Neil Varon, conductor
The Eastman School of Music has three orchestras, regularly performing repertoire representative of all musical style periods. Two performing venues at Eastman allow students and faculty to present concerts in an acoustically fine and artistically well-conceived concert space: the newly-renovated Eastman Theatre, which seats approximately 3,000, and Kilbourn Hall, a smaller and more intimate performing venue.
First and second year undergraduates play in the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra (ESSO), a group designed to help students prepare for more sophisticated music making as upperclassmen. ESSO presents four concerts per semester, collaborating with the Eastman-Rochester Chorus for one concert per year.
All string players are required to audition for participation in Eastman’s orchestras. Non-string players are assigned to the orchestras by their studio teachers. Neil Varon, Director of Orchestral activities at Eastman, oversees the orchestral program and serves as primary conductor of all the orchestras.