Poised For The Future
From left to right: CCM faculty member Diane Lala, CCM Dean Stanley Romanstein, Shannon Romanstein, and CCM faculty member Robert Pavlovich.
Stanley E. Romanstein first walked the halls of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a graduate student in the late 1970s. Appointed as Dean of CCM in July 2018, he is working with faculty, staff, alumni and community members to ensure that the internationally renowned institution continues to meet the needs of the next generation of students.
“Excellence and innovation are two core values by which we live at CCM,” says Romanstein, who graduated from CCM with a Master of Music in 1980 and a Ph.D. in 1990. “CCM is a preeminent training center for the performing and media arts; it has carried that distinction for more than 150 years. We want to make sure that the college remains that way for the next 150 years.”
You don’t have to look hard to find multiple examples of CCM “excellence.” CCM alumni work and perform across the country and around the world, making names for themselves in Hollywood, on Broadway, at the Metropolitan Opera and with major professional orchestras near and far. Alumni are regularly recognized in top award ceremonies like the Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards and Academy Awards. When touring Broadway shows like “Hamilton” or major recording artists like Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor come to town, there is usually at least one CCM graduate in the cast, band, or production team.
Before they move on to the world’s stages, students hone their skills in CCM classrooms and performance spaces. In order to keep up with the needs of 21st-century students, Romanstein is working with internal and external partners to enhance CCM’s established programs, create new offerings and build innovative partnerships inside and outside of the university.
“When I first arrived back in Cincinnati, I had the opportunity to sit down with the leaders of Cincinnati’s major arts organizations,” Romanstein explains. “In every conversation I heard engaging stories about CCM’s profound impact on Cincinnati’s broader arts community.”
CCM’s origins date back to 1867, predating the founding of most of Cincinnati’s other arts institutions like the Cincinnati May Festival (1873), Cincinnati Music Hall (1878), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1895), Cincinnati Opera (1920), Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (1959) and Cincinnati Ballet (1963). From its very beginning, CCM served as Cincinnati’s original arts incubator, drawing talent to this region in the form of faculty members and students.
That creative pipeline continues to this day, and it is something that Romanstein and his colleagues are working hard to expand. CCM recently finished recruiting students for its fourth class of “CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows,” a unique program that provides musicians coming from underrepresented populations with professional performance opportunities with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra while they complete graduate degrees at CCM. The college also recently received a $550,000 grant renewal from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting CCM’s acclaimed partnership with Cincinnati Opera: the “Opera Fusion: New Works” program dedicated to the development of new American operas. This program has brought acclaimed composers like Gregory Spears, Terence Blanchard, Rufus Wainright and Bryce Dessner to Cincinnati to work with students and faculty from CCM and personnel from Cincinnati Opera.
As Romanstein sees it, opportunities for partnership are not limited to the arts sector. “We want to connect our faculty and students with different industries that need our creativity,” he says. “That is the true nature of the education that CCM provides. We can bring solutions to problems. We can help meet challenges that businesses have.”
Case in point: CCM recently established a new partnership between its Division of Electronic Media and GE Aviation, which will provide students with life-changing experiential learning opportunities while supplying GE Aviation with the level of talent and creativity that has become synonymous with CCM.
“Our E-Media program has previously produced award-winning sports documentaries like Gold Rush Expedition Race, which has aired on national television through NBC’s Universal Sports Network,” Romanstein says. “CCM has a proven track record, so expanding our network of partners is a logical next step.”
Future plans include even more of an emphasis on multimedia, as CCM prepares to launch a streaming video series showcasing the high caliber of its student and faculty performances. The college is also strengthening the ties between its E-Media, Theatre Arts and Commercial Music Production programs.
Driven by a passion for the arts and a commitment to innovation and excellence, Romanstein is excited about the possibilities for CCM’s future. “Essentially everything that I have been able to do in my 22 years in the arts and humanities has had some relationship to CCM and UC,” he says. “This organization has provided me with so much and now I can help position it for future successes. By strengthening collaborations inside and outside of the university, we will continue to enhance Cincinnati’s thriving arts and business community.”
CMC Provides Arts For All
There are countless ways for area art lovers to experience the incredible talent of CCM’s students and faculty members:
• Attend a Performance: As the largest single source of performing arts events in Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1,000 major public performances each year. The college is No. 3 in Playbill Magazine’s “Top 10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway,” so don’t miss your chance to see CCM’s student stars of tomorrow perform locally before they appear in hit shows like “Hamilton,” “Anastasia” and “The Book of Mormon.”
• Cultivate Your Own Talent and Creativity: You don’t have to be a college student to take classes through CCM Preparatory and Community Engagement (CCM Prep). Arts enthusiasts of all ages and abilities can register for CCM Prep’s year-round music, dance or theatre arts classes. Former Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander was a longtime CCM Prep piano student during his time in Cincinnati.
• Enroll Your Child in Summer Camp: Did you know that stars like Sarah Jessica Parker and members of the Grammy Award-winning band The National got their start at CCM Prep? In addition to school-year programs and private lessons, CCM Prep also offers arts-focused summer camps for children ages 3-17. These immersive workshops are open to those looking for a fun summer learning experience and motivated students who are preparing for a future in the performing arts.
• Hire Talent for Your Event: CCM’s talented students and alumni can bring world-class artistry to your holiday or birthday party, wedding or special event. The college’s “Talent for Hire” referral service connects Greater Cincinnati with a range of student and alumni artists and ensembles – from string trios to jazz quartets to singers and more.
CCM is located at 290 CCM Blvd. Cincinnati, OH 45221. For more information, visit ccm.uc.edu