September 20, 2019

CIM Annual Meeting Chronicles Legendary Institution's Momentum, Ambitious Plans for the Future

Annual Meeting
A panel discussion featuring music educator Adrienne Thompson (third from left) explored the impact and future of classical music training through pre-college programs.

At last night’s 2019 Annual Meeting of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the venerable, 99-year old conservatory looked back over a year of enviable momentum and foreshadowed an ambitious, optimistic future highlighting the school’s significant and transformational progress toward the vision of being the future of classical music.

From the outstanding achievements of its award-winning students, alumni and faculty to raising a record $2.55 million for the Annual Fund and breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art, five-story student housing complex, CIM has solidified its reputation as one of America’s most storied and accomplished conservatories of classical music.

CIM President and CEO Paul W. Hogle was bullish about how far CIM has come since the implementation of Blueprint:100, the Conservatory’s innovative strategic plan.

“Every day, CIM’s legend grows. On the eve of our centennial anniversary, the defining principle we refer to as the CIM standard finds our graduates winning the jobs of their dreams – commanding the most celebrated and revered stages in the world from Cleveland to Shanghai and Seoul to Los Angeles. Simply put, CIM recruits, trains and graduates the world’s most talented classical music students,” Hogle said. “In three years, our renowned Conservatory has reduced tuition; grown scholarships; increased diversity among the student body by 235%; strengthened our relationships with such community partners as The Cleveland Orchestra, University Circle Inc. and Case Western Reserve University; and CIM faculty who are members of The Cleveland Orchestra gave outstanding master classes across China, showcasing our world-class faculty during the orchestra’s first appearance in Asia in 21 years. CIM is powerful. We are the future of classical music.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees Richard J. Hipple echoed Hogle’s sentiments and said he was inspired with CIM’s progress as the school looks ahead to its second century.

“Quite frankly, I’m blown away by our incredible achievements – not just in the past year but the last several years. CIM is showing the world what progress looks like,” Hipple said. “I’m so proud to be part of this amazing organization. Together, we have grown annual giving by 79% since 2015 and are closing in on $13 million in endowment commitments to empower the world’s most talented classical music students. We are also pursuing a strategic direction which positions us for success while addressing the challenges facing higher education. It’s been easy to find things to celebrate this year, most especially CIM’s positive momentum.”

After reflecting on the myriad successes of 2018-19, CIM turned its attention to the future of classical music training, focusing on the critical preparation required of students intending to pursue music in college and as a career.

Adrienne Thompson, founding project director of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative and a national leader in the field, was part of a panel discussion that explored the impact of a comprehensive, curricular approach to pre-college music training. Moderated by Michael McIntyre, columnist and feature writer for The Plain Dealer and host of 90.3 WCPN ideastream’s “The Sound of Ideas,” the discussion focused on the value of developing exceptionally promising young musicians of all backgrounds.

Thompson was joined on the panel by Rita Brown, parent of a student in CIM’s pre-college program; Katarina Davies, cellist in the Young Artist Program (YAP); Johnnia Stigall, manager of pre-college and pathway programs at CIM; and Philip Williams, sophomore trombone major at CIM and alumnus of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program.

The dream of a conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio, became a reality in April 1920 when a small group of founders established a “school of music where every type of student could find opportunity for the best musical education.” By 1922, CIM established a pre-college Preparatory Division “to awaken the feeling for rhythm and develop the sense of observation and discrimination.” As one of the country’s oldest programs for the comprehensive study of music for pre-college learners, CIM Prep serves families with children who are creative, passionate about music, multidimensional in their interests, great communicators and who work well with others.

Young musicians come from all over the world to Northeast Ohio to learn from CIM’s world-class faculty and immerse themselves in a comprehensive curriculum that prepares them for future success. For instance, Davies, one of yesterday’s panelists, and her family were so impressed with CIM’s programs for young artists that they moved from London to Cleveland four years ago. At the same time, CIM Prep is the Midwest’s premier center for pre-college classical music training.     

In 2019, the Institute returned to its founding principles and launched a formal Pre-College Program for students eager to explore a future in music in a structured, conservatory-infused curricular environment taught by CIM-statured faculty. By coupling private lessons with CIM’s exceptional faculty (including many members of The Cleveland Orchestra) with music theory, ensembles, chamber music and Eurhythmics, CIM’s pre-college students build a strong foundation that prepares them to excel as student musicians and achieve the careers of their dreams – whether that’s studying music at a top conservatory or medicine at a top university.

“This is both mission-driven and necessary work for CIM to secure the future of classical music,” Hogle said. “We have created a framework that returns to our founders’ wisdom which better serves the students’ needs, incorporates teaching methods aligned with the Conservatory and empowers the next generation of classical musicians, audiences and patrons.”

For more information on CIM's new Trustees and student and alumni achievements in 2018-19, read the full news release.