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University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music

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University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music

University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati Seal
Motto Juncta Juvant ("Strength in Unity")
Established 1819
Type Public (state university)
Dean Peter Landgren[1]
Location Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Campus Urban

The University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the performing arts college of the University of Cincinnati and is one of the nation's leading music conservatories. In its most recent (1997) rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cincinnati sixth nationally among university programs for pursuing a graduate music degree. Its opera/voice program was ranked third, its conducting program was ranked fifth, its music composition program was ranked ninth and its drama program was ranked 37th.[2] CCM also is an All Steinway School, acquiring that title in early 2009 after purchasing 165 new pianos, the largest unit purchase in Steinway history.[3][4][1]


The Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was formed in August 1955 from the merger of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, formed in 1867 as part of a girls' finishing school, and the College of Music of Cincinnati, which opened in 1878. CCM was later incorporated into the University of Cincinnati on August 1, 1962. The college is sometimes mistakenly (if not outright intentionally) still called the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music by various publications such as Broadway Playbills, performer biographies, and even CCM alumni themselves (who rarely refer to themselves as alumni of the "University of Cincinnati") to distance CCM from its association with the University of Cincinnati. Since Nancy L. Zimpher became UC's president, the various UC colleges, including CCM, have been more tightly integrated under the University of Cincinnati name, including new campus signage and campus publications (including concert programs and calendars) that state the college's full name.

Today, CCM has an enrollment of about 1500, with a relatively even number of undergraduate and graduate students, and it is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the entire state of Ohio. Though most performances are free to all University of Cincinnati students, CCM does not offer a music minor, and most classes are restricted to students of the college with the exception of a few music history and music appreciation classes.


Converted from a dormitory in 1996, Memorial Hall now houses many of CCM's practice rooms and teaching studios.

CCM Village

Completed in 1999, the CCM Village was built at an overall cost of $93.2 million. Under the supervision of Henry Cobb, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, renovated existing structures were merged with an array of state-of-the-art new buildings creating four overall centers: Mary Emery Hall, the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Hall, and the Dieterle Vocal Arts Center.

Mary Emery Hall

The last and hallmark project for the CCM Village, Mary Emery Hall, was completed in 1999 and replaced the former Mary Emery Hall which housed aging practice rooms and classrooms. The new Mary Emery Hall is a confluence of "smart" classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, composition and performance labs, the Electronic Media Division, the Master Classroom, a Starbucks location, and the celebrated Werner Recital Hall.

The three-tiered building's interior has an open face with glass balconies overlooking its atrium. The atrium connects Mary Emery Hall to Corbett Auditorium. So-called "smart" classrooms were quite new to the University of Cincinnati in 1999, each housing high-quality video projectors, computer connections, soundboards, and other high-tech equipment to further facilitate instruction. In addition to faculty offices for the Electronic Media, Music Theory, History, and Composition, and Music Education divisions, Mary Emery Hall is home to a Starbucks location (which replaced the old CCM cafe in 2010). Three practice pipe organs and one performance pipe organ as well as the World Music Lab and Early Music Labs are located on its third level (fifth floor). The Master Classroom is a frequent location for recitals, studio classes, and master classes.

Corbett Center for Performing Arts

Named for its primary benefactors, Patricia and J. Ralph Corbett, the four level facility houses classrooms, offices, and studios for the Division of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama, and Arts Administration, the Theatre Design and Production Division, the Jazz Studies Division, and the Dance Division. It is also the site of most of CCM's performance venues including Corbett Auditorium, Patricia Corbett Theatre, Cohen Family Studio Theatre, and Watson Hall. Three full dance studios and numerous other rehearsal rooms adorn the ground floor level. Among the largest of CCM's facilities, the necessary scene shops, theater construction, costume shops, and make-up studios occupy most of its second and third levels. The lowest floor features large classrooms used primarily for lecture style and lab style courses as well as jazz studios and performance labs.

Watson Hall

Named after former dean Dr. Jack Watson, the 140-seat recital hall is located on the lowest level of the Corbett Center for Performing Arts. Its centerpiece, a 44-rank Balcom and Vaughan organ, was dedicated in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Strader, IV.

Baur Room

Added to the Corbett Center in 1999 was the Baur Room, an intimate and ornate room used for small receptions and student meetings such as the quarterly Dean's Forum. It was named in honor of Clara and Bertha Baur, the first two directresses of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall was converted from a girls dormitory in 1996 to a fully equipped practice and studio facility for the College-Conservatory of Music. Amongst its architectural features, one will find gargoyles splendoured throughout the building's facade and sculptures depicting female advancement in areas such as aviation. Many of the teaching studios inside the building still have the original fireplaces and mantels. Chamber music rehearsal rooms, reed making rooms, the center for computer music (ccm^2), and a small chamber performance room become a second home for many of CCM's students.

