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.

CCM News Student Salutes
CCM's Dieterle Vocal Arts Center on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

CCM Announces the Winners of Its 2020 Opera Scholarship Competition

NOTE: Winners List Updated on April 15, 2020

Twenty-six current and incoming students competed for five coveted full-tuition scholarships and $65,500 in additional awards during the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s 2020 Opera Scholarship Competition.

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

Six students won awards in this year’s competition, which was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain social distancing, each participating singer was asked to select two arias. Each singers’ assigned pianist then recorded a piano reduction of the chosen arias and provided audio files, which served as virtual accompaniment for the competing vocalists.

Singers were required to record their performance on their smart phones and submit their recordings back to CCM. These recordings were then shared with the competition’s panel of distinguished judges.

The Winners of CCM’s 2020 Opera Scholarship Competition

Michael Pandolfo, baritone, first-year Master of Music student from Fort Worth, Texas; studying at CCM with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Corbett Award ($15,000)
The Corbett Award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with CCM.


Teresa Perrotta, soprano, first-year Artist Diploma student from Orlando, Florida; studying at CCM with Gwendolyn Coleman
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Italo Tajo Memorial Scholarship Fund (established by Mr. Tajo’s wife Inelda Tajo) in cooperation with CCM.


Amber Monroe, soprano, first-year Artist Diploma student from Youngstown, Ohio; studying at CCM with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Andrew White Memorial Award ($12,500)
This award is supported by the Andrew White Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with CCM.


Brittany Logan, soprano, second-year Master of Music student and incoming Artist Diploma student from Garden Grove, California; studying at CCM with Gwendolyn Coleman
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Seybold-Russell Award ($10,000)
This award is supported by the Seybold-Russell Scholarship Fund in cooperation with CCM.


Amanda Olea, soprano, first-year Doctor of Musical Arts student from Mexico City, Mexico; studying at CCM with Gwendolyn Coleman
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the John Alexander Memorial Award ($10,000)
This award is supported by the John Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with CCM.


Christina Hazen, mezzo-soprano, second-year Master of Music student from Loveland, Colorado; studying at CCM with Gwendolyn Coleman
Prize: Norman Treigle Award ($3,000)
This award is supported by the Norman Treigle Opera Scholarship Competition Award Fund in cooperation with CCM.


The judges panel for CCM’s 2020 Opera Scholarship Competition included:

About CCM Opera

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

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 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, taking home six of the 18 non-professional prizes awarded in 2010 and four prizes in 2011.

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

CCM Opera is also part of Opera Fusion: New Works, a dynamic partnership with Cincinnati Opera that offers composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency in Cincinnati.

Created in 2011 to foster the development of new American operas and generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works has grown into a nationally recognized collaboration which is not only advancing the repertoire, but also serving as an inspiring example of a successful joint venture between an educational institution and a professional performing arts organization.

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

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CCM Shares Artistic Menu of Moveable Feast Performances

Cincinnati’s premier fundraiser returns next Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, when UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) presents Moveable Feast. Take a look at this year’s artistic menu to create your own schedule of 20-minute samplings of live entertainment, along with backstage tours and much more.

For one night only, Cincinnati audiences can experience CCM’s student stars of tomorrow in a variety of performances that showcase the full spectrum of the performing and media arts. Tickets to Moveable Feast are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.uc.edu/moveablefeast or over the phone at 513-556-2100.

The festivities begin with cocktails and appetizers at 6:30 p.m. CCM’s Jazz Orchestra kicks off the performances with a tribute to The Rolling Stones in Corbett Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Then attendees are free to roam CCM Village to create their own menu of artistic experiences including a dazzling light show, acting, dance, musical theatre and opera performances; concerts by CCM’s Chamber Choir, Steel Drum Band, Chamber Winds and piano students; and more! The evening concludes with a grand finale performance by the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra at 10 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium.

