Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Click the image to learn more. Photograph of the McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion, home to the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Designed in 1904, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Wisconsin Conservatory is among the nation’s oldest community-based arts schools.[1] Founded by William Boeppler, Hugo Kaun, and Dr. Louis Frank in 1899, the institution provides music education to community members, both amateur and professional. While flourishing in the first half of the twentieth century, the conservatory suffered financial problems at mid-century, and again in the early 1990s when the institution nearly closed its doors.[2] Always on top of musical trends, it was one of the first schools in the U.S. to offer bachelor’s degrees in both guitar and jazz studies, and it offers various courses in ethnic music, folk, blues, and rock.[3] The school expanded its community outreach in the mid-1990s with music therapy programs, instrument donations, and lessons for disadvantaged students.[4] Famous students include the pianist Liberace, actor Gene Wilder, and Milwaukee’s “singing mayor” Carl Zeidler.[5]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ Mary Carole McCauley, “Century-old Conservatory Sings Tune of Survival,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 1, 1998, p. 1.
  2. ^ Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, “Celebrating 100 Years of Music,” 100th Anniversary Commemorative Book, 1899-1999 (n.p.). The two institutions had originally merged from 1901-1904, but split amid contentious relations. The new institution, established in 1968, was briefly known as the Wisconsin College-Conservatory of Music, but was renamed the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in 1971. See also, McCauley, “Century-old Conservatory Sings Tune of Survival.”
  3. ^ Nick Carter, “Jazz-Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is the Place to Go to Study,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 5, 2002, p. 1. See also, McCauley, “Century-old Conservatory Sings Tune of Survival.”
  4. ^ Ibid.
  5. ^ “Calling the Roll at Conservatory,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 1, 1998, p. 4.


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