CCM Piano Series Presents Annual Bearcat Piano Festival and Piano-POW-Looza

CCM spotlights world-class pianists this spring with the return of the annual Bearcat Piano Festival! The festivities begin on Friday, March 31 and conclude on Sunday, April 2 with the Piano-POW-Looza concert, featuring CCM’s own talented student performers. All events will take place in the Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

Launched in 2010 by CCM Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Awadagin Pratt, this year’s Bearcat Piano festival invites several internationally acclaimed artists to the stage. Pianist John Perry opens the festival with a master class at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris.

Traveling all the way from China, students of Shandong University perform a special program of Chinese classical music at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 31. Also joining the festival this year are University of Michigan students, who visit CCM to perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1.

Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Paul Schenly will teach a master class at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Schenly has toured twice in the United States with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and toured with the same orchestra in Europe. He has been a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic.

Finally, the 2017 Bearcat Piano Festival comes to a close with Piano-POW-looza at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. Organized by Piano Department Chair Michael Chertock, the event spotlights the talents of a select few from CCM’s nearly 100 dazzling piano majors. This year’s concert features a special tribute to the beloved musicians who have passed away in recent months.

Schedule of Events

 2 p.m. Friday, March 31
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Master Class with John Perry, piano
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Friday, March 31
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Shandong University Student Recital
The Bearcat Piano Festival welcomes student pianists from Shandong University for a special recital of Chinese classical music.
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE

Saturday, April 1  2 p.m. Sunday, April 2
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
Master Class with Paul Schenly, piano
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE

7 p.m. Saturday, April 1
• Bearcat Piano Festival •
PROGRAM CHANGE: John Perry’s guest artist performance has been cancelled. In his place CCM welcomes University of Michigan Student Pianists.
Guest artists from the University of Michigan perform as part of this year’s annual Bearcat Piano Festival!
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Admission: FREE

7 p.m. Sunday, April 2
• Piano Series •
Some of CCM’s award-winning piano students and alumni demonstrate their amazing talents at one, two and three pianos. This concert also features a surprise tribute!
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Tickets: $15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE

Event Information
All events listed take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. The Piano-POW-looza Student Showcase concert requires paid admission. All other Bearcat Piano Festival events are free and open to the general public.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

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

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit

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

All-Steinway School Sponsor: The Corbett Endowment at CCM

CCM is proud to be an All-Steinway School

Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

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CCM Piano Students Perform in Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition

Four piano students who study with Awadagin Pratt at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music advanced in the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which concluded on March 4 in England. Narae Lee, Jiwon Han, Julan Wang and Youkyoung Kim made it through the preliminary rounds of the competition to perform in multiple stages.

The preliminary rounds were held in the United Kingdom, Germany, U.S. and Japan. CCM was one of few U.S. schools to have multiple students advance in the various rounds of the competition.

Youkyoung Kim was one of six contestants to compete in the final stage of the competition. As a finalist, Kim performed in a public concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Her performance earned her third place and £2,500 ($3,053.50). Narae Lee advanced to compete in the second stage of the competition. Jiwon Han and Julan Wang advanced to compete in the competition’s semi-final stage.

About the Artists

Youkyoung Kim, born in Busan, South Korea, earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University, where she studied with Junghye Ra and Nayoung Kim. Since 2012, she has studied with Professor Awadagin Pratt at CCM, where she received her Master of Music degree in 2014. Kim is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at CCM.

Previously this month, Kim was among 12 musicians selected to participate in the Iowa Piano Competition. She was awarded third prize after she performed with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra in the final round of the competition. Kim has numerous top prizes and participated in international competitions including the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Piano Concerto Competition, U.S. International Duo Piano Competition, World Piano Competition, Dallas International Piano Competition, Debut International Piano Competition and Delia Steinberg International Piano Competition, among others.

Julan Wang, born in Chongqing, China, earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2010. He received the George Sarlo Scholarship at the San Francisco Conservatory and earned his Master of Music degree there in 2012. In 2014, he received his Artist Diploma at CCM, where he studied with Professor Awadagin Pratt. He is now pursuing a Doctoral degree at CCM.

Julan has received many prizes in competitions, such as the China Youth Competition, Wiesbaden International Piano Competition, Asian Chopin Competition and the CCM Concerto Competition. He gave his debut recital at Carnegie Hall in June of 2014, and has also performed in California, Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. He has also given solo/lecture recitals in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan, Chongqing and many other places in China. Since 2012, he has been a recipient of the Enlight Foundation’s Outstanding Scientists and Artists Scholarship.

