December 9, 2022

CIM trumpets student success after transformative 2022

A group of CIM students and faculty performed a movement from Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir de Florence" at CIM's 2022 Annual Meeting Thursday, Dec. 8 in Mixon Hall.
A group of CIM students and faculty performed a movement from Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir de Florence" at CIM's 2022 Annual Meeting Thursday, Dec. 8 in Mixon Hall.

The year now ending at CIM was one of transformation. On virtually every front, and always with students as the top priority, CIM in 2022 made dramatic change, setting the pace for everything a world-class conservatory in the modern era needs to be.  

The results were undeniable. Supported by new investments in the future of classical music, students across CIM achieved unprecedented academic, artistic and professional success, and CIM itself surged ahead as a national leader in conservatory education.  

This was the theme of CIM’s 2022 Annual Meeting, conducted Thursday afternoon in Mixon Hall. With inspirational remarks, multimedia presentations and musical performances, a large gathering of CIM Trustees, Governing Members, faculty, staff and students recapped a momentous year and laid the foundation for an even bolder 2023. 

“This was the year of the student,” said Paul Hogle, CIM’s president and CEO. “Students always come first, but this year, we went above and beyond to guarantee that every student who comes through our doors has the resources needed to become the best possible version of themselves.”  

In addition to remarks by Hogle, Board Chair Susan Rothmann and Governing Members Chair Bruce Hearey, the assembly heard an exhilarating keynote address from Jonathan Martin, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  

In that address, titled “Less Talk, More Action: Leading the Charge for Diversity,” Martin outlined his orchestra’s cutting-edge work in diversity, equity and inclusion, and exhorted CIM to redouble its already robust efforts to diversify classical music. 

“Each of us...can make a difference, and not just in our respective markets,” 
Martin said. “As leaders in our fields, we each have the ability to effect real change not only in Cincinnati or Cleveland but across Ohio, the Midwest and the entire country.” 

No less importantly, the group also looked back on 2022 and the years before that, reviewing the many promises fulfilled as part of CIM’s Blueprint:100 strategic plan, and paid a formal farewell to Senior Vice President Eric Bower, who is retiring from CIM this month after a remarkable career of 40 years.  

Some of the most poignant words came not at the meeting at all but before and after it, during conversations with CIM students about their experiences this year. They summarized the essence of the year, in both spirit and impact.  

While the demands of new programs and academic requirements this year were considerable, “I can’t imagine studying anywhere else,” said graduate trumpet student Austin Cruz (MM ’22, Sachs). “A lot was expected of me, but I also received a lot of support from my teachers and the staff. For me it was really true that this is a place where success is cultivated.”  

Below are the highlights of 2022 at CIM, organized alphabetically by category.  



Each division at CIM – Preparatory, Conservatory and the Joint Music Program (JMP), in partnership with Case Western Reserve University – received a conceptual refresh and infusion of new resources. 

To wit, at the Preparatory level: CIM developed and launched the Academy, a comprehensive new model for Preparatory education. Appointed to lead the program was Jennifer Call, who was named associate dean of preparatory and public programs. 

At the Conservatory level, CIM and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar developed and launched Orchestra 2.0, a new, more rigorous orchestral training regimen that has rapidly emerged as the nation’s gold standard. Also at this level: Dean Southern, vice president of student affairs and dean of the institute, brought a multi-year process of curriculum and assessment reform to a successful close, confidently setting up CIM for reaffirmation in 2025. Regarding JMP, CIM took critical steps to more fully immerse students from CWRU in the life of CIM, in part by naming pianist Sean Schulze associate dean for artistic partnerships.  

Out of this academic redesign also came several high-level academic appointments. CIM hired Scott Harrison as the school’s first executive vice president and provost as well as Fred Peterbark as dean of enrollment and aid and Donna Yoo as dean of artistic administration and operations.  

At the start of fall 2022, CIM was brimming with new teaching talent in addition to new students. No fewer than 21 new teachers were appointed across the Conservatory, Preparatory and JMP divisions. In addition, CIM was excited to welcome a brilliant slate of guest and visiting faculty.  

