Conservatory of Music

From Bach to Broadway
BW Conservatory of Music
Boesel Musical Arts Center
(440) 826-2369
(440) 826-3239 (fax)

Welcome Class of 2019

Important information for 
incoming students


WOW Conservatory Student Schedule

New Student Orientation Letter

Fall 2015 Ensemble Auditions


LISTEN to performances of BW students, ensembles, faculty members and composers

Community Arts/Music Programs

Conservatory Outreach


Summer Music Programs

Conservatory Accolades

  • Our renowned Bach Festival offers students opportunities to perform with internationally-acclaimed instrumental and vocal soloists.  
  • A new and renovated Conservatory facility includes added rehearsal and performance spaces, practice rooms, teaching studios and more.
  • In collaboration with PlayhouseSquare, the largest performing arts complex outside of New York City, we offer students music theatre performance and arts management opportunities at a professional venue.
  • A vibrant arts community located 20 minutes from campus, Cleveland is home to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, PlayhouseSquare and more.
Dynamic learning, collaborative mentoring and professional results make our Conservatory of Music a proven choice for students aspiring to the best graduate schools; orchestras; operas; theatres; and teaching, arts management and music therapy positions.

We also serve over 2,000 community members each year through our Conservatory Outreach division's ensembles, classes, private lessons and summer music programs.

Undergraduate-Only Conservatory with Exceptional Opportunities

With an emphasis on experiential learning within a liberal arts environment, our majors, programs and minors unite excellence with innovation.  Students take leading roles in performing, composing, conducting, managing and teaching.

Collaborative Mentoring with Accomplished Artists

As established professionals, our faculty brings impressive credentials and real-world experience to our Conservatory.  Students benefit from individual attention and expert guidance. 

Professional Results Leading to a Career

From our impressive Bach Festival to our recent graduates on Broadway, our Conservatory of Music has garnered national and international attention.  BW alumni work as professionals in symphony orchestras and as teachers, composers, arts managers and music therapists worldwide.

Recent News

BW vocal performance graduate David Cangelosi '85 visited campus to engage with current students October 31 & November 1 and later blogged about the experience and the impact of his BW education on his website -- Cangelosi has performed with major opera companies around the globe including the Metropolitan Opera and Chicago Lyric.

BW Conservatory Outreach and String Departments announce the new BW High School Honors Quartet with auditions November 15 -- Selected high school string students will participate in a new chamber ensemble coached by Dr. Julian Ross and the BW Senior Youth Orchestra at no charge to the selected students.

NBC's live broadcast of PETER PAN on December 4 will include BW music theatre alumni Caitlin Houlahan '14 and Chris McCarrell '13 -- Houlahan played the title character in the BW / Beck Center production of CARRIE last year and McCarrell is currently in the Broadway production of LES MISERABLES; save the date as an on-campus live-viewing party is being planned.

BW prepares to present A CHORUS LINE with the help of Broadway legend and Tony winner Donna McKechnie -- tickets are on sale now for the November 13 - 23 performances.

Jill Paice '02 is headed back to Broadway in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS opening in March; Paice has performed in numerous Broadway and West-end productions including: MATILDA, THE 39 STEPS, CURTAINS, THE WOMAN IN WHITE and GONE WITH THE WIND.

Music Therapy Consortium co-hosting Expressive Arts Conference May 21 at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging -- Benjamin Rose and Art Therapy Studio are also hosts of the event. founder Thomas Mulready set to reveal the "Secrects of the White Album" on Wednesday, March 19 at 3:10 pm to kick off the BW Beatles Festival -- the live performance of the White Album in its entirety will take place on Saturday, March 29, 7:30 pm; both events are free and open to the public.

BW Conservatory is proud to host the 2014 Ohio Chapter of the International Trumpet Guild Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 29 -- the event includes guest artists Robert Sullivan and John Daversa.

