Header for Cincinnati's 2016 May Festival.

Cincinnati May Festival Features CCM Alumna Tamara Wilson as Guest Artist in Verdi’s Otello

Header for Cincinnati's 2016 May Festival.

As a rising star in the opera world, soprano and CCM alumna Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) has already amassed an impressive international reputation. Cincinnati residents will have an opportunity to hear her voice again this weekend as she joins the May Festival‘s 2016 line-up!

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Wilson, a former student of Barbara Honn and the 2016 winner of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, will return to the Queen City to perform the female lead role of Desdemona in Giuseppe Verdi’s famed opera Otello under the baton of May Festival Music Director James Conlon.

Wilson will be part of a star-studded cast including tenors Gregory Kunde (the 2015 International Opera Awards Male Singer of the Year) and May Festival regular Rodrick Dixon, along with the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The performances starts at 8 p.m. this Saturday, May 21, in Music Hall. Tickets are available online at https://my.cincinnatisymphony.org or by phone at 513-381-3300, so make sure to reserve today to see this rising CCM alumna!

About Tamara Wilson
American soprano Tamara Wilson made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December of 2014 in the title role of Aida, when the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes,” and observed: “Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”

Nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera after her English National Opera debut last fall as Leonora in La forza del destino, the soprano will make further debuts next season at the Bayerischer Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grand Prize Winner at Barcelona’s Annual Francisco Viñas Competition, a winner of the George London Award and the recipient of both a 2008 Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

After launching the present season headlining Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, Wilson returned to Oper Frankfurt as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo; sang Lucrezia in Verdi’s I due Foscari in Santiago, Chile; made her Cleveland Orchestra debut; and joined Marin Alsop for Mahler in São Paulo. Back in the States after touring Japan as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, the soprano looks forward to taking Brahms’s German Requiem on an East Coast tour with Seraphic Fire and singing Desdemona in Otello at Cincinnati’s May Festival, in celebration of James Conlon’s 37th and final year as Music Director. Last season Wilson made her role and house debuts headlining Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, following recent debuts at Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Carnegie Hall. In addition to being a CCM graduate, Wilson is also an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!
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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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A promotional image for the Animal Mother, a jazz trio comprised of CCM alumni.

CCM Jazz Alumni Receive Glowing Review from the Washington Post

CCM alumni Matt McAllister (BM Jazz Studies, 2013), Josh Kline (BM Jazz Studies, 2015) and Jon Massey (BM Jazz Studies, 2012) have been making waves with their latest musical project, Animal Mother.

In a glowing review of the ensemble’s May 8th performance at the Twins Jazz Club and Lounge in Washington, DC, Washington Post contributor Michael J. West suggests, “(T)hese guys — unlike many declared jazz musicians — had mastered the music’s basic foundation before reimagining it.”

A self-described “garage jazz” band, Animal Mother formed at CCM in 2013 with McAllister on drums, Kline on tenor saxophone and Masey on bass. Initially conceived as an opportunity to practice free improvisation, the ensemble soon began to focus on McAllister’s original compositions. The band released its debut album, The Youth Will Rule!, last year and recently embarked on a tour of the Midwest.

Back at home, Animal Mother has been nominated two years in a row for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the “Best Jazz” category.

“Animal Mother deserves more ears,” West concludes in his review, “not least because they slyly suggest that they have even more musical ingredients than meet the ear.”

You can read the full write-up online at www.washingtonpost.com.

Learn more about the achievements of CCM’s students and alumni by subscribing to The Village News!
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Story by Curt Whitacre

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Bearcats at the Ballpark

CCM students and alumni to sing National Anthem at Reds Game

CCM students and alumni will sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the Great American Ball Park Friday night before the Cincinnati Reds play against the Seattle Mariners. The baseball diamond will serve as the singers’ stage as they perform during UC’s annual Bearcats at the Ballpark outing.

Students Nicole Hodgins, Sam Krausz, Grace Newberry, Pedro Arroyo and Chris Albanese will join alumni Danielle Adams (MM Voice 2014), Sarah Folsom (MM Voice 2015) and Stephen Hanna (MM Voice 2016) in singing the National Anthem at the game.

