University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music

The University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a performing arts college of the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.

University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music
MottoJuncta Juvant ("Strength in Unity")
TypePublic (state university)
DeanStanley E Romanstein, PhD[1]
Location, ,

Multiple departments at CCM have ranked nationally among university programs for a graduate music degree, including its opera/voice program, its conducting program, French horn, music composition and drama programs.[2] CCM holds the #2 spot on Playbill's list of "10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway," behind New York University.[3] In 2011, CCM was recognized as Ohio's first and only Center of Excellence in Music and Theatre Arts by the Ohio Board of Regents.[4]

CCM's dean is Stanley E. Romanstein, an alumnus who earned a master's degree in choral conducting and PhD in musicology.[5]


The Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was formed in August 1955 from the merger of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, formed in 1867 as part of a girls' finishing school, and the College of Music of Cincinnati, which opened in 1878. CCM was incorporated into the University of Cincinnati on August 1, 1962. The college is sometimes still called the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music by various publications such as Playbills and performer biographies.

CCM has an enrollment of about 1,500, with a relatively even number of undergraduate and graduate students.It is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in Ohio, with nearly one thousand performances each academic year. Though most performances are free to University of Cincinnati students, CCM does not offer a music minor, and most classes are restricted to students of the college, with the exception of a few music history, music theory, dance and music appreciation classes.


CCM Village

Completed in 1999, CCM Village was built at an overall cost of $93.2 million. Under the supervision of Henry Cobb, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, renovated structures were merged with new buildings, creating four overall centers: Mary Emery Hall, the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Hall and the Dieterle Vocal Arts Center.

Mary Emery Hall

The last project for the CCM Village, Mary Emery Hall, was completed in 1999 and replaced an earlier Mary Emery Hall that housed practice rooms and classrooms. The hall includes classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, composition and performance labs, the Electronic Media Division, the Master Classroom and Werner Recital Hall.

The three-tiered building's interior has an open face with glass balconies overlooking its atrium. The atrium connects Mary Emery Hall to Corbett Auditorium. Updated classrooms were added, each housing video projectors, computer connections, soundboards and other equipment to facilitate instruction. Three practice pipe organs and one performance pipe organ as well as the World Music Lab and Early Music Labs are located on its third level.

Corbett Center for Performing Arts

Named for its primary benefactors, Patricia and J. Ralph Corbett, the four level facility houses classrooms, offices and studios for the Division of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama, Arts Administration, Theatre Design and Production, Jazz Studies and Dance. It is the site of most of CCM's performance venues including Corbett Auditorium, Patricia Corbett Theatre, Cohen Family Studio Theatre and Watson Hall. Three full dance studios and numerous other rehearsal rooms adorn the ground floor level, as well as a centrally located scene shop. Costume shops, make-up studios, design labs, and offices occupy most of its second level. The lowest floor features Watson Recital Hall, as well as large classrooms used primarily for orchestral rehearsals and lab style courses as well as jazz studios and performance labs.

Baur Room

The Baur Room was added to the Corbett Center in 1999. It is an intimate room used for small receptions and student meetings. It was named in honor of Clara and Bertha Baur, the first two directresses of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall was converted from a women's dormitory in 1996 to a practice and studio facility. Among its architectural features, gargoyles are found throughout the building's facade and sculptures acting as a memorial to World War One, such as planes, U-Boats and tanks. It has chamber music rehearsal rooms, reed-making rooms, computer music center and a small chamber performance room.

Dieterle Vocal Arts Center

The Dieterle Vocal Arts Center, commonly referred to as DVAC, was originally called Schmidlapp Hall. It was the university's gymnasium and athletic facility prior to the construction of the Armory Field House in 1954. DVAC is now the center of nearly all choral and vocal activity at CCM. Voice studios, coaching studios, accompanying studios, and choral rehearsal rooms are the main occupants of the building.

Electronic media facilities

  • Ralph J. Corbett Audio Production Center
  • Lawrence A. Leser Newsroom
  • Judy and Jim Van Cleave Multimedia Laboratory
  • Jack and Joan Strader Radio Center
  • Walter and Marilyn Bartlett Television Production Center

Nippert Rehearsal Studio

The Nippert Rehearsal Studio, named for Louise Dieterle Nippert, was originally the site of the University of Cincinnati gymnasium and main basketball court from 1911 until 1951. Its windows overlook Nippert Stadium. Now, the space primarily acts as the main rehearsal hall for all of CCM's mainstage productions.

Performance venues

In 2017, the five main performance halls participated in a ~$15M renovation.

