Famous UC alumni musicians, musical administrators
A legendary Dixieland trumpeter, often called "King of the Trumpet," Hirt recorded more than 50 albums, won a Grammy for a non-jazz instrumental ("Java") in 1963, was nominated for 20 more Grammys, gained popularity as both a TV guest and host, played with bands such as Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and played concerts in a variety of musical styles -- from blues and jazz to classical Hayden and Handel. The New Orleans native had 22 different record albums on the Billboard Pop charts in the 1950s and 1960s. The albums "Honey In The Horn" and "Cotton Candy" were both in the top 10 best sellers for 1964. In 1999, he died at age 76.
Known as Ernest Ford as a student, this Grammy-winning singer, composer and televison host recorded 83 singles and more than 100 albums of country-western, pop and gospel music; was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, posthumously, in 1994; received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1984; appeared on more than 100 TV programs; and received an Emmy nomination for Most Outstanding New Personality in '55. He also has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one each for recording, television and radio). Plus, his biggest hit, "Sixteen Tons," has been credited for kicking off the Rock and Roll era of the 1950s.
This Tony-winner composer and lyricist was most famous for composing the score for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and the Broadway musical "Redhead," for which he won two Tonys in 1959 — Best Composer and Best Musical. He was also an actor, playing the music teacher Benjamin Shorofsky in the TV series "Fame" from '82-87. He also had a small role in the movie Space Jam, as the psychiatrist that the basketball players went to when they lost their "skill."
- See his TV credits.
- See his Broadway credits.
- See his movie credits.
- Read how he landed the Grinch job with Dr. Seuss.
Duning was a musician and composer who was nominated five times for an Academy Award and twice for a Golden Globe. In all, he composed music for more than 300 TV and film credits, including ""From Here to Eternity," "The Eddy Duchin Story," "Picnic," "Star Trek" and "The Partridge Family."
In his early years, he played trumpet and piano for the Kay Kyser band, later arranging most of the music for Kyser's popular Kollege of Musical Knowledge radio program. In the Navy during WWII, he served as a conductor and arranger with Armed Forces Radio. In 1946, he signed with Columbia Pictures, where he worked almost exclusively through the early 1960s. He received awards from the Society for the Preservation of Film Music and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Niles was a composer and singer who was often called "the dean of American balladeers." Known for playing a giant dulcimer, he has an important influence on the American folk music revival of the 1950s and '60s. He performed on the UC campus in April 1969 in Corbett Auditorium. Of the songs he wrote, he may be best known for Christmas favorite "I Wonder As I Wander." He also made four extended trips into the southern Appalachians, where he transcribed traditional songs from oral sources, including the ballad "Barbara Allen."
Art Tripp was a percussionist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), performing with artists such as Igor Stravinsky, Isaac Stern and Arthur Fiedler and accompanying the CSO on a 10-week world tour, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Afterward avant garde composer John Cage asked him to work with him when while serving as composer-in-residence at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Next, Tripp was hired to play with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, with whom he recorded seven albums and performed on numerous tours throughout the U.S. and Europe. After the band dissolved in 1969, he joined Captain Beefheart's group The Magic Band, played percussion on the “Smothers Brothers Summer Special” and was offered a pit-orchestra position for “Oh! Calcutta!” In all, his appears on five Mothers of Invention albums, six Zappa albums, six Beefheart albums and single albums for Jean-Luc Ponty, the Smothers Brothers, Al Stewart, Jefferson Airplane plus others. He also appears on three Zappa films.
In 1978, he began studying to be a chiropractor, having gone to one since he was 16. He was licensed to practice in 1983 and still has a practice in Mississippi.
Arranger, composer and conductor, Swingle was a founding member of the fabled Double Six of Paris in the '60s, then took the scat singing idea and applied it to the works of Bach, hence The Swingle Singers, whose early recordings won five Grammies. When the Paris group disbanded in l973, Ward Swingle moved to London and formed an English group, expanding the repertoire to include classical and "avang-garde" works along with the scat and jazz vocal arrangements.
