All of the Above

Group of CCM Musicians Named Ensemble-in-Residence at Xavier

A contemporary chamber music ensemble of six CCM students and alumni is now ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University. All of the Above will offer concerts and work with Xavier students in rehearsals and beyond as ensemble-in-residence. The residency also includes outreach performances in schools and throughout Cincinnati.

CCM students and alumni in All of the Above, a chamber music group recently named ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University.

CCM students and alumni in All of the Above, a chamber music group recently named ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University.

All of the Above musicians have made a name for their ensemble locally by performing with Classical Revolution Cincinnati and the MUSE concert series at the Cincinnati Art Museum. One of the goals of the ensemble is to create innovative musical experiences by challenging the aesthetics of the traditional classical concert, and the members believe that this new residency will enable their ensemble to bring their unique vision of art music to a wider audience.

The residency was in part created by the ensemble; All of the Above pianist Matthew Umphreys (MM Collaborative Piano 2014) is an adjunct professor at Xavier, and he approached the head of the music department to discuss the residency. Xavier has had ensembles-in-residence in the past, but not recently. The other members of All of the Above are CCM alumnus Walter Park (BM Violin Performance ’15) and CCM doctoral candidates Mikey Arbulu, clarinet; Caitlyn Chenault, cello; Nave Graham (MM Flute Performance ’14), flutist and David Abraham, percussion.

It can be difficult for students and young professional musicians to initiate a chamber ensemble, let alone a successful one. There are many constraints on their time, as young musicians often have multiple jobs, such as teaching lessons and freelance gigs, which lead to inconsistent availability.

The members of All of the Above have received the support of not only each other but also CCM faculty members, who coached the group on not only musical concerns but also the administrative challenges of running a music ensemble and creating cohesive artistic goals. However, Umphreys thinks that these concerns are secondary to the meat-and-potatoes of an ensemble: musical cohesion.

“I strongly believe that musical greatness is at the heart of any successful ensemble. Yes, we all are overloaded with ideas of business savvy and self-promotion, but this won’t get one very far if at the core there is an absence of intense capabilities and talent on one’s instrument,” Umphreys said.

“CCM has helped me become a better musician, no question. It has also taught me about hard work, dedication, tenacity, preparedness, how to collaborate with others, among many other skills– but this insatiable passion to be an incredible musician is the greatest thing I have taken from my time at CCM.”

All of the Above is a Pierrot-plus-percussion ensemble, which means that it uses the same instrumentation as Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire: flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, plus percussion. In fact, there’s a good reason that All of the Above has the Pierrot ensemble at its core, aside from the broad range of contemporary music written for that instrumentation.

“One of my favorite projects as an ensemble was one of our first: we tackled Schoenberg’s famous Pierrot Lunaire,” Umphreys said. “Working on such a complex and difficult piece forced us to develop rehearsal and performance practices that we still use to this day, and we learned how to communicate effectively with each other.”

All of the Above’s first concert as ensemble-in-residence at Xavier University will take place at 4 p.m. on Oct. 30 in Xavier’s Long Recital Hall. Admission is free.

“This residency has definitely put our ensemble on the map within the (contemporary) music scene in Cincinnati,” Graham said. “Even if people aren’t familiar with contemporary classical music, they have likely heard of Xavier University. So now we have a springboard to reach out to people with our unique mission and music.

“I think the familiarity of an established academic institution will allow people to feel more comfortable coming out to our shows. If our prospective audiences believe in Xavier, and Xavier believes in us, then in some way, the Cincinnati community already believes in us.”
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

 

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CCM Announces Partnership with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and World Piano Competition

2012 World Piano Competition Gold Medal Winner Alexander Yakovlev.

2012 World Piano Competition Gold Medal Winner Alexander Yakovlev.

Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, an annual classical piano competition featuring top performers from across the globe since 1956, is undergoing an expansion with two exciting new collaborations and instituting a variety of changes aimed at enhancing the quality of the event and making Cincinnati a truly world-class destination for classical piano performance.

Primary among the changes at the re-imagined competition, already a highly respected event, are partnerships with two of the city’s cultural cornerstones – the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Beginning with the July 2013 competition, finalists in the Artist Division will have the distinct honor of performing with the world-renowned CSO, made up of some of the world’s finest musicians and an ensemble that regularly collaborates with classical music’s premier performing artists. The performances featuring the finalists  will be led by CSO Associate Conductor Robert Treviño. The event will also move to CCM, one of the nation’s top performing and media arts conservatories, where the acclaimed faculty will oversee upgrades to the competition’s jury system.

Learn more about this exciting new partnership in today’s issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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CCM Prep and the CSO Present Adult Chamber Music Weekend Sept. 28-29.

The Preparatory Department of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Prep) is proud to announce a weekend to play chamber music and work with some of the finest musicians in the city. Adult musicians who want a chance to play chamber music with their peers shouldn’t miss this rare event, hosted by CCM Prep and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Community Engagement Program on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, 2012. All sessions will take place at CCM Village.

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