CSO announces 5 new diversity fellows

Amy Nickler

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) have selected five accomplished musicians for their next class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows.

The performance fellowship program was launched in 2015 out of a desire to help American orchestras be more inclusive and to better represent the communities they serve. The mission is to eliminate obstacles that can prevent musicians of color from achieving their full potential. It is funded with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through the collaborative program, CCM and the CSO provide graduate level academic study
and professional development and performance opportunities for the Diversity Fellows.

“The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra exists to serve our community. Our entire community,”
said CSO President Jonathan Martin. “But how can we authentically serve our entire community
if a significant part of that community doesn’t see themselves reflected in our organization? The
CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship is one of many steps we are taking to address this disparity. By
providing professional opportunities to a more diverse group of outstanding musicians, we hope
to cultivate—and begin changing —the next generation of American orchestral musicians.”

The new Fellows are:Read More »

Live stream tonight: Walnut Hills High teen to perform as finalist in Hilton Head Piano Competition

Kasey Shao, 16, a rising star pianist and a junior at Walnut Hills High School, is a finalist in the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. You can hear her perform the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 for the Final Round with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Morris Russell at 7 p.m. tonight (March 14).

It will be live-streamed here.

Kasey studies with Ran Dank at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The last time I interviewed her, she was preparing for the Van Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition. You can read about her previous performances and competitions in that article.

For info about the competition, click here.

We wish her luck!

More cancellations, but the ZOO is open — outdoor exhibits, anyway

Nicole Cabell pledges to return

You can pretty much assume that if you own a performing arts ticket between now and April 12 or so, it has been cancelled to avoid community spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio. Here’s the latest:

Matinee Musicale’s recital featuring opera star Nicole Cabell, soprano, and Donna Loewy, piano, on March 27th in Memorial Hall has been canceled. In addition, the master class that the soprano graciously agreed to perform with voice students at CCM on March 26 is also canceled.

The artist has agreed to reschedule if at all possible. Here’s the organizations’ message:

“Matinée Musicale will work to make this happen when government restrictions are lifted and the health and well-being of all participants is no longer threatened. We will have information about rescheduling and/or ticket refunds/exchanges soon.

“At this time, we expect the April 19 and May 2 recitals to proceed as planned. If the Governor’s ban is extended beyond April 3, notifications will be sent promptly. Check our website for more information: matineemusicalecincinnati.org.”

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is open, but precautions are being taken — and you might not get to see Fiona, as indoor animal habitats are closed. But you can still walk the lovely grounds and see the animals that are outside.

Here’s the Zoo’s statement:Read More »

All Beethoven, all the time

Stefani Matsuo
Photo by Jake Anderson

Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year (Dec. 16 2020) is offering musical groups around the world a reason to celebrate this revolutionary composer. This weekend, the chamber ensemble concert:nova is presenting Beethoven’s violin and cello sonatas in three consecutive concerts. It will offer a chance to hear musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, including new concertmaster Stefani Matsuo, performing with some excellent pianists, faculty members at CCM and Oberlin.

Here’s the lineup. There will be cake — presents not necessary.

The concerts are at the First Lutheran Church, 1208 Race Street in OTR. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door or $60 for the whole birthday bundle. Click here to purchase.Read More »

May Festival in full swing

View of the stage on Opening Night at the May Festival

Here are last weekend’s reviews:

Friday night’s review of Mark Simpson’s “The Immortal” is published on the national website, Classical Voice North America, free to read by clicking here.

And Saturday’s review is published locally by the Cincinnati Business Courier. Remember that the Arts Front is always free, but you may need to register for a FREE subscription. Click here for the review, and click here to read the season preview.

Tonight, May 23: Craig Hella Johnson leads Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble in a performance of his own oratorio, “Considering Matthew Shepard.” The work provides “a space for reflection, consideration and unity around (Matthew Shepard’s) life and legacy,” Johnson says. Rod Caspers, stage director. 7 p.m., Corbett Auditorium, CCM. (Note the show is moved from PCT due to ticket demand.)

