Good News from CIM
CIM’s 2020 Annual Meeting Recounts Legendary Institution’s Triumphs, Challenges and Spirit
Susan A. Rothmann, PhD, elected Chair of the Board of Trustees
Richard J. Hipple celebrated as CIM’s newest Chair Emeritus
Student Government President Rachel Lauson, Chair Emeritus Richard J. Hipple, President | CEO Paul W. Hogle and Richard & Jean Hipple Scholarship recipient Austin Cruz. Photo by Tara Stephens.
CLEVELAND, September 30, 2020 – At its annual meeting on September 23 – virtually attended by over 100 Trustees, Governing and Voting Members, faculty, staff and students – the Cleveland Institute of Music celebrated the tenure of Richard J. Hipple, who completed his term as chair of the Board of Trustees. In a powerful look at the past five years, students, faculty, alumni, staff and Trustees reflected on ten of the most significant accomplishments of Hipple’s tenure, demonstrating the impact that these key initiatives have already had, and will have, for decades to come. Among many other achievements, Hipple’s leadership empowered CIM to:
  • Manage a rapid and comprehensive response to an accreditation challenge that took CIM off notice by strengthening the school’s academic structure and accountability;
  • Create a new strategic plan ­– Blueprint:100 – that maps out seven imperatives the school must address to secure its second century;
  • Lower CIM’s tuition to improve the Institute’s competitiveness and selectivity;
  • Add more than $1 million in gifts to CIM’s Annual Fund;
  • Develop a substantive policy on diversity, equity and inclusion;
  •  Undertake a comprehensive study of CIM’s size, and recommend continuing to lower enrollment to further raise student selectivity;
  • Improve governance transparency by adding the President of CIM’s Student Government Association as an ex-officio member of the Board;
  • Commission and open the first student housing complex in the school’s history;
  • Embrace a bold capital campaign to provide more scholarships – for which he gave a lead gift of $1 million to establish the Jean and Richard Hipple Dean’s Scholarship; and
  • Weather the challenges of a global pandemic in a way that put CIM’s people (students and employees) first, and craft the best-possible education in the face of immeasurable challenges.

“I first met Dick Hipple in 2016 when I was fortunate enough to join him for a long, lingering dinner during one of my interviews,” said President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “I learned three key things that evening. First, Dick believes in CIM exceptionalism – our students, our faculty, the Institute’s remarkable past and limitless future potential. Second, Dick has a pragmatic, engineer’s mind that brilliantly sees structures that aren’t apparent to the layperson, knows how to design under constraints, and understands trade-offs – perfect attributes for CIM at this time in its history. Finally, at dinner and every day since, I admired Dick’s capacity to be selflessly, joyfully generous. Every time CIM had a philanthropic need, Dick Hipple set the pace. This is leadership and this is the Dick Hipple I have been privileged to know.”
Susan A. Rothmann, PhD, accepting the baton from Hipple, was unanimously elected by the Trustees as the new Board chair. Rothmann was first elected to the Board in May 1986, is immediate past chair of the development and centennial committees and has contributed to the work of the marketing and academic affairs committees, among others. She is the Institute's first female Board chair since the legendary Barbara Robinson chaired the CIM Board from 1987 to 1991.

“Dick Hipple is a tough act to follow,” said Rothmann. “When he invited me to consider taking on this role, I immediately recognized that carrying on his leadership is an incredibly daunting task. CIM has undergone nothing short of transformation in the past five years, and I am energized to build on this foundation and partner with President Hogle to secure the future for CIM’s world-class students, alumni, faculty and staff.”

An entrepreneur, clinical researcher and lecturer, Rothmann was founder and chief executive officer of Cleveland’s oldest profitable women-owned in-vitro device manufacturing firm, Fertility Solutions Inc., until the company was sold in April 2020. She remains the company’s laboratory director.

Susan’s stewardship echoes that of her late father, Dr. Bruce Rothmann, who famously served for nearly 20 years as chair of CIM’s development committee during one of the most consequential periods in the Conservatory's storied history, bringing the Annual Fund to the $1 million mark for the first time. Her leadership of the Board’s development committee resulted in gifts exceeding the $2 million mark, doubling the benchmark set by her father.

In Rothmann’s inaugural address as chair, she praised the Institute’s heroic efforts in response to the immediate threat of COVID-19, emphasized the need to remain focused on the serious work of CIM’s mission and the part the Board must play. “Let there be no mistake: CIM stands at a critical crossroad in its storied history. Never has there been more scrutiny of our outcomes by students, parents, accreditation agencies or the classical music world at large. We must demonstrate our resolve to the unrelenting pursuit of our mission to empower the world’s most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and artistic potential. That quest and those dreams, CIM students repeatedly and passionately tell us, are to become professional classical musicians.”