Korean-born pianist Narae Lee studied at Yonsei University with Misha Kim in South Korea. She is a recipient of the William D. Black Memorial Prize in Piano and holds an Honors Scholarship at CCM, where she studies with Awadagin Pratt.

Lee has won numerous top prizes and has participated in national and international competitions, including Delta Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition, Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artists Competition, World Piano Competition, Art of the Piano, New Paltz Piano Summer, Eastern Music Festival as an assistant of Piano and Collaborative Piano faculties, Jacob Flier Piano Competition, the Samick-Seiler Piano Competition, the Seoul Philharmonic Competition, the Mayor of Seoul City Prize at the University of Seoul Music Competition and the Grand Prix Round Prize, 21Century Artist Special Prize at the Osaka International Piano Competition in Japan.

A native of Incheon, South Korea, pianist Jiwon Han earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Korea National University of Arts, where he studied with Choong-Mo Kang. He earned his Artist Diploma from Korea National University, where he studied with Professor Daejin Kim. Han earned a full-tuition scholarship to pursue an Artist Diploma at CCM, where he studies with Awadagin Pratt. He is also the recipient of the Art of the Piano Foundation Award.

Han has appeared in top concert venues in Korea including the Seoul Art Center, Sejong Art Center, Hoam Art Hall and Kumho Art Hall. He is sponsored by YAGI Studio, one of the largest studios in Korea. Han has served for three years as a director for the classic concert program on KBS, one of Korea’s prominent public broadcasting stations. In 2013, he won second prize in ISANG YUN International Competition. In 2014, he released his debut album, featuring the works of Chopin and Isang Yun. In 2015, he released his second album, Romanticism, featuring music of Brahms, Schumann and Liszt.


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

All-Steinway School Sponsor: The Corbett Endowment at CCM

CCM is proud to be an All-Steinway School

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CCM Piano Professor Sandra Rivers to play at Phoenix Chamber Music Society’s 8th Winter Festival

CCM Professor of Collaborative Piano Sandra Rivers will perform in three concerts at the Phoenix Chamber Music Society’s Eighth Winter Festival next week.

Rivers will play piano in concert with violist and violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama on Sunday, March 5 and she will join clarinetist David Shifrin to play works by Brahms on Monday, March 6. Both concerts will be held in private homes in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Wednesday, March 8, Rivers will play a concert of works by Beethoven and Mozart with Shifrin, clarinet; Stephen Taylor, oboe; Julie Feves, bassoon; Frank Morelli, bassoon; William Purvis, horn, and fellowship students from the Yale School of Music. The concert will be held at the Music Pavilion of the iconic Taliesin West home, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The national historic landmark is located in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Society invited Rivers to perform in place of classical pianist André Watts, who is unable to attend the festival. To learn more about the Phoenix Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival, visit

Sandra RiversA Steinway artist, Sandra Rivers has performed throughout the world, including Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan, among others. Rivers has appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Tanglewood, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Aspen, the Kennedy Center and on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center. In addition to her solo career, Rivers has become widely known for her concert partnerships with many of the world’s leading soloists including Itzhak Perlman, Kathleen Battle, Kyung-Wha Chung, Anne Akiko Meyers, Elmar Oliveira, Cho-Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg among others. Her collaborations with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and with Sarah Chang have twice taken her onto the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and with Jay Leno. Recently, Rivers was invited to attend the 12th annual “Breakfast of Champions” hosted by the University of Cincinnati’s Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program. She was nominated to attend the breakfast because of her hard work and dedication to students.

About The Phoenix Chamber Music Society
The Phoenix Chamber Music Society opened its first season in 1961 with a series of four concerts at the Phoenix Art Museum, performed by a quartet of Phoenix Symphony Orchestra members. The following season, the society brought three touring groups to play before sold-out audiences at Longview Elementary School and, before long, moved to the Kerr Studio. Louise Kerr (1891-1977), an avid chamber music player, was a founder and enthusiastic supporter of the Society. She and co-founder Lewis J. Ruskin proved to be a magical team and, in 1975, the Society outgrew the Studio and moved to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. We continue our commitment to bring the finest chamber music in the world to the Valley for our 57th season at Camelback Bible Church.

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CCM’s Moveable Feast: Plan Your Artistic Menu

Here is your first look at this year’s artistic menu for CCM’s annual Moveable Feast. Create your own schedule of 20-minute samplings of student entertainment, along with Backstage tours and much more before Friday’s event!