Soprano Jennifer Rowley '02 will be making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in La Boheme -- she will sing Musetta in the famed Zeffirelli production beginning March 19 and has forthcoming debuts at Covent Garden and Opera Australia; The Wall Street Journal included a profile on the eve of her debut and BLEEP magazine featured her in an eight-page article in its recent issue.

BW Composer-in-Residence Clint Needham '04 lands residency with the Albany Symphony -- Needham's music will be featured throughout their 2014-15 season.

Ciara Renée '13 is set to assume the role of the Leading Player in the Broadway production of Pippin; Ciara recently created the role of the Witch in the Broadway production of Big Fish.

BW Opera presented the family-friendly fairytale Hansel and Gretel February 20-23 -- free tickets were provided for children ages 8-18 and Sunday's performance included a free backstage tour; The production was previewed by Cool Cleveland and Cleveland Classical and received a great review from Cleveland Classical as well.

BW All-Steinway Conservatory campaign launched with the delivery of 12 new Steinway pianos -- in all, the Conservatory will replace 88 pianos over the coming years, joining only 11 other conservatories worldwide in this distinction; the launch was covered by Fox 8, and

Ryan Fielding Garrett '12 will music direct the New York premiere of Jasper in Deadland -- the show opens March 16 at the West End Theatre.

BW Music Therapy graduate Kathlene Cramer Fletcher '06 is the founding director of the Music Therapy department at Behavior Services Therapy in Indiana -- she just hired their fifth full-time music therapist, fellow BW alumna Laura Whitlow '09.

Celebrations are set to honor retiring BW Conservatory professor Dwight Oltman -- join us for Bach Festival, the Bach Festival Alumni Choir or Orchestra and Wind Ensemble Alumni Reading Sessions in April and May.

BW Men's Chorus has commissioned composer Daniel Elder to create a new piece for male chorus -- "Unseen" from a secular song cycle will be premiered next season by the BW Men's Chorus.

BW Motet Choir toured the North Carolina area January 13-17 -- the tour included public concerts and high school visits in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Durham.

BW music history professor and Director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute Melvin Unger has a chapter included in the new book, "Exploring Bach's B-minor Mass," published by Cambridge University Press -- Unger is the author of four books including the award-winning "Handbook to Bach's Sacred Cantata Texts."

BW's Arts Management program was profiled in an article on titled "Career Options in Arts Management" -- BW has offered undergraduate education in arts management since 1980; read about the exciting career of BW's first arts management graduate Scott Walton '81.

BW's biennial Focus Festival featured composer Christopher Theofanidis with culminating performances of his works November 1 - 3 -- Theofanidis' week-long residency included time to talk with, coach and encourage BW students and faculty members.

Grammy-award-winning banjo legend Bela Fleck and string quartet Brooklyn Rider, members of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, visited the BW Conservatory on November 13 -- the visit included a class with area composition students and a performance/Q & A for the entire BW community.

Violist Anna Risch '12 and Guitarist Bryan Reichert '13 were invited to participate in the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society's free public master class with guitar legend Mauel Barrueco on October 28 -- Barrueco also shared a master class at BW with current guitar students earlier that day.

Ciara Renee '13 originated the role of the witch in the new Broadway production of Big Fish -- the show opened October 6 with Susan Stromen as director and choreographer; Renee was recently profiled in Backstage and

BW Conservatory Director Susan Van Vorst will be inducted into the Kent City Schools' Hall of Fame in April -- Van Vorst has been director since 2012 and was previously Director of Development for The Cleveland Orchestra.

Scott Walton '81, BW's first arts management graduate, has been working on a new series for PBS, Genealogy Roadshow -- the show premiered Monday, September 23. 

Iron Composer Competition names Jakub Polaczyk the 2013 Iron Composer -- Jennifer Jolley, winner of the "audience favorite award," shares her experience as a participatant via her blog.

