Recent grad earns coveted spot with Opéra Bastille

Opera bastille

Mezzo-soprano Amber Fasquelle completed her bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music in December 2015 and a month later, flew to Paris to compete in an international competition for a position in a young artist program at Opéra Bastille. “I auditioned with the mentality to practice auditioning, and then to my surprise I was in the finals, and next I know, I was selected,” says Fasquelle. Continue reading

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Students earn top prizes at annual composer contest

CIM senior Shawn Head and freshman Joseph Tolonen won second and third place, respectively, at the Cleveland Composers Guild Third Annual Collegiate Composition Contest held last month. In addition to cash prizes, the CIM composition students, who both study with department head Keith Fitch, will be honored at the Cleveland Composers Guild concert on Sunday.

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Pierre Boulez, renowned composer and conductor and CIM Honorary Doctorate recipient, dies at 90

Prominent French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez died on Tuesday at his home in Germany. He was 90. He left behind an unforgettable legacy, filled with inspiring works that effectively changed classical music as we know it. In 2005 Mr. Boulez was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music and on that May afternoon 11 years ago, he also imparted his advice to a group of fresh graduates in his commencement address.

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CIM Brings the Audience Inside the Action

Ever wonder what it’s like to conduct an orchestra or to be swaying in unison with the violin section? CIM Perspectives is hoping to bring that experience to anyone with access to YouTube. This new program outfits CIM performers and conductors with GoPro cameras during performances to give viewers a unique look at what it feels like inside the orchestra. Continue reading

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Every Decision You Make Changes A Path

The Cleveland Institute of Music, nestled in the culture-rich University Circle, provides world-class opportunities—opportunities to work with some of the top faculty in the world, to study at conservatories abroad, or to receive coaching from masters in Shanghai without ever leaving the building. Opportunities to perform in schools, hospitals and senior centers throughout the region but also on the stage of Severance Hall, home of The Cleveland Orchestra. And beyond superb music education, the opportunity to take humanities classes at Case Western Reserve University, one of the top liberal arts universities in the country. There are so many opportunities; the only question is which path our students will choose.

Your decision to give to the CIM Annual Fund can change the path; for a child helped by a CIM outreach program; for an audience member, inspired by a performance on-campus or in a senior center; or for a student who is able to pursue their goals as a musician and share their music with others. Continue reading

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Alumni Snapshot: Jason Vieaux


Pictured from L to R: CIM alumni and faculty members Alan Bise, Jason Vieaux and Bruce Egre.

When Jason Vieaux walked the red carpet at this year’s Grammy Awards, he estimated he had about a five percent chance of winning; or, as he put it, his chances were “a little better than a roulette wheel.”

Vieaux is head of the guitar department at CIM and performs and teaches around the world. He’s been featured at every major guitar series in North America and many abroad; he’s soloed with nearly 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto and San Diego; he’s recorded 12 albums; and in 2014, his recording “Zapateado” was named one of NPR’s 50 favorite songs of the year. When Vieaux received that accolade he said, “it may be the only time I’m on a list with Beyoncé, Pharrell and Jack White.” Then 2015 came along, and with it, a new list.

“Just happy to be nominated”
First came the nomination, in early December. “I was taking a nap in Melbourne, Florida,” Vieaux remembers. “I was getting ready for a concert with the Escher Quartet for the chamber music society there, and I woke up to all these texts and Twitter notifications on my phone. At first I thought something bad had happened!” But soon the realization began to sink in. “We weren’t really expecting it because we’d submitted so many times before. By that point I had kind given up on the Grammys. So it was a real, very pleasant shock.” The shock, of course, was that Vieaux’s album Play on the Azica Records label, was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. “When I saw who all
the other nominees were, I thought, ‘OK, we’ll enjoy the nomination.’ It was my first time so we were just happy to be nominated.”

Fast-forward to February and Vieaux is on the red carpet at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. “I wasn’t really nervous about it,” says Vieaux. “We were just going for the experience to walk the red carpet and to take it all in. It was a very different experience from the relatively unglamorous life of touring classical musicians!” Then the categories were read, and winner after winner stepped onto the stage, thanking their friends and families. “And now, Category 78, best solo instrumental classical,” boomed the announcer. “That’s when I became, sort of, focused,” Vieaux says. “When they said Play, it was just like a shot of adrenaline. I think I ran up to the stage!”

Vieaux, more than anything in that moment, he felt an immense amount of gratitude. He muses about his predictions of having a slim chance of winning, but in the end it’s really not left up to chance. “It really just comes down to votes,” says Vieaux. “It meant that all the members of the academy, comprising some 13,000 artists, gave it the most votes.”