In 1984, Swingle returned to live in America where he established his publishing company, Swingle Music. In '94, he and his wife moved back to France, where he was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Information. During his career, he has pioneered choral techniques, written a book, conducted university workshops and conducted the Stokholm and Netherlands Chamber Choirs, the Dale Warland Singers, the Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, the BBC Northern Singers and the MENC National Honors Choir at Kennedy Center.
LINK: Visit his website.
By graduation, Randy Edelman was already arranging music at James Brown's King Records. Next, he was opening for the Carpenters, and finally touring with Frank Zappa. He also wrote songs that were recorded by Bing Crosy, Barry Manilow, the Fifth Dimension, Patti LaBelle, Kool & The Gang and Blood, Sweat and Tears, as well as conducted for Dionne Warwick and Jackie DeShannon, whom he married. Having reached "cult" status in England, he was booked for a solo show at the London Palladium.
Today, the composer, orchestrator, conductor and score producer has composed more than 100 scores for television and film, including one played on 139 episodes of "MacGyver" and part of the original score for "The Last of the Mohicans," for which he received nominations from the Britisha Golden Globes and the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. The public is likely to recognize his themes from the "Gettysburg" score because they are often heard in film trailers and TV shows. In addition, one of his pieces of music was used during the '02 and '08 Olympics coverage. Several orchestras, including the Boston Pops and the London Symphony Orchestra, have also performed his scores.
As a singer/songwriter and piano soloist, he has recorded dozens of solo albums and had his pop work covered by major recording artists, such as Olivia Newton-John ("If Love is Real"). In 2003, he received BMI’s Outstanding Career Achievement Award. Ten of his records hit platinum or gold status.
Dunner is a composer, clarinetist and famous conductor whose flamboyant style reflects his childhood love of dancing. One of his most notable performances was leading the Dance Theatre of Harlem as principal guest conductor in South Africa for Nelson Mandela in 1992, two years after the renowned leader had been released from 27 years in prison. Dunner also took the Harlem troupe to the Salzburg Festival (Austria) and the Tivoli Festival (Denmark), as well as tours of the former Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, including a gala performance for Diana, Princess of Wales.
Dunner was also music director or a conductor of the New York Philharmonic during its European tour, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for five seasons, Canada’s Symphony Nova Scotia, Chicago's renowned Joffrey Ballet Company, plus the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for 11 seasons and its tour of Japan. As a guest conductor, he gained critical acclaim for his work with Russia's St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Camerata, the Estonian National Symphony, Poland's Warsaw Sinfonia and Spain's Symphony Orchestra of Madrid, as well as the dance companies of London's Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, England's Birmingham Royal Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre.
The CCM grad was the first American winner of the Arturo Toscanini International Conducting Competition in Parma, Italy, in 1986; the first winner of the Colorado Philharmonic National Conducting Competition; the first multiple prize-winner from Ukraine’s 2003 International Jordania Conducting Competition; and was the recipient of a National Association of Negro Musicians commendation and the NAACP's 1991 James Weldon Johnson Award.
A native of South Africa, Nel won the Walter Naumberg International piano competition at Carnegie Hall in '87. The New York Times called him "an uncommonly elegant pianist." With an active repertoire of more than 100 works for piano and orchestra, Nel has performed noteworthy world premieres in New York City and has also performed with the symphonies of London, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit and Cleveland. He has also appeared at Canada, France, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Korea, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum, Pasadena, San Francisco and the Library of Congress. Numerous recordings.
LINK: Visit his website.
This a keyboardist, composer and arranger founded the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra and Quintet, popularly known as MJQ in Japan, where where “Swing Journal” ranked him as its No. 1 composer many times. He was the musical director for the original Simon and Garfunkel Reunion Concert in Central Park and arranged songs and albums for Robert Plant, Paul McCartny, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel.
