Conservatory Fast Facts

In Missouri alone, 1,068 alumni live in 61 of Missouri’s 114 counties.

Did you know?

The Conservatory was founded first as the Kansas City Conservatory of Music by John Cowan in 1906, and is the oldest continuously operating musical institution in the area.

The UMKC Conservatory produces about 400 events each academic year, including student recitals, large ensembles, chamber music, main stage opera, choral concerts, dance, master classes, guest lecturers, and more.  Most are free.

Conservatory faculty have earned a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy nominations, and a few Fulbrights.

The full-time music composition faculty members have captured, among numerous other awards, four Guggenheim Fellowships, two Rome Prize Fellowships, the Charles Ives Living Award, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Pulitzer Prize.

UMKC has the second largest music composition program in the US, with students from every continent (except Antarctica).

The Conservatory is one of only 8 schools in the country offering a doctorate in Music Therapy 

We have the only public university Music Therapy program in Missouri.

Conservatory degrees include, BM, BME, BFA, BA, Performer’s Certificate, MM, MME, MA, Artist’s Certificate, DMA, and IPhD.

Conservatory students regularly perform on the two main stages of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a world-renowned performance hall that opened September 2011.  Students also perform regularly at the historic Folly Theater.

Alumni have achieved world-wide acclaim.

2016 graduate John Swapshire (BFA, dance) toured nationally with Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage.

2011 vocal performance graduate Amanda Frederick (MM) performed for Pope Francis at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA in 2015. She was also a semi finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in NY.

2011 clarinet performance DMA and AC graduate Andrés Salguero has won a 2016 Latin Grammy.

2010 trumpet jazz performer (BM) Hermon Mehari won the 2015 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, and won the 2008 National Trumpet Competition.  He founded the jazz group Diverse and recorded his first album Bleu as band leader, March 2017.  It ranked as iTunes' top jazz album.

2010 composition graduate Narong Prangcharoen (DMA) is a Guggenheim Fellow, Barlow Prize winner, and founded the Thailand International Composition Festival

2008 graduate Scott Conner (BM, vocal performance) made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Der Rosenkavalier in April 2017. He has performed on opera stages around the world.

1988 graduate Charles Bruffy (MM choral conducting) has multiple Grammy nominations and wins as director of the Kansas City Chorale. He also directs the Phoenix Chorale.

1941 graduate Sandra Warfield and 1972 graduate and vocal faculty Vinson Cole became regular performers at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

1923 graduate (of the Conservatory's predecessor, Horner Institute of Fine Arts) William Dawson, world-renowned African-American composer is most noted for his arrangements of spirituals

1927 graduate Leith Stevens was a composer of Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated film scores

Conservatory faculty and alumni create important arts organizations.

Former faculty member Karl Krueger founded the Kansas City Philharmonic, predecessor of the Kansas City Symphony, in 1933.

Former faculty member Tatiana Dokoudovska founded the Kansas City Ballet in 1957

Former doctoral student Russell Patterson founded the Lyric Opera in 1958

Alumnus Jonathan Griffith founded the Kansas City Chorale in 1982; alumnus Charles Bruffy took over in 1988 and turned it in to one of the top choral groups in the nation.  The group has won two Grammy awards.

Alumnus J. Kent Barnhart founded Quality Hill Playhouse in 1995

Van Cliburn winner and alum Stanislav Ioudenitch helped to create an International Center for Music at Park University, Parkville, MO.

We Play Well With Others

The Conservatory has partnered with 90% of the major metropolitan music and dance organizations, and collaborated with 86% of the area’s 36 local K–12 school systems, both public and private.

The Conservatory Community Music and Dance Academy, a pre-collegiate, non-credit preparatory school for children and adults, has numerous programs impacting the community, with new collaborations and partnerships being formed every year, plus an NEA grant.

Conservatory students work with distinguished guest artists in master classes throughout the year.  Artists have included Yo-Yo Ma, Jennifer Higdon, Arianna String Quartet, PRISM Quartet, Vadim Gluzman, Chicago Symphony Orchestra members, Koresh Dance, Estelí Gomez, Richard Goode, Leon Fleisher, Jennifer Koh, eighth blackbird, John Corigliano, Jonathan Biss, Arnaldo Cohen, Joyce DiDonato, Benny Golson, Roy Hargrove, Stephen Hartke, the Mason Brothers, Joseph Flummerfelt, Stefon Harris, Carole Vaness and many more.

The Music/Media Library collection includes more than 120,000 music scores, audio recordings, video recordings, books, journals/magazines, and other materials, plus thousands more items online.