5 Questions: Carl Schimmel, CAS ’97

A photograph of Carl Schimmel

Photo credit: Chanel Parrott Apsey

How did your education prepare you for what you are doing today?

To my knowledge, I was the first music major at CWRU to ask for composition lessons. The chair of the music department at the time, Ross Duffin, inquired at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) about this possibility, and arranged for me to take lessons with Jennifer Conner, a recent graduate of the doctoral program there. Working with Jenny was a great experience, and if it hadn’t been for her and for the flexibility and support of the Department of Music at CWRU, I’m sure that I would not have been able to succeed in the field.

Today, Schimmel is an associate professor of music theory and composition at Illinois State University.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment or recent professional accomplishment to date?

I’ve been selected as a 2018 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, which will support my work in music composition. 

To read Schimmel’s biography on the Foundation’s website, click here. With over 3,000 applicants annually, the Foundation awards approximately 175 fellowships each year.

Do you have advice for current students?

Of course, one has to be dedicated to one’s field, and work hard, but it’s also incredibly important to make personal connections. Get to know others in your field, and support their work too. Be friendly. Be kind.

What is your favorite memory and/or spot on campus?

For three years, I lived in the ZBT house on Bellflower, which was torn down a few years ago. Most of my happiest memories of CWRU involve good times with friends at that house. But I also was the host of a classical radio show at WRUW, and I actually have fond memories of getting up in the middle of the night to do the show during those hours when probably only a handful of people were listening, when everything was still, walking across the dark and silent campus through the falling snow.

Would you like to be featured in a spotlight? Submit your answers in our Alumni Spotlight Questionnaire.