The Louisville Academy of Music is dedicated to the education of musicians of all ages, levels, and backgrounds. We believe in the true joy of music and its essential place in the community. We respect and honor the traditions of the past while looking forward to an innovative future. Our mission is to nurture the growth and development of students, not solely as musicians, but as creative, inspired people.
The founding of the Louisville Academy of Music on February 15, 1954 was the result of a partnership between Robert French and Donald Murray. French assumed the administrative duties while providing income through copying symphonic scores and parts, and Murray taught piano and jazz workshops. A staff of eight gave vocal and instrumental lessons. The Academy Chorale, a twenty-member vocal ensemble, was soon formed by faculty member Richard Dales.
In 1956 the school moved from Bardstown Road to 1020 S. Fifth Street. A board of directors was formed and on March 25, 1957 the school was incorporated as a non-profit educational institution. In July of 1957 the Academy leased the Victorian home of James Breckinridge Speed at 505 W. Ormsby Avenue. With larger quarters the school was able to organize a piano technology department, headed by Russell Sturgeon. In addition, the Louisville Youth Orchestra was founded by Robert French in 1958.
In 1960 the Academy expanded and purchased the St. Matthews School of Music for use as a second location. Soon after, in 1961 Robert French married Ruth French and they began a dynamic leadership of the Academy. In 1971 the current location of 2740 Frankfort Avenue was purchased and proved to be the perfect place for Robert and Ruth to develop their vision.
In 2011 Robert passed away but Ruth continued as president while teaching violin full-time. Robert left behind his extensive music archive, accumulated from many years of research, and his collection of all things musical in Louisville. Those materials were donated to The Filson Club, the Speed Museum, and the University of Louisville School of Music. The Academy retained much of his library: an archive of thousands of books, records, and files on Kentucky musicians and organizations.
In June of 2018 Ruth retired after 62 years of dedicated teaching. She also stepped down from her service as president, a role she had held since 1999. She passed the leadership of the school to her former violin student Sara Louise Callaway and Sara's husband Daniel Callaway. They are honored to continue the life long work of Robert and Ruth French and look forward to continuing to serve the Louisville Community in the years ahead.
Sara and Dan Callaway, the current directors of The Louisville Academy of Music, are honored to follow in the footsteps of Ruth and Robert French. They look forward to sharing and continuing the life long work of the French's and their dedicated Faculty. They are excited to invite more people throughout the city to become involved, learn an instrument, and be inspired by classical music.