Because of Baur’s early and strict insistence on excellence, the school quickly gained an international reputation that attracted artists from around the world. Baur also established strong support for the school within the community with open public performances at the Conservatory. By 1883, Baur opened a branch at 139 West Eigth Street and initiated some of the country's first community engagement programs, which included classes in music appreciation for children and continuing education classes for adults.
By 1885, the faculty had grown to 23 and by the late 1880s another move to a larger location was required. Miss Baur also established a relationship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra by guaranteeing a teaching post to the concertmaster of the CSO as well as posts for many symphony musicians.
In 1902, the Conservatory moved to the former Shillito Mansion in Mount Auburn. Enrollment neared 1,000 students, and the faculty included some of the best-known artists of the time. In 1910, a Jacobean-style building was added to the south wing of the Conservatory that contained more studio, office and dormitory space. In the years to come, the Conservatory expanded across Highland Avenue.
Clara Baur passed away in 1912 at the age of 77, at which point her niece Bertha Baur assumed leadership of the Conservatory. The Conservatory that Bertha Baur inherited was solvent and thriving. There was a faculty of 50, many of them concert artists with international reputations. There was an expanded campus with a new concert hall, dormitory and even more plans for expansion.
As time passed, though, the Conservatory surpassed the limits of a private, unendowed school. Bertha Baur turned the Conservatory over to the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts in 1930, making it a non-profit organization. Retiring that same year, Bertha Baur continued to served as president emerita until her death in 1940.