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Hosted by CCMpower — a dedicated volunteer group comprised of fans, advocates and alumni — Moveable Feast showcases students and faculty members in an evening of world-class live entertainment. The funds raised by the event enable CCMpower to fuel the future of the arts by awarding student scholarships and grants. Attendees roam through the expansive CCM Village, socializing and enjoying dinner-by-the-bite provided by Jeff Thomas Catering while creating their own menu of artistic experiences. A complete list of performance details is below.

Moveable Feast Artistic Menu

Attendees will receive a program with a map of CCM Village and performance information. The below performances are organized by location.

JAZZ ORCHESTRA PRELUDE
The CCM Jazz Orchestra Rolling Stones Project features vocalist Clyde Brown in popular hits by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards including Honky Tonk Woman, Wild Horses and Satisfaction.

  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Corbett Auditorium

STEEL DRUM BAND
Featuring two traditional Trinidadian tunes by Boogsie Sharpe and two new pop arrangements by CCM students.

  • Time: 8:30 p.m.
  • Location: Corbett Auditorium

PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA FINALE
Featuring Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C Major, Op. 46 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73, 4. Allegro con spirito.

  • Time: 10 p.m.
  • Location: Corbett Auditorium

BACKSTAGE TOURS
Go behind-the-scenes to visit CCM’s Hair, Wig and Make-Up studios and get an up-close view of the creative work that goes into making our performers ready for the stage. Tours meet in the CCM Atrium and will require some stairs.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Meet in the CCM Atrium

ELECTRONIC MEDIA
Learn about the student-created documentary “The Fifth Mode” that follows UC Engineering students who design a Hyperloop pod and made it to the finals of Elon Musk’s International SpaceX Hyperloop Competition.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Room 3140c

THEATRE DESIGN AND PRODUCTION
Meet CCM’s outstanding student designers and view their senior portfolios, which feature the stunning work you’ve seen on CCM stages. If you’re lucky, you may get a sneak peek at upcoming production designs!

  • Times: 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Room 3240

LIGHTING SHOWCASE: BOOM!
Prepare to be dazzled by the spectacular creations of CCM’s stage lighting, technical production and sound students as they unite to present performance art of robotic lighting and technical systems integration.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater

CHAMBER WINDS
Enjoy hearing CCM students perform Carl Reinecke’s Octet, Op. 126.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
  • Location: Room 3250

PIANO
CCM piano students perform Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse and the Romance and Tarantella from Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 2, Op. 17 for 2 pianos at 8:30 p.m. The 9:30 p.m. performance features the Rachmaninoff piece and Liszt’s Rigoletto-Paraphrase.

  • Times: 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Room 3250

CHAMBER CHOIR
The CCM Chamber Choir and Graduate Brass Quintet present a cappella masterworks and a highlight from our Feast of Carols performance. Featuring graduate choral conducting students.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
  • Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall

MUSICAL THEATRE
Enjoy performances of pop songs and contemporary Broadway hits from the Musical Theatre Freshman Women and CCM’s Musical Theatre Class of 2020 present a medley featuring songs River Deep, Mountain High; Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Go Into Your Dance.

  • Times: 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall

PREPARATORY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The rising stars from CCM Prep present music, dance and musical theatre performances.

  • Times: 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Room 3705

DANCE
CCM Ballet Ensemble presents En Tournée, set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich with choreography by Jiang Qi.

  • Time: 8 p.m.
  • Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

OPERA
CCM Artist Diploma students perform selections from beloved operas including The Bartered Bride, The Magic Flute and Candide.

  • Times: 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

ACTING
k. Jenny Jones, the only woman in the country recognized as a “Fight Master” by the Society of American Fight Directors, and CCM’s Acting Class of 2021 give a sneak peek into the illusion and magic of stage combat!

  • Time: 9 p.m.
  • Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

Event Location

CCM Village, University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to Moveable Feast are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.uc.edu/moveablefeast or over the telephone at 513-556-2100.