This year’s “opening course” offers a preview of songs from Broadway’s Anastasia, composed by CCM graduate Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982). Cast as Anya in the new musical, alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) returns to the Corbett Auditorium stage to sing “Journey to the Past” with the CCM Philharmonia. View the Moveable Feast program online or scroll below for a complete list of performances.

A map of CCM Village is below, including food stations with dinner by-the-bite from Jeff Thomas Catering. Be sure to visit the CCM Box Office during Moveable Feast for special discounts on spring concerts and Mainstage performances.


Moveable Feast Schedule

Corbett Auditorium
Philharmonia Orchestra featuring Anastasia – 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Orchestra & Musical Theatre Finale – 10 p.m.

Patricia Corbett Theater
– 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Opera – 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Cohen Family Studio Theater
Musical Theatre
– 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Robert J. Werner Performance Hall
Chamber Choir
– 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Ariel Quartet – 8:30 p.m.
Piano – 9:30 p.m.

CCM Atrium
Backstage Tours – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Lighting Demonstrations – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3650
Preparatory & Community Engagement – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3250
Classical Guitar – 8 p.m.
Acting – 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
World Music – 9 p.m.

Room 3240
Theatre Design and Production Exhibit – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3140c
Electronic Media – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. Tickets to this year’s event are moving fast, so don’t delay – get yours before they’re gone and experience an unforgettable evening of artistic and culinary delights! Call CCM at 513-556-2100 to order.

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CCM’s World-Class Piano Faculty Welcomes ‘Fresh Sounds, Fresh Faces’ on Nov. 13

Two new piano professors add their individual flair to CCM’s annual Pianopalooza XII concert Fresh Sounds, Fresh Faces at 7 p.m. on November 13 in Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

CCMWinter2014PianoPerformancesIn this annual display of stunning virtuosity, new faculty members Dror Biran and Ran Dank join the returning artists of CCM’s illustrious piano faculty on stage. Concert highlights include not one, but two Chopin Ballades — No. 3 in A-flat major and No. 4 in F minor —, an original work from CCM assistant professor of jazz students Stephen Allee and Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances for Piano Four-Hands.

Allee’s special appearance in this year’s program features his composition, Tippin’. In addition, Pianopalooza XII includes performances from piano faculty artists Michael Chertock, Soyeon Kate Lee, Awadagin Pratt and James Tocco as well as collaborative piano faculty member Sandra Rivers and visiting adjunct piano professor Andy Villemez.

Tickets for Pianopalooza XII are available through the CCM Box Office; UC students have free admission. View complete program information below.

About Dror Biran
Born in Israel, Biran is a graduate of the Givatayim Conservatory where he studied with Lily Dorfman, as well as the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University where he studied with Arie Vardi. Biran received his Doctoral degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Paul Schenly and Daniel Shapiro.

Biran has won top prizes at the M.K Ciurlionis International Piano Competition and the Cleveland International Piano Competition, where he also received a special prize for the best performance of works by Chopin. His honors include the first prize at the Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition (Zaragoza, Spain), first prize at the Israeli Rubin Academy Piano Competition and the Rafi Goralnik prize for pianists in the Aviv Competition. Biran has been a recipient of multiple scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation for distinguished musicians.

Biran has performed widely as a soloist with major orchestras including the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra, RTVE Symphony Orchestra of Spain, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played under the batons of Etinger, Rodan, Gueller, Gacia Asensio, Mester, Lane and others. His concert tours have taken him to the United States, Israel and South America, along with Eastern and Western Europe.

About Ran Dank
A graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University and the Juilliard School, Dank has worked extensively with Richard Goode, Emanuel Ax, Joseph Kalichstein, Ursula Oppens and Robert McDonald.

Dank performs in New York City’s most notable venues to frequent critical acclaim by the New York Times. In recent seasons, he has been heard in recitals in Town Hall and Symphony Space. As a soloist, he has performed Prokofiev’s Second Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall and Tobias Picker’s Keys to the City at Columbia University. In September of 2013 he and fellow CCM faculty member Soyeon Kate Lee performed the world premiere of Fredric Rzewski’s Four Hands at (le) Poisson Rouge to a glowing review by the New York Times.

A recipient of numerous honors, Dank won a coveted place on the Young Concert Artists’ roster in 2009 and subsequently made his New York recital debut. He is a laureate of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, where he also won the Bach Prize, the Naumburg and Sydney International Piano Competitions, and was the First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.


