Alumnae Olga Artemova Spriggs, choral conductor

Olga Artemova Spriggs Olga Artemova Spriggs is nearing completion of her doctorate at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. She received a full tuition scholarship and was given the responsibility of directing the UC Men’s Chorus. They work with local high schools, contract orchestras for smaller choral/orchestral works, commission new works, and travel nationally or internationally each year. In 2011, they went to Washington D.C. and worked with Frank Albinder, former director of Chanticleer. This past May they traveled to Toronto, Canada and worked with Dr. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, director of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and performed at the historic Hart House on the campus of the University of Toronto. (Hart House looks and sounds like a smaller version of the dining hall from the Harry Potter movies). In 2012-13, they will host the first Men’s Chorus High School Festival and travel to New Orleans.

In addition to directing the Men’s Chorus, Olga has served the assistant director of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir (CCC), ensemble-in-residence at CCM. They performed at Central ACDA followed by the 2012 World Choir Games in July, taking home a gold medal in the Youth Choirs of Equal Voices category.

The World Choir Games occur every two years in various locations throughout the world. Two years ago they were in China and in two years they will be in Riga, Latvia. Olga had the opportunity to meet all of the delegates from the various nations involved, and presented a workshop on Russian Diction and IPA to an international audience.

Voices and Views

Nathan StarkNathan Stark is featured in the CSU-wide blog “Voices and Views.” As Nate says, “Today, I enjoy a career as a professional opera singer. Having just recently finished a production of Billy Budd at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and having engagements already booked throughout the United States until 2014, I am confident I made the right decision to study at CSULB. My accomplishments are their accomplishments!”

Construction Update

AmphitheaterConstruction is in full swing as they try to finish as much as possible before school begins.  On the left is the amphitheater and ramp down to the practice rooms. There will be lawn between the concrete seating ledges and concrete around the raised planter at the base.

Framed PavilionThe new building, known as the Pavilion, will house Bob Cole’s Steinway and serve as the formal entry into the refurbished offices. In the photo you can see the left wall: it is the original outside wall of the office. The right wall is new. The rest of the pavilion will be glass.

The official opening of the new pavilion will be on October 6: more information about the event to follow.

Alumnus Chris Rountree in LA Times

Chris RountreeAlumnus Chris Rountree’s wildly successful New Music Ensemble, WildUp! recently inaugurated their new six-month residency at the Hammer Museum. Their second concert received a rave review in the LA Times yesterday.

Scott Timberg wrote, “Rountree has seen some success as a globe-trotting young conductor, with guest spots in Europe and a standing freelance gig with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. “Rountree punches out rhythms as if they were going out of style,” The Times’ Mark Swed wrote of one of his performances. “He emphasizes outsized emotions.” Rountree could build a career taking that kind of praise on the road more often; when he was leaving school, some musicians told him to conduct in as many places as he could, or to become a full-time assistant conductor somewhere. But he considers his real accomplishment — and ambition — the assembling and maintenance of his group.”

Solomon Liang on European Tour

Concertmaster Solomon LiangAlumnus Solomon Liang sent this update: “We just had our concert yesterday at Hamburg, and it was very successful. Maestro Eschenbach is such an inspiring conductor. The pianist for the Beethoven is Radu Lupu, who played the concerto with such poetic feeling. He asks a lot out of the principal string players, and I have to say that thanks to the experience I had as concertmaster in BCCM, I am able to do this with confidence. He praised my leadership after the 2nd rehearsal, and I had never studied so much score in my life :)

Concertmaster Solomon LiangToday we will go to Lubeck, and on Monday, we will be playing in the Salzburg Festival.

Composer Raul Vega Hernandez at Remote Control Productions

Raul Hernandez VegaRaul Vega Hernandez is a sample developer at Remote Control Productions, working directly for film composer Hans Zimmer. His team builds virtual instruments from pro tools sessions of live instruments. Raul completed two unpaid internships before landing this position: one for Henry Jackman, (Puss in Boots, X-Men: First Class, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Wreck it Ralph) and the second at Remote Control Productions as the worked on “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Alumnus Jason Lo at the Olympics

Jason LoAlumnus Jason Lo just finished his master’s degree in Piano Performance from USC, and will begin his DMA studies, also in Piano Performance at USC this fall.

Last April, he won first place in the Music Teachers’ Association of California’s regional audition for Southern California and took first place in the statewide competition. Jason was also invited to be a guest piano soloist with the Cerritos High School Wind Symphony, for their European tour. Performances included an adjudicated music festival in Paris, and concerts in London, culminating in a performance at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Alumnus Solomon Liang

Solomon Liang Alumnus Solomon Liang won the audition for concertmaster for the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival August 3rd and 4th concerts at Lubeck and Hamburg, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The program includes Strauss Til Eulenspiegel, Beethoven Piano Concerto no.3, and Bartok Concerto for Orchestra.

Solomon also won first prize in the Alexander & Buono International String Competition. He was featured as soloists in the winner’s concert on Sunday, November, 20, 2011 at Carnegie Hall.