Plain Dealer reporter Andrea Simakis followed the BW Conservatory 2013 music theatre graduating class throughout last year including attending their NYC showcase performances in April -- her lengthy article shares the challenges and amazing successes of the students and BW's music theatre program.

Deborah Barrett Price '84 was honored as the 2013 BW Conservatory Alumni Achievement Award recipient September 27 & 28 -- Price is the founder and artistic director of Chamber Music Connection, Inc. and on the faculty of Denison University.

Jared Rawlings '04 published in the most recent issue of the British Journal of Music Education -- Rawlings is currently pursuing his doctorate in music education at the University of Michigan.

Deidra Sibila '00 named Venues Today Generation Next 2013 Award recipient -- the award recognizes the most influential young leaders who make a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows and festivals; Sibila, a graduate of the arts management program, is Senior National Director of Ticketing for Live Nation in Beverly Hills, CA.

Cleveland Chamber Symphony concert at BW includes performances of BW composers -- Composer-in-Residence Clint Needham, music theory faculty member James Hirt and deceased Conservatory Outreach faculty member Michael Leese had compositions featured.

Kyle Post '06 profiled in The Plain Dealer in advance of his performance on the Tony Awards -- Post is currently performing in Kinky Boots on Broadway, winner of best musical, and previously was in Spider Man Turn Off the Dark and Rent on Broadway.

Student-conceived and student-run, BW's smART summer literacy collaboration with Akron City Schools June 10-14 -- smART, which uses music to boost reading fluency, has garnered national attention as an innovative approach to literacy education.

Theatre director Mark Danni '88 profiled in Naples Illustrated -- Danni, a professional percussionist, conductor and director, was a part of six Broadway shows and eight national tours before founding Theatrezone in Naples, Florida.

BW's annual Bach Festival featured Bach's Christmas Oratorio with world-class soloists, faculty and students -- The Plain Dealer's Don Rosenberg praised the festival sharing "...the Christmas Oratorio unfolded with propulsive energy, as well as ample space for the arias, duets and choral segments to attain ripe, flexible expression."'s Daniel Hathaway also gave the Festival a glowing review.

James Wyman '06 was named principal timpanist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra -- James was previously principal timpanist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

BW Beatles' first weekend-long festival plays to standing-room-only crowds throughout the weekend -- CoolCleveland's founder and editor Thomas Mulready attended and provides a glowing review complete with videos of some of the performance's highlights.

Beck Center & BW's second partnership production of Next to Normal received rave reviews from The Plain Dealer and CoolCleveland -- the production featured BW faculty, alumni and current students.

New BW CSI: Conservatory Summer Intensive launched to help high school students investigate college music study while exploring careers in music -- July 7-20 high school musicians will have the opportunity to study with BW Conservatory faculty, members of the Cleveland Orchestra and Cavani String Quartet while visiting Cleveland's major arts institutions; application and audition deadline has been extended to May 1 for saxophone, percussion keyboard, voice, voila, oboe clarinet and horn applicants.

Motet Choir and guitar ensemble Duo Amaral toured Pittsburgh and Buffalo areas February 25 - 28 -- the ensembles visited area high schools and presented public concerts in Hamburg, NY; Buffalo, NY; and Pittsburgh, PA; read about the experience through their blog and Facebook page.

Principal Bassist of the Utah Symphony David Yavornitzky '84 performed the Henze Double Bass Concerto February 21-23 -- the performances were in celebration of Yarnornitzky's 25 years as principal bassist of the Utah Symphony.

BW mainstage opera Britten's Turn of the Screw featured in Cool Cleveland video -- the sold-out show was previewed by and reviewed by The Plain Dealer and

David Gregory '08 joins the cast of NBC's Deception -- Gregory was previously seen in ABC's One Live to Live and the CW's Gossip Girl.

Kate Rockwell '07 joined the cast of Broadway's Rock of Ages in January -- previously Rockwell was seen on Broadway in Bring It On: The Musical, Hair and Legally Blonde; she was also a finalist on NBC's Grease: You're The One That I Want.

