CCM Guitar's 50th Anniversary Gala Concert features alumni guests

Celebrate the program's legacy and glimpse into its future at this special performance on Sept. 3

The Classical Guitar program at UC's College-Conservatory of Music celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special concert featuring a 50-person guitar orchestra and the launch of a new scholarship. Join student and alumni guest artists for Classical Guitar's 50th Anniversary Gala Concert at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 in CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater. 

Fox19 broadcast a preview segment that shared a sneak peek at the performance and a short interview with CCM Classical Guitar Instructor Christopher Wilke; watch the segment online.

"In many ways, the pieces on this concert are emblematic of the thrilling future of guitar," Wilke says. "We have old favorites to enjoy and exciting new works to discover. We even have an alumnus playing a solo guitar arrangement of a tune by British rock group Muse."

The performance features works by Isaac Albéniz, Astor Piazzolla, Florence Price, Santiago de Murcia and more — including the world premieres of three new works written especially for CCM Classical Guitar's anniversary. View the digital program for the concert.

Many of the alumni were separated after graduation and haven’t had the opportunity to play together in years, but they have enthusiastically self-arranged into ensembles just for this concert. "This is an inspiring testimony to the impact that the guitar program at CCM had on their lives," Wilke adds.

When Professor Emeritus Clare Callahan founded CCM Classical Guitar in 1972, some music circles still considered guitar as a novelty "folk" instrument. CCM was one of the first conservatories in the country to have the vision to support guitar, Wilke says.

"Now, 50 years later, there’s been a sea change in the culture with many traditional musical arts organizations scrambling to maintain relevancy in the face of audiences’ demands for greater diversity and representation — guitar is a natural leader in this regard," he adds.

"While Bach and other classical composers will always hold an important position in studying guitar at a conservatory, our repertoire has always been enriched with diverse artistry from perspectives beyond the Western classical canon. We’ve long embraced the music of Latin America, and the instrument plays a vital role in so many styles coming from the African American tradition, as well countless non-Western genres across the globe."

The concert honors Callahan's legacy and impact at CCM by launching a scholarship in her name. The Clare M. Callahan Classical Guitar Scholarship and Impact Fund will provide scholarship for students studying and practicing classical guitar at CCM and will provide discretionary support the Classical Guitar Program at CCM. 

"Accolades fade and a plaque eventually gathers dust, but this scholarship will play an active role in helping young guitarists achieve their dreams for years to come," Wilke says. "Clare literally impacted generations of students with her always-positive teaching style. Her influence extends even beyond guitar — actress Meryl Streep has gone on record claiming Clare as her single most inspiring teacher. Beyond anything musical, I think the greatest gift she gave was a message of positivity, self-respect and belief in oneself." 

At CCM Classical Guitar, students learn from that past and embrace the new. This year, the program will premiere at least one new piece during every guitar concert at CCM, including four news works during the fall semester.

"The program isn't about any single type of music," Wilke says. "Rather, we're all about guiding each player to achieve technical and musical mastery of the instrument in order to bring their personal artistic voice to life."

CCM Guitar Series presents the 50th Anniversary Gala Concert at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Patricia Corbett Theater. Buy tickets online.

Event Details

Classical Guitar Ensemble 
Christopher Wilke, director

4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

All of CCM's ticketed events will have digital programs instead of printed programs. QR codes will be displayed at events to give access to the digital programs to patrons. The programs are also accessibile through the link below. Programs for events will be shared shortly before the event date.

Repertoire and dates are subject to change. View CCM’s inclement weather policy here.

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets are $19.50; student and group discounts available. Purchase your tickets:

CCM’s Box Office is open Mon-Fri from 12:30-6 p.m.Sat. from 12-4 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain for ticketed performances. Hours subject to change based on the University of Cincinnati calendar.

Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. For detailed driving directions, visit

Parking is available in UC's CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. CCM OnStage patrons can add pre-paid parking to their checkout carts when purchasing tickets. Pre-paid parking is date/performance specific. CCM Garage parking rates for a performance or special event is usually available for $10-15. Learn more about parking at UC's CCM Garage.

For additional information on parking at UC, please visit

Louise Dieterle Nippert Trust
Scholarship and Resident Artist Sponsor
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Sponsor
The Corbett Endowment at CCM
Dance Department Sponsor
All-Steinway School Sponsor
Louise H. & David S. Ingalls Foundation, Inc.
Community Partners
The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel
Visiting Artists & Thinking About Music Sponsor
CCMpower: Friends and Alumni Fueling the Future of the Arts 
The Strader Fund at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
CCM Digital Sponsors
Dr. & Mrs. Carl G. Fischer 
Greg Mathein 
Gary & Barb Cummins 
Jim & Linda Miller 
George & Carroll Roden
Musical Theatre Department Sponsors
Genevieve Smith
Opera Production Sponsor
Rafael and Kimberly de Acha
Opera D’Arte Sponsor
An Anonymous Donor
Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander
Mrs. William A. Friedlander
Dr. Randolph L. Wadsworth
Judith Schonbach Landgren and Peter Landgren
Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen
Elizabeth C.B. Sittenfeld
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman
Mrs. Theodore W. Striker
Mrs. Harry M. Hoffheimer
Ariel Quartet Sponsors
Jan Rogers
Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation
Choral Studies Sponsors
  Classical Guitar Sponsor

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph W. Hirschhorn
Orchestral Sponsor
Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation
Starling Pre-Collegiate Sponsor
Starling Strings Sponsor
Dr. Timothy E. and Janet L. Johnson
Thom Miles and Roberta Gary
Organ Department Sponsors
Keyboard Club of Cincinnati
Louis and Susan Meisel
Piano Department Sponsors
Kevin and Nancy Rhein
   Wind Studies Sponsor

Edward Donovan and Cheryl Carter
Jeff Thomas Catering
The Castleberry Family
Paula Boggs Muething & Brian Muething
Patti Myers & Alan Flaherty
Trish & Rick Bryan
Graeter’s Ice Cream 
eat well celebrations and feasts 
The Summit Hotel
Event Sponsors
Buddy Rogers Music
LINKS Sponsor
Sponsors listed as of August 30, 2022

Feature image at the top: CCM Classical Guitar performs on stage. Photo/Andrew Higley, UC Creative Services

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