In the ‘70s, he was the arranger and bandleader for James Brown Productions. He arranged or composed for Buddy Rich, Bonnie Raitt, T Bone Walker, Phoebe Snow, Crystal Gayle, Paul Simon and George Benson, as well as for radio and TV commercials for Sunoco, Magna Vox, Welches, Ford, NBC, 7UP, McDonald's, Oldsmobile, Burger King, Nabisco, Life Savers and others.
Lawton is probably the most active conductor in Germany for symphonic crossover activities -- concerts, TV appearances, studio recordings for film and leading performances of synchronized orchestral accompaniment for silent films. He is the principal conductor of the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, based in Potsdam/Berlin. He also composes and has led major musical productions in Vienna, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Chicago, Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf.
A pianist, performer and producer, Frampton began his career as a classical musician. Once, when he was improvising pop and jazz, the famed Van Cliburn walked into the room and told him that he should consider doing such arrangements professionally. “With that kind of endorsement, I went home and started booking myself with a backup group and found I really loved it," Frampton says.
Billboard Magazine has called him "an immensely talented pianist, at home in a wide variety of musical settings." Roger Williams called him “one pianist who plays with his heart as well as his head.” And the Atlanta Constitution wrote, “"How one man can bring the rafters down in Symphony Hall as if a full orchestra were playing is a feat in itself. It's consummate musicianship. Electrifying!”
Mac and his group have played more than 3,000 concerts in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe and the Mideast, having appeared as many as 12 times on a single stage. He has teamed with Bill Cosby, Roberta Flack, Victor Borge, Louis Nye, the Fifth Dimension and Metropolitan Opera star Roberta Peters.
Besides recording 22 albums and a motion picture soundtrack, he has become a producer, mounting productions on the music of Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Broadway shows. In 1995, he found The Hollywood Hills Orchestra, a 16-piece ensemble dedicated to the performance of great cinematic music.
This Tony-winning composer was the inspiration behind "After the Storm," a 2009 television documentary that followed a group of Broadway actors who helped New Orleans youth in a creative way -- by casting them to rehearse and perform a production of Steve Flaherty's Tony-winning musical "Once on this Island." The documentary features an original score by Flaherty and a new song by he and his co-writer Lynn Ahrens.
Flahery and his lyricist partner Lynn Ahrens have remained busy writing scores for musicals for 31 years (of of 2014). In November 2012, they scored "Rocky: Das Musical" for an opening in Hamburg, Germany. In 2014, the show opens at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. Produced by original creator and star Sylvester Stallone, the show will begin previews on Feb. 11 and officially opens on March 13, 2014.
Work is supposedly underway for taking Disney's animated 1997 film "Anastasia" to stage. Flaherty and Ahrens were nominated for an Oscar for the original score, and Stage Entertainment bought the rights for a stage production. General plans are to the writing team expand the score for openings in Moscow and on Broadway. The book is being written by Terrance McNally, who also wrote "Ragtime," for which Flaherty, Ahrens and McNally all received Tony Awards.
The writing duo also nabbed a Tony win for "Once on This Island," and Flaherty received a Drama Desk nomination for outstanding music for "Seussical." The later was originally scored for Broadway, later revised for a national tour, then revised again for junior theater productions. For years, it has been one of the top-three most-licensed properties in Music Theatre International's licensing catalog.
Marie Speziale, CCM, ’64
Acknowledged as the first woman trumpeter in a major symphony orchestra, Speziale received a Pioneer Award at the International Women’s Brass Conference in June 2014 at Northern Kentucky University.
Speziale served as associate principal trumpet with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for 32 years, 1964-96. She also assumed the same position with the Cincinnati Opera Orchestra, Cincinnati May Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Speziale has performed under the batons of Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Max Rudolf. She also performed with Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck on the Johnny Carson NBC Tonight Show.