On the faculty at the start of 2022 were 10 new artists:  

  • Joseph Sferra, music theory 
  • Gabriel Novak (BM ’18, Fitch), music theory  
  • Robert Davis (BM ’01, Nereim), clarinet 
  • Maximilian Dimoff, principal bass of The Cleveland Orchestra 
  • Cristina Micci-Barreca (BM ’21, Irvine/Ramsey), viola 
  • Nathaniel Hoyt (MM ’22, Weiss), cello 
  • Jonathon Turner, choral conducting 
  • Ian Howell, CIM’s first faculty countertenor and director of vocal chamber music 
  • David Brockett (BM ’85), horn 
  • Mary Kay Robinson, chamber music 

New members of the 2022-23 visiting faculty include:  

  • Malcolm Lowe, former concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra 
  • Wei Yu, principal cello of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra 
  • Harold Robinson, principal bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra 
  • Steven Banks, saxophone 
  • She-e Wu, percussion 

Guest artists for the 2022-23 season include: 

  • Michelle Cann (BM ’09, MM ’10, Schenly/D. Shapiro), piano 
  • Artina McCain (MM ’06, Brown), piano 
  • Martin McCain, bass trombone 
  • Alexandre Dossin, piano 
  • Xak Bjerken, piano 
  • Margaret Batjer, violin 
  • Mike Block (BM ’04, Aaron), cello 
  • Sandeep Das, tabla 
  • Cara Consilvio, stage director 
  • Anthony Parnther, conductor 
  • JoAnn Falletta, conductor 
  • Sebastian Currier, composer 
  • Marcos Balter, composer 
  • Billy Childs, composer 
  • Chen Yi, composer 
  • Sphinx Virtuosi  
  • Blue Ridge Trombone Quartet  
  • Wu Han-Philip Setzer-David Finckel Trio 



CIM welcomed one of its most competitive, accomplished and diverse incoming classes in years. Out of more than 1,000 applicants, CIM selected just 49 new undergraduate and 77 new graduate students. In keeping with CIM’s ongoing commitment to affordability, virtually all merited a scholarship and 19 earned full-tuition scholarships.   

The same class also boasted an uncommon degree of experience. Among their ranks were victors in some of the world’s highest-profile contests for young artists, including the International Brahms Competition, Hartt Chamber Music Competition and Melbourne International Piano and Strings Festival Competition. Others claimed performances at major venues including Carnegie and Disney halls and appearances with the orchestras of Kansas City, Cincinnati and Chicago. 

No less significantly, the class also exemplified CIM’s commitment to racial diversity. Fourteen percent of incoming students identified as Black or Latinx. Some 30 percent, meanwhile, were international, hailing from 14 countries including Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Serbia, Spain, South Korea and Turkey. 

The 2023 application cycle also yielded encouraging results. When the 2023 portal closed in early December, CIM had received more than 1,200 applications, a number fully commensurate with pre-pandemic norms and second only to 2018, when CIM lowered tuition.  



CIM doesn’t believe in letting students fall off the radar after they graduate. On the contrary, CIM graduates join one of the tightest and most active alumni networks of its kind in the nation.  

This year was a case in point. Separately and sometimes together, President Hogle and Provost Harrison this year traveled to and met with groups of alumni on no fewer than six occasions, in five major cities. After a virtual event with alumni in San Francisco in December 2021, their trips included:  

  • Miami, Florida, January 2022: BLUME Haiti board meeting and gathering with New World Symphony fellows 
  • San Francisco, California, March 2022: Independent Music Conservatory Presidents and Provosts Conference 
  • South Florida, March 2022: Concerts by the CIM Argo Quartet in Venice and Sanibel Island 
  • New York City, New York, April 2022: Gateways Music Festival with CIM alumni reception and brunch 
  • Boston, Massachusetts, November 2022: Berklee College of Music visit 
  • St. Louis, Missouri, November 2022: National Association of Schools of Music annual conference 



Throughout the year, CIM displayed resilience by continuing to conduct all musical programming in person, through a continually changing pandemic environment. Even as CIM continued sharing most performances online, students also rejoiced as listeners returned to Mixon and Kulas halls in person. 

On the first half of Carlos Kalmar’s first full season as director of orchestral studies, the CIM Orchestra undertook a new partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra, through which the group was allotted an unprecedented seven concerts at Severance Music Center over the course of the 2022-23 season. The partnership allows CIM this year to offer students substantial quality time on one of the finest stages in the world and already has resulted in well-attended public concerts featuring major works by Ravel, Haydn, Brahms, Messiaen and Bruckner. 

CIM Opera Theater also returned to the stage after years of uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. A multi-year collaboration with CIM’s New Music Ensemble, led by conductor Keith Fitch, resulted in A Pocketful of Operas, a program of short new operas penned by CIM students. In fall 2022, CIM Opera Theater, under the guest direction of Cara Consilvio, presented Massenet’s Cendrillion, the school’s first fully produced opera since the pandemic.  

All of these came in addition to a near-daily schedule of recitals, chamber music concerts and master classes presented by CIM students, faculty and guest or visiting artists.  