CIM’s 2019-20 year in review (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020)
“I’ve been reflecting on this profoundly unusual academic year,” said Hogle. “We should not forget that it’s been one filled with prestigious honors and awards for our talented students, faculty and alumni; generous support from our donors and friends; and most importantly, an incoming class of remarkable talent and diversity. The pandemic disrupted everyone’s lives beyond what we imagined. Yet, the entire CIM community responded with optimism and determination. Everyone’s kindness, courage and perseverance are indicative of true character, and this group of extraordinary colleagues has genuinely inspired me. CIM is powerful, nimble and determined.”

In December 2017, CIM’s Board of Trustees approved Blueprint:100, the strategic plan that charts a course for the Institute’s second century. CIM’s bold vision – to be the future of classical music – positions CIM for continued success through the school’s Centennial and beyond. 

In the third year of Blueprint:100:
  • CIM’s first-ever residence hall, designed especially for music students, 1609 Hazel, was dedicated in summer 2020 and opened to students this fall. Included in the new residence hall are 22 state-of-the-art practice rooms.
  • The creation of the Century and Founder’s Circles of donors to the Annual Fund, contributing to the record fundraising of more than $2.5 million in 2019-20.
  • The unaudited financial results for 2019-20 show CIM’s 25th consecutive balanced operating budget.
  • CIM exceeded its incoming class goal by 10%, seating 131 of the world’s most talented classical music students in fall 2020 – 12% of whom identify as Black or Latinx – including the school’s top recruits in trumpet, bassoon, percussion, horn, collaborative piano, double bass, violin and viola.
  • The diversity in CIM’s student body has increased 338% over the past four years as a result of both focused recruiting and the intentional reduction in the size of the student body; students of color currently represent 12% of CIM’s 325 students.
  • A study commissioned last fall by The Cleveland Orchestra found that together – as more than half of the orchestra’s musicians are CIM faculty, alumni or both – CIM and the orchestra are responsible for adding $172.1 million to Northeast Ohio’s economy.
  • 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.
  • The Albert M. Higley Company gave a generous gift to CIM in honor of late CIM Trustee Bruce G. Higley, enabling the school to purchase eight Steinway pianos; Ann Higley, a member of the Board of Trustees and Bruce’s widow, also donated her family’s own Steinway to CIM.
  • CIM held its 95th Annual Commencement Celebration online and included speakers Michael Tilson Thomas, awarded an Honorary Doctorate, and Distinguished and Outstanding Alumni Award recipients Timothy Kennedy Adams Jr. (BM ’83, MM ’87, Weiner/Duff/Yancich) and Boris Allakhverdyan (MM ’10, Cohen), respectively.
  • President Qicheng Huang and Head of Foreign Affairs Hongye Frank Huang of the Shenzhen Arts School visited CIM in fall 2019, and signed a letter of intent to explore distance learning in such areas as eurhythmics, master classes, seminars, lessons and ensemble coachings, orchestral mock auditions and excerpts.

Student, Alumni and Faculty Successes
  • Artist-in-Residence and piano faculty Sergei Babayan and 2019 Musical America Artist of the Year Daniil Trifonov (AC ’13, AD ’15, Babayan) donated a spectacular duo-piano recital as a CIM fundraiser in February 2020.
  • Julián Fueyo (BM ’20, Fitch) was named a winner of the 68th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards; he also won one of the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. BMI and ASCAP are two of the highest honors young composers can receive.
  • 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.
  • Stefani Matsuo (BM ’11, Kantor) became the first woman to be named concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in its 125-year history.
  • The Elless Quartet, made up of violinists Ju-Eun Lee (Laredo/Sloman) and Megan Lin (Laredo/Sloman), violist Marcus Stevenson (Irvine) and cellist Cecelia Swanson (Robinson) won the grand and first prizes at the seventh Coltman Chamber Music Competition in Austin, TX. The ensemble also reached the semifinals of the 47th Annual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
  • 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), placed second at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in Canada.
  • The world premiere of composer Jerod Impichchaachaahá Tate’s (MM ’00, Pastor/Erb) Ghost of the White Deer bassoon concerto was performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February; DSO principal bassoonist Ted Soluri (MM ’94, McGill) was the featured soloist.
  • Current Artist Diploma student Shannon Lee (MM ’20, Laredo/Sloman) made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York String Orchestra in December 2019.
  • Student cellist Benjamin Richardson (Kraut) and his teammates on the USA Junior Curling Team won their fifth consecutive gold medal at the national championships.
  • Perry Wolfman (BM ’16, Egre), a music producer in New York City, teamed up with Cleveland-based hip hop artist Archie Green and CIM students for “My Violin Weighs a Ton,” a program that helps local children combat fear of failure, anxiety and depression through classical music and hip hop.
  • Stephen Hawkey (MM ’20, Kraut) won a section cello position in the Indianapolis Symphony while still a student.
  • Co-head of viola Jeffrey Irvine was honored as Artist Teacher of the Year by the American String Teachers Association.

