The CCM Choral Department maintains five choral ensembles: the 40-voice Chamber Choir, 50-voice Chorale, 50-voice Chamber Singers and 120-voice UC Men's and UC Women's Choruses. Choral majors gain additional experiences as assistant conductors, professional singers and accompanists with Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, a professional chamber choir, the Cincinnati Children's Choir, Ensemble-in-Residence at CCM of over 300 children and youth in six ensembles, and the May Festival Chorus, a symphonic chorus.
The CCM Chamber Choir is CCM’s premier choral ensemble of 40 singers. Under the direction of Earl Rivers, the choir performs masterworks with chamber orchestra and miniatures from the historical standard repertory and contemporary periods. The Chamber Choir rotates the cycle of J.S. Bach's masterworks - Mass in B Minor, Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion - and was acclaimed last season for a staged production in collaboration with CCM’s Opera Department of the St. Matthew Passion at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. The Chamber Choir received accolades for its 400th anniversary celebration of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at Cincinnati’s Christ Church and for recent presentations from the canon contemporary repertoire to include Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces. In March 2011 the Chamber Choir presented an Interest Session on “A Conductor’s Guide to the Preparation and Performance of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion” before the ACDA Central Division Convention. In the most recent decade the CCM Chamber Choir sang Handel’s Dixit Dominus at the 2001 ACDA National Convention in San Antonio, Texas, appeared at four ACDA Divisional Conventions, participated in Chorus America’s Master Class for Choral and Orchestral Conductors at CCM, and were featured in a program of si placet works of Josquin and his contemporaries at the 2002 American Musicological Society National Convention. In 2008 the CCM Chamber Choir performed Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Midwest and collegiate premieres of Bastian Clevé’s film, The Sound of Eternity.
Activities of the Chamber Choir in 2012-13 include J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor in collaboration with the Constella Festival (Oct. 28, 2012 at Christ Church Cathedral), the The Monteverdi Project, matching international and national Early Music Guest Artists with CCM students in selections from Book 8 Madrigals of Love and War and Selve Morale e Spirituale (Nov. 28, 2012 in Corbett Auditorium), Joseph Jongen’s Mass with the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Organ Series (March 4, 2013), a new music concert with CCM’s Café Momus (April 17, 2013 in Cohen Studio Theater) and a collaboration with CCM’s Dance Department featuring English madrigals (April 18, 19, & 20, 2013 in Patricia Corbett Theater). The Chamber Choir combines with the Chorale annually to perform choral/orchestral masterworks.
The CCM Chorale is an undergraduate-based ensemble of 50 voices with a core of undergraduate voice majors under the direction of Brett Scott that performs a wide range of music including a cappella and accompanied standard and contemporary repertoire. Last season Chorale performed Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year and recent works by CCM composers Norman Dinerstein (deceased), Douglas Kneehans and Miguel Roig-Francoli. Last April, the Chorale sang Finzi’s Requiem da Camera and Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music and joined the UC Men’s and Women’s Choruses and CCM Concert Orchestra in for Orff’s Carmina Burana.
In 2012-13 Chorale will perform a Veteran’s Day Memorial Concert featuring Fauré’s Requiem and miniatures of Daley, Tavener and Willan at Calvary Episcopal Church (Nov. 11, 2012) and an American Voice’s Program featuring Argento’s I hate and I love, Ives’s Psalm 67 and new works of Douglas Kneehans that will be recorded. The Chorale joins the Concert Orchestra for Britten's Spring Symphony with the Xavier Concert Choir and Brahms' Rinaldo with the men of the Chorale and the Miami University Men's Glee Club (April 20, 2013). The Chorale combines with the Chamber Choir annually to perform choral/orchestral masterworks.