Herald trumpets hail the season

Friday, May 24: Music director laureate James Conlon returns to the Festival for the first time since 2016 to lead Mussorgsky’s Prologue and Farewell Scene from “Boris Godunov,” Boito’s Prologue from “Mefistofele” and Mahler’s “Das Klagende Lied,” with soloists Morris Robinson, Sarah Vautour, Taylor Raven, Richard Trey Smagur, John Siarris and Donnie Ray Albert. Conlon gives the preconcert lecture at 7 p.m. in Springer Auditorium.

NOTE THE EARLY START TIME, Saturday, May 25: Juanjo Mena leads J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” with soloists Berit Norbakken Solset, Carlos Mena, Werner Güra, James Newby, Andrew Stenson and Hanno Müller-Brachmann and the May Festival Youth Chorus.  7 p.m., Music Hall (Note the early start time).

And here’s the review of the second weekend.

Oratorio to be given Ohio premiere: ‘Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream’

Catherine Roma, artistic director, directing the World House Choir, which will perform the Ohio premiere of “Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream.” Photo provided.

A combined mass choir of 160 singers from 20 choirs in Cincinnati, Dayton and Yellow Springs have been rehearsing all summer for the premiere of an oratorio hailing the memory of a leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin (1912-87).

The choral work, “Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream,” was composed by Steve Milloy, a Cincinnati composer, conductor and an alumnus of Miami University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Four performances — three in the Yellow Springs/Dayton area and one in Cincinnati — and numerous events from Cincinnati to Yellow Springs will celebrate Rustin’s life as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, which took place Aug. 28 1963 — 55 years ago today. Read More »

WGUC to air ‘Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy ‘ on Sunday

Leonard Bernstein conducting, provided/Paul de Hoeck, courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

WGUC (90.9-FM) continues its “100 Days of Bernstein” celebrating the centennial year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a special program, “Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy,” airing at 8 p.m. Sunday night Aug. 19.

Produced by WGUC music director, Jessica Lorey in collaboration with Naomi Lewin, Stephen Baum, and hosted by Brian O’Donnell, “Leonard Bernstein: A Legacy” will bring you a wide range of Bernstein music as well as insights from musicians, conductors, and academics with local ties who knew, worked with, or studied the man many called Lenny.

You’ll hear remarks from:Read More »

Cincinnati Song Initiative wins ‘Stand for the Arts’ award

Cincinnati Song Initiative participants around the piano (L-R): Alex Hurd, Ahyoung Jung, Samuel Martin, Ivy Walz, Kenneth Griffiths, Marie Marquis

America’s only arts network, Ovation TV, in partnership with Spectrum, has awarded Cincinnati Song Initiative a 2018 Stand for the Arts award. The award includes $10,000 in funding. Officials will hold a formal award presentation in Cincinnati on Oct. 8.

Cincinnati Song Initiative is a three-year-old concert series devoted to art song. The project, led by founding artistic director Samuel Martin, presents beautifully-sung, well-researched programs on themes such as American song, the French group, Les Six, and the art song of Spanish-speaking nations, “Alma de España,” which kicks off the third season on Sept. 22.Read More »

Reviews: CSO’s musical comaraderie, and opera at CCM

Mozart wind band music
Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 was played for the first time in 85 years by the CSO.

Here are my reviews from two of the shows I saw this week, which you can read free on the Business Courier:

CSO demonstrates musical camaraderie in smaller works

Gianni Schicci_ml-6738-2
Gianni Schicchi cast — note that there are two casts — (Left to right) Antonio Cruz, Samson McCrady, Michael Hyatt, Chandler Johnson, Lisa Rogali, Tyler Johnson, Amy Joy Stevens, Zane Hill. Photo: Mark Lyons

And at CCM: From tragedy to comedy, CCM double bill is a treasure

CCM singers compete for cash, scholarships

CCM student Brianna Bragg participating in a master class with opera star Jamie Barton earlier this year. Photo: Andrew Higley

On Saturday at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, singers will be vying for five prestigious full-tuition scholarships and $62,500 in cash awards. The Opera Scholarship Competition will be held on Saturday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

It’s a high-stakes, daylong event featuring 27 current and incoming singers who are students in CCM’s storied opera department. They’ll be performing arias, songs and scenes before influential judges who have been flown in for the event.Read More »