Boston Conservatory Named a Best School for Dance, Composition, and More in 2020

While few could predict what 2020 had in store for higher education, one thing remained consistent: Boston Conservatory at Berklee earned recognition as one of the best schools for performing arts education, both for its innovative degree programs and leading summer intensives. The 2020 accolades, gathered from independent sources, underscores Boston Conservatory’s reputation as a leader in performing arts education.

February 2, 2021

One of the Best Dance Programs in the World

With world-class faculty, an annual lineup of leading guest choreographers, and the many opportunities students have to create and perform, Boston Conservatory’s contemporary dance program has long been recognized as being among the best in the world. Led by Dean of Dance Tommy Neblett, the program is highly selective and consistently lands students jobs with professional companies before they graduate—in the 2019–2020 academic year alone, three students completed their senior year through a special program designed for students to work professionally while completing their degree. 

Boston Conservatory’s reputation as a top school for dance is backed up by several independent reviewers. College Magazine listed Boston Conservatory second in their list of Top Colleges for Dance in 2020, praising its contemporary dance program as “one of the best in the world.” 

DanceUS, another trusted industry resource, included Boston Conservatory in its short list of best college dance programs for 2020–2021, naming it the best in Massachusetts.

PrepScholar and College Transition also mentioned Boston Conservatory in their respective 2020 best-of lists. PrepScholar called Boston Conservatory a top-tier performing arts school specifically for its dance program, highlighting the array of leading choreographers that hold residencies each semester to work with students. College Transitions considered criteria such as institutional selectivity, class size, and student-to-teacher ratio, peer assessment, and graduate earnings when ranking Boston Conservatory in its list of the top dance colleges.

Explore Boston Conservatory’s contemporary dance program.

Student composing music

A Top 10 School for Composers

Considered an exceptional school for composers, in part because of the enormous range of creative opportunities, Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s composition program was named a top 10 in the U.S. by It’s no surprise, given that the program’s alumni are making headlines all over the world. 

Shelbie Rassler (B.M. '20, composition) is a shining example of where a Boston Conservatory education can lead. Before enrolling in Boston Conservatory’s undergraduate composition program, she attended the school’s renowned High School Composition Intensive and completed courses at Berklee Online. Having taken full advantage of Berklee’s offering—online courses, a Conservatory summer program, and a Conservatory degree program—Rassler was the mastermind behind the international sensation, “What the World Needs Now” for virtual orchestra. Since gaining overnight fame, Rassler has not slowed down. Of her many successes, her most recent include her work mixing Broadway for Georgia's charity single "Georgia on My Mind" in December, which featured Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Idina Menzel, Jessie Mueller, and dozens more, and helping mix the mashup of "Seasons of Love/Let the Sunshine In" shown during the 2020 Presidential Inauguration celebration, featuring Christopher Jackson, Laura Benanti, and others.

Learn about Boston Conservatory’s composition programs


Notable Summer Programs for Pre-Professionals

In their annual compilation of summer theater programs worth pursuing, ArtsBridge highlighted two of Boston Conservatory's sought-after intensives for high school students:
Musical Theater Acting Intensive, where students take a deep dive into singing, acting, and movement while preparing audition repertoire, and Musical Theater Dance Intensive, focused on rigorous training in theater dance, jazz, and ballet. The programs made ArtsBridge’s highly selective list based on first-hand experience of community members.

Musical Theater Acting Intensive is led by Broadway veteran and award-winning director Laura Marie Duncan. The program is intended for theater artists, between the ages of 15 and 22, looking to dive deep into the complex art of developing stage characters, singing technique, and movement for the stage, while preparing audition material. Learn more about Musical Theater Acting Intensive and how to apply. 

Musical Theater Dance Intensive, led by esteemed dancer/choreographer Michelle Chassé, complements the Musical Theater Acting Intensive with rigorous training in theater dance, jazz, and ballet, as well as classes in acting and singing. Learn more about Musical Theater Dance Intensive and how to register. 

Shrek the Musical

Best Musical of the Decade

Each year, Boston Conservatory at Berklee presents hundreds of high-caliber performances that rival the city’s most established production companies. In 2020, Boston Conservatory’s production of Shrek! The Musical won Broadway World’s regional award for “Best Musical Production of the Decade (Non-Equity).” 

The production radiated with Boston Conservatory talent, featuring more than 70 student performers. The creative team and unique interpretation of the work was led by director Laura Marie Duncan—who is also an alumna of the Conservatory—and included Eric Stern (music director and conductor), Larry Sousa and Kurt Douglas (choreography), and many more. 

Learn more about Boston Conservatory’s presentation of Shrek! The Musical.

Campus buildings

Joint Honors with Berklee College of Music

In 2016, Boston Conservatory joined the Berklee institution, becoming Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Since then, Conservatory students have enjoyed new creative and academic opportunities made possible by another school within the Berklee institution: Berklee College of Music, which neighbors the Conservatory in the heart of Boston. Though the two schools offer separate degree programs and observe notably different educational models, the number of shared opportunities between the Conservatory and College gives students a unique educational advantage. 

Backstage pointed to this when naming Berklee in their 2020 list of “12 College Vocal Programs You Should Know,” describing how the variety of learning and performing opportunities offered at both Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee provide a uniquely robust experience for vocalists. 

Audio Assemble also listed Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee in their collection of “best music schools in USA for 2020.” The independent reviewer reviewed data on more than 250 schools and ranked their top picks based on tuition, graduation rates, acceptance rates, degree programs offered, tuition changes, and more. 

Learn more about music programs at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music