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Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College
Musician entering the Oberlin Conservatory

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, located in Bibbins Hall, on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, was founded in 1865 and is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. Students of Oberlin Conservatory enter a very broad network within the music world, as the school's alumni can be found in most major professional ensembles. Admission is based primarily on an extremely competitive audition. Over 1400 musicians from around the world apply for a freshman class of around 120. It is one of the few American conservatories to be completely attached to a liberal arts college (Oberlin College, allowing students the opportunity to seriously pursue degrees in both music and a traditional liberal arts subject via the five year Double-Degree program). Oberlin College and Conservatory pride themselves on being almost exclusively undergraduate. The faculty's primary focus is the development of students as musicians, artists, and people.

In an interview between Frank J. Oteri and Timothy Weiss, the coach of the famous contemporary music ensemble "eighth blackbird," Weiss states "One advantage [of Oberlin] is that there are only undergraduates, and the reason I think this is an advantage is that at a school like Juilliard or other schools you might name that have a very strong or large population of graduate students is that those students, by their nature, tend to be somewhat more vocationally minded. They are understandably worried about their next step as musicians: How are they going to enter the industry? How are they going to make a living? And because of that, that can trickle down. The nice thing at Oberlin is that they are immensely talented, but they're not really concerned about their future. They might be a little bit, but it's not what occupies their thoughts. They are thinking about music as an art form. They're preoccupied with how they're going to change the artistic culture. And I think that's actually very important."

Oberlin Conservatory is a recipient of the 2009 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the United States government to artists and arts patrons in recognition of the wealth and depth of their creative expressions. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the only professional music school to be so honored by President Obama.

The conservatory also contains the largest collection of Steinway & Sons pianos outside the Steinway factory.

Minoru Yamasaki designed the conservatory building in 1963. The style of the building closely resembles Yamasaki's later design of the World Trade Center in New York City.

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Undergraduate courses offered

Famous alumni

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