CIM History: The 1960s
The Institute was ever-growing. By 1965, studio facilities needed to be expanded, and 20 new Steinway grand pianos arrived from New York. "We now have about 120 pianos, mostly Steinways, including two 9-foot concert grands," beamed Dr. Babin.
During the 1960s, Donald Erb was exploring the Moog Synthesizer and gaining national attention. BMI named Erb one of the ten most-performed American-born composers. The electronic music studio, financed by Columbia Records, was built downstairs at CIM to train recording engineers. Two synthesizers were installed, attached to two speakers and two keyboards.
Groundbreaking for Le Pavillon, CIM's smaller concert hall, began in 1966 with funds donated through the Austin Memorial Foundation. Designed by the Austin Company, construction was completed by Dunlop & Johnson.
With Martha Joseph leading the school as chair of the board of trustees, the Institute embarked on a fundraising campaign to compete with the other top music schools, seeking a $3 to $4-million endowment, employing principals of The Cleveland Orchestra as faculty members and inaugurating the University Circle Training Orchestra with James Levine as conductor. (Levine would go on to become the Metropolitan Opera's artistic director.)
The Women's Committee joined the excitement and hosted grand parties on ten floors of the downtown Higbee's department store. Two-thousand people enjoyed these yearly extravaganzas with names such as "Roamin' Carnival" and "Exotica," with all proceeds benefiting the Institute.
The Institute lost its dynamic leaders and mourned their passing before moving toward the future. Pianist Arthur Loesser and violinist Dr. Jerome Gross died within months of each other in 1969. The New Cleveland Quartet with violinists Donald Weilerstein (who later became a member of the CIM faculty) and Peter Salaff (a current member of the CIM faculty) was established as a living memorial to Dr. Gross, and the quartet performed the first of a series of yearly concerts in his memory. Pianist Anton Kuerti, already establishing an international career, performed a concert in memory of Mr. Loesser with the quartet.
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