BW student composer Sean Hussey '14 is the winner of the 2013 SEAMUS Award for outstanding achievement in the field of electro-acoustic music from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music -- Hussey will receive his award at the annual SEAMUS conference in April.

Jason Pfeifer '05, orchestra director at Heritage High School in Michigan, receives invitation for his orchestra to play at the American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival -- Pfeiffer's group is one of only 4 high school orchestras invited to play during the festival.

BW productions of Spring Awakening, in partnership with Beck Center for the Arts, and Lizzie Borden, in partnership with PlayhouseSquare, nominated in Cleveland Critics Circle Theatre Awards for 2012 -- Spring Awakening wins for best musical, best director and best choreographer; Spring Awakening production and BW faculty members Victoria Bussert and Greg Daniels also named winners in's 2012 awards.

Voice professor Joan Ellison receives strong review for her solo performance with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra -- the opening concert of the Pops season was entitled "The Songwriting Giants of Broadway."

BW Suzuki Center violinists performed at the I-X Center's Trick or Treat Street October 20 -- BW's Suzuki Center welcomes students ages 4 and up to join the Suzuki Program.

BW's fall production of Sondheim's Follies featured students and faculty in cast -- Co-produced by the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Conservatory of Music, the production, led by director Victoria Bussert, received rave reviews from,  Cleveland Jewish News and

Festive weekend at BW October 13 & 14 honors alumna Mary Ann Craig '69 and celebrates competition winners baritone Joseph Zeigler '14 and flutist Caleb Chesnic '14 -- Craig was awarded the Conservatory's Alumni Achievement Award, Zeigler won the Hakola vocal competition and Chesnic won the concerto competition.

Piano student of Francisco Ybarra '99 featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams -- Ybarra and his student talk about the importance of having an acoustic piano for study; Ybarra founded Chicago's New Music School on Michigan Avenue.

Piano professor Sunguen Kim included in review of Rocky River Chamber Music Society recital -- the concert featured pianist Spencer Myer who presented a master class at BW on October 2.

Music Education & Therapy students, faculty and alumni present nationwide National Association for Music Education webinar about SMART program -- SMART is a student-founded organization which seeks to improve literacy through music during a yearly summer program in the Akron Public Schools; the group will also present at the American Music Therapy Association national conference in October.

BW music theatre program director Victoria Bussert directed The Circus in Winter for the 24th National Alliance for Musical Theatre New Musicals Festival -- the cast included Sutton Foster, Brian Sutherland and BW graduates Steel Burkhardt, Kate Rockwell, Derrick Cobey, Corey Mach and Jen Noble.

Iron Composer, the instant composition contest, returned to BW Friday, September 7 -- the five finalists from across the US were profiled by

Director of BW's Music Theatre program Vicky Bussert profiled in the Plain Dealer -- "For my money, Vicky Bussert is running the finest musical theater program in the country," New York agent Chris Nichols shared about Bussert; she was also lauded in a recent Plain Dealer editorial.

BW Music Theatre graduates profiled in Plain Dealer article -- titled "Made in Cleveland: Broadway is snapping up talent crafted in Northeast Ohio," the article features graduates from BW and Case Western Reserve University who are currently or soon-to-be starring on Broadway.

BW hosted the second Wagner Intensive July 18 to 28 -- led by Jane Eaglen and Timothy Mussard, the Intensive helps to launch the careers of mature singers exploring the Wagnerian repertoire; free public master classes and performance were scheduled throughout the ten days.

Jill Paice '02 cast in title role of new musical Rebecca set to open on Broadway in November -- Paice appeared on Broadway in Curtains, The 39 Steps, A Little Night Music and The Woman in White and as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind in London.

Art Song Festival guest artist recitals by soprano Christine Brewer, bass-baritone Gidon Saks and pianist Roger Vignoles reviewed by -- the recitals were highlights of the week-long festival that brought 10 singer-pianist teams to BW for coaching and master classes in art song performance.

