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About The Boston Conservatory

The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its multi-disciplinary environment, the Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists.

The Boston Conservatory Headquarter Location

8 The Fenway

Boston, Massachusetts, 02215,

United States

617-536-6340

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Latest The Boston Conservatory News

Her Album Of Reimagined Sondheim Songs That She Recorded In Her Closet Is Getting Serious Buzz

Nov 17, 2021

Eleri Ward became enchanted with Stephen Sondheim songs when she was in high school. A musical theater student at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, each year her teachers, Pat Rusk and Andy Robinson, had the students do a Sondheim show. They also did a deep dive study of his songs. Eleri Ward Courtesy Eleri Ward  “I felt as though I had discovered musical theater in an entirely different way since no material had ever struck me with such humanity, complexity, and darkness,” shares Ward who is a musician, singer and songwriter. “It was refreshing to feel like theater could be more than light tunes and jazz hands, which, when you’re only fourteen, your theater experience pretty much solely consists of that.” She found her bliss unearthing stories of Sondheim’s “demon barbers, marital squabbles and giants that were more honest than any other piece of theater I had ever come across before,” she explains.” The richly layered music combined with their deeply profound lyrics continue to stretch her. “My growth as a human being trying to understand myself and the world around me never ceases,” she adds. “Sondheim writes music that has meant and continues to mean something new and different depending on where I am in life. And that aspect of endless discovery within one songbook really lights my fire.” In 2021 she ignited many, many sparks when she began posting videos of her singing acoustic versions of Sondheim songs on TikTok. (She had posted them on Youtube beginning in 2019.) Her hauntingly beautiful arrangements with her luminous voice caught on. The videos gained a following and ultimately went viral. MORE FOR YOU “As I posted each one, I had gotten more praise and attention on these covers than I ever could have imagined,” says Ward whose video of “Johanna (Reprise)”garnered more than 42,000 views. “Comments like ‘I never knew I needed this' and ‘These are my two aesthetics put together in one video’ made me aware that I had an audience out there that couldn’t have reached if it hadn’t been for this app. I’m so grateful for it.”  One of those viewers who was completely captivated by Ward’s interpretations of these songs was Kurt Deutsch, founder of Ghostlight Records. “I was deeply moved by the sheer creativity and how she blends Sondheim with a singer/songwriter aesthetic in a totally modern way,” says Deutsch. Ward, whose legions of TikTok followers had requested she make an album, had already recorded the songs in her closet during lockdown. Deutsch emailed Ward sharing that he loved what she was doing and asked what he could do to help. “I was over the moon that I even got this email in the first place, I didn’t even think about Ghostlight Records releasing the album as a possibility,” says Ward. “I was so excited that music I made in a walk-in closet got this kind of attention.” Ward ended up joining forces with Ghostlight Records as the label released the album, “A Perfect Little Death.” A harmonious marriage of musical theater and indie folk music, Ward sings luscious versions of "Pretty Women,” “Finishing the Hat,” “Johanna (Reprise),“Send in the Clowns,” “Losing My Mind,” “Sunday” and more. Ward, who candidly shares her struggles with auditions and roles she hasn’t gotten on TikTok, remains in emboldened by the exuberant response to “A Perfect Little Death.” She says that her deep love for her craft combined with her unbridled belief in herself and taking agency over her career has kept her intrepid. “I’ve always known I have a purpose as a storyteller. I’ve never known where my purpose was going to take me, and I still don’t. But I made a promise to myself to go where the doors open for me in order to try to find out,” she says. “I’ve never been handed opportunities or jobs in my field, so it’s been a no-brainer for me to create those opportunities myself, whether or not anyone was paying attention.” What remains most key is that her unique arrangements of these classic songs were borne from her joy. As she explains, “this identity comes from a place of pure passion and playfulness.”  Jeryl Brunner: When did you know you had to be an artist? Eleri Ward: I think perhaps I’ve always been an artist. When I was two years old, I approached my mother saying I wanted to play the violin. She told me that when I learned how to read she would put me into violin lessons, to which I despondently replied “well I used to play…,” which of course was bewildering coming from a toddler. But I did indeed learn how to read as quickly as I could so I could get my hands on a violin, and when I was five my mom got me involved in a music school where I started violin and piano lessons. And while I no longer play the violin or the viola or the alto saxophone, piano has always stuck with me, as it was my first pathway into writing songs. All the while I had always been involved in theater, from making plays with my sister in the living room when I was little to being in my first musical when I was nine. Once I started doing theater, I never stopped. So, I really feel as though this artistic fire was always within me, but it’s just been a matter of finding my place, crafting it and embracing it. "A Perfect Little Death" from Ghostlight Records contains 13 Sondheim songs. Courtesy Eleri Ward Brunner: What inspired you to go onto TikTok and share your songs there? Ward: As someone who actively avoided making a TikTok account, another social media app to learn, I truly wouldn’t have joined the TikTok-verse without the persuasion of my dear friend, Chloe. After multiple times telling me I ought to put my videos on the platform, I finally took Chloe’s advice and made the leap. And once I started, I haven’t been able to stop. Brunner: You are also a composer. Can you talk about the songs that you write? Ward: I write pop songs! I’ve been writing since I started piano lessons when I was five, and it’s been a part of me I’ve continued to nurture throughout my life. It wasn’t until high school that I really started getting into it, which brought me to decide on Berklee College of Music, majoring in songwriting for college. I had spent four years studying musical theater in high school, and had never given my songwriting the spotlight, so that’s what I chose to do. Although, I ended up transferring over to The Boston Conservatory for musical theater, Berklee gave me a whole new outlook on my writing. Thankfully The Boston Conservatory offered songwriting as an emphasis both my junior and senior years, which pushed me to write in all sorts of different ways. Regardless of my training, I always have and still do write from a very emotional place, and aesthetically pull from my biggest musical influences: Caroline Polachek, Sufjan Stevens, Lianne La Havas, and Andrew Bird. My music doesn’t sound like any one of those influences, but rather a conglomeration of textures, sounds, and genres that live together over my pop home base. It ultimately sounds like a lovechild between Sara Bareilles, Dua Lipa, and Maggie Rogers that explores conflict and relationships of all kinds. My songs seemingly arrive out of the ether, as no matter how many technical skills I have in the area, I still attribute it to magic. Follow me on  Twitter .

  • Where is The Boston Conservatory's headquarters?

    The Boston Conservatory's headquarters is located at 8 The Fenway, Boston.

  • What is The Boston Conservatory's latest funding round?

    The Boston Conservatory's latest funding round is Merger.

  • Who are the investors of The Boston Conservatory?

    Investors of The Boston Conservatory include Berklee College of Music.

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