About Oberlin Conservatory

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is leader in providing pre-professional music training and is a National Medal of Arts recipient.

Conservatory koi pond with view of Stull Recital Hall atop Bibbins Hall.
Conservatory koi pond with view of Stull Recital Hall atop Bibbins Hall.
Photo credit: William Bradford

Founded in 1865 and situated amid the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in America and the only major conservatory dedicated primarily to the education of undergraduate musicians. Hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post, Oberlin was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in February 2010. Since 1920, Oberlin has also been a leader in providing unmatched opportunities to combine rigorous pre-professional music training with a thorough liberal arts education, allowing students to complete two undergraduate degrees (BM and BA) in five years or fewer.

In recent years, Oberlin ensembles have performed in important concert halls in Chicago, New York City, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C. Through their work on campus and beyond, Oberlin students, faculty, and alumni play a critical role in elevating communities worldwide through music.

Oberlin graduates are leaders across the music profession and have won countless Grammy Awards, prominent fellowships, and international competitions. Many of them have attained national and international stature as performers, conductors, and composers, among them Jennifer Koh, Steven Isserlis, Jeremy Denk, Claire Chase, Sullivan Fortner, Elizabeth DeShong, Alyson Cambridge, Daniel Okulitch, George Walker, Christopher Rouse, Huang Ruo, Du Yun, David Zinman, Robert Spano, and James Feddeck. Oberlin alumni hold title positions in orchestras across the nation and around the world. The contemporary music sphere enjoys the contributions of Oberlin-trained Eighth Blackbird, as well as founding members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Sō Percussion. Oberlin alumni perform in the early music ensembles of Apollo’s Fire, Rebel, and ACRONYM, as well as the Miró, Pacifica, and Jupiter quartets. Still others go on to prominence as scholars, educators, and arts administrators. Oberlin leads all undergraduate institutions in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctorates in music.

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