Bearcats at the BallparkThe event features a pre-game celebration at 5:45 p.m. with free giveaways at the Kroger Fan Zone, where UC President Santa Ono will perform the cello before the game. President Ono will also throw the first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Each year, discounted game tickets are offered to UC students, alumni, faculty and staff for Bearcats at the Ballpark:

Field Box: $28 (regularly $36)
Outer Mezzanine: $18 (regularly $20)
View Level: $11 (regularly $15)

To purchase tickets, visit reds.com/bearcats or call (513) 765-7055. Make sure to select CCM as your college in the drop-down menu!

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CCM Winds' 2010 Prism XIII Concert

CCM Conducting Alumni Receive Prestigious Award from the Solti Foundation

We are honored to announce that two conducting alumni of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) were among 11 musicians recently announced as recipients of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, a grant prize given to help up-and-coming conductors further their careers.

Christopher G. Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) and Stefano Sarzani (CCM 2012-2013) join a group of only 46 conductors to receive this award since it was founded by the Solti Foundation in 2004. As the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young composers, the Solti Foundation is currently the only American organization to grant such awards annually.

Christopher Allen.

Christopher Allen.

Both alumni are in high demand worldwide. Allen, who is currently the John L. Margo Resident Conductor for the Cincinnati Opera, is also the Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. His conducting credits include Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Santa Barbara Montana’s Intermountain Opera and South Korea’s Daegu Opera House and the Atlanta Symphony. Along with the Solti prize, Allen was nominated as a finalist for the 2015 International Opera awards in London in the “Newcomer” category.

Stefano Sarzani.

Stefano Sarzani.

Sarzani was recently been appointed Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera for their Summer 2016 season. His collaborations include the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra of Colorado, Atlanta and Sarasota Operas, and numerous orchestras in Italy including Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. A recent finalist for the New World Symphony’s 2015-16 conducting fellowship, he is also highly decorated from numerous competitions, most notably taking second prize in The American Prize competition in 2012.Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

About the Solti Foundation U.S.

Now in its twelfth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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Heyuan Theatre

CCM Prep’s Starling Chamber Orchestra to tour China

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Preparatory and Community Engagement is proud to announce that the remarkable talents of the Starling Chamber Orchestra are embarking on a tour in southern China this summer. Between June 13 and June 24, 2016, these young artists will perform a total of six concerts in professional venues.

Starling Chamber Orchestra

Starling Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Gary Kessler.

The program features a refreshing variety of composers, classical periods and regional styles. Among the selections are Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Bartok’s Romanian Folkdances and Spring of Xinjiang, a Chinese traditional piece, to name a few.While on tour the Starling Chamber Orchestra will perform in six professional venues: the Hunan Radio and Television Center studio, Shantou Arts Grand Theatre, Shenzhen Poly Theater, Huizhou Poly Culture and Arts Center and Heyuan Theatre.

While on tour the Starling Chamber Orchestra will perform in six professional venues: the Hunan Radio and Television Center studio, Shantou Arts Grand Theatre, Shenzhen Poly Theater, Huizhou Poly Culture and Arts Center and Heyuan Theatre.

The Starling Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is a 25-member string ensemble of young artists from the Cincinnati Starling Project. CCM Violin Professor and Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin, Kurt Sassmannshaus, founded the Starling Project in 1989. It offers unprecedented opportunities for young artists to perform as soloists, tour internationally, and make recordings. These young virtuosi have attracted widespread attention, including feature articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Branded as “The World’s Youngest Chamber Orchestra” by the Münchner Merkur, the orchestra has been featured on From the Top, Performance Today and on Robert Sherman’s Young Artists Showcase program in New York. The SCO maintains a busy touring and recording schedule. Since 1992, the orchestra has performed frequently at the Aspen Music Festival and has toured Europe, Korea, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China and at Lincoln and Kennedy Centers. The orchestra also performs an annual series of concerts at CCM.

The members of the Starling Chamber Orchestra also participate in the Cincinnati Starling Project, a specialized educational program for talented young string players. Its mission is to pass on the rich tradition of classical music to the next generation of performers and audiences by training exceptional students. In addition to private lessons, students participate in a comprehensive program that includes chamber music and music theory.

