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December 11, 2021

MSM welcomes Madeline Lucas Tolliver as Dean of Performance and Production Operations

The seasoned production and operations specialist comes to MSM after more than a decade of leadership at Cleveland Institute of Music.


Manhattan School of Music (MSM) is pleased to welcome production and operations specialist Madeline Lucas Tolliver as the School’s new Dean of Performance and Production Operations, effective January 18, 2022.

In her new role, Ms. Tolliver will work directly with Joyce Griggs, MSM’s Executive Vice President and Provost, developing and executing the School’s artistic programming, including a performance season that encompasses nearly 800 concerts and events: from mainstage opera and musical theatre productions, symphony orchestra, jazz orchestra, and choral performances to chamber and small ensembles, student recitals, and a season of Precollege performances.

“It takes a special person to be able to lead the planning and execution of such complex and rewarding artistic programming,” says Provost Griggs. “The position centers on a unique blend of artistic planning and operational oversight, all within the context of a premier conservatory where students meet academic degree and diploma requirements ranging from Bachelor to Doctoral programs. Madeline brings extensive experience and exceptional qualifications to this position, and we feel extremely fortunate to be welcoming her into this important role.”

Arriving at MSM from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)

Ms. Tolliver joins MSM following over a decade at the esteemed Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she served in various roles in ensemble management, precollege and continuing education, artistic planning, facilities operations, and, finally, as Dean of Artistic Administration and Operations. In this most recent role, Ms. Tolliver has overseen a portfolio administering CIM’s ensembles, concert series, and facilities maintenance, security, and related capital and special projects – including leading the School’s COVID-19 response.

A native of Charlotte, NC, Ms. Tolliver is a flutist, pianist, and contemporary music specialist whose teachers include Joshua Smith, Valerie Simosko (flute), and Jan Herboth (piano). She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in flute performance at CIM. She and husband KD Tolliver enjoy attending indie and experimental live music events, cooking, following baseball, and spending time with their Italian Greyhound, Lexi.

“Although it is bittersweet saying goodbye to what has been a truly rewarding career at CIM, I am inspired by Manhattan School of Music’s passion for creative and forward-looking student artistry,” says Ms. Tolliver. “I am eager to work with Provost Griggs, the MSM faculty, production staff, and students to deliver the first-rate artistic programming that MSM audiences have come to expect and for which the School is widely known.”

Specialized duties at MSM

Central to Ms. Tolliver’s work at MSM will be to foster and support a positive and comprehensive artistic and performance experience for MSM’s population of 985 College and more than 450 Precollege students. In addition to leading the artistic and operational planning and management of a premier conservatory’s performance-based activities, as Dean of Performance and Production Operations, Ms. Tolliver will also have a key role in supporting MSM’s Cultural Inclusion Policy.

That policy requires every department to identify discipline-specific, underrepresented creators and to use this information to publish new performance-based requirements, from ensemble repertoire to individual entrance auditions and graduation recitals. All courses are undergoing a similar transformation to ensure that cultural inclusion permeates every facet of the performance season and curriculum.

“We believe in the collective responsibility to bring a more inclusive canon to the conservatory curriculum,” says Provost Griggs. “MSM continues to focus on the important work of creating a more complete education, and Dean Tolliver’s work on our extensive performance season will underscore and further those aims.”

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Madeline to Manhattan School of Music,” says MSM President James Gandre. “She is joining us in a crucial role at a pivotal time, as we continue to manage what has been a full return to in-person instruction and public performances this fall and as we look ahead to a new year and beyond, into the School’s second century.”

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