December 3, 2021

CIM Members Confer Life Trustee Designation Upon Cleveland Philanthropist & Arts Advocate Barbara S. Robinson

Barbara Robinson, older woman wearing a gold-plated medal suspended on a teal ribbon
Barbara Robinson, wearing the Life Trustee medal designed by Matthew Hollern

Annual Meeting Celebrates Uncommon Success in an Uncommon Year

At its annual meeting on December 2, the Cleveland Institute of Music celebrated the successes of the past academic year – including exceptional philanthropy, in-person musical studies by a majority of students, the appointment of Carlos Kalmar as principal conductor and director of orchestral studies and the conducting program, and the long-term renewal of President & CEO Paul W. Hogle’s contract – and conferred its highest honor – Life Trustee – upon Chair Emeritus Barbara S. Robinson. The office of Life Trustee was established in 2017, when A. Malachi (Mal) Mixon III was inducted. The honor recognizes Trustees who have made historically significant, exemplary contributions to CIM, and Board Chair Susan A. Rothmann, PhD, presented Robinson with a distinctive medal as a symbol of this office.  

Robinson, who has long been at the forefront of efforts to promote and support arts and culture in Northeast Ohio and nationally, has a lifelong connection to CIM. A pianist who once performed with the Boston Pops, Robinson studied in CIM’s Preparatory division as a child and was a teacher to young prep students in her early adult years. She also has studied flute and violin. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, and the Harvard Radcliffe program in business administration. In 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree, and earlier this year, received the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Partners for CIM and the Institute.

In her remarks, Rothmann said: “One of the great pleasures of being Chair of the Board is having the honor of celebrating and thanking institutional leaders, and today I have the privilege of celebrating a woman I have admired as a mentor and friend. Barbara Robinson’s legacy, leadership and generosity will resound through the halls, practice rooms, concert stages and the board room for years to come. She chaired the Board from 1987 to 1991, stewarding CIM through some of the most transformative years and seeing CIM’s reputation blossom as a center of musical excellence. Her vision for increasing the Annual Fund became the foundation for the capital campaign that revitalized CIM in 2007 with the addition of Mixon Hall, the Lennon Education Building and the Robinson Music Library. Serving next to Barbara on the Board for 30 years myself, I cannot thank her enough for the example she has set of humble leadership and unwavering dedication. Her unflagging enthusiasm for our work has seen the future of classical music become the present.”

In her nearly five decades as a Trustee of CIM, including a term as chair, Robinson has worked tirelessly to ensure students have the resources they need to be the future of classical music. A current member of CIM’s Century Circle, her work and passion have created a lasting impact at CIM, including the Robinson Music Library, the Robinson Family Presidential Scholarship and establishing the Robinson Orchestral Career Fellowship.

Her work as an advocate for the arts has taken her from classrooms to the Ohio Statehouse to Congress. For her dedication to the arts and civic life, she has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2019 Cleveland Heritage Medal. Robinson is Honorary Life Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Musical Arts Association, the founding and governing body of The Cleveland Orchestra, an Honorary Trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Art and a Life Member of the Board of Trustees of the University Hospital’s Case Medical Center. She has served as a trustee for numerous other organizations, including Ohio Dance, Cleveland Children’s Museum, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (formerly Young Audiences, Inc.) and Americans for the Arts. She served as chair of the Ohio Arts Council for 15 years, Arts Midwest and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

CIM’s 2020-21 year in review (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021)

“Even as the pandemic raced through the country in the summer of 2020, we committed to creating a safe, in-person learning environment for students in 2020-21,” reflected CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “Under the guidance of our senior leaders, we made adjustments in course delivery, invested in our physical environment and perhaps most notably,  invested in technology, particularly in developing a zero-latency solution that allowed woodwind, brass and voice students to study with faculty in their lessons as if they were in the same room, despite being separated. As a result, we achieved the pinnacle of pandemic success for music conservatories – a year in which all CIM students could make music together in person, on campus – far exceeding the educational experiences at other schools.”