Starling Project students and alumni have won awards such as the International Tchaikovsky Competition, The China International Violin Competition, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

The Cincinnati Starling Project and Starling Chamber Orchestra are generously funded through a grant from the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation, as well as a number of generous donors. The program is also supported by the Starling Project Foundation, Inc. and the Preparatory Department of CCM.

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

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Sarah Bishop as Helga, Andrea Goss as Sally Bowles and Alison Ewing as Fritzie in the 2016 National Tour of Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Cincinnati Enquirer, WCPO feature CCM alums in “Cabaret” tour

Local media outlets recently spoke with two CCM alumni who are currently touring nationally in Roundabout Theatre Company‘s production of Cabaret. Co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, who brought the original Tony Award-winning production to Broadway in 1998, Cabaret is set to begin a two-week run at the Aronoff Center as part of the Broadway in Cincinnati series May 10-22.

David Lyman wrote the Cincinnati Enquirer article “CCM grad goes from nice girl to bad girl in Cabaret  featuring Sarah Bishop (BFA 2015), who starred in CCM’s production of Legally Blonde in 2014. Bishop, who will play Helga in Cabaret, spoke to Lyman about her career post-graduation and what it’s like to be involved in the busy tour, which has played 13 cities in 14 weeks.

Lyman also spoke with Randy Harrison (BFA 2000) in the WCPO Channel 9 article, “CCM grad Rany Harrison returns to play Emcee in Cabaret at the Aronoff. Harrison was cast as Justin Taylor in Showtime’s Queer As Folk television show shortly after he graduated from CCM.  He made his Broadway debut as Boq in Wicked and has also appeared in productions of Waiting for Godot, Endgame, The Glass Menagerie and The Who’s Tommy.

Two other CCM graduates are on the Cabaret tour with Bishop and Harrison: Leeds Hill (BFA 2011) in the role of Bobby and Shannon Cochran (BM 1982) as Fräulein Schneider

You can read the full article on Sarah Bishop in the Cincinnati Enquirer here.

WCPO’s full article on Randy Harrison can be read here.

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CCM Village in the spring of 2014. Photography by Dottie Stover.

CCM Alumna Leslie Kritzer wins Lucille Lortel Award

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music is pleased to announce that alumna Leslie Kritzer (BFA Musical Theatre, 1999) has won a Lucille Lortel Award as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in the Roundabout Theatre revival of The Robber Bridegroom. The Lucille Lortel Awards recognize excellence in New York Off-Broadway theatre and have been awarded since 1986.

Leslie Kritzer and company in The Robber Bridegroom. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Leslie Kritzer and company in The Roundabout Theatre Company’s ‘The Robber Bridegroom.’ Photo by Joan Marcus.

Kritzer has enjoyed mounting success over the years. She recently developed two new Broadway musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock and The Honeymooners playing Alice Kramden opposite Hank Azaria, which will be on Broadway in 2016. She is currently playing Ray Romano’s wife on Vinyl, a new show on HBO.

After graduating from CCM in 1999, Kritzer made her Broadway debut in Hairspray. She then played the role of Serena in Legally Blonde, for which she won the Clarence Derwent Award for most promising performer. She earned a Drama Desk nomination for her role in A Catered Affair, starring opposite Tom Wopat and Faith Prince. In Sondheim on Sondheim on Broadway she starred opposite Vanessa Williams and Barbara Cook and was also seen in Elf, in which she appeared as Jovie opposite Wayne Knight. Kritzer has also appeared in Piece of My Heart at The Signature Theatre, world premieres of Nobody Loves You at Second Stage and The Memory Show at Transport Group, Rooms: A Rock Romance, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Bat Boy: The Musical. She played Hildy in On the Town for New York City Center Encores! and she was Little Becky in the national tour of Urinetown. Her regional credits include Pop! at Yale Repertory Theatre, Every Tongue Confess at Arena Stage, First You Dream at The Kennedy Center and Funny Girl at Paper Mill Playhouse.

In 2011, CCM recognized Kritzer for her achievements by presenting her with the CCM Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award. This award is presented each year at a performance of the Senior Showcase in Cincinnati sponsored by the Friends of CCM, now known as CCMpower. This award recognizes outstanding professional achievement by a graduate of CCM’s musical theatre program from the past two decades.

You can learn more about the Roundabout Theatre’s production of The Robber Bridegroom here.

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