Lotte Lenya Competition Graphic.

CCM Students Talya Lieberman and Reilly Nelson Win Top Prizes in 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that current CCM students Talya Lieberman and Reilly Nelson took home top prizes during the final round of the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition. Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the prestigious competition was held on April 16 in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Lieberman won a Third Prize, which includes a cash award of $7,500. Nelson received a Carolyn Weber Award in recognition of outstanding creativity in the design of a diverse program and exceptional sensitivity to text/music relationships, which includes a $3,500 prize.

Nine awards and a total prize purse of $79,000 were given in the competition’s most competitive year yet. Foundation President and founder of the competition Kim Kowalke said of this year’s competition:

“The total amount and number of prizes awarded reflects the high level displayed at this year’s contest. It is a testament to the competition’s growth over nearly two decades.”

You can learn more about all of this year’s winners by visiting www.kwf.org.

Winners of the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, including CCM student Talya Lieberman (second from right).

Winners of the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, including CCM student Talya Lieberman (second from right).

Both Lieberman and Nelson also made strong showings in last year’s Lotte Lenya Competition. Nelson advanced to the semifinal round of the competition (along with three other CCM-trained singers), while Lieberman won the Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number during 2015’s final round.

Lieberman and Nelson are the latest in a long line of CCM students and alumni who have reached the final rounds of the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

For this year’s competition, each finalist presented a 15 minute program of four selections in the daytime round. An evening concert followed, in which contestants sang only a segment of their programs.

All finalists received a minimum cash award of $1,000, with additional discretionary awards of $3,500 each, and top prizes ranging from $7,500 to $15,000.

The panel of judges included international opera star Teresa Stratas, Rodgers & Hammerstein President Theodore S. Chapin and Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn. Finalists were selected from an initial pool of 224 contestants later narrowed to 31 semi-finalists, who were adjudicated and coached in the semi-final round by Tony Award-winners Jeanine Tesori and Victoria Clark. Clark, who last judged the competition in 2012, noted:

“I can feel the leap in overall talent from the last time I judged.”

Now in its 19th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes exceptionally talented singers/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Since 1998, the Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded more than $750,000 in prize money and continues to support previous winners with professional development grants.

Previous Lenya Competition winners enjoy successful careers performing in major theaters and opera houses around the globe.

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

CCM student Talya Lieberman.

CCM student Talya Lieberman.

About Talya Lieberman
Originally from Forest Hills, New York, soprano Talya Ilana Lieberman is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at CCM as a student of Professor William McGraw.

Recently described by Opera News as “poetically compelling,” “delectably stylish” and “technically refined,” Lieberman is equally at home with operatic, art song and musical theatre repertoire. Starting in September 2016 she will be seen frequently on stage at Komische Oper Berlin, where she will be assuming the soprano position in the Opernstudio. Her upcoming performances include debuts with Cincinnati Opera and Opera Columbus, as well as the title role in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Lieberman returned to Cincinnati this fall after completing a summer as a Filene Young Artist with Wolf Trap Opera, where her ability to “make a point with the merest flick of a finger” (Washington Post) shined in a highly lauded run as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She also appeared in concert with Steven Blier at Wolf Trap in a program celebrating the Broadway legacy of the Rodgers family (The Rodgers Family – A Century of Musicals).

Lieberman is a convert from the orchestra pit and started singing after receiving her master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the tutelage of Judith Saxton. She completed her BA at Duke University with highest distinction in linguistics (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude). She is a two-time winner of full tuition and stipend—winning the Russell-Seybold and Italo Tajo Awards, respectively—at CCM’s Opera Scholarship Competition.

CCM student Reilly Nelson. Photography by Kate Lemmon (http://www.katelphotography.com).

CCM student Reilly Nelson. Photography by Kate Lemmon (http://www.katelphotography.com).

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.

Nelson is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at CCM.

At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center.

The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at the renowned Tanglewood Music Festival for the summers of 2014 and 2015, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

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Story by Curt Whitacre

CCM News Student Salutes
Daniel Weeks, Associate Professor of Music in CCM's Department of Voice.

Accomplished Tenor Daniel Weeks Joins CCM’s Voice Faculty

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of Daniel Weeks, tenor, to the position of Associate Professor of Music in CCM’s Department of Voice. Weeks’ appointment becomes effective on August 15, 2015.

Daniel Weeks, Associate Professor of Music in CCM's Department of Voice.

Daniel Weeks, Associate Professor of Music in CCM’s Department of Voice.

Praised for his Italianate timbre and sensitive musicianship, Daniel Weeks maintains an active performing schedule including opera, oratorio and recitals. As a concert artist, Weeks has sung with the Houston Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Columbus Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Huntsville Symphony, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Winter Park Bach Festival, the Bozeman Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the National Symphony of Mexico, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Xalapa Symphony (Mexico) and the National Youth Orchestra of Caracas (Venezuela). On the operatic stage, he has performed with the Florentine Opera, Kentucky Opera, Mercury Opera, Nevada Opera and in 2001 toured the US in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater.

