CCM Partners with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and World Piano Competition
This partnership signals a new era for the World Piano Competition and is set to make CCM Village a classical piano destination this summer (and CCM Summer is so excited to be a part of it!).
Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, an annual classical piano competition featuring top international performers since 1956, is expanding with two exciting new collaborations and instituting changes aimed at enhancing the event’s quality and making Cincinnati a truly world-class destination for classical piano performance.
Primary among the changes at the re-imagined competition, already a highly respected event, are partnerships with two of the city’s cultural cornerstones – the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO). Beginning with the July 2013 competition, finalists in the Artist Division will have the distinct honor of performing with the world-renowned CSO, made up of some of the world’s finest musicians and an ensemble that regularly collaborates with classical music’s premier performing artists. The performances featuring the finalists will be led by CSO Associate Conductor Robert Treviño. The event will also move to CCM, one of the nation’s top performing and media-arts conservatories, where the acclaimed faculty will oversee upgrades to the competition’s jury system.
“Our association with the CSO and CCM is really a game-changer for the competition,” said Mark Ernster, the organization’s interim executive director, who has served in that capacity since last fall’s the retirement of founder and executive director Gloria Ackerman. Ernster explained that having CSO musicians backing the finalists is expected to result in an uptick in both the number and quality of applicants, as well as in audience numbers. CCM’s review and improvement of the jury system will enhance the organization’s credibility, a critical success element in the world of classical piano competition. Both partnerships will allow the competition more efficiently to leverage administrative economies of scale and artistic expertise.
“We’re talking about one of the world’s best orchestras and one of the most respected conservatories,” he said; “that’s pretty good company to keep.”
The Artist Division winner will also have the rare opportunity to record a solo piano album using CCM’s state of the art recording facilities and engineers in the school’s Division of Electronic Media. The recording will be released on the CSO’s Fanfare Cincinnati label, globally distributed by Naxos.
CSO President Trey Devey said the partnership with the World Piano Competition fits in well with this organization’s strategic vision, which includes raising Cincinnati’s global profile and enhancing the quality of life through great musical performances. “With this important collaboration and the unique assets of these three partners, the World Piano Competition is poised to join the ranks of the world’s most respected piano competitions,” he said.
The CSO, which also performs as the Cincinnati Pops, is the official orchestra for the May Festival, the oldest continuous choral festival in the Western Hemisphere, as well as Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. The World Piano Competition will be the fourth in a series of strategic partnerships that, according to Mr. Devey, “elevate the cultural offerings in our region.” Having additional performances for the CSO also helps to ensure that Cincinnati can sustain a world-class orchestra.
The CSO’s participation as the official orchestra for the competition was made possible by generous support from Anne and George H. Musekamp, Sue and Bill Friedlander, Christine and Tom Neyer Sr., Trish and Rick Bryan, and Vicky and Rick Reynolds.
CCM Dean Peter Landgren sees similar advantages, including added exposure for the college during the summer season when students are largely off campus. “We have taken this opportunity to align CCM’s existing piano activities – including our Art of the Piano Summer Program and our Preparatory Summer Piano Institute – with two weeks of World Piano Competition activities,” he said. “This new collaboration will make Cincinnati and CCM a premiere destination for world-class piano programs and activities. Bringing the CSO to CCM is also an imperative for our college, so this partnership was a great fit in many ways.”
Members of CCM’s faculty, under the leadership of Associate Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence Awadagin Pratt, have developed repertoire lists and refined the competition rules. Competitors will also have a greatly enhanced experience in Cincinnati by virtue of both CCM’s state-of-the-art facilities and the University of Cincinnati’s general services and amenities, including a campus hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses by Forbes Magazine. Within CCM Village, this also includes access to practice rooms outfitted with Steinway pianos (CCM is an All-Steinway School) and master classes held in conjunction with the Art of the Piano Program.
CCM’s Art of the Piano Program (July 13–26) and Preparatory Summer Piano Institute (July 15–19) will run concurrently with the competition, effectively bringing the world’s most sought-after piano teachers and artists together with up-and-coming international performers.