brought to life when students were separated during quarantine.

“We are taught that live theatre is magical because the audience and the actors are in the same room breathing the same air, but I think it is important to recognize that storytelling is the best medicine — period,” Jacques says. “If we can’t breathe the same air at least we can see each other’s faces and see each other’s hearts.”


Featured image at top: The entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC’s campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

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