  • Soloist Package: $600 – price includes two tickets to Moveable Feast and two tickets to CCM Musical Theatre’s “Not Famous Yet” Showcase (March 13, 2020), valet parking for Moveable Feast and program recognition
  • Patron Package: $225 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast, one ticket to CCM Musical Theatre’s “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, valet parking for Moveable Feast and program recognition
  • Host Ticket: $150 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast, valet parking for Moveable Feast and program recognition
  • General Public Tickets: $75 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast
  • CCM Alumni and Young Professional (40 and under) Tickets: $50 – price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast

Seating is limited. Event proceeds raised by CCMpower support student scholarships for CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” and help fund student and ensemble travel, master class opportunities and collaborative projects.

Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions for detailed driving directions to CCM Village.

Parking is available in UC’s CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

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The Application Deadline is Approaching for the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship

Get paid to perform with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra while earning a full scholarship to pursue your graduate degree at CCM as a CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow.

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra are accepting applications for the 2020-22 class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2019. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this program provides an unparalleled learning experience for graduate-level violin, viola, violoncello and double bass players coming from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. Symphony Magazine recently spotlighted the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship in a story that focused on the “new cultural and economic directions redefining and expanding the role of the conservatory in the 21st century.”

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Benefits: 

  • Perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the CSO.
  • Receive compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.
  • Receive full tuition scholarship support while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music or Artist Diploma program at CCM.
  • Receive a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000 from CCM.
  • Receive access to orchestral audition and professional development stipends.

In addition, as many as five CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows can be selected annually to participate in an eight-week summer residency with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra through a partnership with the Chautauqua Institution of New York.

Participants will be paired with CSO coach/mentors for the duration of their Fellowship. An administrative liaison will also be assigned to support Fellows. Download the informational poster.

Get a look inside the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship in a feature story on Fellow Anita Graef (MM Cello, ’19). You can also learn about Fellow Ian Saunders’ (AD Double Bass, ’19) experience in the fellowship in a radio interview with Cincinnati Public Radio WVXU.

Important Dates

CCM and the CSO are now accepting applications for the 2020-22 class of Fellows. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2019. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Live auditions with CCM faculty will be held on Jan. 17-18Jan. 24-25 and Feb. 14-15 of 2020.

Finalists will audition for the CSO on March 14, 2020, in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

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A graphic promoting CCM's 2018 Movable Feast and Blue-Note After Party, featuring alumnus Brian Newman.

CCM’s Moveable Feast: Plan Your Artistic Menu

Cincinnati’s favorite fundraiser returns this Friday, Jan. 19, as CCM proudly presents its annual Moveable Feast! Take a look at this year’s artistic menu to create your own schedule of 20-minute samplings of student entertainment, along with backstage tours and much more.

In honor of CCM’s 150-year legacy of inspiring the stars of tomorrow, this year’s event features a performance by alumnus Brian Newman, who will solo with the Jazz Orchestra as the “opening course” on Moveable Feast’s artistic menu. Newman will also cap off the evening at the new Blue-Note After Party. Featuring performances by Newman, CCM alumni and students, this exclusive after party lasts from 10:30 p.m. until midnight. Tickets to Moveable Feast and the Blue-Note After Party are sold separately and can be purchased online at ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/MoveableFeast2018.

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 Artistic Menu

Corbett Auditorium
Jazz Orchestra
– 7:30 p.m.
Steel Drum Band
– 8:30 p.m.
Philharmonia Orchestra
– 10 p.m.

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

Cohen Family Studio Theater
Classical Guitar – 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Chamber Winds – 8:30 p.m.
Music Education – 9:30 p.m.

Robert J. Werner Recital Hall
Chamber Choir
– 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Musical Theatre
8:30 p.m., 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.

