CCM alumnus and adjunct faculty member Junghyun James Cho (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2013; AD Opera Coaching, 2014) received top honors at the 2015 Blue Danube International Opera Conducting Competition, which was held Rousse, Bulgaria, this September.
The biennial competition is specifically designed to test an opera conductor's agility with text and language, as well as the baton. The competition utilizes the full forces of a professional opera company, from the first round onward. This year's repertoire included Puccini's Tosca, Verdi's Rigoletto and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville).
As part of his first prize award, Cho received five guest conducting engagements with Bulgaria's State Opera Rousse, Serbia's National Opera Theater Belgrade, Albania's Opera and Ballet Theater Tirana, the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, and Argentina's San Juan Symphony Orchestra.
Cho's success comes as no surprise to CCM Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson.
"Rigoletto was one of the competition works," Gibson explains. "In a gratifying twist, it's also what he auditioned on when he first came to CCM. He played and sang the second act from memory. An extraordinary talent and a fabulous person, Junghyun is finally getting his due. No one is more deserving."