The Plain Dealer profiles BW Conservatory of Music in front-page feature story -- article highlights new and renovated facility, new Conservatory director and new curriculum which launched in the fall of 2012.

Keane Southard '09, pianist and composer, has been awarded a Fulbright US Student grant -- Southard will spend nine months next year pursuing research in Brazil.


80th Annual Bach Festival sells out St. Matthew Passion performance and engages over 60 Conservatory graduates in new Alumni Choir event -- Strong reviews of the Festival are shared by the Plain Dealer and

PlayhouseSquare and BW presented midwest premiere of LIZZIE BORDEN the musical -- in the fifth year of collaboration, PlayhouseSquare and BW's music theatre and arts management programs presented LIZZIE BORDEN at PlayhouseSquare's 14th Street Theater March 30 - April 1; read the Plain Dealer review.

Violinist Amanda Ramey '09 wins top honors in MTNA National Chamber Music Competition -- Ramey's quartet, the Anasazi String Quartet, won first place in the string chamber music division.

Clint Needham '05 appointed BW Conservatory Composer in Residence -- Needham has received commissions by major artists and arts organizations in addition to winning multiple compositions awards and commissions.

Mezzo Soprano Margaret Mezzacappa '09 named national council winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions -- Mezzacappa will make her Carnegie Hall debut in Britten’s Spring Symphony in May and in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra in June.

Great feature article in the Plain Dealer highlighting the March 14 Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert, retiring faculty member Allen Kofsky and the appointment of Clint Needham as BW's new Composer in Residence -- the concert honoring Kofsky will include 9 Cleveland Orchestra member soloists and the world premiere of a new piece by Needham.

Cleveland Orchestra trombonist Rick Stout appointed to BW faculty -- Stout will replace retiring faculty member Allen Kofsky; his appointment will begin for fall semester 2012.

BW Trombone Faculty Member Allen Kofsky to be honored at the March 14 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert -- Kofsky, a retired Cleveland Orchestra member, will retire this spring after a 52-year tenure at BW; the March 14 concert will include 6 of Kofsky's colleagues, Cleveland Orchestra and BW Conservatory faculty members, as soloists.

BW opera production of Don Giovanni received a strong review from the Plain Dealer's Don Rosenberg on -- Dean Williamson was guest conductor with stage director Benjamin Wayne Smith.

Inaugural BW and Beck Center partnership production of Spring Awakening gets rave reviews from, the Lakewod Observer,, and Cleveland Jewish News -- the regional premiere of this work is directed by BW Music Theatre Program Director Victoria Bussert and is performed at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio.

Violinist Mary Beth Ions '79 profiled in the Plain Dealer -- article focuses on how professional musicians make a living in Cleveland.

Trista Moldovan '02 made her Broadway debut as Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Dec. 9 -- she previously played the role on tour.

Bill Tacket '09 was the recipient of the American Austrian Foundation's 2011 Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors -- Tacket spent a summer at the Salzburg Festival with members of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Flute professor George Pope profiled in November issue of Flute Talk magazine -- the five-page feature article is entitled "A Professor's Life."

Voice professor JR Fralick receives rave review for performance of Nicolas in Britten's cantata Saint Nicolas, op. 42 -- the concert was part of Trinity Cathedral's Britten-Fest.

Clarinet professor Dan McKelway featured in Plain Dealer story on the role of the clarinet in Strauss work -- McKelway is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra.

BW production of Titanic gets strong review on -- the production was directed by Professor Scott Plate with Ryan Fielding Garrett '12, senior music theatre major, as music director.

Mezzo Soprano Margaret Mezzacappa '09 was the Grand Prize winner of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition -- she was featured in the foundation's annual gala and awarded the $12,500 grand prize; soprano Jennifer Rowley '02 was also a grant recipient in the competition.

OMEA Professional Development Conference in Columbus, Ohio February 16 - 18 -- to included a performance by the BW Symphony Orchestra and many sessions by BW faculty and alumni.

BW Conservatory new and renovated facility Weekend Celebration -- special events were held on Friday & Saturday, October 14 & 15, to celebrate the opening of the Boesel Musical Arts Center and renovation of Kulas and Merner-Pfeiffer Halls.

American Vocal Quartet, including BW voice professor JR Fralick, receives rave review for concert at BW -- ClevelandClassical critic J.D. Goddard concluded "This was an evening of rare artistic repartee among four superbly trained professional singers."

BW Music Theatre program director Victoria Bussert directed the Danish premiere of Avenue Q -- joining her as choreographer was JR Bruno '09.

Composer Clint Needham '04 has been selected as the winner of the 2011 Barlow Prize -- the award includes a $12,000 commission for the Imani Winds, Fifth House Ensemble and Orpheus Winds.

Jill Paice '02 profiled by -- she is currently performing on Broadway in Death Takes a Holiday.

BW's new Wagner Intensive profiled in the Plain Dealer, and -- master classes and performances were held throughout the Intensive, July 23 to 30.

BW voice faculty member Boyd Mackus profiled in the Akron Beacon Journal -- article highlights Mackus' 26 seasons performing with Ohio Light Opera.

BW Arts Management Students land highly competitive national internships -- highlighting students completing internships in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Colorado.  Also, view a video profiling arts management senior Cory Isler and his internship with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Music Theatre Alumni Hillary Elk '09, Jill Paice '02 and Derrick Cobey '01 performed on the Tony Awards Sunday, June 12 -- Paice performed as part of the cast of New York Philharmonic's Company; Elk as part of the Broadway cast of Memphis; and Cobey as part of the cast of Broadway's Scottsboro Boys.

BW's PASSING STRANGE at PlayhouseSquare gets strong reviews from The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown and local theatre critic Roy Berko -- In our fourth year of partnership, PlayhouseSquare and the BW Music Theatre and Arts Management programs presented the regional premiere of a musical at the 14th Street theatre.

14 Arts Management students from BW attend Arts Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. -- the trip was sponsored by the Arts Management Association, a BW student organization.

BW Conservatory bassoon teacher and member of the Cleveland Orchestra Jonathan Sherwin profiled in the Plain Dealer -- read more about the Conservatory's long-time partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra here.

BW first-year student Justin Caithaml and adjunct faculty member Frank Bianchi receive rave review of performance of Orff's Carmina Burana with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Chorus -- Caithaml is a member of the chorus and was a featured soloist; Bianchi is the director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus.

The BW Conservatory celebrates its partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra -- many orchestra musicians are faculty members and alumni.

BW Alumni perform together in Sioux City, Iowa --  Sioux City Symphony Orchestra Music Director Ryan Haskins '07 conducted Sean Michael Keelan '02, violin, in a concert on February 12.  Keelan is the concertmaster of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.  

Ethan Miller '05 chosen to participate in the International Competition Adolphe Sax in Belgium -- Miller is one of 25 saxphonists chosen from around the world to compete in this prestigious competition.

BW voice faculty member Jane Eaglen performs with the BW Symphony Orchestra -- renowned dramatic soprano performs BW premiere; read the reviews here and here.

Trista Moldavan '02 playing Christine in final tour of Phantom of the Opera -- BW grad is interviewed about her experience by the Akron Beacon Journal and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Composer Keane Southard '09 has his 2nd Piano Sonata featured on WRSU.

Conservatory building project receives $3.6 million in state tax credits for historic restoration -- the funds will help transform a former church into additional space for the BW Conservatory of Music.

Steel Burkhardt '07 to play Berger in the London West End production of Hair - Burkhardt was an original company member of the Broadway production of Hair.  Read the Playbill announcement here.


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