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LTTE: From the students of Michael Sachs

Dear Members of the Board,

In recent months, the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) has lost credibility in the world of elite music education. All alumni have been concerned about the institution’s path, and now, after the terrible and avoidable resignation of Michael Sachs, it is clear to us that CIM is in crisis.

We are Cleveland Institute of Music alumni and current and former students of Michael Sachs. We represent over 30 years of achievement at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the global reach of Michael’s pedagogy. Collectively, we perform with the world’s top ensembles, teach at top music programs, run some of the country’s most notable ensembles and serve as industry leaders in fields outside of music.

Michael has been the heartbeat of the brass department for decades and is an irreplaceable asset to the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has molded the culture of your world-renowned institution, which is largely based on the unique and ample access to him and the Cleveland Orchestra. Michael’s renown as an educator, his enormous reach as an author, the reputation of his students, his incredible sound and his unique insight into one of the world’s greatest ensembles inspired us all to pack up and chase our hopes and dreams in Cleveland’s University Circle.

The fact that Michael’s character and intentions at CIM are being questioned is unfathomable. Michael has a proven record of helping his students balance the incredible demands of life as a performer with the well-being, mental health and conditioning required to lead a happy life. By following his example, his students learn that being ethical, finely tuned collaborators and listeners on and off stage are all pieces to the picture of success. The accomplishments of his students are a testament to the efficacy of his work at CIM.

We implore you, as board members entrusted with steering our beloved institution, to examine closely the priorities of CIM and the recent events that have disrupted decades of achievement. We write to you with hope and optimism that there is a path in which CIM’s relationship with Michael and his students can be restored. We all want to remain proud alumni of the Cleveland Institute of Music.



Alberto Gutierrez, 1990                   

Colorado Music Festival, General Manager 

Mike Cox, MM 1991 

Symphony of the Redwoods, Fort Bragg California, Principal Trumpet 

David Duro, 1991 

SUNY Fredonia, Adjunct Lecturer of Trumpet 

Susan Sievert Messersmith, PS 1992 

Charleston Southern University, Adjunct Trumpet Instructor 

Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Former Second Trumpet 

Mary Thornton, MM 1993         

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Professor of Trumpet 

Heather Zweifel, BM 1993       

Michigan State University – Asst. Professor of Trumpet 

Burning River Brass, Co-Founder and Trumpet 

Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, MM  1994 

Rowan University, Professor of Trumpet, Head of Brass, 

Chair-Department of Music 

Jonathan Fields, MM 1994          

Fort Worth Symphony, Former Second Trumpet 

Dawn Weber, BM 1994 

University of Missouri–St. Louis, Trumpet Instructor and Jazz Direct

Kevin Lyons, BM 1995 

Miami City Ballet Orchestra, 

Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, 

Greenville Symphony Orchestra, 

and Nu-Deco Ensemble, Principal 


Scott Sabo, BM 1995 

Chris Kiradjieff, MM 1996 

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, 

Third/Utility Trumpet 

Christopher Bubolz, MM 1997 

Benjamin Wright, BM 1997 

Boston Symphony Orchestra, 

Second Trumpet 

New England Conservatory, 


Isaac Pulford, BM 1998 

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, 

Second Trumpet and Personnel 


Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra, 

Former Second Trumpet 

Teppei Suzuki, BM 1998 

RENTARO Chamber Orchestra 

KYUSHU (Japan), Principal 


Elizabeth University of Music, 

Trumpet Faculty 

Donald Burks, MM 1999 

Stephen Chapdelaine, 

MM 2000 

Anant Patel, 2000 

Emergency Medicine Physician 

Fort Worth Civic Orchestra, 


Jonathan Rattay, MM 2000         

United States Air Force Heritage of America Band 

Adam Luftman, BM 2001             

San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Principal Trumpet San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Head-Brass Department 

Loren Toplitz, MM 2001             

Akron Symphony Orchestra, Third Trumpet 

Lancaster Festival Orchestra, Second Trumpet 

Firelands Symphony Orchestra,       

Principal Trumpet 

Cleveland Institute of Music – Trumpet Faculty, Joint Music Program and Preparatory 

Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Association – Past President 

David Costello, BM 2002 

Peter Miller, MM 2002 

West Australian Symphony 


Second Trumpet 

Shaun Abraham, MM 2003 

Dallas Winds, Trumpet 

John Freeman, BM 2003, MM 2005 

San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Principal Trumpet 

Derrick Stauffer, MM 2003 

Morten Hetland, MM 2004        

Malmö Opera (Sweden), Principal Trumpet 

Emma Kail, MM 2004 

Grand Teton Music Festival, Executive Director 

Kansas City Symphony, 

Former General Manager 

Sarah Viens, BM 2004 

Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma, Principal Trumpet 

William Day, BM 2005      

Metropolitan Opera, Associate Musician – Trumpet 

New York Philharmonic, Extra musician – Trumpet 

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Former Second Trumpet 

John Armstrong, BM 2006, MM 2008 

Michael Attaway, MM 2006          

The Covenant School, Director of Fine Arts 

Erik Hasselquist, AD 2007 Eric Brown, MM 2008 

Joseph Conners, BM 2008, MM 2009 

Colin Sieg, BM 2008 

Odyssey Space Research/NASA, Software Engineer 

Cheonho Yoon, PS 2008           

Yomiuri Nippon Symphony 

Orchestra (Japan), Trumpet 

Alexander Pride, BM 2009   

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Second Trumpet 

Malachy Rodriguez, 

MM 2009 

Adam Zinatelli, 2009 

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Trumpet 

Mark Maliniak, MM 2010 

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 

Acting Assoc. Principal Trumpet 

Conrad Jones, BM 2011    

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 

Principal Trumpet 

Kyle Dobbeck, MM 2012 

Office of Medical Education at The 

George Washington University, 

Assistant Director 

Dr. Leah J. Hodge, MM 2012 

Scottsdale Symphonic Orchestra 

and North Valley Symphony, 

Principal Trumpet 

Nina Bell, MM 2013 

Marc Sutton, MM 2013 

SSrgt Ryan Columbare, 

MM 2014 

United States Army, US Army 

School of Music Instructor 

Gillian Gollamudi, MM 2014 

Michael Terrasi, BM 2014 

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, 

Extra Musician – Trumpet 

Dominic Favia, BM 2015 

Michael Harper, MM 2016      

National Symphony Orchestra, 

Assistant Principal Trumpet 

James Stinson, MM 2016 

Metric Coffee Co., Education – 

Project and Account Manager 

Charles Miller, MM 2017 

Justin Rowan, MM 2017 

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, 

Former Principal Trumpet 

Paul Torrisi, MM 2017 

Utah Symphony, Second Trumpet 

Kevin Karabell, MM 2018

Jacksonville Symphony, Principal Trumpet 

Garrett Lindholm, MM 2018  

Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Erie Philharmonic, Former Second Trumpet 

Amy Thomas, MM 2019                 

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, DC 

Luis Clebsch, BM 2020, MM 2022 

Daniel Gelman, MM 2020 Jamie Gorski, BM 2020 Luke Hamilton, BM 2020 Johnathon Pitts, PS 2020 Joseph Keller, 2022 

Emma Kosht, BM 2023 

Adam Warnke, MM 2023     

Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Second Trumpet 

Alisa Crüger-Cain, BM 2024

Current CIM student 

Jeremy Bryant, BM 2025             

NYO USA 2020 

Current CIM student 

Sebastian Cole, MM 2025        

Current CIM student 

Elijah Leonard, BM 2026              

Current CIM student 

Jamie Walton Jr., BM 2026            

Current CIM student

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