Faculty Lounge
CCM Library and Scholarship
– 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3250
Piano –
8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Acting – 8:30 p.m., 9:30 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., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3705
Preparatory and Community Engagement
– 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19. Tickets to this year’s Moveable Feast are moving fast, so don’t delay – get yours before they’re gone and experience an unforgettable evening of artistic and culinary delights! Visit ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/MoveableFeast2018 to order tickets.

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CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program 2017 banner image featuring Diana Flores with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

CCM and CSO Announce Next Class of Diversity Fellows and Renewal Funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected four outstanding musicians for the next class of the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship. Born out of a mutual desire to make American orchestras more inclusive, this groundbreaking fellowship program launched in 2015 with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In addition, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a generous renewal grant of $850,000, funding two additional classes of Fellows, through June 2021. This ensures the program will continue to develop, as the CSO and CCM strengthen different components and recruit highly qualified candidates who will achieve audition success as they embark on their careers, thus realizing the program’s mission to change the face of American orchestras. The Foundation’s continued support allows the Orchestra and University to create deep connections between students, as well as an alumni network that will impact these graduate-level musicians for years to come.

From left-to-right: CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung, Anita Graef, Weiyi Shao, Ian Saunders, Dan Wang and CSO Concertmaster Timothy Lees. Photo by Stephen Easley.

From left-to-right: CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung, Anita Graef, Weiyi Shao, Ian Saunders, Dan Wang and CSO Concertmaster Timothy Lees. Photo by Stephen Easley.

The next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows are Anita Graef, 22 (cello); Ian Saunders, 30 (double bass); Weiyi Shao, 24 (violin); and Dan Wang, 31 (viola). These four exceptional string players will officially join the two-year fellowship program in August 2017, bringing the total number of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows to eight for the 2017–18 academic year and performance season. The inaugural class of Diversity Fellows — comprised of Emilio Carlo, Diana Flores, Vijeta Sathyaraj and Maurice Todd — will complete the second year of the program in April 2018. An additional Fellow from the inaugural class, Blake-Anthony Johnson, just accepted a cello position with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida, and credits the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship with the next step in his professional career:

“As a Fellow I received valuable guidance and support from not only my peers participating in the Fellowship but also from the CSO and CCM conductors, musicians and administrative staff members. The resources and opportunities available to me as a Fellow were crucial in my musical career development, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this great network of people who became family in such short time.”

The CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program is open to exceptional violin, viola, cello and double bass players coming from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. The program utilizes a broad definition of diversity that encompasses race and culture while also including underrepresented populations like first-generation college students and individuals who took non-traditional pathways to higher education. 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.

“Thanks to the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Diversity Fellowship Program allows us to provide outstanding early-career musicians with access to the combined resources and expertise of the CSO and CCM,” said CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung. “The result is an unparalleled experience-based education that will empower these musicians and prepare them to succeed in their chosen fields. Our hope is that this program will also inspire the next generation of diverse young artists. This will allow us to continue making American orchestras better reflect the diversity of their communities.”

HOW THE FELLOWSHIP WORKS
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) degree program at CCM. Each class of Fellows is selected through a rigorous series of auditions, which saw hundreds of graduate-level musicians audition for CCM faculty members. Fifteen string players were invited back to Cincinnati’s Taft Theatre for a final round of auditions judged by CSO musicians on March 11, 2017.

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.

With this collaborative Fellowship program, CCM and the CSO hope to provide new opportunities for underrepresented musicians, while simultaneously fostering a more inclusive environment in the orchestral industry. This mission is part of the appeal for Fellowship participant Anita Graef:

“I believe that adaptability and diversification are crucial to the modern landscape of classical music, and the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship is a pioneering opportunity in that field,” said Graef. “I am excited to further my education and to uphold the standards of this prestigious orchestra. I hope that my work will inspire others and show that when we embrace musicians from all walks of life, we enrich the meaning and purpose of making music.”

