August 28, 2020

CIM Announces 2021 Virtual Audition Days

Audition days
CIM students and President Hogle prepare to greet auditioning students. Photo by Rachel Kunce.

When its worldwide application portal goes live at midnight on September 1, 2020, the Cleveland Institute of Music will create the most accessible pathway to conservatory admittance in 2021. Students auditioning for CIM will present their recorded auditions in a live, online meeting with the faculty for their area of study.

“With today’s announcement, CIM proudly lowers the barrier to access for a classical music student to earn a coveted spot in the highly competitive fall 2021 class,” observed CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “We were reminded during the pandemic that digital access is a powerful tool in the training of the world’s most talented classical music students. By making this announcement early — that auditions will be entirely via recorded and digital technologies — we have removed some of the geographic and travel-related obstacles that lead to difficult family decisions with permanent career implications.”

CIM’s in-person audition days have been praised by parents and prospective students alike and the 2021 virtual audition days will artfully replicate that experience. As usual, students and families will participate in auditions on the four Sundays of February. Each day will include a family orientation meeting, student lounge, a eurhythmics demonstration, and opportunities to talk with CIM’s financial aid, registrar and entrepreneurial musicianship leaders.

The centerpiece of the audition experience for students will be a live, real-time interaction with the faculty in their area of study as faculty listen, along with the auditioning student, to the applicant's recorded audition. Every applicant will also interview with a member of CIM’s senior administration.

"We understand the highly coveted and highly valuable nature of a CIM education,” adds Jerrod Price, CIM’s executive director of preparatory, enrollment & pathway programs. “By blending recorded auditions with live conversations, students and faculty will have the meaningful and interactive audition experience that is the hallmark of a CIM audition day. The new format should allow students to really shine, without the stress and financial strain that auditions typically bring. Every student artist who dreams about being the future of classical music can now have unfettered access to that opportunity.”

Cleveland’s incoming 2020 class exceeded enrollment goals by 10% and is one of impeccable artistic distinction, academic ability, racial diversity and geographic reach. With 12% identifying as Black or Latinx, it includes competition prizewinners and alumni of premier music festivals and the country’s finest youth orchestras, and possesses an entrepreneurial spirit as founders or co-founders of their own organizations and businesses. Recognizing elite ability and skillfulness, CIM awarded a record five full-ride packages to members of the incoming class, the result of incredible generosity by CIM’s donors and a partnership with Cleveland-based Judson Senior Living. Practically speaking, every member of the incoming class received a philanthropy-supported scholarship.

Qualified classical music students seeking bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees, as well as professional studies and artist diplomas, are invited to apply at

Key dates: 

  • September 1, 2020 - Application portal open
  • December 1, 2020 - Application and pre-screening video deadline
  • February 1, 2021 - Audition video submission deadline
  • February 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2021 - Audition days
  • Late March, 2021 - Admittance decisions/scholarship awards (no later than April 1)
  • April 15, 2021 - Graduate decision deadline
  • May 1, 2021 - Undergraduate decision deadline