Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is an independent music school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It teaches classical, jazz, rock, folk, and blues and hosts musical concerts throughout the year.[2] It is housed in a Neoclassical-style mansion built in 1904 for Charles L. McIntosh, treasurer of J.I. Case. In 2000 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
1584 North Prospect Avenue
United States
McIntosh–Goodrich Mansion
McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion May10.jpg
The McIntosh–Goodrich Mansion houses the conservatory
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is located in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is located in the United States
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
Location1584 North Prospect Avenue
Coordinates43°3′2″N 87°53′33″W / 43.05056°N 87.89250°W / 43.05056; -87.89250Coordinates: 43°3′2″N 87°53′33″W / 43.05056°N 87.89250°W / 43.05056; -87.89250
Arealess than one acre
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference No.00001045[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 31, 2000


The school is descended from two music schools, both founded in Milwaukee in 1899: the Wisconsin College of Music, originally located in Mendelssohn Hall across the street from the Central Library, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, originally housed in the Ethical Building on Jefferson Street facing Cathedral Square. The two schools merged in 1971.[4]

Charles L. McIntosh was an industrialist who bought a controlling interest in J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. in 1895. He became a director of Milwaukee Harvester Company in 1902 and moved to Milwaukee. There he bought the lot on Prospect Avenue, which was then Milwaukee's "Gold Coast" - where the elites built elaborate homes. He hired Horatio R. Wilson of Chicago to design his mansion.[5] Wilson laid out a 3-story Neoclassical-styled building clad in red brick and trimmed in brownstone, with a monumental portico supported by four Corinthian columns. Wilson added quoins, a loggia wing, and a dentilated copper cornice. Inside is a mahogany staircase with a Tiffany-designed window on the landing, some parquet floors, ten fireplaces, a music room, and a billiard room. The floors were carefully constructed to absorb noise with layers of deafening quilts and two inches of mineral wool. The house was completed in 1904.[6]

McIntosh's widow Effie sold the mansion in 1921 to William Osbourne Goodrich and his wife Marie. William was the heir to Milwaukee's one linseed oil business. Marie was the oldest daughter of Frederick Pabst.[7][2] William appreciated music and after he moved his family to the northern suburbs in 1932, he eventually leased the building to the Wisconsin College of Music, rent-free.[6]


The school educates over 1000 students each semester and holds classes in multiple locations throughout Milwaukee County. It employs over 50 teachers and performers. Both group classes and individual instruction are available. It has an annual budget of about $2 million, with 70% of the operating expenses covered by tuition.[2]

Notable faculty and studentsEdit

Noted faculty have included the pianists David Hazeltine and Berkeley Fudge.[8] Other current and former faculty include Margaret Hawkins, Lee Dougherty, Pearl Brice, Benjamin Verdery, Marion Verhaalen, Rebecca Penneys, Tony King, Edward Wise, Jesse Hauck,[4] and Jack Grassel.[9]

Noted students have included pianist Lynne Arriale, bassist Gerald Cannon, conductor Lee Erickson, composer Daron Hagen, pianist David Hazeltine, choreographer Liz Lerman, pianist Liberace, trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Wayne Taddey, , jazz pianist Dan Nimmer, actor Gene Wilder, and mayor Carl Zeidler.[4]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Mission and History". official Wisconsin Conservatory of Music website. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  3. ^ "McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  4. ^ a b c "Wisconsin Conservatory of Music — Celebrating 110 years of musical excellence in 2009-2010" Milwaukee News, November 25, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  5. ^ "Charles L. McIntosh House" (PDF). City of Milwaukee. Fall 1985. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Traci E. Schnell (February 1999). NRHP Inventory/Nomination: McIntosh-Goodrich Mansion. National Park Service. Retrieved 2019-12-27. With 13 photos.
  7. ^ Laurie Arendt (August 2009). "Our founding families: Pabst Family". Greater Milwaukee Today. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Jarenwattananon, Patrick (August 19, 2010). "Who Are The Local Legends Of Jazz". NPR Jazz.
  9. ^ "Reviews and Interviews". Jack Grassel Jill Jensen Jack and Jill Jazz Rock Blues Classical Country Guitar Books CDs Skype Lessons free music info. Retrieved 10 September 2018.