Concert Calendar
Sep 2014
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Upcoming Events

  • Says You!

    September 13, 2014, 7:00 pm
    Kulas Hall

    Attend a live taping of this public radio wordplay program.

  • Says You!

    September 14, 2014, 1:30 pm
    Kulas Hall

    Attend the live taping of this public radio wordplace program.

  • CIM Orchestra @ Home

    September 17, 2014, 8:00 pm
    Kulas Hall

    Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra
    Carl Topilow, conductor
    Wesley Skinner, cello, student artist

In the century since its founding in 1920 by composer Ernst Bloch, The Cleveland Institute of Music has been a place for young composers to find their voice, refine their skills, and create a new and exciting repertoire. Consistently considered among of the nation's top conservatories, CIM provides a unique environment for composers and performers alike to explore their imagination and creativity while working with a world-class faculty devoted to training the complete musician of the 21st century.

In the rich and diverse musical climate of our time, I welcome and encourage a variety of compositional styles among my students. My primary goal is to help you discover and cultivate your own personal and unique compositional language. I work with each student on how to write dynamic, sophisticated, and moving music, while also learning to develop musical material, shape the overall design and architecture of a piece, and nurture and expand your musical knowledge, taste, sophistication, and judgment.

CIM strives to provide our composers with as many opportunities as possible. Among them is our Partnership Program, which pairs student composers with student performers, who then come to that student's composition lesson to work together on the realization of his or her ideas. This hands-on experience of working directly with performers as part of the creative process is invaluable to a young composer's development and is one of the things which makes CIM such a unique place to study.

Another is our biannual collaboration with the Cleveland Institute of Art, pairing student composers with student filmmakers to create short films to be shown in the Shafran Planetarium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This collaboration offers our students valuable experience in the art of collaboration, film scoring, and sound design.

I invite you to explore our community — one committed to the complete training of the creative artist of the 21st century.

- Keith Fitch
Head, Composition Dept.
Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition


The CIM Composition Department provides an intensive environment for student composers where the highest level of excellence is expected. The incredibly high standard of performance at CIM assures student composers very fine performances of their solo, ensemble, and orchestral works, as well as works developed in our Electronic Music Studio, all of which are digitally recorded.

Every composition major at CIM receives a weekly individual lesson. Additionally, students are required to attend the weekly seminar, where faculty and students present their own music, meet with visiting composers, explore career options, and discuss virtually any and every topic related to being a composer in the 21st century.

The CIM Composition Department offers three studio recitals every year; students are required to have works performed on at least two of the three. The CIM Orchestra devotes three days each semester to reading and recording student works, providing vital and practical training in orchestral composition. Additionally, CIM student performers regularly program student composers works on their own recitals.

A wide variety of composers with differing styles and ideas regularly visit CIM, meeting with students in Composition Seminar, discussing their music in symposia, and in many cases, looking at individual student works in master classes. Composers who have visited in recent years include John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Mario Davidovsky, John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Melinda Wagner, Claude Baker, David Rakowski, George Tsontakis, David Del Tredici, Steven Stucky, Sean Shepherd, Julian Anderson, Stephen Paulus, Augusta Read Thomas, Bernard Rands, and Chen Yi, among many others.

There are many professional opportunities for CIM composition students throughout the neighboring communities. The Canton Symphony offers an annual Composer Fellowship to a CIM composition major, resulting in a work premiered by them as part of their regular season. The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra has presented CIM student works at Severance Hall; other recent student commissions have included works for local dance companies, the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, and the Museum of Natural History, among many others.


Student Successes

CIM students consistently are among the nation's most celebrated young composers. Their awards include honors from the Fulbright Foundation, the ASCAP-Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the BMI Student Composers Competition, the Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kronos String Quartet Under 30 commission; the National Association of Composers USA Competition, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Composition Prize, the Leo Kaplan Prize, the National Federation of Music Clubs competition, and the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Composition Competition.

Our students regularly receive commissions from SCI, ASCAP, the BMI Foundation, the New York Youth Symphony, as well as new music ensembles and soloists throughout the nation.

Additionally, CIM students have received residences at the Copland House, Camargo (Cassis, France), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, the Free University Berlin Institute, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Fresh, Inc. Festival, New Music on the Point, California Summer Music, and Brevard Summer Music, among others.


  • Meet the CIM Composition Faculty.
  • Learn about our Electronic Music Studio.
  • Read about the New Music Ensemble
  • See some of our Distinguished Alumni.
  • See CIM Faculty over the years.