He continued: “But even without the context of a global health crisis, we now see the year was filled with uncommon success and achievement – the leadership of our Trustees; achievement by our students, alumni and faculty; and the continued generosity of our donors, all resulting in the achievement of our institutional goals. This culture of achievement is deeply ingrained in CIM’s DNA, and the myriad achievements of the last academic year may have been our finest hour!”

In December 2017, CIM’s Board of Trustees approved Blueprint:100, the strategic plan that charts a course for the Institute’s second century. Built around the understanding that CIM must reduce the size of the student body and become less expensive, the plan laid out critical areas of focus: reduce tuition and increase scholarship funds; update classrooms, practice, rehearsal and living spaces; reimagine the Institute’s youth and continuing education programs for the community; upgrade the nearly 200 aging pianos that every student relies upon; improve and upgrade classroom and office technology; integrate vital career preparation into every student’s education; and holistically consider issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

By this time next year, the Institute expects to complete the work outlined in Blueprint:100.

In the fourth year of Blueprint:100:

  • CIM secured a new class of 111 of the world’s most talented classical music students, from 13 countries and 28 states, 12% of whom identify as Black or Latinx.
  • On a sunny May day, friends of CIM gathered to celebrate the appointment of internationally acclaimed conductor Carlos Kalmar as Principal Conductor and Director of Orchestral Studies and the graduate-level conducting program. Kalmar’s appointment concluded a three-year international search that was slowed by the pandemic. Kalmar is music director emeritus of the Oregon Symphony and artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival.
  • In an uncertain year, strong donor support led to a second consecutive year of the Annual Fund topping $2.5 million.
  • Longtime Trustee A. Chace Anderson and his wife Josie donated $1 million to CIM’s scholarship endowment, creating the latest Dean’s Scholarship, which provides full tuition to an outstanding conservatory student. Their gift is the eighth named scholarship initiated by CIM’s generous donors and partners since 2018.
  • The unaudited financial results for 2020-21 show CIM’s 26th consecutive balanced operating budget.
  • At its 2020 Annual Meeting, Susan A. Rothmann, PhD, was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Richard J. Hipple. Rothmann, retired founder and president of Fertility Solutions, Inc., was elected to the board in 1986 and is the first female chair since Barbara Robinson served in the role from 1987-91.
  • The first seniors in the Musical Pathway Fellowship (MPF) program for aspiring Black and Latinx pre-college musicians graduated from high school. All six were accepted to music schools or conservatories, and will pursue their dreams at Oberlin Conservatory, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Cleveland State University and Ithaca College School of Music.
  • CIM launched the Future of Music Faculty Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind career development initiative for Black and Latinx music professionals considering and/or currently pursuing an academic career. Powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, the competitive Fellowship spotlights and prepares future faculty leaders who will influence generations of musicians. 35 aspiring and early-career pedagogues are engaged in powerful virtual convenings led by some of the most influential artists, academicians and thinkers of today, including Simon Sinek (author of Start with Why), Wynton Marsalis (composer, musician and educator), Dr. Angela Duckworth (author of Grit) and Dr. Ronald Crutcher (former president, University of Richmond).
  • Sending a strong signal that his leadership over the past five years has dramatically propelled the institution forward, the Cleveland Institute of Music Board of Trustees extended President & CEO Paul W. Hogle’s contract. This seven-year extension for CIM’s ninth president goes through June 30, 2028.
  • In addition to nearly $1 million in new donations added to the endowment, historically high investment returns helped the market value reach $54 million as of June 30, 2021.
  • Scott Harrison was named to the newly created post of Executive Vice President & Provost; he oversees the academic and artistic success of the conservatory and preparatory divisions. As part of the new leadership structure, Dean Southern (DMA ’09, Schiller) was named Vice President & Dean of the Conservatory, and Madeline Lucas Tolliver (BM ’09, MM ’11, Smith) was named Dean of Artistic Administration and Operations.
  • Two additional key staff leaders were added: Peter R. G. Hussell, who oversees fundraising and alumni engagement, and Ali King, in a new role focused on expanding CIM’s digital presence and offerings.  
  • CIM’s first-ever residence hall, 1609 Hazel – designed especially for music students – was dedicated in summer 2020 and opened to students for the 2020-21 academic year. The building features 22 state-of-the-art practice rooms and apartment-style living.
  • CIM’s inaugural Luminaries benefit, an evening of music celebrating the talent and artistry of the CIM community and honoring CIM Luminary Barbara Robinson, raised more than $130,000 for student scholarships. The annual event will recognize notable CIM alumni and volunteer leaders who set an example of service to the Institute’s mission and vision.
  • CIM recognized its Founders Day in April 2021 with a faculty recital inspired by the very first faculty recital ever given at the Institute 100 years prior. Violin faculty Ilya Kaler and Jaime Laredo, viola faculty Mark Jackobs (1988-90, Vernon) and alumna Joanna Patterson Zakany (BM ’06, PS ’08, Vernon), chamber music faculty and cellist Si-Yan Darren Li and cello faculty Sharon Robinson, and piano faculty Kathryn Brown (AD ’93, Schenly) and Anita Pontremoli (BM ’73) performed music of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms in honor of the 12 women who founded CIM in 1920.
  • Cuyahoga Arts and Culture awarded CIM with over $547,000 in general operating grant funding, which supports the school’s free performances throughout the academic year.
  • A task force has been seated to explore and support the renovations necessary in Kulas Hall to improve acoustics and functionality of the Institute’s largest performance and rehearsal space.
  • CIM held its 96th Annual Commencement Celebration in person, and presented ground-breaking opera stage director Peter Sellars and iconic musicologist Susan McClary with Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Titus Underwood (BM ’07, Mack/Rathbun/Rosenwein), principal oboe of the Nashville Symphony, received the Alumni Achievement Award and Melissa Kraut (BM ’90, Aaron), co-head of cello at CIM and co-founder of the Sitka Cello Festival, received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Student, Alumni and Faculty Successes

