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Spotlight on CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows


The Spotlight article featured in each issue of Fanfare Cincinnati highlights musicians, patrons and other members of the CSO and Pops community. 

Audience members will notice five new faces on stage with the CSO and Pops starting this September. Following a rigorous application and audition process, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the CSO have selected five outstanding string musicians for the inaugural class of CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows. Born out of a mutual desire to make American orchestras more inclusive, this groundbreaking fellowship program is made possible by a generous $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The inaugural CSO/CCM Diversity Fellows are: Emilio Carlo, 21 (viola); Diana Flores, 26 (cello); Blake-Anthony Johnson, 25 (cello); Vijeta Sathyaraj, 27 (violin); and Maurice Todd, 37 (double bass). These Fellows will make their CSO debut for the season opener Sept. 8 & 10, and perform for various CSO and Pops subscription concerts, Young People’s Concerts and other concerts throughout the next two seasons. In addition to performing with the CSO, the Fellows will receive focused mentorship by CSO musicians, and simultaneous instruction by CCM’s illustrious faculty while working toward a master’s degree or Artist Diploma from CCM.

Emilio Carlo, Artist Diploma—Viola

Emilio Carlo is a native of the Bronx, New York, and most recently resided in Washington D.C. He is a first-year Artist Diploma student at CCM and recently graduated from the Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance. He previously studied with Catharine Carroll-Lees and Masao Kawasaki and is currently under the tutelage of Jan Grüning of the Ariel Quartet. Mr. Carlo is a 2012 recipient of the Brewster Award for young artists from the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts.

Diana Flores, Artist Diploma—Cello

Cellist Diana Flores has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, China and her home country of Costa Rica. At age nine, she started playing cello at the Instituto Nacional de Musica in San José. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Longy School of Music, where she studied under Mihail Jojatu. After moving to Chicago in 2013, she became a member of the Civic Orchestra. Ms. Flores recently finished her master’s degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, studying under Richard Hirschl.

Blake-Anthony Johnson, Artist Diploma—Cello

Blake-Anthony Johnson began playing cello at age 12 and was self-taught until the age of 18. As a soloist and guest principal cellist, he has worked with conductors across the United States. Mr. Johnson is a founding member and former cellist in the Läc Quartet. He received his Bachelor of Music degree under Felix Wang and Kathryn Plummer at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and studied under Bryan Dumm and Alan Harrell of The Cleveland Orchestra for his Master of Music diploma.

Vijeta Sathyaraj, Artist Diploma—Violin

Born in Macau, China, Vijeta Sathyaraj began violin studies in the Philippines at the age of 3. By age 6, she was featured on the Philippine National Broadcast and was studying with Basilio Manalo. She studied with Fan Ting at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and later took lessons from Dennis Kim. She graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy, where she studied with Vesna Gruppman. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and her Master of Music degree from Lynn Conservatory.

Maurice Todd, Artist Diploma—Double Bass

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Maurice Todd received his Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance from CCM. He is currently a section bassist in the Lexington Philharmonic. Most recently, he received the distinguished Excellence in Teaching Award from the UC Graduate School. Todd recently graduated with a master’s degree in Double Bass Performance from CCM, where he served as the graduate assistant for the double bass studio under the tutelage of Professor Albert Laszlo. His former mentors include Owen Lee, Edgar Meyer, Chris Hanulik, Bruce Bransby, Rob Oppelt, Eugene Levinson and Hal Robinson.

For more information about the Fellowship or complete biographies of the Fellows, visit cincinnatisymphony.org/orchestra/fellowship.