“The Diversity Fellowship presents students like me with not only a first-rate education from a great institution like the UC College-Conservatory of Music but also real life on-the-job training with the fantastic Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,” said Diversity Fellow Weiyi Shao. “I am very grateful that this program offers a generous scholarship, which makes it possible for me to attend. I feel very honored and humbled to be one of the participants.”

“The inaugural class of Fellows played an important role with the Orchestra throughout the 2016–17 season, and not only are we looking forward to their continued artistic contributions, but also we are seeing a very promising future for the next class starting this fall,” said Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Vice President and General Manager Robert McGrath. “Through our partnership with CCM and with the extraordinary support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we will continue to provide all of our Fellows with guidance and transformative experiences that ultimately help them achieve their goals as professional musicians.”

MEET THE FELLOWS

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Anita Graef.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Anita Graef.

Anita Graef, Master of Music (MM) student, Cello
A native of Chicago, Anita Graef began her cello studies at age four and made her concerto debut at age 12. She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where she studied with Professor Anthony Elliott. This fall, she will begin pursuing a master’s degree at CCM, under the tutelage of CSO principal cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn. She is thrilled to appear with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as part of the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship.

Previously, she has had the opportunity to work with such cellists as Stephen Geber, Johannes Moser and Felix Wang. Graef has studied with several members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Jonathan Pegis, Richard Hirschl and Brant Taylor. She has performed in several orchestras under the baton of maestros such as Leonard Slatkin, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, JoAnn Falletta and Keith Lockhart.

She recently participated in the 79th season of the Brevard Music Festival as principal cellist, as well as Credo Chamber Music Festival at Oberlin Conservatory. She is a proud member of the Juliani Ensemble, where she has collaborated with members of both the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestra, among others. She was recently awarded the Silver Prize with Distinction at the Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow international competition.

Outside of music, she is an avid reader, equestrian and lover of all things fashion. She also enjoys traveling, weight lifting, hiking and quality time with friends and family.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Ian Saunders.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Ian Saunders.

Ian Saunders, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Double Bass
A multi-faceted musician, Ian Saunders enjoys an exciting career as a sought-after bassist and educator. The Virginia native began his studies with Christopher White, principal bassist of the Virginia Symphony, in his hometown of Norfolk. Within a year he received his first major scholarship from R&B legend Ben E. King. Saunders completed his bachelor’s degree under the tutelage of renowned bassist Robert Nairn at the Pennsylvania State University. As an undergraduate, he took part in several world premieres by the prolific Finnish composer Teppo Hauto-Aho.

Saunders continued his graduate studies under Nairn while fulfilling numerous professional engagements with the Williamsport Symphony, Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra, Ballet Theatre of Central Pa and Manassas Ballet Theatre bass sections. In addition, he served as principal bassist of the Penn Centre Orchestra, Nittany Valley Symphony and Altoona Symphony.

In 2016, Saunders received his doctorate from the University of Maryland while studying with Robert Oppelt, principal bassist of the National Symphony Orchestra. Saunders is currently in demand within the competitive Baltimore and DC freelance community, most notably as the bassist for the critically acclaimed Post-Classical Ensemble. In addition, he has also performed with the National Philharmonic and the Collaborative Artist of Baltimore. In March 2016, he was featured on WBJC 91.5 Baltimore performing Guillaume Connesson’s Sextuor. Furthermore, he has fulfilled engagements abroad in Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas as well as across America in renowned concert halls including the Kennedy Center, Heinz Hall and Carnegie Hall.

Outside of the classical world, Saunders has been invited to participate in orchestras backing Bootsy Collins, Kansas and hip-hop artist Thee Phantom. He can also be seen in the nationally televised special Cherish the Ladies: An Irish Homecoming, backing the Irish super group Cherish the Ladies. The program was nationally syndicated on PBS in 2013.

As an educator, Saunders recently served as the interim double bass professor at Penn State. In addition, he has taught classes at the University of Maryland, Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Saunders also spends his summers as the Associate Dean of Students at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Weiyi Shao.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Weiyi Shao.

