Boston Conservatory

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Not to be confused with New England Conservatory of Music.
The Boston Conservatory
Boston Conservatory Seal.png
8 The Fenway
Boston, MA
Type Private
Established 1867
President Richard Ortner
Enrollment Approximately 750
Campus Urban

The Boston Conservatory is a performing arts conservatory located in the Fenway-Kenmore region of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance and theater. The Conservatory offers Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Music degrees, as well as Graduate Performance Diplomas, Artist Diplomas and Professional Studies Certificates. The Boston Conservatory was founded in 1867.

In recent years, the school has increasingly become informally known as "BoCo," both on campus and in the larger community.

In December 2015, Berklee College of Music and The Boston Conservatory agreed to merge. The combined institution, located in Boston’s historic Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods, will be known as “Berklee,” with the Conservatory becoming “The Boston Conservatory at Berklee.”


8 The Fenway, the Conservatory's main building.

The Boston Conservatory was founded on February 11, 1867 by Julius Eichberg, a violinist and composer. Eichberg founded the Conservatory as a professional training academy and a community music school. It was one of the first conservatories to grant admission to African Americans and women. In 1873, Eichberg’s operetta, “The Doctor of Alcontara” was performed at the Conservatory by the first African-American opera company in the U.S. In 1878, Eichberg established the Eichberg String Quartet, the first professional female quartet.

Mr. Eichberg's death in 1893 lead to the direction of R. Marriner Floyd with Herman P. Chelius, organist and composer serving as the musical director. Under their direction, the school was first incorporated in 1896.

After the turn of the century, the Conservatory merged with the National Associated Studios of Music, and created the first "grand opera" department in the U.S.. In 1943, Jan Veen established The Boston Conservatory Dance Division, the first program to emphasize both classical ballet and America's emerging modern dance. In 1951, the school gained authority to award Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in drama and dance.

Currently, The Boston Conservatory is an independent private college which has accredited programs in music, dance and theater. The Conservatory presents more than 700 performances each year.

In 2015, The Boston Conservatory began talks with Berklee College of Music to explore a merger of the two schools.[1] On January 19, 2016, the two schools announced that they would be merging. The agreement was signed the next day, with Berklee College of Music being renamed Berklee and Conservatory being renamed The Boston Conservatory at Berklee.[2][3]


Programs of Study[edit]

  • The Music Division
    • For the 2014-2015 school year, the Music Division enrolled 198 undergraduate and 211 graduate students taught by 114 full- and part-time faculty. The school awards the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees as well as Graduate Performance Diplomas, Artist Diplomas and Professional Studies Certificates. Degrees are offered in the following: Brass, Choral Conducting, Collaborative Piano, Composition, Contemporary Music Performance, Guitar, Harp, Multiple Woodwinds, Music Education, Opera, Orchestral Conducting, Percussion/Marimba, Piano, Strings, Vocal Pedagogy, Voice/Opera and Woodwinds.
  • The Dance Division
    • For the 2014-2015 school year, the Dance Division enrolled 129 undergraduate students. Training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, ethnic styles, Pilates, Alexander Technique, and choreography is offered. The Dance Division offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Director of the Dance Division is Cathy Young.
  • The Theater Division
    • The Boston Conservatory’s Theater Division has developed a specialization in musical theater, and in 2015 launched degree programs in Contemporary Theater and Multidisciplinary Stage Management. The department offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. Seniors may choose an emphasis in Directing, Music Performance, Dance, or Acting. In the 2014-2015 school year, the Theater Division enrolled 254 undergraduate and 28 graduate students. The Director of the Theater Division is Neil Donohoe.

High School & Collegiate Programs[edit]

  • Summer Dance Intensive (SDI)
    • This three-week intensive program is for dancers (ages 15–25) with high proficiency in ballet who are looking to grow and expand their repertoire into contemporary and modern theater dance. Classes include courses in ballet and modern, pointe and variations, Pilates and Alexander techniques, choreography and percussive dance. The program typically takes place in June.
  • Brass Intensive (BI)
    • This two week program is for brass musicians (ages 15 and older) looking to build greater proficiency in their technical skills and musicianship through work in a large brass ensemble, chamber music groups and private instruction. The program typically takes place in July.
  • The Vocal/Choral Intensive (VCI)
    • This two-week program is for high school students (ages 15–18) who are serious about singing and looking to build technical skills and musicianship. It offers coursework in solo, opera, musical theater and choral repertoire. The program typically takes place in July.
  • Musical Theater Dance Intensive (MTDI)
    • This three week intensive is for students (ages 15–25) with a high proficiency in dance who are looking to build skills in dance, voice and acting. The program runs July 15-August 4, 2012.
  • High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)
    • This two week program is for students (ages 15–18) who have a serious interest in music composition. Students will engage in rigorous daily practice of composition and have their original work performed by a professional string quartet. This program typically runs in July.
  • Eli Epstein Horn Intensive (EEHI)
    • This one-week program is for horn students (15 and older) who are serious about developing their horn technique, musicianship and performance skills. By the end of the workshop, students will be able to draw on a solid approach to all technical aspects of horn playing and perform with enhanced expressiveness and confidence. The program typically runs in July.

Student life[edit]

Instead of dormitories, The Boston Conservatory uses Victorian brownstones for on-campus housing. Undergraduate rooms consist of quints, quads, triples, doubles, and singles. Freshmen are required to live on-campus, unless they commute from their home of origin.

Approximately 29% of students live on campus.[4]


Notable alumni[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of Boston Conservatory people § Notable alumni.

Notable faculty[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of Boston Conservatory people § Notable faculty.

Presidents of The Boston Conservatory[edit]

See also[edit]


  • College Music Society (2006). Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U.S. and Canada 2006-2007, 28th Edition. Missoula, MT: College Music Society. p. 167. ISBN 1-881913-26-0. 
  • Uscher, Nancy (1988). The Schirmer Guide to Schools of Music and Conservatories Throughout the World. New York: Schirmer Books. pp. 150–151. ISBN 0-02-873030-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°20′46″N 71°05′24″W / 42.3462°N 71.0901°W / 42.3462; -71.0901