The MUSIC SETTLEMENT  (incorporated April 25, 1912 as the Cleveland Music School Settlement) began with fifty pupils, and was designed to provide free or inexpensive musical training for the children and wage earners of Cleveland's newly arriving immigrant population. In 2006 it was one of the largest schools of its kind in the United States, serving nearly 2,700 students, many of whom received scholarship or financial aid.

Inspired by a similar institution in New York City, ALMEDA ADAMS founded the settlement with the help of ADELLA PRENTISS HUGHES and the FORTNIGHTLY MUSIC CLUB's initial $1,000 donation. Funded by gifts until 1919, the school then joined the Welfare Federation (See CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS) as a charter member. In 1947, the school's $40,000 budget supported forty faculty members, who taught theory, piano, voice, and strings to 475 pupils.

In 1948, HOWARD WHITTAKER was appointed Settlement director; he served until retiring in 1984. Under his direction The Settlement grew and promoted the arts, helping to found the LAKE ERIE OPERA THEATRE (1964) and the Cleveland Summer Arts Festival (1967). With a CLEVELAND FOUNDATION grant in 1953, The Settlement began to reach out to neighborhood centers, orphanages, hospitals, and institutions for those with special needs. Serving thirty-five agencies by 1973, the extension program pioneered the use of music therapy.

From 1912-1918 The Settlement was located at the Goodrich Settlement (see GOODRICH-GANNETT NEIGHBORHOOD CTR.). After several moves, in 1938 it settled at 11125 Magnolia Drive, the 42-room former home of Edmund S. Burke (see BURKE, EDMUND STEVENSON JR.), a director of the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CLEVELAND. In 1955 the school bought adjoining property and by 1973 had six buildings at its main school. The Settlement expanded to other sites, opening a WEST SIDE COMMUNITY HOUSE branch in 1958 and a Harvard Road branch by 1969. The Eleanor B. Rainey Memorial Institute, Inc. (See RAINEY INSTITUTE), became an affiliate of the CMSS in 1966, and in 1970 the Koch School of Music in ROCKY RIVER (as of 2006 located in LAKEWOOD) followed suit.

In 1980 CMSS opened a branch at 5415 Broadway, the former home of the Hruby Conservatory of Music (See HRUBY FAMILY). Major renovation of the main school (1991-1993) added more studios, performance space, and centralized administrative offices. The Maple Heights branch was added in 1994 and classes were held at two locations: Lutheran Church of the Covenant, located at 19000 Libby Road, and the Maple Heights United Methodist Church, at 18900 Libby Road. The Maple Heights branch was closed in 2004.

As of 2004, The Settlement no longer ran any outside branches, but continued to operate from its campus on Magnolia Drive, with administrative offices and music studios located in the Burke Mansion and Gries House. The campus also included the Kulas building, which housed the music therapy department, and the Griffiths Early Childhood building, which contained preschool, day school, and early childhood arts classes. In 2006, The Settlement provided private and group music instruction, preschool, day school and early childhood arts classes, and music therapy services at the University Circle campus. In addition, music therapy services were provided to clients through contracts with fifteen social service, educational, and medical agencies throughout northeast Ohio.

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Finding aid for the Cleveland Music School Settlement Records, Series I, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Cleveland Music School Settlement Records, Series II, WRHS.


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Witchey, Holly Rarick. Fine Arts in Cleveland: An Illustrated History (1994).

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