Conductors with whom he has performed include Steuart Bedford, Christoph Campestrini, Hal France, Stefan Lano, Jane Glover, Christopher Larken, Hans Graf, Gustav Meier, Junkchi Hirokami, Vladimir Spivakov, Alessandro Siciliani, John Keenan, John Rutter, Jorge Mester, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Eduardo Müller, Gregory Vajda, Stefan Sanderling, Ari Pelto, Lyndon Woodside, Uriel Segal, Robin Stamper, Mark Gibson and Joe Mechavich. Stage directors with whom he has worked include Linda Brovsky, Michael Cavanaugh, Leonard Foglia, David Gately, Casey Stangl, Nicholas Muni, Donald Westwood and John Davies. In 2009, Weeks was honored by his alma mater, Belmont University in Nashville, TN, with their Second Annual “Encore Alumni Award” for excellence in the field of classical music.

A passionate advocate for Art Song recitals, Weeks taught the Vocal Literature seminars at the University of Louisville after joining the voice faculty in 1998. In 1999, he was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions and was also named Young Artist by the National Federation of Music Clubs. In October 1999, he made his New York recital debut with CCM Accompanist-in-Residence Donna Loewy on the Judith Raskin Memorial Concert Series. In February 2000, Weeks was the “On Wings of Song” recitalist with Loewy under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation. For the next three years, he and Loewy presented recitals and school presentations for the Horne Foundation across the country.

Additionally, Weeks has collaborated with such notable pianists as Timothy Cheek, Valerie Trujillo and Douglas Fisher. Additionally, he and pianist, Naomi Oliphant have given over 150 performances throughout the US, Canada and Europe since 2002. These performances include recitals in Katowice, Poland, Brno, CZ and an appearance in Toronto, Canada, at the 2007 Collaborative Conference hosted jointly by the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association, the Music Teachers National Association and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

In 2009, Weeks and Naomi Oliphant released their album Women of Firsts: A Recording of Art Songs by Lili Boulanger, Amy Beach, Grażyna Bacewicz, and Vítězslava Kaprálová on the Centaur Records label. Critically acclaimed in the US and Europe, this recording showcases art songs by women who were the first in their respective countries to achieve national and international recognition for composition. He and Dr. Oliphant recorded their second album entitled The Lieder of Franz Liszt, which is scheduled for release with Centaur Records in 2015.

You can learn even more about Daniel Weeks by visiting www.tenorweeks.com. Please join us in welcoming him to the CCM family!

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Students and Alumnae Advance to Semifinals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that four current and former CCM students have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition! Those include Artist Diploma candidate Jasmine Habersham (also MM Voice, 2013), Artist Diploma candidate Talya Lieberman, first-year DMA candidate Reilly Nelson (also MM Voice, 2014) and alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013).

This impressive showing gives CCM more semi-finalists than any other school in the 2015 competition!

Habersham, Lieberman, Nelson and Smith will join 24 other singer-actors from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to compete in the Lotte Lenya Competition Semifinals on March 13 and 14 in New York City.

A program of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theatre singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill.

CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theater singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

The competition grants over $50,000 in prizes each year, and previous winners have gone on to forge prominent careers in opera houses and on Broadway. More information can be found at www.kwf.org/LLC.

About Jasmine Habersham
Jasmine Habersham returns to the Glimmerglass Festival this summer as Papagena in The Magic Flute. A member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist program in 2014, she also received the Central City Opera Guild Young Artist Award the previous year. The soprano holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from CCCM where she has appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. The Georgian is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently working toward her Artist Diploma at CCM.

About Talya Lieberman
An alumna of San Francisco’s 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya Lieberman returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at CCM, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Lieberman completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center. The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at Tanglewood in summers 2013 and 2014, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

About Christine Cornish Smith
A graduate of CCM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also performed the Stepmother and covered the Witch in Into the Woods, and appeared in Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she performed Reuben’s Wife in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is currently performing in Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The soprano made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the Ensemble of Oklahoma! In her native Texas, she made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello! and performed as a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre. She has also performed as principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. She was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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CCM Talent For Hire Presents “Let It Go” Performed by Sarah Bishop

Senior musical theatre major Sarah Bishop recently made a three-year-old’s birthday wish come true when she performed the hit song “Let It Go” in character as Elsa from the popular Disney film Frozen!

Last seen wowing audiences as Elle in CCM’s acclaimed production of Legally Blonde – The Musical, Bishop’s birthday party appearance was facilitated by CCM Talent for Hire.

CCM’s talented students and alumni will bring world-class artistry to your special event, too! Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/talentforhire.