Corbett Auditorium

CCM's largest performance venue seating 640. Most of the choral, orchestral, wind concerts, ballet, opera and musical theatre productions take place there. The hall features a front-of-stage hydraulic system for conversion into an orchestral pit, a series of trap doors mid-stage, a hidden pipe organ and a large stage shell that can be used to toggle the space between acting as a concert hall and a theatre/opera house. During the 2017 renovation, all seats and carpeting were replaced, the stage floor was rebuilt with a new trap door system, the electric grid was updated, a new lighting system was installed, and all fly rails were automated by TAIT Towers.

Patricia Corbett Theater

This 1971 construction seats 380. It hosts jazz concerts, ensemble performances, ballets, operas, musical theatre shows and drama productions. This hall features stadium seating, a hidden and exposable orchestra pit, and a retired pipe organ that sits stage left. Patricia Corbett Theater received new seats and curtains during the renovation in 2017.

Robert J. Werner Recital Hall

A 280-seat recital hall acting as CCM's main space for degree-required solo recitals, chamber music concerts and guest artist masterclasses. Completed in 1999 as part of Mary Emery Hall, the venue is very centrally located at the Northwest corner of CCM Plaza.

Watson Recital Hall

The renovated 140-seat recital hall contains a Balcolm and Vaughan organ of forty four ranks, a gift of John J. Strader, IV and his wife. Watson Hall also serves as a fully equipped classroom.[6]

Cohen Family Studio Theater

Constructed in 1991, this space is unique in that though the atmosphere is like that of a black-box theater, a large brick wall in the shape of an arc on one side limits performances to either facing north or south. However, a full and partially removable balcony, as well as a false floor to allow for pit orchestras or creative sets, adds versatility. CCM generally stages two musicals, two plays, a fully student-choreographed ballet concert and two or three operas (one of which is dedicated to undergraduate voice students) in this performance space each season, although specifics vary from year to year. This hall also holds composer recitals, lighting showcases and the freshman musical theatre showcase. Some performances staged in the Cohen Family Studio Theater are free and open to the general public, while other public performances require paid admission. Ticket prices vary from performance to performance.[7] Pricing specifics are available online at



CCM offers postgraduate, graduate and undergraduate degrees in music. Doctor of Musical Arts degrees are offered in all performance, conducting, and academic areas (except classical guitar and jazz studies) including Ph.D. programs in musicology, music history and music theory. Advanced degrees called Artist Diplomas are available in most performance areas as well. Master of Music degrees are available in all those programs, including classical guitar and jazz studies, as well as collaborative piano and music education. All undergraduate music programs are performance-based and attain a Bachelor of Music degree. A music BA is offered.

Musical Theater

The musical theater program at CCM is the oldest bachelor's degree program in the U.S., the most selective program at the University of Cincinnati, and is one of the nation's top programs.[8] According to Playbill, CCM is represented on Broadway the second-most of any institution during the 2017-2018 season.[9]


CCM Opera and vocal studies ranked second in the United States in 2017.[10] The Masters program focuses on stage experience, vocal technique, coaching and academic musicality. Masters students and recent alumni are represented in the nation's top young artist programs, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Opera Theater Saint Louis. Each March, CCM holds the Corbett Competition, a vocal competition eligible to students in CCM's graduate opera program, featuring five prizes including full-tuition scholarships plus $10,000 to $15,000 in cash prizes. A highlight is the annual undergraduate opera, which is performed double-cast with orchestra, lights, sets and costumes.

Dramatic Theater

The majority of programs related to the school's theater departments are undergraduate, though a Master of Fine Arts degree is offered in theater design and production. Undergraduate BFA degrees specialize in areas such as musical theatre and acting.

Theater Design and Production (TDP)

CCM TDP is one of two schools in the country to offer BFA and MFA programs in Makeup and Wig Design, and one of very few to offer an MFA in Stage Properties. Featuring a 8,500 square foot scene shop, 3,000 square foot costume shop, and wig, make-up and prosthetics studios it is one of the best schools for hands-on training and learning. CCM TDP offers 13 different degrees all with hands-on training for each discipline. Alumni have gone on to work with Feld Entertainment, Hamilton, Cirque Du Soleil, and many other notable companies.


Dance study at CCM emphasizes ballet. The department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance.

Arts administration

CCM offers both an MA in Arts Administration and a dual MBA/MA in Arts Administration in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati's College of Business. The program is focused on preparing students to lead and manage arts organizations.

Electronic media

The largest and fastest growing program at CCM is electronic media. The program offers a general Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in electronic media, but students can choose specializations as part of their program including broadcasting, radio production,and television production. Electronic Media student organizations include a student radio station and student-run campus television station.

Distinctions and chairs

  • Donna, Ralph, and Julia Cohen Chair in Drama
  • Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre
  • J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera
  • Dieterle Chair of Music
  • Thomas J. Kelly Professor
  • Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin
  • Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting

Noted faculty

Noted alumni


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