She has flown to California to do studio recordings for the TV series Star Trek: Voyager, at Paramount and 20th Century Fox studios. In 1999, she was one of six Americans (and the only woman) to be invited by the Tokyo International Music Festival to perform in its first Super World Orchestra.
Barron has been a frequent soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, where he was principal trombonist for 13 seasons. While not performing in the U.S., Europe and Japan, he has made numerous recordings — with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Canadian Brass and more, including nine successful solo recordings. In 1974, he shared the highest prize awarded at the Munich International Competition, and in 2005, he received the International Trombone Association Award in recognition of his impact on the world of trombone performance.
A teacher at New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center, he has been a faculty member for the International Trombone Workshop and the Keystone Brass Institute, as well as a jurist for the international competitions of Toulon, France, and Munich, Germany. For 25 summers, during the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood season, Barron and his wife, Ina, operated their country bed and breakfast, Échézeaux, in Richmond, Mass. He is also a “Specialist of Wine,” as certified by the American Society of Wine Educators.
A composer and bookwriter/lyricist, Oberacker is has been conductor and music director for Cirque du Soleil's "KA" in Las Vegas, where he previously conducted and orchestrated "Dralion" — making him the company's first American conductor. In 2006, he received CCM's 2006 Julia Winter Cohen Career Excellence Award. (See a video about "Ka," featuring Oberacker.) His plays include the following:
- "Journey to the West" ('06, bookwriter/lyricist, composer director, orchestrator)
- "Ace" ('06, composer, co-lyricist, co-librettist)
- "Dracula the Musical" (composer)
- "The Gospel According to Fishman" (composer, commissioned by Clear Channel)
- "In that Valley" ('99)
As a leader of a growing Indian-American choral movement, composer Kanniks Kannikeswaran was featured in a long segment on NPR’s “Morning Edition” in November 2013. The musician, music educator and writer has several recordings, productions and scores to his credit.
He has been teaching Indian music theory and history as a CCM adjunct faculty member since 1994. According to his website, he bases all of his music instruction on “the core of commonality between the Hindustani and Karnatic streams of music.”
He founded the Greater Cincinnati Indian Community Choir, which won two silver medals in the 2012 World Choir Games. He helped create similar choruses in Bethlehem, Penn.; Houston; Tampa and Fort Lauderdale; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Toronto; Washington, D.C.; and across the Atlantic in The Hague, Netherlands.
Almond is a composer, lyricist, playwright, performer and one of the most sought-after songwriters in New York City. He has been commissioned to write musicals and a film score. He has recorded five albums of original music, collaborated with some of the theater world's greatest singers and created original community-based productions of Odyssey for the Old Globe Theatre and The Tempest in Central Park for the Public Theatre. He has performed in London’s Hippodrome and the Cabaret Festival in Adelaide, Australia.
Lawrence is a gospel music artist and songwriter for groups such as the Clark Sisters and his own Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers; a record producer for a host of artists, including Kirk Franklin; and a vocal coach to the R&B group En Vogue.
LINK: Watch a 2006 video of his group.
Korbee is a composer, pianist, producer who performs in clubs, tours internationally and writes and produces for other artists. He has performed in a leading role in the world premiere of "Showtune: The Jerry Herman Songbook" In New York (and appeared on the show's original cast recording), appeared in the documentary feature film "Words and Music" for PBS and been cast in the title role in the world premiere of the rock musical "Pilgrim." He and his wife, Jenn Korbee, make up the group Korbee.
A teacher of classical music who trained as a composer, Castellini was a music professor at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y., for 35 years. After he graduated from UC and Cincinnati’s College of Music, he studied under several prominent musicians and composers in Europe, including Ottorino Respighi in Rome. Castellini founded the Queens College Choral Society in 1941 and served as its director until his retirement in 1971. Among his accomplishments, Castellini played a key role in the 20th century revival of Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” conducting the U.S. premiere of the work with the college’s Choral Society in 1949. A highlight of every season was the Society’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” for which, after 25 years, the Handel Association of America awarded Castellini a medal. Following his death at age 96, Queens College established the John Castellini Scholarship Fund at its Aaron Copland School of Music.
