CLA Alumni Earns Spot in Groundbreaking New Fellowship Program at Cleveland Institute of Music

Groundbreaking talent development program open to minority classical music students in grades 7-9

Launched with leadership support from the Cleveland Foundation and George Gund Foundation

September 21, 2017 – The Cleveland Institute of Music announced today that guitarist Damian Goggans and cellist Evan Rowland-Seymour were selected as the inaugural class of its Minority Artist Fellowship (MAF) program. Goggans is a freshman at Cleveland School of the Arts and Rowland-Seymour is an eighth grader at University School in Shaker Heights.

Dr. Joyce Griggs, CIM Vice President and Director of the Center for Innovative Musicianship, said: “Damian and Evan impressed the selection panel with their musicality and their poise. We envision bright futures for both of these young men, and are thrilled CIM will be part of their musical journeys.

“By connecting our fellows with the master teachers in CIM’s preparatory department as well as with the resources available through our extended community,” Griggs continued, “we whole-heartedly commit to empowering Damian and Evan on their quest to reach new musical heights. We are just a few weeks into the program, and our faculty already see tremendous growth and are impressed with the enthusiasm and musicianship on display.”

The fellows receive weekly one-on-one instruction from CIM Preparatory faculty members, as well as participate in ensembles and music classes. Over the course of the year, the fellows will present public performances, attend master classes and workshops, and, with their families, meet regularly with CIM student mentors and program leaders to set goals and share feedback. The fellows receive full scholarships covering all areas of study in the MAF program.

In the past two months, CIM has introduced the MAF program, welcomed the most diverse incoming class of conservatory students in its history and expanded its partnerships with the Sphinx Organization. Last week, the school announced that it will reduce tuition by 15% for the incoming class in 2018-19. Together, these moves establish CIM’s unparalleled leadership in expanding access to the highest levels of musical training.

Significant and generous start-up funding for the MAF program was provided by the Cleveland Foundation and George Gund Foundation.

Damian Goggans is in ninth grade at Cleveland School of the Arts. He only began studying guitar in October 2016, when the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society began a program at Citizens Leadership Academy where Goggans attended middle school. Prior to that time, he participated in his school’s vocal club; he also taught himself to play harmonica, drums and piano. Goggans has been studying music theory independently online, and has composed works for solo instrument and small ensemble. He says his goal is to “write and play my own music in front of huge crowds all around the world.”

Evan Rowland-Seymour is in eighth grade at University School in Shaker Heights. He has been playing cello since 2009, and began playing double bass in 2015. He was selected for the Sphinx Performance Academy, a two-week intensive chamber-music program for young African-American and Latino musicians, which was held at CIM this summer. Rowland-Seymour is a member of CIM’s Youth Orchestra Camerata and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. He says he “wants my life to be full of stories on how much I’ve grown and succeeded, not about how much I regret because I didn’t even try.”

The Cleveland Institute of Music is an independent music conservatory known for superior orchestral, chamber music, composition, piano, opera and voice programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its world-renowned faculty, which include members of The Cleveland Orchestra, are eminent educators and practicing musicians who perform nationally and internationally. CIM provides rigorous training in a Young Artist Program for gifted pre-college musicians in addition to broad offerings to music students of all ages through our Preparatory and Continuing Education division. Annually, CIM students, faculty, alumni and guest artists present more than 400 music events for the Greater Cleveland community, many are free of charge. In 2020, CIM will celebrate its centennial. Visit to learn more.