  • Austin Hartman (BM ’02, Weilerstein), as a member of the Pacifica Quartet, won a GRAMMY Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance with their recording Contemporary Voices. The Quartet last won a GRAMMY in 2009 in the same category. Pianist Daniil Trifonov (AC ’13, AD ’15, Babayan), co-head of guitar Jason Vieaux (BM ’95, Holmquist) and audio engineer Alan Bise (BM ’94, Knab) were also nominated.
  • Arseny Gusev (Babayan/Fitch) was named the first prize winner of the Singapore International Piano Competition and won second prize in the Virtu(al)oso Global Piano Competition in 2020.
  • Mahani Teave (MM ’06, PS ’08, Babayan) released her debut album, Rapa Nui Odyssey, and was the subject of the documentary Song of Rapa Nui.
  • CIM’s Student Government Association (SGA), Black Student Union (BSU) and a student-led project sponsored by the CIM Programming Advisory Committee performed benefit concerts supporting local and international needs. The SGA benefit for Music for Food was rebroadcast by international media outlet The Violin Channel, and in total, more than $9,000 was raised for the Cleveland Kosher Food Pantry. The BSU benefit supported CIM’s Musical Pathway Fellowship program with nearly $4,000 in additional support. The student-led project raised $10,000 for the Armenian General Benevolent Union, designated for humanitarian relief for Armenia and Artsakh.
  • A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, alumnus Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (MM ’00, Pastor/Erb) was named a cultural ambassador for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ American Music Abroad Program.
  • Titus Underwood (BM ’08, Mack/Rosenwein/Rathbun), the country’s first Black principal oboist of a major orchestra – the Nashville Symphony – received the 2021 Sphinx Organization Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. He was also appointed to the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
  • The Callisto Quartet, comprised of violinists Paul Aguilar (BM ’19, Laredo/Sloman) and Rachel Stenzel-Aguilar (BM ’18, MM ’19, Rose/Sloman), violist Eva Kennedy (BM ’17, MM ’19, Ramsey/Irvine) and cellist Hannah Moses (YAP ’13, BM/MM ’18, AD ’19, Kraut), was appointed as fellowship quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music.
  • The ILO Quartet, comprised of violinists Hannah Duncan (Kwuon) and Charlotte Loukola (I. Kaler), violist August DuBeau (Jackobs) and cellist Myeonggyun Noh (BM ’21, Geber/Robinson), won the People’s Choice Prize at the 2021 Coltman Chamber Music Competition Virtual Showdown in the Senior Division String & Piano Category, and won first prize at the 8th Stockholm International Music Competition in the ensemble 3 (age 18-26) category.
  • The Lumière Quartet won first place at the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians 26th Annual High School Chamber Music Competition and the silver medal in the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (junior string division). Comprised of violinists Célina Béthoux and Moonhee Kim, violist Henry Rogers and cellist Ania Lewis, the Lumière Quartet were in CIM’s Young Artist Program.
  • Alyssa Warcup (Irvine) won first prize in the 2021 National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Collegiate Viola Competition.
  • Julián Fueyo (BM ’20, Fitch) won his second ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his Serpiente de tuqueses (Turquoise Serpent), a violin concerto he wrote for Shannon Lee (Laredo/Sloman). Sami Seif (BM ’21, Fitch) won honorable mention for his Orientalism for string quartet. These awards are among the highest honors young composers can receive.
  • Daniel DiMarino (Fitch/O. Kaler) was named the Young Composer Fellow with the Canton Symphony Youth Orchestra for the 2021-22 season. In this role, he will write a new work for the orchestra to be premiered in May 2022.
  • Mélisse Brunet (PS ’12, Topilow) was appointed to the University of Iowa School of Music as their director of Orchestral Activities. She is the first woman to serve in this role.
  • Marshall Griffith (BM ’75, MM ’77, O’Brien/Erb) and Richard Solis (1965-69, Bloom) were named Faculty Emeritus. Griffith retired from teaching music theory and improvisation in 2021, after a long career that spanned both administrative and faculty posts. Solis formally retired in 2018 after more than 40 years as horn faculty.