Weiyi Shao, Master of Music (MM) student, Violin
Born in Daqing, China, Weiyi Shao began studying the violin at age five. She attended the Middle School of the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, where she was concertmaster of the school orchestra as a student of Professor Tong Mu. She came to the United States in 2011 with a full scholarship to the Texas Christian University (TCU), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance under the tutelage of Curt Thompson, Swang Lin and Michael Shih.

During her studies at TCU, Shao received numerous awards and prizes, including the Modena Rogers Clark Spitler Violin Scholarship in 2013 and the Faculty and Friends Chamber Music Society Award in 2014. In 2015, she was a Strings Department Winner of TCU’s annual Concerto Competition. She has also attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a pupil of Naoko Tanaka, and performed in master classes given by Karen Gomyo, Augustin Hadelich, Gary Levinson and Midori.  Since 2013, she has been a member of the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra in Texas.

Currently, Weiyi is pursuing a Master of Music degree at CCM as a student of Professor Won-Bin Yim.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Dan Wang.

CSO/CCM Diversity Fellow Dan Wang.

Dan Wang, Artist Diploma (AD) student, Viola
Dan Wang is a first-year Artist Diploma student in viola performance at CCM. She is currently being mentored by CSO principal violist Christian Colberg and CCM visiting scholar Jan Grüning, violist of CCM’s string quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet. She came to the United States from Shenyang, China to study at CCM in 2009, graduating with a master’s degree in violin performance in 2012. She previously studied at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). During her previous musical training, she had been mentored by CCM Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus, Professor Michael Ma and Professor Tong Mu.

Wang has also performed with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music Orchestra and HKAPA Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, and with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta as section/substitute section violin. She has served as concertmaster of the CCM Philharmonia and CCM Concert Orchestra. In 2017, she won a permanent position in the viola section of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Wang received a full scholarship from HKAPA and CCM. She has also won several music competitions, most notably fourth prize in the seventh China National Violin Competition.

LEARN MORE
CCM and the CSO will begin accepting applications for the 2018-20 class of Fellows on Aug. 1, 2017. The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

Live auditions with CCM faculty will be held on Jan. 13, Jan. 27 and Feb. 17, 2018Finalists will audition for the CSO at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati in March of 2018. Fellowship decisions will be sent in April of 2018.

Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Holds Inaugural Andrew Howell Memorial Scholarship Competition

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will hold the inaugural Andrew Howell Memorial Scholarship Competition 2 p.m., Sunday, March 26, 2017
 in the Robert J. Werner Recital Hall. The performance is a free event and open to the public.

CCM honors the memory of student Andrew Howell with a Memorial Concert on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011.

CCM honors the memory of student Andrew Howell with a Memorial Scholarship Competition on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

This competition is held in loving memory of Andrew Howell, an extraordinary musician and an exceptional person who passed away during his undergraduate studies at CCM. A junior from Charlotte, N.C., Howell was a member of the CCM horn studio and a student of Randy Gardner.

Open to current undergraduate horn majors as well as applicants who have committed to attend CCM in 2017-18, the winner of the Andrew Howell Memorial Horn Scholarship Competition will receive a one-year $3,000 scholarship and a solo performance opportunity.

The scholarship will be offered annually to support the studies of an exceptional undergraduate horn student and perpetuate Andrew’s memory.

Application Details
The application deadline is March 10, 2017.

For further details and an application, contact Professor Randy Gardner at randy.gardner@uc.edu.

About Andrew Austin Howell
Andrew Howell (1990-2010) was beginning his third year as a horn performance major at CCM when he died in an outdoor accident on October 23, 2010 while admiring the bright night sky above the lights of the city below.

Andrew was a student of Randy Gardner, and a well loved member of the CCM community. He is remembered by his family, friends and classmates for his genuine encouragement of others, his love of animals, his charming and unassuming manner, and for his rare sense of humor. He had a musical soul, possessing a broad appreciation for the world and the people around him.