Also not to be ignored are the many professional achievements made by current and former students. If a school can be judged on that account, CIM this year was a vital place indeed. Among the many positions and prizes won by current and former students this year: 

  • Violinist Alina Kobialka (BM ’20, MM ’21, I. Kaler) won a position with the New York Philharmonic. 
  • Cellist Daniel Kaler (BM ’20, Kosower) and violist Gabriel Napoli (MM ’19, Jackobs/Vernon) both won section positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  
  • Percussionist Kevin Ritenauer (MM ’18, Damoulakis/Yancich) was named assistant principal timpani/percussion at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Violinist Brian Allen (BM ’16, MM ’17, Laredo/Preucil) and violist Chloé Thominet (YAP ’13, BM ’16, Irvine/Ramsey) won one-year section positions in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  
  • Oboist Alex Liedtke (BM ’12, Camus) won second oboe in the Grant Park Orchestra and assistant principal oboe in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Flutist James Romeo (MM ’12, Smith) won the piccolo audition at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.   
  • Michael Harper (MM ’16, Sachs) won assistant principal trumpet with the National Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Nathan Hughes (BM ’98, Mack) was appointed principal oboe of the Minnesota Orchestra.  
  • Jun Iwasaki (BM ’04, AD ‘06, MM ‘07, Preucil) was named concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony.  
  • Trumpeter Kevin Karabell (PS ’18, Miller/Sachs) was named principal trumpet of the Jacksonville Symphony. 
  • Oboist Lauren Keating (MM18, Rathbun) won a seat in the Naples Philharmonic and a temporary term as associate principal of the New Mexico Philharmonic.  
  • Tyler Sieh (BM04, PS06, Jackobs/Ramsey) was named associate principal viola of the Omaha Symphony and began teaching viola at the University of Nebraska Omaha.  
  • Mélisse Brunet (PS ’12, Topilow) was named the first female music director of the Lexington Philharmonic. 
  • Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir (BM ’06, Aaron) was appointed assistant professor of cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and artist-in-residence for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Zubin Hathi (MM ’21, Damoulakis/Yancich) won principal timpani with the San Francisco Ballet. 
  • Pablo Sánchez (MM ’21, Rose) won a first violin section position at the North Carolina Symphony. 
  • Jeanelle Brierley (BM ‘16, Preucil) won principal second violin with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. 
  • Sunny Xuecong Xia (BM ’19, MM ’20, Sloman/Topilow) was named assistant conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. 
  • Undergraduate student Muyu Liu (Pompa-Baldi) won second prize at the Shimodo International Music Competition in Japan. 
  • Juan Riveros (BM ’21, Kondonassis) was a winner at the 2022 Lyon & Healy Awards in Chicago. 
  • Ashley Odom (MM ’20, O. Kaler) was appointed associate principal second violin of the Richmond Symphony. 
  • Gaddiel Dombrowner (MM ’17, Topilow) won first prize at the 2022 Kussewitzky International Conducting Competition. 
  • Two albums produced and engineered by Alan Bise (BM ’94, Knab), CIM’s recording arts and services director, were nominated for Grammy Awards in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category. One of them features the Attacca Quartet, which includes violinist Domenic Salerni (BM ’09, L. Cerone/Preucil). Also nominated: pianist Daniil Trifonov (AC ’13, AD ’15, Babayan) for his new album Bach: The Art of Life



Driven by both gratitude and hometown pride, CIM in 2022 re-committed to serving the Northeast Ohio community through music. The easing of pandemic restrictions and a dedicated gift from The Schlang Family Fund fueled the re-launch of CIM’s popular Community Concerts, free public performances at a wide variety of gathering places all over Northeast Ohio. 

In this way, the importance of giving back to the community was embedded in the curriculum at CIM. Whenever they weren’t practicing, studying or performing for school, CIM students were doing what CIM calls paying “civic rent,” using music to educate or better the lives of those unable to experience live music. 

Hosting venues included:  

  • Judson Manor 
  • Coventry Village 
  • The Happy Dog 
  • Laurel Lakes 
  • Warrensville Center Apartments 
  • The Music Settlement 
  • Moreland Courts 
  • Temple-Tifereth Israel 
  • Mandel Jewish Day School 
  • Key Tower 
  • Fairfax Recreation Center 
  • Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center  
  • University Hospitals 

Responding to the critical issue of hunger, CIM students this year organized and presented a Music for Food Benefit Concert that raised almost $20,000 for the Cleveland Kosher Food Pantry.  

This year, too, CIM sent a brass quintet to entertain voters at a local polling station on election night and a group of voice students planned to engage the public in holiday caroling at Legacy Village and the Van Aken District shopping centers. The year also saw CIM students working in Cleveland public school classrooms, augmenting music instruction and developing relationships with students ranging from kindergartners to seniors contemplating a future in music. 



In alignment with Martin’s address at the 2022 Annual Meeting, CIM engaged in the hard work of making classical music more diverse, equitable and inclusive. It used every platform available to welcome, celebrate, perform and educate minorities. Ultimately, on this all-important issue, CIM pulled even further ahead of its peers, launching or expanding a number of highly successful initiatives.  

