Scot Woolley was a multi-talented performer and mentor to many

Scot Woolley at the keyboard with his brother, CSO violinist Stacey Woolley

Scot Woolley will be remembered as one of Cincinnati’s brightest stars and an indispensable member of the region’s arts community from Northern Kentucky to Dayton.

He was a gifted pianist, singer, conductor, arranger, dancer and composer who worked around the world. He was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a faculty member at Wright State University, where he was music director and voice instructor.

Mr. Woolley died on Jan. 26 after suffering a medical emergency while driving to his Westwood home. He was 60.

“A terrible void has been left and nobody can fill it,” said his brother, Stacey Woolley, a violinist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. “Scot really revered the Great American Songbook and the old Broadway. He loved Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. He revered the lyrics of Johnny Mercer and the high bar that was set by the MGM Studio. That’s what he tried to pass along to the generation that followed, that you must look back and understand that you’re all standing on the shoulders of giants.”Read More »

Young musicians encouraged to apply for unique scholarship

Scholarship winners who performed last spring at Greenacres

Young musicians from across the Tristate area are invited to compete for the Nancy F. Walker Memorial Scholarships (total of $50,000) for singers and instrumentalists now being offered by Matinée Musicale Cincinnati.

These have been made possible by recent generous donations in memory of Nancy Fuldner Walker and a bequest from the estate of Louise Dieterle Nippert.

As an extension of its longtime mission to advance the careers of young instrumentalists and singers, Matinée Musicale invites applications from juniors and seniors in college and high school. Awards will be given to both instrumentalists and singers.Read More »

Year in review: Great performances of 2018

It’s always revealing to look back at the best things I saw – and heard — over the year. Cincinnati audiences heard memorable performances, musical rarities and world premieres. There were also some musical milestones, such as the Cincinnati May Festival’s first concert conducted by a woman. Here are a few of my personal favorites from 2018.

Jamie Barton red dress sm
The incomparable Jamie Barton

In January, a rare recital: Jamie Barton and pianist Kathleen Kelly launched their road tour in the Queen City with the recital that they performed in December at Carnegie Hall. The recital tour was part of a big season for the mezzo-soprano, who was honored with the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award by the Metropolitan Opera. Her program was a journey of discovery — with many unexpectedly delicious moments. That was partly because, in a rare occurrence on concert stages today, fully half of her program consisted of music by women: Elinor Remick Warren, Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Amy Beach and Libby Larsen.

Presented by the venerable, 105-year-old music club Matinée Musicale, the event was held at the beautifully-restored, circa-1908 Memorial Hall in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine historic district.  Its 550-seat theater was packed to the rafters.Read More »

A father’s meaningful memorial to his son

Jordan McFaull

Rod McFaull, of Ft. Mitchell, wanted to make a lasting memorial to his son, Jordan, who died tragically at age 26 in 2015 of complications from diabetes. Jordan, who had just finished his first year practicing maritime law in New Orleans, loved classical music. He studied viola with Dorotea Vismara Hoffman at CCM Prep, at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. McFaull decided that a fitting tribute to his son would be to commission a new string quartet in his memory.

On Nov. 15, Kyle Werner’s String Quartet No. 2, “In Memory,” was given its world premiere at CCM.Read More »

Who are the next leaders in the arts?

One of the most interesting stories I have had the privilege to write for the Business Courier was about 10 up-and-coming young arts patrons who will be guiding our great Cincinnati arts institutions in the decades to come. For as long as I’ve covered the arts here, there has been hand-wringing over who will replace those great philanthropists and board leaders who have gone before. The Nipperts and Corbetts are just two of most well-known names from the previous generation, among many others.

Cincinnati has a great history of generosity and stewardship that goes back more than a century. You only need to consider this:

The CSO turns 125 in 2020

Cincinnati Opera turns 100 in 2020

Art Academy of Cincinnati turns 150 in 2019

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music is celebrating its 150th this year.

That kind of legacy takes leadership and creativity. And it takes changing with the times. Who could have imagined that an arts event called Blink could bring a million people downtown last year?

These young leaders already hold some of the city’s most important board roles. I think the arts are and will be in very good hands.

So who are the 10? Read the story here.

Where to find arts news and reviews: Visit the new Arts Front at bizjournals.com/cincinnati. It’s free, but you may need to register for a free subscription. For the latest CSO review of Beethoven’s Ninth, click here.

CCM Jazz to honor John Von Ohlen

John von ohlen provided
Provided photo: John Von Ohlen, co-founder of the Blue Wisp Big Band, was an adjunct instructor of jazz drums at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

I’m sharing this note I received from CCM director of Jazz Studies Scott Belck:

The CCM Jazz Orchestra proud to present Stan Kenton’s “West Side Story” Sunday night,  November 4th. The band will be paying homage to the thrilling music of the Stan Kenton Orchestra’s first Grammy Award winning album, all of the magnificent arrangements by Kenton stalwart Johnny Richards.
This concert will be dedicated to the memory of distinguished faculty member and Stan Kenton alumnus, John Von Ohlen.
Special guest conductor, Vaughn Wiester, a veteran of the Woody Herman Band and a Stan Kenton scholar, will also be presenting a Pre-Concert Lecture entitled: “Three Outsized Personalities.”
Belck says he expects this prestige event to sell quickly, so get your tickets soon.
Von Ohlen died early this month. Read more about his achievements in the jazz world in John Kiesewetter’s tribute on WVXU.
What: Stan Kenton’s “West Side Story”
CCM Jazz Orchestra
Scott Belck, music director
Vaughn Wiester, guest conductor
When: Sunday, November 4th at 7pm
Corbett Auditorium
CCM Jazz Orchestra , Scott Belck, musical director/conductor
Vaughn Wiester Pre-Concert Lecture “Three Outsized Personalities”
6:15 in Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: $20 general, $15 non-UC students, UC students FREE
CCM Box Office:  ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice
Phone: 513-556-6638

In memoriam: John Von Ohlen

Legendary jazz drummer John Von Ohlen, “The Baron,” died on Oct. 3 following a long illness. He was 77.

He was a drummer, bandleader and recording artist. You could only marvel at his effortless technique, his musicality and his seamless communication with his fellow musicians. Small wonder he was the drummer of choice for Rosemary Clooney, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, Mel Torme and Perry Como. He toured and recorded with Kenton for two years.

Von Ohlen was one of the last big band drummers of his era.

“Performing with and discussing music — and philosophy — with John Von Ohlen has been one of the great joys of my life,” said Rick VanMatre, saxophonist and former director of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. “Asking John to join the CCM jazz faculty in 1985 was the best decision we could have made for the students, the faculty, and the legacy of the Jazz Studies Program.”

Read More »