Q&A: CCM Lighting Design alum Nina Agelvis nominated for NextGen of the Year Award

Agelvis reflects on her time at CCM and her recent career highlights

Story by CCM Graduate Student Lucy Evans

CCM is proud to announce that alumna Nina Agelvis (MFA Lighting Design and Technology, ‘21) is among the talented emerging professionals nominated for a Parnelli NextGen of the Year Award. Considered the most prestigious awards show of the live event industry, the Parnelli Awards take place April 14 in Anaheim, California. The awards highlight those whose innovations behind the scenes are essential to bringing touring productions, concerts, conventions and more to life.

Nina Agelvis. Photo/provided.

Nina Agelvis. Photo/provided.

Agelvis, who attended the University of California Irvine for her undergraduate degree, worked on a wide variety of productions during her time at CCM. From designing lighting for dance shows and plays, to creating lighting performance art for the biannual BAMM event, CCM’s rigorous and cutting-edge Lighting Design and Technology program helped Agelvis lay the foundation for a wide-ranging career.

Agelvis’s professional credits include designing lighting for cruise ship entertainment, corporate events at Google and several New York City nightclubs. In the below Q&A, Agelvis shares her experience of transitioning from student to young professional.

How did your time at CCM prepare you for the professional world?

Agelvis: Learning different [lighting design and technology] gear, but most of all utilizing my time as a student to make connections with professionals and being able to maintain those relationships out in the world.

What was your first lighting gig after graduating from CCM?

Agelvis' lighting design for Perseverance Theater 's production of "The Brother's Paranormal."

Agelvis' lighting design for Perseverance Theater 's production of "The Brother's Paranormal."

Agelvis: I started doing lighting outside of school while still at CCM, but my first gig was working as a Draftsman for Quantum Creative Studios working on Super Nintendo World Orlando. [At the same time], I was flying to Alaska to design a theater show at Perseverance Theater called The Brother's Paranormal.

You design for a wide variety of events—from night clubs, to theatre performances to corporate conferences. Are there different skills needed or challenges you find working in these different contexts?

Agelvis: Flexibility is the best skillset to have. Every design is approached similarly, but having good flow and flexibility helps you adapt between different environments—whether that is working on a corporate event that requires broadcasting or understanding the flow of music when working with a DJ. 

What continues to inspire you about the field?

Agelvis: Honestly, people. Seeing people look at lights in awe at a concert or walking around at a theme park at night when everything is lit up. People screaming and dancing wildly at the club when the beat drops and the lights go crazy. I don't need people's recognition to make me feel satisfied. Simply seeing them react emotionally to my work while I am in the background is all that inspires me to move forward and strive for something bigger. 

Agelvis' lighting design for Deluxx Fluxx NYC. Photo/provided.

Agelvis' lighting design for Deluxx Fluxx NYC. Photo/provided.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

Agelvis: As of now, I’m working full-time as a lighting specialist for Google through First Agency, and it's always fun seeing what events we will be lighting. The PUBLIC Hotel [in New York City] is re-opening their basement nightclub on April 15th, and I'll be doing lights in that space as well. It will be a stepping stone for me to show that I can handle larger clubs. I hope that with this I can continue to grow my career in nightlife while I live the corporate life in the daytime. 

How did your time at CCM prepare you for the professional world?

Agelvis: Don't take everything so seriously. Enjoy the craft and be creative — break the rules. I sometimes fall victim to imposter syndrome or beat myself down when something I have done isn't perfect. Being able to get paid for something you love is a blessing. If work doesn't feel like work, then it makes it all the more enjoyable. Lighting is art, and art is subjective. Do what makes you happy and always strive for something better.

The Parnelli NextGen of the Year Award will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 14, 2023. The awards show is partially sponsored by Production, Lights and Staging News (PLSN). To read more about the Parnelli Awards and Agelvis’s work, read her profile on PLSN's website.

Featured image at the top: Agelvis' lighting design for the Horizon Hall at Pier 57. Photo/provided.

Headshot of Lucy Evans

Lucy Evans

CCM Graduate Assistant, Marketing + Communications

Lucy Evans is a master’s student studying Vocal Performance at CCM. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and was recently an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera.

Additional Contacts

Curt Whitacre | Director of Marketing/Communications | UC College-Conservatory of Music

| 513-556-2683

Related Stories


CCM shares fall 2022 schedule of performances and public events

August 12, 2022

Audiences are invited to return to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) concert halls and theaters to experience world-class performances and presentations by the next generation of performing and media artists! The college’s fall 2022 schedule of free and ticketed events is now available. Tickets go on sale beginning on Monday, Aug. 22, through the CCM Box Office website.


VOTE: BroadwayWorld Awards highlight CCM excellence

December 5, 2023

Each year, the BroadwayWorld Awards honor excellence in the city’s performing arts scene. This year, the faculty and students of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) are nominated 20 times in 11 categories—including Best Musical, Best Opera, Best Choreography, Best Sound Design, and more!


CCM Opera’s spring 2022 production of "Galileo Galilei" nominated for BroadwayWorld awards

December 16, 2022

CCM Opera’s production of Philp Glass’s Galileo Galilei recently nabbed five nominations in BroadwayWorld Cincinnati’s annual awards for excellence in the region’s performing arts. The production, which ran from March 31 to April 3, 2022, has been recognized in the categories of Best Ensemble, Best Direction of a Musical (Greg Eldridge, Associate Professor of Opera Directing), Best Lighting Design of a Play or Musical (Ian Macintosh, BFA Lighting Design ‘22, and Thomas Hase, MFA Lighting Design) and Best Choreography (Hazel Alexander, BFA Dance ‘24). The awards are determined by audience vote, and the online poll is open through December 31.