Faculty Emeritus
Judy Bundra, PhD, Chief Academic Officer & Dean, honored three CIM faculty members with the title Faculty Emeritus, recognizing their outstanding teaching and service to the Institute over many years.

  • Pianist and alumna Olga Radosavljevich, known to all as “Miss Olga,” began teaching in CIM’s Preparatory Division in 1960, and countless prep and conservatory students benefited from her instruction until her retirement in 2018.
  • Appointed to the faculty in 1971, pianist, alumnus and inaugural Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient Paul Schenly served as head of CIM’s piano department for 25 years beginning in the late 1980s.
  • Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Bruce Egre, who served on both staff and faculty, was awarded the title posthumously. 

In other business, the membership elected one new Trustee last spring, reelected 14 Trustees to new three-year terms and recognized Trustees stepping down from leadership positions.

The new Trustee is:
Bonnie Cook, a native of Northeast Ohio, is a CIM alumna, graduating magna cum laude in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in violin performance and secondary training in voice, studying with David Cerone and George Vassos. She taught in CIM’s Preparatory Division prior to assuming a full-time position as director of music at Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls. During her tenure at Parkside she conducted classical sacred works for choir and orchestra, established a touring youth choir which traveled to the East Coast and Canada and developed a graded choir program for children.

Now retired, Cook is deeply involved in the local arts community as a governing member, a donor and sponsor of BlueWater Chamber Orchestra of Cleveland and she continues to sing with the Western Reserve Chorale in University Heights. Married to David Cook, a CPA who served as chief financial officer of Matrix Essentials (a division of L’Oreal), she has remained active as a musician through teaching violin and voice in her private studio and engaging in local chamber music activities. Together with her husband she has been involved in multiple philanthropic endeavors in the Cleveland area, most recently spearheading community outreach to the underserved with the Convoy of Hope’s Cleveland chapter and working with Alpha House, a residential addiction treatment center in Oberlin. She and her husband have three grown children and reside in Solon.

The following Trustees were reelected to three-year terms:
  • Carl E. Baldassarre
  • Charles A. Bittenbender
  • Irad Carmi (BM ’87, MM ’88)
  • Charles P. Cooley III
  • Robert Geho (BM ’91)
  • Wendell Maddox
  • Trent Meyerhoefer
  • Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD
  • Gary W. Poth
  • Susan A. Rothmann, PhD
  • Donna M. Sciarappa
  • Astri Seidenfeld
  • Joseph H. Thomas
  • Tracy Vigh

In addition to Dr. Rothmann, the following Trustees were elected as officers and standing committee chairs:
  • Robert Geho (BM ’91), first vice chair; chair of the academic affairs committee
  • Jonathan P. Miller, MD, vice chair
  • Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD, vice chair
  • Bonnie Cook (BM ’77), secretary
  • Shawn M. Riley, treasurer; chair of the finance and facilities committees
  • Jeffrey M. Davis, chair of the development committee
  • Jeffrey B. Linton, chair of the marketing & communications and planning committees
  • Trent M. Meyerhoefer, chair of the audit committee
  • Gary W. Poth, chair of the compensation and human resources committees
  • Joseph H. Thomas, chair of the investment committee (rotated out as a vice chair)
  • Sanford E. Watson, chair of the governance committee

With great appreciation for their service, CIM thanked the following Trustees who rotated out of leadership positions after 2019-20:
  • Chris Swift, secretary
  • Charles A. Bittenbender, human resources committee chair
  • Brent M. Buckley, vice chair and governance committee chair
  • Charles S. Marston, vice chair
  • Richard W. Pogue, audit committee chair (Trustee from 1987-2020, stepped down from board and retains his title as Chair Emeritus)
  • Robert G. Wilson, marketing & communications committee chair (Trustee from 2017-20, stepped down from board)

The Cleveland Institute of Music empowers the world’s most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and potential. Its graduates command the most celebrated and revered stages in the world as soloists, chamber musicians and ensemble members; compose meaningful, award-winning new repertoire; and are highly sought-after teaching artists, administrators and thought leaders. A testament to the excellence of a CIM education, more than half of the members of The Cleveland Orchestra are connected to CIM as members of the faculty, alumni or both. All students benefit from access to world-renowned visiting artists and conductors, intensive study with CIM’s stellar faculty and the rich curriculum offered by CIM’s partner Case Western Reserve University. In fall 2020, the diversity of CIM’s student body increased by a remarkable 338% since 2016 and represents 12% of the Institute’s approximately 325 students. CIM is an integral part of Cleveland’s arts community, presenting nearly 600 free performances and master classes on campus each year, and hundreds more at locations throughout the region, including Severance Hall. Explore to learn more.