Dieterle Vocal Arts Center

The Dieterle Vocal Arts Center, commonly referred to as DVAC, was originally called Schmidlapp Hall. It was the university's gymnasium and athletic facility prior to the construction of the Armory Field House in 1954 and then was used by the ROTC program. DVAC is now the center of nearly all choral and vocal activity at CCM. Voice studios, coaching studios, accompanying studios, and choral rehearsal rooms are the main occupants of the building. The choral rehearsal room was once the location of the university's indoor pool.

Electronic media facilities

  • Ralph J. Corbett Audio Production Center
  • Lawrence A. Leser Newsroom
  • Judy and Jim Van Cleave Multimedia Laboratory
  • Jack and Joan Strader Radio Center
  • Walter and Marilyn Bartlett Television Production Center

Nippert Rehearsal Studio

The Nippert Rehearsal Studio, named for Louise Dieterle Nippert, was originally the site of the University of Cincinnati gymnasium and main basketball court from 1911 until 1951. Its large gallery windows overlook Nippert Stadium, and the hall is typically kept lit for night football games. The building is a common sight during nationally-televised football games. Now, the space is primary used for smaller-scale operatic performances.

CCM libraries

  • Gorno Memorial Music Library
  • CCM Listening Center

Performance venues

Corbett Auditorium

CCM's largest performance venue seating 738. It underwent a $5 million renovation in 1996. Most of the choral, orchestral, and wind concerts, ballet, opera, and musical theatre productions take place here.

Patricia Corbett Theatre

This 1971 construction seats 380. It is home to many chamber and solo recitals, ballets, operas, musical theatre, and drama productions.

Robert J. Werner Recital Hall

A 140-seat recital hall.

Watson Recital Hall

The renovated 140-seat recital hall contains a Balcolm and Vaughan organ of 44 ranks, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Strader, IV. Watson Hall also serves as a fully equipped smart classroom.[5]

Cohen Family Studio Theatre

Constructed in 1991, this venue is used mainly for solo recitals and chamber concerts. With a variety of seating arrangements, it can hold approximately up to 150.

Campus sculptures

  • Figura-Prima by Magdalena Abakanowicz (1995) outside of Werner Recital Hall [2]
  • Memorial Fountain to Clara Baur by Clement J. Barnhorn (1914) in the Alumni Garden [3]
  • Light Mast by James Carpenter (1999) outside the CCM Starbucks [4]
  • The Three Muses by Sam Gilliam (1999) in the CCM Atrium [5]



The College-Conservatory of Music offers a wide array of postgraduate, graduate, and undergraduate degrees in music. Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degrees are offered in all performance, conducting, and academic areas (except classical guitar and jazz studies) including Ph.D. programs in musicology, music history, and music theory. Doctor of Music Education (DME) degrees may also be sought. Advanced degrees called Artist Diplomas are available in most performance areas as well. Master of Music (MM) degrees are available in all aforementioned programs, including classical guitar and jazz studies, as well as accompanying and music education. All undergraduate music programs are performance-based and attain a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree. A general BA degree is offered in music.

Musical theatre

The musical theatre program at CCM is the oldest bachelor's degree granting program in the U.S., one of the most selective programs on campus, and is considered to be one of the top programs in the nation. Just a sampling of their alumni is listed below.


The majority of programs related to the school's theater departments are undergraduate, though a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree is offered in theater design and production. Undergraduate BFA degrees are more specialized in areas such as musical theatre and acting. It is also one of only two schools in the country to offer BFA and MFA programs in Makeup and Wig Design, the other being North Carolina School of the Arts, whose Wig and Makeup program was started by a graduate of CCM.

Arts administration

CCM offers both an MA in Arts Administration and a dual MBA/MA in Arts Administration in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati's College of Business. The program is highly business oriented and is focused on preparing students to lead and manage arts organizations.


The dance study at CCM has a ballet-emphasis. The department only offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in dance, though the faculty is of equivalent numbers and standards as other departments.

Electronic media

The largest and fastest growing program at CCM is electronic media. The program offers a general Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in electronic media, but students often choose specializations as part of their program including broadcasting, radio production, and television production. Electronic Media student organizations include Bearcast (UC's student radio station) and UCast (student-run campus television station).

