Mission and History

Our Mission

Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides a transformative, contemporary performing arts education that unleashes potential and empowers artists with the skills, self-awareness, and courage to shape our world and create the future they imagine.

Our Vision

In the year 2025, Boston Conservatory at Berklee will be the leading contemporary performing arts conservatory in the United States. Pioneering a radical new model of conservatory performing arts education built around diversity in all its forms, Boston Conservatory at Berklee prepares the artists, leaders, educators, culture creators, and impact makers of the future.

Our History

Boston Conservatory was founded in 1867 by Julius Eichberg to serve as both a professional training academy and community music school. Read about our history and browse our interactive timeline.

The first conservatory of its kind in the United States, Boston Conservatory has innovation in its DNA and claims many groundbreaking “firsts,” including: 

  • Boston Conservatory at Berklee was one of the first conservatories to grant admission to African Americans and women.
  • Conservatory founder Julius Eichberg’s operetta “The Doctor of Alcantara” was performed by the first African-American opera company in the U.S. (1873) 
  • Eichberg established the Eichberg String Quartet, the first professional female quartet (1878)
  • First conservatory in America to form a department for grand opera (1920)
  • First conservatory to offer a degree in music education (1938)
  • First integrated department of ballet and modern dance (1943)
  • First conservatory to offer undergraduate degrees in theater (1958)
  • Working with the Pro Arts Consortium, an association of six colleges (Boston Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, the Boston Architectural College, Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts), Boston Conservatory helped found the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), the City of Boston’s first pilot high school for the visual and performing arts. (1998)
  • First conservatory to launch a music program for students on the autism spectrum (2007)