Parkins is the university organist and a professor of the practice of music at Duke University, Durham, N.C. He first assumed the position of organist at the famous Duke chapel in 1975, then joined the faculty of the School of Music at Ithaca College in 1982, returning to Duke in 1985. Also a graduate of Yale University School of Music, Parkins studied organ with Gerre Hancock, Charles Krigbaum, and Michael Schneider. As a Fulbright scholar he pursued further organ study in Vienna with Anton Heiller. He has played concerts throughout the United States, Europe and in Central America. His organ and harpsichord recordings have appeared on the Calcante, Gothic, Musical Heritage Society and Naxos labels.
Anderson is composer, recording artist and a former principal trombone of the L.A. Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. In 1967, he and three other new L.A. Philharmonic players formed the Los Angeles Brass Quintet. In 1973, he recorded his first album, "Miles Anderson Plays His Slide Trombone," followed in 1980 with "Miles Anderson Plays His Slide Trombone Again." During his career, he as worked with diverse musicians, including John Williams, John Cage and Les Brown. He has performed as a soloist in Mexico, Europe, Australia and Japan, and was the first brass player to receive a Solo Recitalists' Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He and his wife, electric violinist Erica Sharp, worked under the name Trom-bown for a time, which provided the name for their website. "You can listen to or download any file that strikes your fancy," Anderson says, "and keep it as long as you want. Want to resample a file for your next hip-hop track? Go for it. And it’s free — in more ways than one."
Solomon is a performance artist, composer, drummer, producer and director who has composed original works performed on HBO, MTV, CBS, ABC and FOX. He has aso provided entertainment direction and production for the following musical acts: the Eagles, Alice Cooper, Prince, Black Eyed Peas, Jane’s Addiction, OK GO, Etta James and Queen Latifah. Received CCM's 2010 Julia Winter Cohen Career Excellence Award.
- Read the "UC Magazine" story about Solomon and watch a video of him leading a CCM master class.
- Read Solomon and two other Hollywood alumni shariing thoughts about being rising stars.
- See his movie credits.
Cynova is deputy director of Fractured Atlas, the country’s largest arts service and advocacy organization, reaching more than 250,000 artists and organizations in 50 states. Fractured Atlas provides funding, insurance, technology, education and services needed for artists to work effectively and thrive. Previously, Cynova was executive director of The Parsons Dance Company and of High 5 Tickets to the Arts. He also co-hosts #SKYNOVA, the only Internet TV program featuring culture warriors in their native habitat. In connection with CCM, he received the 2011 Outstanding Young Alumnus award, serves as an organizer for the alumni group in New York City and is a member of the Dean's Advisory Council.
Kreppel has worked as a music director, arranger, orchestrator, writer, coach and actor for nearly 20 years. Broadway and touring credits include "The Lion King," "A Chorus Line," "Mamma Mia," "Saturday Night Fever" and "The Little Mermaid." In 2006, he was music director for the world premiere of “Frankenstein” in New York.
His credits also include contributions to many works by composer and lyricist Richard Oberacker, CCM '03:
- "Ace" (music direction and vocal arrangements by Kreppel)
- "The Gospel According to Fishman" (orchestrations by Kreppel)
- "Dracula the Musical" (orchestrations by Kreppel)
- "Journey to the West" (music supervision by Kreppel).
Blodgette is a musical coordinator, musical director, musical supervisor and conductor on Broadway.
LINK: See her long list of accomplishments on our Broadway page.
Higley is a Nashville-based musician who plays keyboards, French horn, a melodica, a glockenspiel, a keytar (a lightweight keyboard supported by a strap, much like a guitar strap), the saw and sings backup vocals. He has played with Ben Folds (including Ben Folds' European tour in 2011), Brendan Benson, Pearlene and Chocolate Horse. He has recorded several CDs and used to be a professional photographer for the University of Cincinnati, which leads us to say that he's a great guy!