Born into a family of professional church musicians, Andrew was immersed in music from his earliest days, demonstrating a keen observation and attention to musical performances and shows. In addition to his skilled horn playing, he loved to sing and improvise on the piano. Whether he was painting, photographing, singing or playing, Andrew pursued an artful expression of what he saw as a beautiful world.

A participant in the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, the Charlotte Children’s Choir, the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the music programs of his churches and schools, Andrew was happiest making music. He studied horn with Bob Blalock of the Charlotte Symphony and spent summers studying at the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival, the Tanglewood Horn Workshop, and the Chautauqua Music Festival with Richard Deane, Kristy Morrell, Jean Martin-Williams, Eric Ruske and Roger Kaza.

Event Information

Performance Time
2 p.m., Sunday, March 26

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

Admission
Admission is free and open to the public.

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 campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

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

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM Announces 2017 Opera Scholarship Competition Results

Artist Diploma candidate Yi Li with Mark Gibson and the CCM Philharmonia.

Five voice students were named winners of CCM’s 2017 Opera Scholarship Competition, which was held on Saturday, Feb. 25, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

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

The 2017 CCM Opera Scholarship Competition winners are:

Nicolette Book (first year Artist Diploma student)
From Minneapolis, Minnesota, studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Corbett Award ($15,000)
The Corbett Award is supported by the Corbett Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Caitlin Gotimer (second year Master of Music student)
From Long Island, New York, studying with Kenneth Shaw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Italo Tajo Memorial Award ($15,000)
This award is supported by the Italo Tajo Memorial Scholarship Fund (established by Mr. Tajo’s wife, Mrs. Inelda Tajo) in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Chelsea Duval-Major (second year Master of Music student)
From Ithaca, New York, studying with Thomas Baresel
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Andrew White Memorial Award ($12,500)
This award is supported by the Andrew White Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Karis Tucker (first year Master of Music student)
From Brussels, Belgium, studying with Amy Johnson
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the Seybold-Russell Award ($10,000)
The Seybold-Russell Award is supported by the Seybold-Russell Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Eric Heatley (second year Master of Music student)
From Tulsa, Oklahoma, studying with William McGraw
Prize: Full-tuition scholarship and the John Alexander Memorial Award ($10,000)
This award is sponsored by the John Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The judges panel for CCM’s 2017 Opera Scholarship Competition included:

  • Benita Valente, an acclaimed American soprano who has performed and recorded with some of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century
  • Roberto Mauro, Director of Music and Artistic Administration for the Canadian Opera Company
  • Stephen Lord, Music director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the principal conductor of Michigan Opera Theatre in the 2018-19 season

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

CCM students frequently advance to the final rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council AuditionsAs reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, four singers with ties to CCM advanced to the semi-final round of the 2016 Met Auditions. This year, four more alumni advanced to the semi-final round of the Met Auditions: Summer Hassan (MM Voice, 2014), Cody Quattlebaum (BM Voice, 2015), Andrew Manea (MM Voice, 2016) and Jessica Faselt (MM Voice, 2016).

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

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

CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Opera season concludes next month with Mozart’s Idomeneo, conducted by Aik Khai Pung with stage direction by Marcus Shields. The production runs from March 30 through April 2. Learn more about the production at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/idomeneo.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

Composition Student Wins International Schwarzman Scholarship

Throughout her four years as a University of Cincinnati student, Rachel Walker has split her time between the U.S. and China to study music. She hopes to create an arts organization that serves as a bridge between the two countries and now, as a newly named Schwarzman Scholar, her goal is nearly in sight.

Rachel Walker

Rachel Walker. Photo by Jackie Stevens.

