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June 1, 2021

CIM Faculty Member Marshall Griffith Retires


Marshall Griffith

The Cleveland Institute of Music announced today that distinguished faculty member Marshall Griffith is retiring after nearly 50 years of service. He first came to CIM as a composition student of Eugene O’Brien and Donald Erb, completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1975 and 1977 respectively. He immediately began teaching music theory and improvisation, adding roles in composition and eurhythmics as the need arose. Acclaimed for his work with students of all ages, Griffith taught in both the Conservatory and Preparatory divisions.

In reflecting upon his retirement, he says: “CIM saved my life. It is the place for musical people to immerse themselves in their art and learn how to become a professional musician. My teachers had a great impact on me as I hope I have had on my students. My life in the recital halls has been diverse: performing countless recitals with students, faculty members and at commencement; accompanying for Metropolitan Opera auditions; and having numerous premieres of my compositions. Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 in the category Composer/Virtuoso was my proudest moment at CIM.”

“Marshall Griffith is fully engaged in creating a vibrant musical culture throughout Cleveland,” said CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “In addition to his exemplary teaching and mentoring of students, he truly celebrates what it means to be a modern musician, creating programs that serve a variety of audiences, regularly performing in venues ranging from synagogues to hospitals to clubs, collaborating with colleagues across genres and contributing compositions to the repertoire. Marshall will be greatly missed by the entire CIM community. We’re proud to honor him with the distinction Faculty Emeritus, which will be conferred during Honors Convocation on June 1.” 

“Marshall Griffith is without a doubt one of the most versatile faculty members to have graced the halls of CIM,” added Diane Urista, PhD, music theory faculty and head of the core curriculum division at CIM. “He wore many hats throughout his illustrious career as an accomplished composer, pianist, accompanist, lecturer, instructor of theory, piano, and improvisation, and as a member of the eurhythmics department. He exudes a genuine love and enthusiasm for CIM and for teaching, to which he gave his heart and soul. Marshall generously gave of his time—inside and outside the classroom—to help his students reach their fullest potential. Thanks to his inspired guidance and musical expertise, many of them have gone on to have highly successful careers of their own.”

About Marshall Griffith

Dr. Marshall Griffith received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University. He studied composition with Eugene O’Brien, Donald Erb and John Eaton, and studied piano with Olga Radosavljevich and Wallace Hornibrook.

He received the Music Teachers National Association Award in composition in 1976, and an Individual Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in 1987. Active as a jazz and classical pianist, Griffith has also been a soloist with the Canton Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Pops, Suburban Symphony, CIM Orchestra, CIM Woodwind Ensemble, Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony and CWRU Jazz Band. He is a frequent performer for benefit concerts for many organizations throughout Northeast Ohio including The Cleveland Orchestra, Piano Cleveland (formerly Cleveland International Piano Competition), Playhouse Square Foundation and CIM.

In addition, he helped found and perform for Access to the Arts, an organization that presented programs for senior adults. He is also a Resident Artist for the Music and Arts Program at The Cleveland Clinic and a Community Artist for Piano Cleveland. Currently he is the pianist and Director of Music for The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, Ohio.

A frequent lecturer, he has given many presentations on jazz improvisation, classical improvisation, drama and music, Golden Section and Chiastic proportions in music, writing for percussion, writing for the inside of the piano, the solo works for violin by J.S. Bach, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute.