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Conservatory of Music at a Glance
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The Oberlin College campus is located on 440 acres in Oberlin, Ohio, 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.

The Conservatory has an enrollment of approximately 615 students - primarily undergraduate - from 45 U.S. states and 22 countries. With 88 faculty members, the Conservatory boasts a student/faculty ratio of 7:1.

Tuition and Fees
Tuition: $36,064
Room/Board: $9,280
Activity Fee: $218
Total: $45,562

Academic Year
Two semesters with January designated as Winter Term, when students select one topic of concentration to pursue with an emphasis on self-education, creativity and intellectual independence.

There are approximately 400 concerts on campus each year, including performances by the more than 25 student ensembles, and performances and master classes by guest artists. Faculty members perform on campus and throughout the world. Oberlin's Artist Recital Series includes on-campus performances by premier, national orchestras and internationally acclaimed soloists.

Quick Facts
The Conservatory of Music provides flexible programs to prepare students as professional musicians and teachers of music. We welcome talented music students with demonstrated records of achievement.
  • The oldest continuously operating Conservatory of Music in the United States.
  • Eight undergraduate majors, including private study in 32 areas.
  • A collection of more than 1,500 musical instruments of the highest quality - all available for student use.
  • Exceptional facilities that include five concert halls and 150 practice rooms.
  • Oberlin owns 199 Steinway pianos, and the Conservatory's concert and recital halls, classrooms, teaching studios, and most practice rooms are equipped with Steinway grands.
Degree and Diploma Programs
Oberlin Conservatory offers majors in performance, composition, music education, music theory, electronic and computer music, jazz studies, music history, and a double major in piano performance and vocal accompanying. Degree programs include:
  • Bachelor of Music (BM)
  • Performance Diploma
  • Double-Degree Program (jointly offered with the College of Arts and Sciences BM/BA)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Combined Bachelors/Masters Programs in Opera Theater, Conducting, and Historical Performance)
  • Minors
  • Masters Program in Historical Performance (MM)
  • Masters Program in Music Teaching (MMT)
  • Artist Diploma
The Conservatory is housed in a complex of soundproof and air-conditioned buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki.
  • Bibbins Hall, the teaching unit, contains 40 studios, 10 classrooms, 16 offices and seven studios of TIMARA (Technology in Music and the Related Arts).
  • The Central unit houses Warner Concert Hall, which seats 696 and features a three-manual Flentrop organ of forty-three stops. Central also houses Kulas Hall, which seats 144; two complete audio recording rooms; and rehearsal rooms for orchestra, band, wind ensemble, opera theater and chorus.
  • Robertson Hall contains 150 practice rooms, including the Kulas Organ Center, with 14 practice organs by representative builders.
  • The library holds a collection of more than 121,000 books and scores, 47,000 sound recordings, 42 listening stations, and six audio-visual listening rooms.

A practice room: 1916

The Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865, is the nation's oldest continuously operating conservatory, and the only major music school in the country linked with a preeminent liberal arts college. Since its founding, the Conservatory has continued its proud tradition of "firsts."
  • 1892 - America's first full-time chair in music history and appreciation
  • 1921 - Established America's first four-year college degree program in music education
  • 1958 - Introduced the Suzuki method of string pedagogy to the United States
  • 1969 - Pioneered a program in electronic music
  • 1988 - Created the American Soviet Youth Orchestra, an ensemble of 100 young musicians from the U.S. and the former Soviet Union that was the first arts exchange produced jointly by the two countries
  • 1989 - The Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Laboratory is the first of its kind to be incorporated into a program of vocal instruction in the U.S.
“Home to One of the Country's Best Music Conservatories”
- U.S. News & World Report

Editorial coverage of Oberlin College in the 2008 print edition of U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges guide, in which Oberlin ranked 20th among the "Best Liberal Arts Colleges," reveals what Obies have always known: "Its reputation as one of the best undergraduate music schools in the country benefits even nonmusical students..."

“A Hotbed of Contemporary- Classical Players”
- The New York Times

An article by classical music critic Steve Smith in the September 2, 2007 edition shines a light on the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), formed at Oberlin in 2001. Smith interviewed several ICE members, including co-founder Claire Chase '01, and called the Conservatory "a hotbed of contemporary-classical players."

“A national treasure.”
- The Washington Post

Daniel Ginsberg, reviewing performances by Oberlin Conservatory students at the Kennedy Center, writes in the March 2, 2005 edition of The Washington Post that "the historic Oberlin College Conservatory, an hour's drive outside of Cleveland, showed why the school is such a national treasure with its wonderfully varied concert.…"

“Oberlin has challenged other music schools to prepare their students for the weirdness of real musical life.”
- Newsday

Music critic Justin Davidson praised Oberlin in his review of Lost Highway in the February 26, 2007 edition of Newsday: "This Lost Highway arrived at Columbia's Miller Theater from Ohio's Oberlin Conservatory, and more amazing than the opera's feverish lunacy is that a music school should take it on, and handle it so well. With this production, Oberlin has challenged other music schools to prepare their students for the weirdness of real musical life."

“Oberlin has produced some of the top names in contemporary music.”
- The New York Times

A feature article about contemporary music at Oberlin by Vivien Schweitzer in the February 22, 2007 edition of the New York Times advises that "Given the number of young musicians applying annually to conservatories around the country, warnings about the purported demise of classical music seem to be exaggerated. Oberlin's rural experimental haven has resulted in successful music careers in a cutthroat marketplace."

“Oberlin has trained some of America's best orchestral musicians for decades …”
- The New Yorker

From a listing for the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Robert Spano, in the January 29, 2007 issue of The New Yorker

“The so-called 'death of classical music' is a very long way from being realized—at least at Oberlin.”

Reviewing the Carnegie Hall performance of the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, Patrick J. Smith writes in MUSICALAMERICA.COM that "these young men and women had shown conclusively that the so-called 'death of classical music' is a very long way from being realized—at least at Oberlin.…Bravo for the level of individual contributions, bravo for the seamless integration of the various groups within the orchestra and bravo for the sonority (without blasting) of the band as a whole. An enormously refreshing evening."

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