The Chamber Choir and Chorale combine annually to present standard repertory and contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks with the CCM Philharmonia and Concert Orchestras. Most recently featured were the Berlioz La Damnation de Faust with visuals by Raul Barcelona (Feb. 2012) and a concert version (complete) of Puccini’s Turandot (Jan. 2011). Recent seasons have featured collegiate premieres of John Adam’s On the Transmigration of Souls, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5, Penderecki’s Credo and Augusta Read Thomas’s Ring Out, Wild Bells, To The Wild Sky, the latter two works both performed before the ACDA Central Division Convention. In January 2013 the Chamber Choir, Chorale and Philharmonia Orchestra present Verdi’s Requiem.
Chamber Choir and Chorale combine to perform with the Cincinnati May Festival, the western hemisphere's oldest continuing choral festival. Recent performances have featured the Mahler Symphony No. 8 conducted by James Conlon and Berlioz Requiem conducted by James Levine.
The CCM Chamber Singers is a 50-voice mixed chorus of music majors conducted exclusively by graduate MM and DMA choral majors, under the mentorship of the choral faculty. MM and DMA choral majors gain professional conducting training through rehearsals and performances of the Chamber Singers, performing a varied repertoire of a cappella, accompanied and chamber works from all style periods. Chamber Singers rehearsals are followed by masterclasses for MM and DMA choral majors with choral and guest artist faculty.
The UC Men's and Women's Choruses of 120 voices are comprised of undergraduate students from the University of Cincinnati’s thirteen component colleges of over 40,000 students. DMA choral majors with significant experience are awarded the Directorships of these ensembles. The Cabaret Singers is a 16-voice ensemble of members from the UC Men’s and Women’s Choruses, performing a variety of styles of music. In 2012-13 Olga Artemova, third year DMA choral major, is Director of the UC Men’s Chorus; Michael Fuchs, second year DMA choral major, is Director of the UC Women’s Chorus; and Steven Berlanga, second year MM choral major, is Director of the Cabaret Singers.
The UC Choruses perform a diverse repertoire of a cappella, accompanied, folk, spirituals and world music. They present a major concert each semester on campus, perform off-campus, appear on CCM’s Feast of Carols, make an annual spring weekend tour and annually present a major choral/orchestral work.
The Jazz Ensemble is CCM's premier big band and it performs a wide variety of styles including historical swing, bebop, post-bop, fusion, Latin, and avant-garde. Special emphasis is placed on the idiom's great art-music composers such as Thad Jones, Bill Holman, and Bob Brookmeyer, on projects like the annual All-Ellington transcription concert, and on the performance of student arrangements. Concerts have included historical tributes to Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, as well as composer residency programs featuring artists like Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton, Tim Hagans, and Kenny Wheeler as guest conductors/performers. The Jazz Ensemble has been invited to appear at numerous professional festivals, educational conferences and radio broadcasts. Many internationally recognized artists have performed as soloists with the big bands and combos, including Eddie Daniels, John Fedchock, Frank Foster, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Joe Henderson, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, and Joshua Redman. Serenade in Blue, the most recent compact disc recording by the CCM Jazz Ensemble on Sea Breeze Records continues to receive wide recognition and enthusiastic reviews. Cadence Magazine called it "a necessary part of any big-band enthusiast's library."
The Jazz Lab Band also performs an eclectic repertoire written for 17-18 players. Many styles from Count Basie to the present are performed, as well as original works by CCM students. The group performs frequently on campus and is often invited to appear at Cincinnati area jazz clubs.
The extensive Chamber Jazz Program includes approximately 10 combos. It ensures that all jazz majors perform in a supervised combo every year of their study. Specialized combos such as the Brazilian Ensemble are offered periodically. CCM combos have received awards from Down Beat magazine and numerous festivals.
The Philharmonia Orchestra, under the music direction of Professor Mark Gibson, is CCM's premier orchestral ensemble and is recognized as one of the world's elite conservatory orchestras. The Philharmonia has risen to world prominence through the quality of its performances, recordings, and its national and international tours. The Philharmonia serves as the opera orchestra for the Conservatory's award-winning opera productions. Members of the Philharmonia are regularly divided into chamber orchestras for a variety of specialized and high-profile performances.