Walker, who graduates tomorrow from the UC College-Conservatory of Music with a bachelor’s of music in composition, will join students from 30 countries and 75 universities as a member of the second class of Schwarzman Scholars. The new international program is designed to shape future leaders by giving students a better understanding of the changing geopolitical landscape. It funds travel costs, a stipend and one-year tuition for a master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

This won’t be Walker’s first trip to Beijing. As a sophomore at CCM, Walker began teaching herself Mandarin and was encouraged by Professor Emeritus Joel Hoffman to spend a year studying traditional music at the China Conservatory.

“This experience, in addition to trips to Taiwan and Beijing on grants from the UC Research Council and CCMpower [a volunteer fundraising organization] respectively, have made an unspeakable impact on me as a person and an artist,” Walker says. “I have been researching Chinese instruments and collaborating extensively in Beijing, but have felt an increasing need to broaden my understanding of China past the traditional music world alone.”

She worked with UC’s office of Nationally Competitive Awards and the Office of the Provost to prepare her application for the Schwarzman Scholarship. Three hundred semifinalists were invited for in-person interviews before international panels composed of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives and other global leaders narrowed the selection to the 129 Schwarzman Scholars. Eileen Strempel, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at UC, helped coach Walker for the interview.

“Working with Rachel was a delight,” Strempel says. “She is an exciting composer who is determined to move music from a passive experience into a global community-building exercise. Her vision, distinctive creativity and perseverance position her perfectly to make the most of the Schwarzman Award.”

Walker was chosen after a rigorous selection process that evaluated leadership skills, academic ability and strength of character. As a Schwarzman Scholar, she will pursue a MA in Management of Global Affairs with a concentration in Public Policy. She wants to expand her network and leadership skills by learning more about how businesses and arts organizations run in China.

“The prestige of this award demonstrates to the world that the UC experience gives students the tools they need to compete with the best in the world,” says UC Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of the Honors Program, Raj Mehta. “We are proud that Rachel’s success and her future work will continue to build upon the global reach and reputation of our university.”

After the scholarship she plans to start a new organization that creates more dialogue between the new music and folk music worlds in China and the U.S. She has experience in creating and running an arts organization. In 2015, she and another CCM composition student, Ivan Alexander Moscotta, founded Cincinnati Soundbox — a chamber music series aimed at diversifying the Queen City’s music scene with works from local and national composers.

Walker will continue her musical research while in Beijing and hopes to write more compositions that utilize Chinese instruments. Her composition I touched the ground while floating away uses the pipa, a pear-shaped instrument sometimes called the Chinese lute, and the yangqin, a Chinese hammered dulcimer. The piece is available for streaming on Sound Cloud; more of Walker’s work is featured on her website, www.rachelcwalker.com.

“I’m humbled by this opportunity and am excited to return to Beijing,” Walker says of her acceptance into the Schwarzman Scholars program. “It’s been a nice surprise as I close out my time at CCM.”

About Schwarzman Scholars
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org.

CCM News Student Salutes

The Application Deadline is Approaching for the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship!

Time is running out to apply for the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship! The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra are accepting applications for the next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows through Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2016!

Diversity Fellow Emilio Carlo in rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Diversity Fellow Emilio Carlo in rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this one-of-a-kind program provides an unparalleled learning experience for violin, viola, violoncello and double bass players coming from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. The inaugural class of fellows are halfway through their first year in the program; read more about them in this UC Magazine feature story.

Fellows receive full tuition scholarship support while earning a Master of Music or Artist Diploma degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The inaugural class of Diversity Fellows with CSO music director Louis Langrée.

The inaugural class of Diversity Fellows with CSO music director Louis Langrée.

Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Each fellow receives compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the CSO.

Fellows receive a $10,000 per year graduate stipend and one-time Graduate School Dean’s Excellence Award of $3,000 from CCM.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. For application and audition requirements, visit us at ccm.uc.edu/chance2perform.

Apply online now at ccm.uc.edu/admissions/application/gradapplication.

Questions? Email us at ccmadmis@uc.edu.

CCM News