Ian Axness

Ian Axness

Asst Professor

Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre and Resident Music Director

Corbett Cntr Perform Arts


CCM TAPAA - 0003

Professional Summary

Ian Axness joined CCM's faculty as an adjunct and guest resident music director in 2022, and he began his appointment as Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre and Resident Music Director on Aug. 15, 2023.

Axness brings a fresh, incisive, inclusive approach to the past, present and future of American musical theatre. For over a decade he has helped bring works new and old to the stage in New York City, including Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street Theater), Rodgers & Hart’s I Married An Angel (City Center Encores), Kurt Weill’s Zaubernacht (Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra) and the New York premiere of Beardo by Dave Malloy and Jason Craig (Pipeline Theatre, Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music). Axness enjoys a wide range of music+theatre collaborations, including musicals, operas, plays, pop-up performances, hybrid recitals and cabarets. His career highlights include Lyrics & Lyricists: W.S. Gilbert with Sheldon Harnick (92nd Street Y), Carousel with Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn (New York Philharmonic) and a new production of Flora the Red Menace with composer John Kander (Oberlin College-Conservatory).

Working between forms of Western art music, Broadway musicals and experimental theatre, Axness has collaborated with composers and theatermakers including Shaina Taub, Michael R. Jackson, Heather Christian, Carner & Gregor, and Rinde Eckert. He has developed new musicals with playwrights at New Dramatists, contributed to volumes of Musical Theatre Today, and performed on the stages of Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova and Two River Theater. As part of the New York City theatre community, Axness has sought out projects that embrace the collective, engage the irrational, challenge norms and thrill audiences.

Axness is also a versatile and enthusiastic teacher. He previously served on the faculty of Playwrights Horizons Theater School and continues to work as a teaching artist with Living Arts Collaborative and The Performing Arts Project. As a music director he has helmed productions at Juilliard, Oberlin, Mannes School of Music, New York University Abu Dhabi and CCM, where he earned his master of music in Orchestral Conducting. His teachers include Roger Grodsky, Aik Khai Pung, Mark Gibson, Gary Fagin and Rob Fisher.