The Concert Orchestra, under the music direction of Annunziata Tomaro, shares a wind and brass rotation with the Philharmonia, with a slightly younger string section. Graduate students provide leadership in the strings, helping the orchestra achieve a high level of performance. Concert Orchestra performs a full season of nine events, often taking the stage alongside the Philharmonia, and performs with both the Mainstage Opera series and CCM’s annual “Feast of Carols” celebration.
The UC Symphony Orchestra is a campus orchestra, open to all students regardless of major. Optional small ensembles, various community service events, and social events are offered throughout the year.
Named after the boisterous “Café Momus” from Puccini’s La Bohéme, the MoMus concert series continues CCM’s dedication to the performance of modern music. Under the direction of Annunziata Tomaro, Cafè MoMus is taking the performance of new music in bold directions. Set in an intimate performance space, where subtle lighting and staging techniques combine with the musical expertise of the members of the CCM Philharmonia to create a wholly unique presentation of adventurous contemporary works. For other activities in new music, including composition competitions, please visit the MusicX website.
The CCM Steelband is an ensemble made up of percussion majors under the direction of Professor Russell Burge. The band focuses on the traditional music of Trinidad but also incorporates pop, folk and reggae, and improvisation has become a key element of the band's repertoire. The Steelband gives one annual program each spring at CCM, as well as several outdoor concerts in the Cincinnati area.
The CCM Wind Orchestra is generally regarded as one of America's finest wind bands, whose members represent the top wind and percussion players in the conservatory. The distinguished faculty who have conducted the ensemble include Frank Simon, Ernest Glover, Robert Hornyak, Terence Milligan, Eugene Corporon, and Mallory Thompson, while the list of guest conductors who have appeared with the Wind Orchestra includes major wind band figures from around the world. Glenn D. Price assumed leadership of the ensemble in 2011.
Acknowledged as "wonderful and exciting" with performances described as "powerful, moving and thrilling," the Wind Ensemble draws its membership from the finest undergraduate and graduate musicians at CCM. Acclaimed for the quality of their performances as well as the diversity and originality of their programming, the Wind Ensemble is dedicated to bringing the finest traditional and contemporary literature to their audiences. This organization has appeared numerous times before the Ohio Music Educators Association, the Kentucky Music Educators Association, the American Society of University Composers, and has been heard nationally through broadcasts on National Public Radio.
The CCM Chamber Players were founded in 1998 by Rodney Winther as a professional-level graduate ensemble consisting of winds, brass, percussion, and strings. In the short time since their formation, the Chamber Players have been invited to perform at a number of very prestigious events, including the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 2002, where they helped to raise the collective consciousness of wind conductors to the importance and diversity of chamber music. The summer of 2002 marked the first international tour of the Chamber Players, when they became the first American ensemble to perform at the Festival a Tempo, which is held every summer in Caracas, Venezuela. Their four concerts were played to capacity audiences and won rave reviews resulting in the ensemble receiving an invitation to return in the summer of 2004. In 2004 the ensemble served as the orchestra for CCM's production of Robert Kurka's Good Soldier Schweik. The 2005 season culminated in a rare collaboration with Chorus American in their production of Respighi's Laude to the Nativity. 2006 marked a monumental year as the group was invited to perform both at the National CBDNA Convention at the University of Michigan, as well as the International Convention of WASBE in Ireland. Glenn D. Price assumed leadership in 2011.
The CCM Chamber Winds is a small, flexible ensemble consisting primarily of undergraduate wind players. The purpose of the ensemble is to give players chamber music experience that places responsibility on each individual. Students are exposed to the standards of the wind chamber repertoire, including works by such composers as Mozart, Krommer, and Beethoven and more contemporary repertoire by Hindemith and Milhaud.