The CCM Choral Department maintains five choral ensembles: the 32-voice Chamber Choir, 45-voice Chorale, 30-voice Chamber Singers and 100-voice UC Men's and UC Women's Choruses.
CCM Chamber Choir
The CCM Chamber Choir is CCM’s premier choral ensemble of 32 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 Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.
The Chamber Choir has been acclaimed for its staged productions in collaboration with CCM’s Opera Department of Bach’s St. John Passion (Nov. 2013 at Christ Church Cathedral and Oct. 2018 at Knox Presbyterian Church) and St. Matthew Passion (Nov. 2011 - St. Peter in Chains Cathedral and April 2017 - Christ Church Cathedral), and its Monteverdi Project (Nov. 2012), which hosted 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 that was produced for Public Television by WCET Arts Connect. The Chamber Choir has received accolades for presentations from the canon of contemporary works to include David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir, and the collegiate premiere of Bastian Clevé’s film, The Sound of Eternity, with Bach’s Mass in B Minor. In 2014-16 the Chamber Choir produced CCM’s Shakespeare Quadricentennial honoring the playwright’s 450th and 400th anniversaries of his birth and death with premieres of three newly commissioned works by Judith Bingham, Dominick DiOrio, and Jake Runestad. The Chamber Choir has performed before national and regional conventions of ACDA, participated in Chorus America’s Masterclass for Choral and Orchestral Conductors at CCM, presented a lecture–demonstration for the NCCO national conference at CCM, and was featured in a program of si placet works of Josquin and his contemporaries for a national convention of the American Musicological Society.
Last season the Chamber Choir’s featured works J.S. Bach’s Magnificat and a staged production Bach’s St. John Passion, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and an evening of choral chamber music with Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, Corigliano’s Fern Hill, Ešenvalds’ In Paradisum, Bach’s motet Der Geist hilft, and Monteverdi’s madrigal Altri canti Di Marte.
The Chamber Choir’s performances in 2019-20 feature Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 enhanced with Early Music Guest Artists, Dallapiccola’s Canti di prigionia, Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, Ešenvalds’ Salutation, Walton’s Coronation Te Deum, Schütz’s Alleluia Lobet den Herrn, Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary, Argento’s Waldon Pond, and with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Ravel’s L’enfant des Sortilèges.
With a history stretching back more than 50 years, the CCM Chorale is one of CCM's two primary choral ensembles. Over its prestigious history the ensemble has had only three directors – founding director John Leman (deceased), Stephen Coker, and current director Brett Scott. Comprised primarily of undergraduate students from CCM and the greater University of Cincinnati population, this diverse ensemble includes (among others) Voice, Music Education, Musical Theatre, Piano, Organ, Instrumental Composition, Music History, Theory and Electronic Media majors.
The CCM Chorale maintains an active performance schedule both within and without the walls of the University of Cincinnati. It regularly combines with other CCM ensembles to execute large choral/orchestral and operatic works, and also performs more intimate compositions with the school’s top chamber ensembles. The ensemble has a strong presence in the Cincinnati community, annually performing stand-alone or combined concerts in the top venues and concert series of the greater Cincinnati area. Chorale has sung at multiple American Choral Directors Association and Midwest Composers Symposium conferences, and has been guest artists with several Cincinnati musical organizations, including the May Festival Chorus.
Last season the Chorale performed the North American premiere of Fredrik Sixten's St. John Passion, Jonathan Dove's The Passing of the Year, All-French and All-Schubert programs, and with Cincinnati’s Musica Sacra Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. In 2019-20 the Chorale presents the American premiere of Andrea Staniland’s Dark Star Requiem, an All-Brahms program with the CCM Concert Orchestra featuring Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53; Nänie (A Funeral Song), Op. 82 and Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny), Op. 54, and with the CCM Wind Symphony Bruckner’s Mass No. 2 in E Minor and Brahms’ Begräbnisgesang, Op. 13.
Masterworks with the Chamber Choir, Chorale, Cincinnati Youth Choir and Orchestra
The Chamber Choir, Chorale and Cincinnati Youth Choir combine annually to present standard repertory and contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks with the CCM Philharmonia and Concert Orchestras, the CCM Wind Symphony and CCM Jazz Studies. Recently featured were Act One of Puccini’s Tosca in Concert (October 2017), the American university staged premiere of Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake (Feb. 2016), Berlioz’s Te Deum (March 2015), John Adam’s El Niño for the ACDA Central Division Convention and the public (February and March, 2014), two masterworks celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Verdi - Don Carlos in the original 5-act French version (September 2013) and Requiem (January 2013), as well as Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with visuals by Raul Barcelona (February 2012) and a concert version (complete) of Puccini’s Turandot (January 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 (February 2012). Chamber Choir and Chorale have combined 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.
In 2016-17 the Chamber Choir, Xavier University Concert Choir and CCM Philharmonia presented Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3 (Oct. 2) on the CCM Orchestral Department’s Polish Music Festival.
CCM Chamber Singers
The CCM Chamber Singers is a 30-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 master classes for MM and DMA choral majors with choral and guest artist faculty.
The UC Men's and Women's Choruses of 100 voices are comprised of undergraduate students from the University of Cincinnati’s fourteen component colleges of over 43,000 students. DMA and MM 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 2019-20, Matthew Coffey, second year DMA Choral major, is Director of the UC Men’s Chorus, Molly Getsinger, third year DMA choral major, is Director of the UC Women’s Chorus, and Shane Thomas, first year DMA, is Director of the Cabaret Singers. The position of Director of the UC Women's Chorus will be open to a new DMA student in August 2020.
The UC Choruses and Cabaret Singers 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. In March 2019 the UC Choruses toured in Chicago, and in November 2019 will offer Vaughn Williams' Dona nobis pacem with orchestra.