Main menu

History

The Boston Conservatory was founded on February 11, 1867, the same year Nebraska became the 37th U.S. state and Alaska was purchased from Russia, and just two years after the end of the Civil War.

The Conservatory's charismatic leaders, talented faculty and students, as well as its transition to a school of not just music, but of dance and theater, all have contributed to the institution's rich historical roots and unique character.

February 11, 1867

The Boston Conservatory of Music opens at 154 Tremont St., Boston. Julius Eichberg is director.

1870

The first Boston Conservatory diploma is awarded.

1873

Eichberg's operetta The Doctor of Alcontara is performed by the first African-American opera company in the U.S.

1878

Eichberg establishes the Eichberg String Quartet, the first professional female quartet.

1905

Incorporation papers are signed.

August 15, 1914

The Boston Conservatory is re-established as The Boston Conservatory and College of Oratory. Roscoe Marrinier Floyd is president.

1928

The Boston Conservatory moves to new location at 256 Huntington Avenue (opposite Symphony Hall).

July 1933

Albert Alphin takes over as director. During his time, faculty members include Nicholas Slonimsky, Roger Sessions, Karl Geiringer, Daniel Pinkham, Alvan Hovhaness, Hans Ebell and Gerog Fior.

December 13, 1935

The institution's name is changed back to Boston Conservatory of Music.

1936

The Boston Conservatory dissolves as a business corporation and becomes a nonprofit organization.

September 1936

Classes are held for the first time at 26 The Fenway.

April 21, 1938

The Boston Conservatory receives authorization to grant Bachelor of Music degrees.

September 1939

32 The Fenway is acquired.

1940-1943

Buildings to be used as dormitories are purchased.

1940

William Andrew Rhodes is awarded a composition degree and is the first black composer to graduate from a Boston institution.

1943

Jan Veen establishes The Boston Conservatory Dance Division.

April 17, 1949

Theater building at 31 Hemenway Street opens.

February 8, 1951

The Boston Conservatory is authorized to award Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in drama and dance.

February 11, 1957

Authorization is gained for the degrees of Master of Music and Master of Music Education.

1965

Building at 54 The Fenway is purchased as well as the building at 8 The Fenway, which houses the Albert Alphin Library, administrative offices, classrooms and performance spaces.

1982

Institution's name is officially changed to The Boston Conservatory under the direction of President William Seymour.

1998

Richard Ortner is elected president.

October 2010

The renovated and expanded Boston Conservatory Theater opens with celebratory grand opening performances featuring students and special guests Tommy Tune, Joseph Silverstein and alumnus Chad Kimball from Broadway's Memphis.

Back to top