Cincinnati Song Initiative launches free fellowship program

Cincinnati Song Initiative has a new fellowship program for high-level pianists and singers set to launch next spring.

The inaugural “Fellowship of the Song” runs from May 19-26, 2024.

There are spots for five singers and five pianists from around the country. Fellows attend daily classes and receive private coaching at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

Samuel Martin, CSI’s founding artistic director, said the program aims to meet a need in the classical arts world, especially in the United States where performance opportunities are decreasing.

Samuel Martin, CSI’s founding artistic director
(Photo by Tina Gutierrez)

“We learn the most about ourselves as artists when we have the chance to take risks and share what we have to say in performance with a live audience that’s eager to connect,” Martin said. He went on to note that the fellowship also creates opportunities for fans of classical music. The program schedule includes a pair of public concerts.

Daily classes aim to provide what CSI leadership described as a “breadth of knowledge” to promote their “versatility in an ever-evolving classical music landscape.” Fellows will have access to the recital and practice spaces on CCM’s campus.

Two of the coaches taking part in the fellowship are pianist Margo Garrett and baritone William McGraw.

“Fellowship of the Song” is cost-free to fellows. That includes the cost of the application.

Those taking part in the week-long program receive a complimentary apartment through boutique lodging company Airriva.

CSI plans to reimburse fellows for any related travel costs. Each student also receives a daily stipend to cover meals and transportation.

Martin said eliminating financial burdens on the artists is a way to promote access and equity in the performing arts, Martin said.

“CSI being a (100%) artist-run organization, we are uniquely aware of how quickly ancillary fees add up,” he added. “From the very start, the CSI staff considered all the costs that could possibly accrue for fellows over the course of the week, and we asked, ‘How do we make these disappear?’”

The fellowship isn’t just open to performers. Interested Cincinnati residents can take part by auditing workshops and classes.

The online application for prospective fellows opens Sept. 1, 2023. Auditor registration begins Oct. 1, 2023. Applications are free. 

www.cincinnatisonginitiative.org/fellowship


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