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CCM Welcomes Renowned Countertenor Andreas Scholl for a Guest Artist Recital on Wednesday, Oct. 1

Guest artists Tamar Halperin and Andreas Scholl.

Guest artists Tamar Halperin and Andreas Scholl.

CCM’s Busse Fund Guest Artist Series proudly presents renowned German countertenor Andreas Scholl in concert at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Scholl will be accompanied by his wife, pianist Tamar Halperin, for an evening of art songs, featuring repertoire from their recent Decca album entitled Wanderer.

Scholl has sung at major music festivals, opera houses and with symphony orchestras around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Salzburg Festival, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among many others.

In a recent interview with Gramophone magazine, Scholl discussed his method for selecting the music that appeared on Wanderer, explaining, “I wanted to do a song album and the foundation for us was the Haydn songs, which I’ve sung for a few years and are obviously outside of the Baroque repertoire. From there we collated a list of about 40 songs from Brahms, Schubert and Mozart and condensed it down.”

CCM News

CCM Welcomes Guest Artists Gerald Finley and Julius Drake in Concert on Feb. 5

From left to right: Gerald Finley and Julius Drake come to CCM for a guest artist concert on Feb. 5, 2014.

From left to right: Gerald Finley and Julius Drake come to CCM for a guest artist concert on Feb. 5, 2014.

CCM welcomes acclaimed guest artists Gerald Finley, baritone, and Julius Drake, piano, for a performance of Franz Schubert‘s celebrated song cycle Winterreise at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in Corbett Auditorium.

One of Schubert’s greatest masterpieces, Winterreise (or Winter Journey) is a cycle of 24 songs for voice and piano, adapted from poems by Wilhelm Müller. These songs depict a journey in which a lovelorn wayfarer goes on a quest through the wintry landscape of his own soul. “Something not very nice has happened to him,” Drake explains. “The girl has left him who he’s in love with, and he has to cope with it just like we all have to cope with trials in life.”

Hyperion Records will release a highly anticipated recording of Finley and Drake’s Winterreise next month, but Cincinnati audiences can experience this mesmerizing journey for themselves on Feb. 5. “For people to have a chance to experience these amazingly beautiful, iconic and fundamental works of western culture is a rare opportunity,” suggests Finley. Tickets are on sale now.

CCM News

CCM Welcomes Guest Artists Gerald Finley and Julius Drake on Feb. 5, 2014

Guest artist Gerald Finley, baritone.

Gerald Finley, baritone, and Julius Drake, piano, bring their acclaimed recital tour of Franz Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise to CCM’s Corbett Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Below, watch Finley and Drake discuss the power and beauty of WinterreiseTickets for their Feb. 5 performance are on sale now.

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CCM Prep Offers ‘Drop In’ Classes for Adults This Summer

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Experience a casual evening of the arts on Thursday nights this summer, as the Preparatory Department of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Prep) presents “drop in” classes for adults! No experience is necessary, just a willingness to have fun and explore the performing arts.

CCM Prep’s summer “drop in” classes run 7 – 8:30 p.m. every Thursday from June 13 through August 1 (with the exception of Thursday, July 4), 2013. Admission to each class is $10 at the door. $50 punch cards are also available, offering six classes for the price of five!

Refer to the schedule below for more details on each class. Call CCM Prep at 513-556-2595 to reserve a space or just drop in! Preregistration required for the class on July 25.

CCM News

Current and Former CCM Students Win at 2013 Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition

Congratulations to the following CCM alumni and students who were prize winners in the Gerda Lissner Foundation 2013 International Vocal Competition!

  • CCM alumnus and countertenor John Holiday earned first prize in the competition, which came with a $10,000 cash award.
  • CCM alumnus Norman Garrett, baritone, earned second prize, with an award of $5,000. This is Garrett’s second consecutive year taking home a prize from the competition.
  • Artist Diploma candidate Yi Li, tenor, and CCM alumnus Emmet O’Hanlon, baritone, each received third prize, which came with a $3,000 cash award. This is also Li’s second consecutive year earning a prize at the Lissner Competition.
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CCM Welcomes Jesse Blumberg and Martin Katz for Schubert Residency in February

CCM alumnus Jesse Blumberg, baritone.

CCM alumnus Jesse Blumberg, baritone.

Next month, CCM welcomes alumnus Jesse Blumberg, baritone (MM, ’03), and renowned collaborative pianist Martin Katz for FREE performances of Franz Schubert’s two great Lieder cycles!

Blumberg and Katz will perform Shubert’s Die schöne Müllerin at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11 and Winterreise at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Both song cycles will be performed in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall and are open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

Below, watch Blumberg and Katz perform “Der Wegweiser” from Winterreise at the inaugural Collaborative Works Festival in Chicago.

This residency is made possible by support from the Jeannine Philippe Art Song Fund. Learn more about that fund’s namesake, CCM Professor Emeritus of Voice Jeannine Philippe, here.

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