Seeking to nurture the youngest Black and Latinx talent, CIM welcomed 18 new Musical Pathway Fellows, its largest class to date. All received full scholarships to study in CIM’s new Academy. CIM also welcomed a large class of gifted young Black and Latinx musicians ages 11-18 for its Sphinx Performance Academy, a three-week summer intensive presented at CIM in partnership with the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization. CIM later hosted the Sphinx Virtuosi ensemble on the Kulas Visiting Artist Series.  

2022 also saw the finale of the inaugural Future of Music Faculty Fellowship. Under the auspices of CIM’s Joan Maze, 35 of the nation’s brightest young music professionals of color met regularly over six months with veterans in their fields for career advice, connection and inspiration. A second class is slated to convene in early 2023. 



For an incredible 27th year in a row, CIM in 2022 balanced the budget. On an operating budget of $16.4 million, it reported a modest surplus. In a further sign of fiscal health, CIM also received an “investment grade” bond rating from the Standard & Poor’s agency.  

This balance was reached without raising tuition and while closely managing expenses. In fact, in April, CIM released its Tuition Promise, pledging not to increase base tuition throughout the education of all incoming students. CIM regards this promise as the first step towards its “Moonshot” vision – outlined by President Hogle in a recent issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business – to finance student tuition entirely through scholarships.  

CIM’s supporters also outdid themselves this year, together pushing the Second Century Campaign well past the halfway mark, to over $23 million, by late November. The 2022 Annual Fund raised over $2.5 million alone from over 1,000 donors. Notable gifts came from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the State of Ohio and the Kulas Foundation, in support of the renovation of Kulas Hall. Other major gifts established The Schlang Family Fund – in support of Community Concerts – and the Lola M. and Bruce F. Rothmann Dean’s Scholarship for Piano.  



CIM this year completed a three-year investment in its physical property conceived as part of Blueprint:100. Entailed in that plan was also the purchase of 1609 Hazel, CIM’s high-tech student housing and practice complex, which put CIM in charge of its own destiny related to student housing. The overarching goal was to ensure that all facilities at CIM are ready to serve students and the community for decades to come.    

That goal has now been achieved. The distinctive blue panels and white balconies that define CIM visually were resurfaced and repainted. Importantly, workers also rebuilt the lower-level stairwell, an emergency exit, and installed a railing along the walkway to the rear entrance, which abuts a long, deep window-well.   

No less vital to the stewardship of CIM were upgrades to indoor systems and facilities, also part of the Blueprint:100 vision:  

  • A new, more energy-efficient heating and cooling system 
  • New LED lighting throughout the building 
  • New furniture in gathering areas 
  • New security cameras 
  • New video conferencing technology in CIM’s meeting rooms 

With these upgrades, CIM’s faculty, staff and students can embark on 2023 honing their crafts in bright, modern spaces fully conducive to cutting-edge work.  

Important work also took place behind the scenes, on a project yet to break ground. This year, the Board of Trustees and staff worked together closely to prepare for the renovation of Kulas Hall, beginning in spring 2023. The board organized a Kulas Hall Renovation Task Force and selected an architect, acoustician and project management firm. Details are slated to be announced in early 2023.  

Last but far from least was the thoughtful, targeted effort CIM made to ensure its students have access to the finest possible instruments. To that end, CIM renewed its exclusive relationship with Steinway & Sons, the world’s leading piano maker, purchasing 18 new or refurbished instruments for practice rooms, teaching studios and performance spaces. Most prominent among the new arrivals was a magnificent new Model D concert grand for Mixon Hall, received in August. CIM now owns and maintains 176 Steinway pianos. 



CIM Trustees on Thursday elected the class of 2025 and recognized retiring Trustees and ex-officio members.  

The following Trustees were elected to three-year terms:   

  • Michael W. Beedles 
  • C. Thomas Harvie  
  • Bruce G. Hearey 
  • Richard J. Hipple  
  • Peter T. Kjome  
  • Jeffrey B. Linton  
  • Charles S. Marston  
  • Jonathan P. Miller, MD  
  • Shawn M. Riley  
  • Barbara S. Robinson  
  • Elliot L. Schlang  

With great appreciation for their service, CIM thanked the following Trustees and ex-officio Trustees who have retired from or rotated off the Board in the past year:   

  • Ann L. Higley  
  • Marjorie M. Moyar, PhD  
  • Jean Koznarek  
  • Wendell Maddox  
  • Sean P. Smith  
  • Anthony J. O’Malley  

Two other Trustees were recognized as Trustees Emeriti:  

  • Brent M. Buckley  
  • Christopher J. Swift  

Finally, the Board of Trustees elected the following new ex-officio members:  

  • Anne Jarrad  
  • Erika Cho  
  • Titus Underwood