Olga Radosavljevich (December 19, 1937 - August 30, 2022), pianist extraordinaire, affectionately known to all as “Miss Olga”, was born in Belgrade, Serbia to Nadezda and Vojislav Radosavljevich.
She immigrated to the United States of America in 1956 at age 18 and enrolled at The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she completed her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and an Artist Diploma in piano performance with renowned teachers Arthur Loesser, Victor Babin and Vitya Vronsky Babin. By 1960, was teaching piano in the Preparatory Division at CIM.
Throughout her long career, Miss Olga taught both conservatory and preparatory students to great acclaim. In reflecting upon her retirement, she said: “I feel extremely fortunate to have had 63 wonderful years at the Cleveland Institute of Music. I came as a humble student in 1956 and I am retiring with satisfaction that I have given my utmost dedication to my students and to CIM.” Miss Olga completed her bachelor’s degree in 1959, master’s degree in 1961 and Artist Diploma in 1969.
“Miss Olga’s commitment to CIM and to her students is legendary,” said Dr. Judy Bundra, CIM’s Chief Academic Officer & Dean of the Conservatory. “Her dedication to the art of music making has inspired generations of students to pursue their piano studies, preparing her alumni for careers as performers, artistic collaborators and teachers. Miss Olga will be greatly missed.”
"Olga Radosavljevich has contributed invaluably to this institution from her early days as a CIM piano student to the present,” added Kathryn Brown, head of the keyboard division at CIM. “Her CIM 80th Birthday Tribute Celebration featured multiple generations of pianists who were so beautifully influenced by her expertise, wisdom and guidance. No one has ever loved CIM more than Miss Olga. I have always placed the highest value on her teaching, friendship and encouragement and will always do so. The CIM Conservatory and Preparatory Piano Departments extend our warmest gratitude for her longstanding devotion to CIM.”
In the 1980s, Miss Olga was instrumental in developing CIM’s first Young Artist Program, which made available the components of a conservatory education for serious music students ages 10-18. Although the Young Artist Program itself has evolved over time to focus exclusively on high school students, the rigorous approach to training remains. Miss Olga also put her formidable organizational and time management skills to use as head of the Preparatory piano division from 1985 to 2004.
Among her innumerable notable alumni are Ning An (first prize, Tivoli International Piano Competition), Derek Rikio Nishimura (CIM piano faculty: Preparatory, Joint Music Program and secondary piano), Wei-Tang Huang (collaborative pianist, Schulich School of Music at McGill University), Ines Irawati (artistic director, San Diego Opera’s young artist program), Vera Holczer (director, Aurora School of Music), Evan Solomon (collaborative pianist, CIM). These and others gathered at CIM in December 2017 in a joyful celebration of Miss Olga’s 80th birthday.
“The iconic teal blue bricks that line CIM’s hallways are a physical foundation that symbolize the strength of character and musicianship required for success,” added CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “In that same way, Miss Olga’s commitment to excellence and to her students has formed the building blocks for future careers. It’s a privilege to recognize and celebrate her long legacy.”
Olga married Vojin Gradojevich and together they had two children, Mihailo (Mickey) and Katarina (Katherine). Olga was proud of her Serbian heritage and her Orthodox faith.