Published: May 8, 2015 By

commencement in grusin

College of Music Commencement 2015 in Grusin Hall. Photo by Glenn Asakawa.

Four years of friends. The Flatirons. Practicing. Studying. Composing. Concerts. Juries. They all led the Class of 2015 to this.

On Friday, May 8, the College of Music welcomed grads, undergrads and their families to Imig Music Building for commencement ceremonies. The endeavors of 118 students were celebrated in grand fashion, with regalia, musical performances and of course diplomas.

College of Music Dean Robert Shay, who this year presided over his first commencement at CU-Boulder, says the day was all about the graduates. “We're celebrating their accomplishments, recognizing their contributions to the College of Music community and wishing them the very best as they pursue their dreams.

"It also marks their transition from students to alumni and the beginning of our commitment to serve as a resource for them in their professional lives." 

The college also recognized the work of Dean Emeritus Robert Fink and CU-Boulder alumni Michael and Michele Ritter. The Distinguished Service Awards are a way to say thank you to the dean of 15 years and to the Ritters, who this past year gave a generous gift and endowed the Ritter Family Classical Guitar Program.

Senior cellist Robbie Erhard addressed the class as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Erhard, who plays in the Symphony Orchestra and the Early Music Ensemble, studied with retired CU professor Judith Glyde—even before he came here to study.

“He actually began studying cello at a late age,” says Glyde. “He’s accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time.”

String department chair and viola professor Erika Eckert says she remembers Erhard being nervous at his CU audition, but four years later he proudly invited anyone and everyone to attend his final degree recital, including friends from out of state.

“This says a lot about Robbie, about who he is as a person and the intensely personal and immersive quality he brings to his performance,” Eckert adds. “Robbie committed himself fully to his studies on the cello, always pushing himself to reach the next higher level.”

Erhard moves now to the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where he’ll pursue his master’s in cello performance—but he’ll be back. Next season, he returns to Boulder to play the Schumann Cello Concerto with the CU Symphony Orchestra.

As for his classmates, they'll move on to everything from pursuing a master's in violin performance at the University of Texas at Austin and Arizona State University, to staying in Boulder to work with experimental jazz ensembles or pursue their doctorate, to teaching in their piano studio at the Parlando School for the Arts, to writing songs of their own and performing in venues throughout the Denver metro.

No matter the next step, the students received a world-class training and a grand send-off from the CU-Boulder music community. Congratulations to all of our graduates!