Diversity Fellowship Program
Institution to welcome Diversity Fellows through new Cincinnati partnerships
Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce the establishment of the Chautauqua Diversity Fellows Program, an expansion of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) groundbreaking Diversity Fellowship Program for pre-professional underrepresented musicians. Through the new partnership, up to five fellows will be selected each year from within the Cincinnati Diversity Fellowship Program to participate in an eight-week summer residency at Chautauqua, beginning with the 2018 season.
“Inclusiveness — of race, gender, sexuality, ideas — is the Chautauqua ideal. We aim to be a leading force in evolving the field of symphony orchestras by diversifying the makeup of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and investing in inclusion,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts at Chautauqua Institution. “By making it a priority to help musicians from underrepresented communities early in their careers, the Institution hopes to be instrumental in their ability to compete for and win jobs in American orchestras. Diversity in the arts changes lives not only for the artist but also for audiences.”
Launched in 2015 with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Cincinnati Diversity Fellowship Program is open to violin, viola, cello and double bass players from populations that are historically underrepresented in classical music. Fellows perform the equivalent of five weeks per season with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra while enrolled in a two-year Master of Music or Artist Diploma degree program at CCM. Each class of fellows is selected through a rigorous series of auditions by hundreds of graduate-level musicians for CCM faculty members.
As many as five Cincinnati Diversity Fellows will be selected annually to participate in the summer residency with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, with frequent performance opportunities in the Institution’s 4,400-seat Amphitheater. The fellows will be mentored by the orchestra’s professional musicians, who come to Chautauqua each summer from a variety of home ensembles around the world. In addition, fellows will mentor minority student musicians in Chautauqua’s Music School Festival Orchestra, and offer performances designed to engage the broader Chautauqua community. Chautauqua Diversity Fellows will be provided housing and receive a stipend to offset their expenses.
“The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM are determined to advance diversity on orchestra stages and this new partnership will provide a significant boost to efforts both here and at the Chautauqua Institution,” said Jonathan Martin, president of the orchestra. “We are so pleased to now be working together with them in addition to CCM, on this important initiative.”
According to CCM Interim Dean bruce mcclung, “The Chautauqua Institution partnership provides the opportunity for our fellows to continue playing alongside and being mentored by professional musicians during the summer months, thereby enhancing the experience-based education that is at the heart of the Cincinnati Diversity Fellowship program.”
2020 Diversity Fellows
Edna is a viola player in pursuit of a virtuous, and well-rounded music career. She is a born and raised Cincinnatian, but her musical endeavors have taken her to different performance venues in the country such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Massachusetts and Maryland. Edna began her orchestral training as a violinist at Winton Woods Elementary school, and continued her studies at Princeton Middle school, and Fairfield High school. During her high school years, Edna was an active musician in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras (CSYO) and The Nouveau Chamber Players. As a CSYO musician, Edna performed as the acting concertmistress for the CSYO Concert Orchestra and as a sectional violist for the CSYO Philharmonic Orchestra. Edna also debuted with the Nouveau Chamber Players on stage at Music Hall as a soloist for the 2014 Classical Roots concert and with the CSO for Lumenocity.
After high school, Edna attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a violist where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Catharine Lees and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2019. Edna has performed as the principal violist for the CCM Concert Orchestra and as the assistant principal violist for the CCM Philharmonic Orchestra. She has attended notable summer music festivals including the Boston Tanglewood Institute, the National Orchestral Institute and Festival (NOI+F), and the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival. Currently, Edna is studying as a master’s student at CCM where she enjoys learning and performing in the orchestral and chamber ensembles.
Jordan Curry, 24, is from West Olive, Michigan. He began playing violin at the age of six using the Suzuki method. A graduate of West Ottawa High School in Holland, Michigan, Curry continued to play violin and study music throughout his formative years.
He has participated in the Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University, the Michigan All-State Orchestra, and the Holland Area Youth Orchestra. Curry furthered his studies with Korean violinist Young Shin and Mihai Craioveanu, professor of violin at Hope College.
