Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld Sr (1841–1923), founded the college in 1867 as the Chicago Academy of Music. The institution has endured without interruption for one hundred and fifty-three years. Ziegfeld was the father of Florenz Jr., the Broadway impresario. The Academy was credited as being the fourth conservatory in America. In 1871, the conservatory moved to a new building which was destroyed only a few weeks later by the Great Chicago Fire; despite the conflagration, the college was again up and running by the end of the year.
In 1872, the school changed its name to Chicago Musical College (CMC); over 900 students were enrolled in that year. A Normal Teachers' Institute was added to the school's offerings. Tuition in those was an average of one dollar per lesson. Four years later, the State of Illinois accredited the college as a degree granting institution of higher learning. A Preparatory Division was opened which established branches throughout the city.
Rudolph Ganz joined CMC's faculty in 1900 and, except for a brief hiatus in the 1920s, remained associated with the school until his death in 1972. In 1917, CMC offered a Master of Music Degree, and seven years later the school became a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Music.
By 1925, the college moved into its own eleven-story building, Steinway Hall at 64 E. Van Buren Street. One hundred and twenty-five names appeared on the faculty roster for that year, and the school opened three dormitory floors for students. In 1936, CMC was admitted as a full member to the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the only independent music college in the Midwest to enjoy such status. By 1947, the college was offering doctorates in Fine Arts and Music Education.
Merger with Roosevelt University
In 1954, CMC merged with Roosevelt University's School of Music which had been founded in 1945. The name "Chicago Musical College" was retained for the new united college. All operations moved to join the university in the now national landmark Auditorium Building at 430 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago's Loop. The building houses one of the finest auditoriums in the world, in addition to the Rudolph Ganz Memorial Recital Hall.
Reorganization as a conservatory
In the fall of 1997, Roosevelt established a College of Performing Arts, which joined Chicago Musical College and the Theater Program under one administrative unit led by founding dean Donald Steven. In 2000, under the leadership of new dean James Gandre, the name was changed to Chicago College of Performing Arts. The college has two divisions: the Music Conservatory and the Theatre Conservatory.
Notable students and faculty
- Filip Mitrovic (1979–present), composer
- Grace Angelau (1899–1958), opera singer
- Clarice Assad (1978–present), composer, pianist
- Storm Bull (1913–2007), composer, music educator
- Steve Coleman (1956), jazz saxophonist, composer
- Florence Cole Talbert (1890-1961), opera singer, music educator
- Theodore C. Diers, (1880-1942) Wyoming state representative and senator
- Irene Dunne (1898–1990), film actress
- Walter Dyett (1901–1969), violinist, music educator
- Henry Eichheim (1870–1942)
- Vivian Fine (1913–2000), composer
- Floyd Graham (1902–1974), violin, music school educator
- Frances Wilson Grayson (1890–1927), pioneer woman aviator
- Vernice "Bunky" Green (b.1935), jazz saxophonist, jazz educator
- Johnny Hartman (1923-1983), singer
- Willis Laurence James (1900–1966), violinist
- Harriet Lee, radio singer (1920s–1930s) and Hollywood voice teacher
- Lloyd Loar mandolin, violin, viola, singing, composer, acoustics engineer, luthier
- Christine McIntyre (1911-1984), actress and soprano
- Robert McFerrin (1921–2006), operatic baritone
- Florence Price (1887–1953), composer
- Julia Rebeil (1891–1973), pianist, professor at the University of Arizona
- William Revelli (1902–1994), wind ensemble director, educator
- La Julia Rhea (1898-1992), opera singer
- Jim Schwall (b.1942), blues, blues-rock musician, singer/songwriter, Siegel-Schwall Band, Jim Schwall Band
- Corky Siegel (b.1943), blues, blues-rock musician, singer, composer, Siegel-Schwall Band
- Tracy Silverman, violinist, composer
- Frank Skinner (1897–1968)
- Eddie South (1904–1962)
- Eileen Southern (1920–2002), musicologist
- Jule Styne (1905–1994), songwriter
- Jingjing Wang, pianist
- Walter Wenzel, violinist
- Allan Arthur Willman (1909–1989) MM 1930, classical pianist, 20th-century composer, music department chairman
- Ivah Wills Coburn (d. 1937), stage actress and producer
- Petrowitsch Bissing (1871–1961)
- Rudolph Ganz (1877–1972), pianist, composer
- Goldie Golub (1909-2000), pianist, CMC piano educator for more than 50 years
- Louis Gruenberg (1884–1964), composer
- Wesley LaViolette, influential early jazz educator (1894–1978)
- Herbert Witherspoon (1873–1935), music history
- Carl Valentin Wunderle (1866–1944), violinist
Historic boards of directors and executive staff
- Augustus Eugene Bournique (1842–1926)
- William Melancton Hoyt (1837–1926)
- Alexander Hamilton Revell Sr. (1858–1931)
- The Reverend Hiram Washington Thomas, D.D. (1832–1909)
- Hon. Richard S. Tuthill (1841–1920)
- Carl O. Ziegfeld (1869–1921)
- Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld (1841–1923)
- William Kimball Ziegfeld (1872–1927)
1896 executive staff
- Alfred M. Snydacker (1858–1929), corporate secretary
- Carl O. Ziegfeld (1869–1921), business manager
- Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld (1841–1923), president
- William K. Ziegfeld (1872–1927), associate manager
- Chicago College of Performing Arts
- "a Roosevelt University web page". Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved 2005-12-04.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) written by Don Draganski, edited by Brian Wis.
- Lieberman, Julie Lyonn (2004). Alternative Strings: The New Curriculum. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 92. ISBN 9781574670899. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Dr. Wang's website
- "Wenzel is Scheduled in a Violin Recital". The Milwaukee Journal. March 18, 1945. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Music and Musicians, DAily Inter Ocean (Chicago newspaper), August 16, 1896, Vol. 25, Issue 145, part 3, pg. 33