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New England Conservatory of Music 1867-1967 The New England Conservatory of Music has played an important part in the building of a musical America. It has been one of the first conservatories to be planted on our soil, and its growth has been rep- resentative of the trends and progress of music in our country. Prior to its founding, young aspiring musicians were forced to either suffer the loss of conservatory training or cross the vast Atlantic to obtain it in a foreign city. Eber Tourjee well realized the urgent need of establishing conservatory methods here and when in 1867 he announced the open- ing of the New England Conservatory, enough students enrolled to make the venture worth while. Mr. Tourjee had rented three floors of the Music Hall annex build- ing. The rooms were bare and unattractive. Room 13, used as a recital and lecture hall, was equal to the size of the Jordan Hall platform. The Director ' s office was unpretentious. It was the faculty, comprising some of the leading musicians of Boston, which attracted students. In 1870 the first class of thirteen members graduated. Also that year, Mr. Tourje ' e made the school a nonprofit institution by in- corporating it under the laws of Massachusetts. The rapid increase of students meant the moving of the Con- servatory to larger quarters. Mr. Tourje ' e bought the St. James Hotel at Franklin Square to serve both as a school and dormitory. The " Home " eliminated the " expense, dangers, and disadvantages of commuting " and provided a " Cultured Home for 550 of the student body in the quiet, healthful location of Franklin Square. " The first floor consisted of concert halls, library, reading and recitation rooms; museum and parlors were above. 6
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neume 1967 presented by the New England Conservatory of Music 5
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Twenty years, however, the home became inadequate to meet the needs of an increased registration. Under the leadership and influence of Eben D. Jordan a suitable site was chosen for a building expressly designed to furnish every musical advantage possible. In 1902 the Con- servatory found itself in a permanent and satisfying home. Twenty- five years later a wing was added, harmonizing with the architecture of the old building. As the Conservatory home was expanding, the dream of a student symphonic orchestra was gradually crystalizins toward realization. The first call for instrumentalists brought forth an " orchestra " of one mandolin, one cornet, one trombone, three violins, and nineteen flutes. Later, for the benefit of string players, orchestral scores were read with the organ supplying the missing parts. This continued for some time, but since the day of its first concert, March 7, 1902, it has advanced in rapid strides toward professional excellence and continues so under the fine direction of Mr. Frederik Prausnitz. In 1898, the Conservatory chorus was organized by the director. After considerable rehearsing of chorus, orchestra and organ, Rossini ' s " Sabat Mater " was presented. The chorus has advanced greatly, with the formation of Tour Chorus and Chamber Singers, now under the direction of Mrs. Loma Cooke deVaron, who in the year past conducted a series of concerts with the Russian Tour Chorus in Spain and Russia, under the auspicies of our State Department. In 1960, the dormitory residence changed from the houses on Hemenway St. to its present site on Gainsborough St., in which build- ing is also found the Hbrary. This new location brought students closer to the school ' s activities and events. Indeed, the New England Conservatory today is nothing like that of the past. It has grown in leaps and bounds, not only in size, but in quality as well. Truly its excellence will not be forgotten. 7
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