He received his bachelor’s degree in violin performance at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo under the instruction of professor Renata Artman Knific. Curry plays a violin from famed maker Mario Miralles on loan from acclaimed violin soloist Tai Murray. He recently received his master’s in violin performance the University of Denver under Linda Wang.
Max Oppeltz-Carroz started playing the cello at the age of 4 as a student of El Sistema in Caracas, Venezuela. As a part of the world-renowned music program, Max played in the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the Chacao Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Caracas Municipal Orchestra; and studied with Cesar Noguera, Marek Gajzler and German Marcano. He also participated in numerous masterclasses with cellists such as Natalia Gutman and Phillip Muller. In 2014, he moved to the US to study at the Juilliard School with Professor Richard Aaron. As an undergraduate student, Max participated in several lessons and masterclasses with cellist Franz Helmerson and studied chamber music with musicians such as Roger Tapping, Sam Rhoades, Sylvia Rosenberg and Jerome Lowenthal. In 2016, Max was fortunate to attend the Music Academy of the West, the highlights of which were taking lessons with Lynn Harrel and performing alongside faculty Warren Jones and Kathleen Winkler. In 2018, Max moved to Denver to study at the Lamont School of Music as a Newman Graduate Fellow under Matthew Zalkind. While in Denver, he’s been fortunate to perform alongside faculty both at Lamont and at the Denver Chamber Music Festival. Starting in the Fall of 2020, Max will begin a two-year program as CCM/CSO DIversity Fellow. Max is also extremely grateful to be playing on a 1880 French cello from the Caussin School, generously loaned by the Virtu Foundation.
Born and raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Amy Nickler began playing the violin at age six. Six years later she switched to the double bass and has loved it ever since. In recent years, Amy has participated as a fellow in several festivals and orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony, The Orchestra NOW, Oslo Kammerakademi, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Miami Music Festival. In July 2016, Amy was a winner of the Concerto Competition honoring Ida Haendel with the opportunity to perform as a soloist in the New World Center with the Miami Music Festival Orchestra. Aside from performing, Amy enjoys her time as a teaching artist for the Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc. and the Volta Music Foundation in Havana, Cuba. Amy received her Bachelor of Music Degree at Lynn Conservatory in 2017 with Professor Timothy Cobb and she received her Master of Music Degree at Yale School of Music with Professor Donald Palma in 2019. Amy is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma as a Diversity Fellow at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Born in Havana, Cuba, violinist Yan Izquierdo enjoys an interdisciplinary, cross-genre music career. He has extensive performance experience throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Spain. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the College of Charleston Orchestra. In 2010, he played the national anthem for the NCAA NIT College Basketball Finals game at Madison Square Garden. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival and performed at Spoleto USA with members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2004 South Carolina MTNA Young Artist Performance Competition in the strings category.
As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of New York, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas and Symphony in C, with notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Kimmel Center, Kennedy Center and Meyerson Symphony Center. He participated in the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas’ “Music Without Borders” North American concert tour, which included educational outreach programs with youth symphonies in Mexico City, culminating in a joint concert televised by the Televisa network.
Equally, at home in non-classical genres, Izquierdo has appeared with Grammy Award-winning Bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs, as well as Clay Aiken and Anne Murray. He was a founding member of Shayna and the Catch, acting as a songwriter, violinist, mandolinist and backing vocalist. The band toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada, including appearances at SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, Summerfest and Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration. His songs have been featured in TV and film, including an international Ford Edge commercial campaign.
Izquierdo began violin studies at the age of seven in Madrid, Spain. At the age of 14, he received a full scholarship to attend the Idyllwild Arts Academy, where he studied with Todor Pelev. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Charleston, studying with Lee-Chin Siow. Additional mentors include Almita Vamos, Herbert Greenberg, and Garrett Fischbach. He currently resides in New York City.
At CCM Izquierdo studies with Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus, the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin.