The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

CCM Opera Students

Philip Glass opera recording “Galileo Galilei” features 3 CCM Opera Students

Countertenor John Holiday, baritone José Rubio and mezzo-soprano Caitlin Mathes will all be featured as principle artists on a recording of Philip Glass’s Galilieo Galilei.  The recording is a joint endeavor by Portland Opera and Orange Mountain Music 
Click here to read more about this new recording.


In memoriam: CCM’s Mark Wesley Brax

By Janelle Gelfand

Mark Wesley Brax

The Mark Wesley Brax, 23, of Columbia, S.C., a University of Cincinnati student killed over the weekend in a two-vehicle crash in southeastern Indiana, was studying voice at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.

He was “a brilliant young man with a beautiful baritone voice,” who spent the summer at the prestigious Tanglewood Festival in the Berkshires before coming to CCM for his master’s degree.

Robin Guarino, chair of the opera department at CCM, said the aspiring opera singer was “an exceptional artist and an inspiration to all.

“We are heartbroken at this loss, and send our love to his family and all those who knew him.”

The school held an informal memorial on Monday for students, faculty and staff.

Since arriving at the College-Conservatory of Music, Mr. Brax was the baritone soloist in J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” in November, participated in the undergraduate production of Handel’s “Serse” and sang with the CCM Chamber Choir and the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati.

“Talented, focused, and dedicated to his craft, Wesley was a joy to work with in rehearsals and performance,” said Earl Rivers, CCM director of choral studies.

He was admired for his “acute intelligence, musical sensibilities far beyond his 23 years, and a truly beautiful lyric baritone voice that was easily produced,” said Kenneth Shaw, associate professor of voice at CCM.

“These, combined with a positive, classy personality, made Wes Brax one of the most beloved and respected students we’ve had at CCM in my 13 years on faculty. His vivacity and personal presence lit every room he entered, and gave depth and nuance to his every performance. His recent performance of Elviro in Opera d’arte’s Serse was both a joy and a triumph. His death is a loss beyond comprehension,” he said.

This quarter, Mr. Brax was working as the assistant director for the May production of “La Cenerentola” (Cinderella), for which he wrote the supertitles.

The opera will be dedicated to his memory.

The accident on Saturday afternoon happened near the entrance to Versailles State Park in Ripley County. The student was eastbound on U.S. 50 just east of the park entrance when he lost control in heavy rain and began to skid sideways. His Pontiac Grand Prix skidded into the westbound lane when a westbound Toyota Highlander driven by Donielle R. Stewart, 35, of Cincinnati, struck the Grand Prix. Mr. Brax was pronounced dead at the scene. Stewart suffered compound fractures to her ankles and leg injuries.

Indiana State Police believe that Brax lost control in the wet conditions and began to hydroplane, which caused the crash.

CCM Opera/Voice Students and Alumni among winners at 2012 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition

5 CCM Students (almuni & current) have won awards at the internationally prestigious Gerda Lissner Competition held this past week in New York City. Congratulations!
Results from the 2012 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition.

2012 Opera Scholarship Competition Winners

CCM Opera is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Opera Scholarship Competition.

Corbett $15,000 – Yi Li,  Returning AD Student

Tajo $15,000 – Jacqueline Echols, Returning AD Student

White $12,500 – Thomas Richards, New AD Student

Seybold/Russell $10,000 – Edward Nelson, Returning MM Student

Alexander $10,000 – Chabrelle Williams, Returning AD Student

Corbett $2,000 – Summer Hassan, New MM Student

CCM Opera Students take top honors at Opera Columbus Vocal Competition

March 24th-25th at The Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition at Opera Columbus the CCM Opera & Voice department had a big success.

In the Competition there were 65 total applicants and 25 semi-finalists, including from CCM:
• Emma Char (AD)
• Jennifer Cherest (MM2 Future AD)
• Karen Ho (AD)
• Eric Jurenas (MM)
• Xi Wang AD/DMA)
• Yi Li (AD)

1st Place ($3,000), plus Audience Favorite award ($500): Yi Li
3rd Place ($2,000): Eric Jurenas

8 Finalists ($750 for those not winning one of the top prizes), including:
Emma Char
Karen Ho
Eric Jurenas
Yi Li


Musical America Names CCM Opera’s Li Yi New Artist of the Month

Click here to visit Musical America’s website and read Jenelle Gelfand’s article.

CCM Opera Scholarship Competition – Saturday, March 31st in Corbett Auditorium

The 2012 CCM Opera Scholarship will take place Saturday, March 31st  starting at 10:00 am in Corbett Auditorium. Singers compete for over $70,000 in scholarships and prize money. This Competition is open to the public and audiences are encouraged to attend.
Judges for the competition this year are: Metropolitan Opera singer Claudia Catania, renowned Metropolitan Opera Stage Director, Fabrizio Melano and  Stage Director and Artistic Director of  Opera Theatre of Saint, James Robinson.

A reception following the competition will be held in the Baur Room where the judges will announce their decision.