  • CHOPIN: Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major, Op. 47
    Featuring Sandra Rivers
  • DVOŘÁK: Slavonic Dances for Piano Four-Hands
    Featuring Sandra Rivers and Soyeon Kate Lee
  • CHOPIN: Ballade No. 4 in F minor
    Featuring Dror Biran
  • CHOPIN: Andante Spianato and Grand
    Featuring James Tocco
  • DEBUSSY: Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin
    DEBUSSY: L’isle Joyeuse
    Featuring Soyeon Kate Lee
  • GAO PING: Dance Fury
    Featuring Michael Chertock
  • NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN: Andante, Op. 58
    Featuring Andy Villemez
  • FRANCK: Prelude, Fuge and Variation, Op. 18
    Featuring Awadagin Pratt
  • STEPHEN ALLEE: Tippin’
    Featuring Stephen Allee

Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
$15 general, $10 non-UC students, UC students FREE. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at
Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

CCM is proud to be an All-Steinway School

Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies


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Haoli Lin

Fanfare Magazine Critic Praises Violin Alum’s ‘Breathtaking’ New Album, ‘Romantic Journey’

Fanfare Magazine critic Robert Maxham heralds Romantic Journey, a new album from alumnus Haoli Lin (BM Violin Performance, 2013; MM Violin Performance, 2015), as both “breathtaking” and “urgently recommended.” Featuring music for violin and piano, Lin’s newest release was recorded in CCM’s own Robert J. Werner Recital Hall between October 2015 and March 2016.

Alumna and current Doctor of Musical Arts piano student Hai Jin (AD Piano Performance, 2013; MM Piano Performance, 2015) collaborates with Lin in Romantic Journey, which is available for purchase on

“Haoli Lin’s repertoire presents the meat and potatoes of old-time violin recitals with refreshing naturalness and grace,” critic Maxham wrote in his review of the album for Fanfare Magazine.

Lin’s album showcases some of the finest gems of the classical romantic period. Opening with the effortlessly sweet melodies of Manuel Ponce and Jascha Heifetz’s Estrellita and concluding with the virtuosic Carmen Fantasy by Pablo Sarasate, Romantic Journey offers a taste of an entire generation of music in just 60 brief minutes.

When discussing the standard repertory for his instrument, Lin praises that of the romantic era as the most affective and emotionally persuasive. Lin invites listeners to “sit back and enjoy the journey” in a written introduction to the album posted on his website:

“It is often claimed that modern ears, even after decades of acclimation to increasingly modern and harmonically dissonant music, still find their home in the sounds of romanticism. The emotional and sentimental qualities of romantic music, combined with its inherent virtuosity and brilliance, create an undeniable beauty of expression that few can resist. The violin, with its enormous palette of sounds, was a preferred solo instrumental voice of many romantic composers due to its capability to convey character ranging from the sweetest of lyrical singing tone to full-throated aggressive power. It is my hope that this recording elicits in the listener the same wide range of emotions that these pieces have evoked in me since my childhood. Sit back and enjoy the journey.”

Lin performs on not one, but two historic violins of the Neapolitan family Gagliano on this recording. One, provided by the Guadagnini Violin Shop in Chicago, was made by Nicolò Gagliano and dates back to 1732. He also performs on another exquisite instrument, made by Januarius Gagliano in 1750, provided by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Collection.

About Haoli Lin
Born 1990 in Shantou, China, Lin became the youngest prizewinner in the history of China’s National violin competition at age 18. He also won first prize in Michigan’s Andrews International String competition in 2013. Lin has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber player throughout China and United States. His solo performances include concerto appearances with the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, China Youth Symphony Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia Orchestra, Great Wall Soloists, Shenzhen Youth Symphony Orchestra, Andrews University Symphony Orchestra and the Shanxi Chamber orchestra. He has performed in prominent concert halls in China, including Beijing’s National Center for Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall, Hong Kong Sha Tin Music Hall, Tuen Wan Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall and Shenzhen Poly Theatre.

Lin studied with Pei Feng, Pei-yan Liu and with the renowned Chinese violin pedagogue Yaoji Lin in the in Shenzhen Arts School. He has attended the Great Wall International Music Academy for four years, and he collaborated with renowned musicians such as Christopher O’Riley and Rohan De Silva. He has performed in master classes for Midori, Miriam Fried and the Tokyo Quartet. Lin earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as a Starling scholarship recipient at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music studying with Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus.