In other business, the membership ratified two new Trustees who were elected last spring, reelected eight Trustees to new three-year terms and elected three Trustees to Trustee Emeritus.

The new Trustees are:

The following Trustees were reelected to three-year terms:

  • Gay C. Addicott – Former Corporate Executive, Sterling Manufacturing; arts patron & community volunteer
  • A. Chace Anderson – Retired Partner, Vice President, CM Wealth Advisors, Inc. 
  • Cynthia Bassett – Senior Vice President, UBS Financial Services – Wealth Management
  • William P. Blair, III – Senior Partner, McKinley Advisors
  • Ann Buescher – President, Affiliate, Interstate-McBee Supply Corp
  • Robert Conrad – President, Radio Seaway
  • Jeffrey M. Davis – Chief Commercial Officer, Oracle, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP
  • Sanford E. Watson – Partner, Tucker Ellis LLP

Honored for their distinguished service to the Board, the following Trustees were elected Trustee Emeritus:

  • Peter J. Brodhead – Retired Partner, Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber LLP
  • Eleanor M. Hayes – Director of Communications for Human Resources, Cleveland Clinic
  • Richard W. Pogue – Senior Advisor, Jones Day

After recognizing Thomas F. “Chip” Coakley for his service as Chair of CIM’s Governing Members, the board also elected Sean P. Smith as the new chair. Complementing the work of the Trustees and Partners for CIM, Governing Members lead in their personal philanthropy and work to build community support for the next generation of musical talent, through their counsel, investment and ambassadorship.

The final piece of business undertaken by the membership was to formalize the role of Governing Members as an important partner in governance alongside the Board of Trustees. The Governing Members represent the wider CIM philanthropic community and provide advise and counsel to the Board of Trustees while also acting as ambassadors for the Institute.

Life Trustee medal

The 2021 Life Trustee medal was designed by Matthew Hollern, Professor | Chair, Jewelry & Medals, Cleveland Institute of Art. He has been a faculty member at CIA for more than 30 years. His work is in such varied collections as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Vatican Archive and the Design Museo in Finland. Among other awards, Hollern was recognized twice by the Ohio Arts Council – during Robinson’s tenure as chair – with an Individual Excellence Award. 

Photo by Robert Muller.