A Classical Musician from the Start
Vieaux was given his first guitar at the age of five. His mother bought it for him after he raided his parents’ record collection filled with R&B, soul and modern jazz music. But despite this early exposure to iconic guitarists whose images were splashed across their album covers, Vieaux began taking classical music lessons on the guitar. It was after the Buffalo Guitar Quartet visited his school when he was seven years old that Vieaux’s classical training began. “They were doing an outreach program at my school and my mother asked Jeremy Sparks, one of the founding members of the Quartet, if he would come out to our house and give private lessons,” explains Vieaux. “My lessons on the guitar actually started out as classical music. I came to know classical music through the guitar repertoire: nineteenth-century guitar repertoire, exercises, études, studies and that kind of thing. That was where I started.”

Vieaux began playing recitals throughout the area and by the time he graduated high school, his mind was made up: he would go to CIM and study with John Holmquist. Holmquist had won the biggest competition back in the ’80s: the Guitar International Competition in Toronto. “They only had the competition once every three years and there weren’t that many winners,” explains Vieaux. “After I auditioned at CIM I didn’t want to go anywhere else. It was great. And I won the GFA [Guitar Foundation of America competition] my junior year, which was unexpected.”

From Cutter to the Carpet
A great teacher and international competition wins weren’t all that CIM afforded Vieaux; it also gave him a roommate who would be with him on the red carpet of the Grammys nearly 25 years later. Alan Bise, CIM alumnus and the school’s current director of Recording Arts and Services, is also the classical producer for (the now Grammy-winning) Azica records and has been working with Vieaux for about 15 years.

“Alan and I were roommates our freshman year, in the dorm,” says Vieaux. “It’s a great example of how professional partnerships can start here. It’s something we’re always telling our students. We’re always telling them, ‘be cool!’ because you never know!” But that’s not all. Bruce Egre, the president and chief recording engineer of Azica Records, is also a CIM alumnus who knew Vieaux and Bise at school. Today, he’s the head of the Audio Recording degree program at CIM. In short, Play is a true CIM collaboration.

Life as a Grammy-Winning Artist
“My life was always very busy and crazy,” says Vieaux of the changes in his life now that he dons the “Grammy-winning artist” title. “I’m still performing every week in a different city, but instead of doing one interview per city, I’m doing maybe two or three.” Vieaux will still
travel and play with passion and enthusiasm everywhere he goes. He’ll continue to record, collaborate and teach. For Vieaux, “if the word Grammy can draw another guitar enthusiast or non-classical music listener to listen to my Bach album and experience one of the great geniuses of western thought, then that’s really what it’s all about.”

Notes Spring 2015
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Gary Hanson Named Interim President of the Cleveland Institute of Music

The Cleveland Institute of Music announces that Gary Hanson, retiring executive director of The Cleveland Orchestra, has been named Interim President of CIM. Mr. Hanson was appointed at a special meeting of the CIM Board of Trustees, on Friday, December 11 and will begin his term January 1, 2016.  In October, CIM’s current president, Joel Smirnoff, announced his retirement from administrative duties at CIM, effective December 31, 2015.

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Spring Bills Available on Self Service

Spring Bills are now available on Self Service. Additionally, hard copies have been mailed to all U.S. billing addresses. Bills addressed to non-U.S. addresses have been placed in the CIM student mailboxes. Spring 2016 Payment Policies and Spring 2016 Payment Plan Enrollment forms can be found on the CIM website following this path: Students/Student Forms and FAQs/Money Matters.

PLEASE NOTE: Spring payments are due on December 28, 2015. If you are signing up for the payment plan, the payment plan form plus the $30 payment plan fee plus 25% of the bill balance is due on December 28, with the remaining 75% due in equal parts on the 28th of each of January, February and March.

Payments may be made by check or wire transfer.

A $100 late fee will be added if payments are not received timely. Students with outstanding balances after March 28 will be ineligible to take finals or juries, or receive transcripts until the balance is paid in full.

For housing, meal plan or health insurance questions: call David Gilson at (216) 368-5331. For financial aid questions: call Kristie Gripp (216) 791-5000 ext. 262. For billing questions: call the Business Office, ext. 210 or 518.

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Two Alums Land Grammy Nominations

Alum and rising superstar Daniil Trifonov (AC ’13, AD ’15, Babayan) was nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his album Rachmaninov Variations with the Philadelphia Orchestra and alum and four-time Grammy winner Thomas C. Moore (BM ‘86, MM ’88, Mack) received a nod as the producer of Monteverdi: Il Ritorno D’Ulisse In Patria which is up for Best Opera Recording.

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Alum Premieres Latest Opera in Paris

CIM alum and composer Evan Fein (BM ’07, Brouwer) premiered his latest Opera City of Ashes at Opéra de Poche in Paris on November 18. This was the work’s third production by Opéra de Poche, which commissioned the piece.

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