LINK: Read about his TV appearance on Jimmy Kimmel and watch a video.
Minor is the clarinet professor at James Madison University, Va., and the Saarburger Serenaden: International Music Festival and School in Saarburg, Germany. She has performed at Heidelberg, Germany, with the U.S. Army band; the Lucca Music Festival, Italy; the Aspen Music Festival, Col.; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. She has also performed on soundtracks for the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
Austin is an accomplished bluegrass mandolin player and a founding member of Yonder Mountain String Band, which tours nationally playing a progressive, one-of-a-kind bluegrass. Austin, who also lends vocals, and the band have performed at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Austin City Limits Festival, the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee, the Rothbury Festival in Michigan, the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and the Democratic National Convention in Denver, opening for Barack Obama. The band has several recordings.
Adcock was named Cincinnati's "Best Singer/Songwriter" and "Best Rock Vocalist" a few years after graduation with his original acoustic, folk-based rock. He has since started a new band called Flaregun. He also wrote original music for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center documentary titled "Everday Freedom Heroes" and peforms an original tune, "The Cul-de-sac League," on the Cincinnati Reds CD "Cincinnati Clutch Hits."
LINK: Visit his website.
Kobak is a singer/songwriter with experience on Broadway and in Broadway tours.
LINK: See his Broadway credits.
At leflt: Kobak on nat'l "American Idol" tour. Photo/Broadwayworld.com
MEMBERS OF BANDS
Founded in 1996 by several College-Conservatory of Music alumni, this contemporary music sextet won the 2012 Grammy for its recording of Steve Mackey’s "Lonely Motel" and the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. In 1998, the group became the first contemporary ensemble to win first prize at the Concert Artist Guild International Competition. It also received the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and a Meet The Composer Award in 2007. Profiled in the New York Times and featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, CBS News Sunday Morning and The Next Big Thing, the group has performed in Liverpool, England; Rotterdam, Netherlands: Melbourne, Australia; Mexico; Canada; South Korea; and in the U.S. at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. As of summer 2011, they had released four CDs. The group’s first CD was selected as a Top Ten CD of 2003 by Billboard magazine.
CCM musicians in the group are:
• Michael Maccaferri, MA (CCM) '00, clarinet, founding member
• Matt Albert, AD (CCM) '00, violin and viola, founding member
• Nick Photinos, AD (CCM) '00, cello
• Matthew Duvall, AD (CCM) '01, percussion
• Lisa Kaplan, AD (CCM) '00, piano, founding member
(Note: The remaining member, Tim Munro on flutes, is not a CCM grad.)
A composer, arranger, song writer and educator, Maiman is the guitarist for the indie pop group Walk the Moon. The group has toured the U.S. and Canada in ’10-11. In '11, Esquire magazine named their hit song “Anna Sun” the song of the summer. In '13, the group played on UC's campus in an outodoor concert.
- See photo gallery of Walk the Moon's fall 2013 performance at UC.
- Watch the band’s performance on the "Last Call with Carson Daly," February 2012, live at the Wiltern Theater in L.A. (Maiman wears the yellow plaid shirt.)
- Watch the band’s official “Anna Sun” video, produced by DAAP graduate Patrick Meier.
- Watch the band play on acoustic instruments, sitting on a park bench in New York City’s Madison Square Park. (Maiman is at far left.)
He is the lead vocalist and plays acoustic guitar with Check in the Dark in L.A.
LINK: Watch him perform.
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras
Patricia Driscoll, CCM '10, operations manager (as of 2011)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Gloria Mou, CCM '10, manager of Education and Community Programs (as of 2011)
Renaissance Performing Arts Association (Mansfield, Ohio)
Chelsie Taylor, CCM '10, symphony operations and education manager (as of 2011)