Distinctions and chairs

  • Donna, Ralph, and Julia Cohen Chair in Drama
  • Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre
  • J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera
  • Dieterle Chair of Music
  • Thomas J. Kelly Professor
  • Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin
  • Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting

Noted faculty

Noted alumni

  • Gong-Qian Yang (M.M. Violin Performance 1993)- violinist and composer
  • Christy Altomare (B.F.A. Musical Theatre '08) – known for her roles as Sophie in Broadway Mamma Mia! and Wendla in national tour of Spring Awakening
  • Kathleen Battle (B.M. Music Education – 1970) – Soprano known for her roles at the Metropolitan Opera and other leading opera houses.
  • Keith Gavigan (Actor; M.F.A. Dramatic Performance – 1991)
  • Shoshana Bean (B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 1999) – known for her role in Wicked as Elphaba.
  • Ashley Brown (B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 2004) – known for the title role in Broadway production of Mary Poppins'
  • Kyle Brown (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2008) – Carlos in National Tour of Legally Blonde
  • David Lee Bunce (B.F.A., M.F.A. – 1968) – Radio personality, WKRC-AM, WLW-AM, 1970s - 1990s.
  • Kristy Cates (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1999) – Wicked
  • Kim Criswell (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1979)
  • Barbara Daniels (B.M. Vocal Performance) – Soprano known for Puccini.
  • David Daniels (B.M. Vocal Performance) – Countertenor of international fame.
  • Stephen Flaherty (B.M. Composition – 1982) – Tony Award-winning composer of Ragtime
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford (1939) - composer, singer (baritone), radio announcer, television host and author.
  • Tom Fox - operatic baritone
  • Sara Gettelfinger (Actress; B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 1999)
  • Jason Graae (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 1980)
  • Kirsten Haglund (B.F.A. Musical Theatre) – Miss America 2008
  • Randy Harrison (Actor; B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 2000)
  • Al Hirt – noted trumpeter
  • John Holiday - (M.M. Vocal Performance) American operatic countertenor who has appeared in supporting and leading roles with several American opera companies
  • Lauren Kennedy (B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 1993)
  • Jennifer Korbee – singer/actress, starred in the Emmy nominated television show Hi-5
  • Leslie Kritzer (B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 1999) – Star of 2008 musical, A Catered Affair and originated the role of Serena in Legally Blonde: The Musical.
  • Aaron Lazar (M.F.A. Musical Theatre – 2000), Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza on Broadway (also on PBS Broadcast), Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music, Original Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities, Impressionism on Broadway.
  • Bradley M. Look – Emmy Award-winning makeup artist.
  • Tyler Maynard (B.F.A. Musical Theatre) – Original Cast of Altar Boyz, Flotsum in Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway
  • Kevin McCollum (B.F.A. Musical Theatre – 1984) – producer of Tony Award-winning productions of Rent and Avenue Q. Also produced The Drowsy Chaperone and '.
  • Jay Meetze, Conductor, Founder of Opera Company of Brooklyn
  • Ricardo Morales, clarinetist
  • Pam Meyers - Musical Theatre. Originated role of Marta in Company
  • Anton Nel, (M.M., D.M.A. Piano) Pianist and winner of the 1987 Naumberg International Piano competition, among others.
  • Daniel Okulitch, opera bass-baritone
  • Karen Olivo (B.F.A. Musical Theatre) – Rent, Brooklyn, original Vanessa in In the Heights, revival Anita in West Side Story (Tony Award Win)
  • Faith Prince (Actor; B.F.A. Musical Theatre) Tony-award winner.
  • Diana-Maria Riva (Actress; B.F.A. Dramatic Performance – 1991)
  • Sara Shepard (B.F.A. Musical Theatre 2008) – Vivian cover on National Tour of Legally Blonde
  • Richard Sparks (D.M.A. Choral Conducting 1997)
  • Tony Yazbeck (B.F.A. Musical Theatre) – Original Tulsa in the 2008 revival of Gypsy
  • Mitchell Walker (B.F.A Musical Theatre)
  • George Clooney (B.F.A. Musical Theatre)- Famous American actor
  • Lic Charles (B.F.A. Musical Theatre)- Almost famous American actor
  • Donald Lawrence (B.F.A. Musical Theatre) - Multi Stellar award winning Gospel Music Singer, Composer and Choir Director


  • Cho-Liang Lin – Distinguished Guest Artist in Violin
  • Donna Loewy – Accompanist-in-Residence
  • Awadagin Pratt – Artist-in-Residence, Piano
  • Eugene Pridonoff – Artist-in-Residence, Piano
  • James Tocco – Eminent Scholar in Chamber Music
  • Dale Warland – Visiting Professor of Choral Music
  • Percussion Group Cincinnati - Artist-In-Residency and Percussion Studio Faculty members
  • Ariel String Quartet - Quartet-in-Residence


  1. ^ names new dean
  2. ^ CCM Dean Douglas Lowry to Head Eastman School of Music
  3. ^ CCM joins Steinway in partnership, becoming All Steinway School
  4. ^ In 2011, CCM was recognized as Ohio's first and only Center of Excellence in Music and Theatre Arts by the Ohio Board of Regents.
  5. ^ The Corbett Center for the Performing Arts

External links

  • CCM Arts Administration Official Site
  • UC College-Conservatory of Music official site
  • Pei Cobb Freed & Partners CCM Structures
  • CCM Musical Theatre Official Site
  • CCM Dramatic Performance Official Site

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