Lin was recently chosen as the recipient of a career Grant from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation. Lin concertizes on a Nicolò Gagliano violin from the year 1732, courtesy of the Guadagnini Violin shop in Chicago, and a Januarius Gagliano from the CCM collection.

About Hai Jin
Pianist Hai Jin graduated from the China Conservatory of Music in 2009, where she studied with Bing Han. She has received numerous awards and prizes in competitions, and has performed recitals and orchestral collaborations throughout China. She made her American debut at Boston University in 2010. As a collaborative pianist, Jin has served as faculty at the Great Wall Music Academy in Beijing and at the Cleveland International Music Festival. As a chamber musician, she has toured with the Sassmannshaus Piano Trio to critical acclaim in both the United States and Asia. She has studied with Lee Fiser and Sandra Rivers, and has worked with Rohan De Silva, Hiram Diaz, Erinn Frechette, Heather Verbeck Harrison and Gao Can. As a student of Awadagin Pratt, she earned an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she is currently completing doctoral studies with James Tocco.

You can learn more about Haoli Lin and Romantic Journey by visiting


Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

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Cohen Studio

Student Compositions Showcased in CCM’s “A View from the Edge” Recital

The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music offers a few recitals each semester called “A View from the Edge.” These free concerts showcase original works of student composers and give audiences a look over the precipice of current compositional techniques.

The first of this season’s student composition recitals is at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. The concert program includes a set of three songs for soprano and piano inspired by the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, a freshman composer’s first piano sonata and How I Lost My Voice, a piece for flute and guitar that a student wrote in response to the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Daniel Harrison

Daniel Harrison.

Daniel Harrison, a third-year doctoral candidate studying music composition, is one of the student coordinators for this installment of “A View from the Edge.” CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle got in touch with Harrison to get a preview of the upcoming recital.

Can you tell me a bit about “A View from the Edge” and the goals of these recitals?
The “View From The Edge” series was created as a way to showcase the newest compositions from the students in the CCM composition studio. At these concerts, you will hear premieres of chamber music, which range from solos to small ensembles and occasionally works that incorporate electronics. One of the outstanding characteristics of our composition studio is how diverse all of our compositional voices are; everyone has something different to say and their own way of saying it.

What’s it like to work with student performers to hone your pieces? Have you found that you make a significant amount of changes after rehearsals have begun?
Working with other students is great! I love it when there is a sense that we, as a team, are collaborating together to create an experience for a concert-goer. As a composer, I view my role in this as only a third of the equation; the audience and performer make up the other two thirds. I have gotten advice from performers that has led to some significant revisions, both in terms of idiomatic treatment of the instruments and notional choices.

Which three pieces on the program stand out to you, and why?
One of the three pieces on the concert that I’m really looking forward to hearing is Phillip Robert‘s Her em Iteru, which is a set of three songs for soprano and piano based on texts found in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Another is our incoming freshman composer Maksym Mahlay‘s first piano sonata, which looks like a fiery and virtuosic piece for solo piano. It’s also worth noting that the composer himself will be performing the piece. Lastly, my piece for flute and guitar, How I Lost My Voice, will be premiered at the recital. This piece attempts to capture the feeling of not being able to express oneself vocally and contains extended techniques in the flute and guitar that give the illusion of a voice becoming hoarse and transparent.

Did a personal experience inspire your work, How I Lost My Voice?
While I was composing this piece, the Nov. 13, 2015 Paris attacks occurred. After the initial shock, I vividly recall feeling this wave of absolute hopelessness. What could I do? As someone whose profession is to write music, in a country thousands of miles away and separated from France by an ocean, ‘not much’ is as a gross understatement. This event radically refocused my perspective and reframed the project I was working on for a reading session, which was a simple, short piece for flute and guitar.

I began asking what purpose music served in response to tragedy. I imagined that even if I screamed until I lost my voice, there was nothing that I could do to undo what happened. My only recourse was to respond through music well after the fact.

What should people who haven’t experienced much new music expect if they come to “A View from the Edge”?
I would come in to these concerts with an open mind. Our composition studio is filled with students who have different aesthetics. No two recitals will offer the same sounds. One bit of advice that I would offer to someone who is looking to experience a new music concert for the first time is to listen to the music in the same way one would taste a new dish­ – just be open to the experience!

The first “A View from the Edge” recital is at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Composition students will have another opportunity to showcase their new works in the second concert at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 in Patricia Corbett Theater.


Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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