Women in Music Festival

Sylvie Beaudette

Dear Women in Music Festival fans,

This year, we celebrated a milestone: 10 years of musical discoveries and creations.  We have presented the music of about 35 composers each year and involved an average of 150 performers per year.  The Women in Music Festival has brought performers, ensembles, poets, nonprofit organizations, churches and temples, schools and colleges together to share this repertoire; many of the pieces we presented have now become standards.  

I want to give a special thank-you to the following people who, through the years, have made the festival possible:

  • Bob Thompson of Universal Edition, for giving us seed money in 2004 to start the festival.
  • Donna Brink Fox, Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, and James Undercofler, former Dean of the Eastman School of Music, for believing, ten years ago, that the festival was worth doing.
  • Sophia Ahmad, co-founder of the Women in Music Festival, and my faithful sidekick for the first three years, and all my assistant directors since then:  Tiffany Ng, Lisa Raposa, Liu Liu, Eun Mi Ko, Beata Golec, Christiana Reader, and Lourdes “Lulu” Cossich.
  • Deans Douglas Lowry and Jamal Rossi who enthusiastically supported the festival and greatly appreciated its contribution to the Eastman School and the Rochester community.
  • Nathan Martel, who created our beloved logo in 2005.  Karen Ver Steeg for her unbounded creativity designing our yearly look.  David Raymond, for his keen eye editing the yearly festival booklet.
  • The various Eastman School offices who all had a hand in the festival:  Office of the Dean, Communications Office, Concert Office, Eastman Bookstore, Ensemble Library, Facilities and Auxiliary Operations, Information Window, Institute for Music Leadership (Arts Leadership Program), Instrument Office, Office of Advancement, Sibley Music Library, Technology and Media Production
  • Eastman School’s departments:  Chamber Music, Composition, Conducting and Ensembles, Humanities, Jazz Studies, Musicology, Organ/Sacred Music/Historical Keyboards, Piano, Strings, Harp and Guitar, Voice and Opera, Winds, Brass and Percussion
  • Howard Spindler, who organized the Eastman Community Music School concerts.  He understood the importance of encouraging young performers and budding composers to study and perform repertoire written by women of all ages.
  • Constant support from the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music, the Susan B. Anthony Institute at the University of Rochester, and the Eastman All-Events Committee.
  • Our two collegiate collaborators:  Nazareth College and SUNY Geneseo, as well as Rochester Institute of Technology during the 2007 “extravaganza.”
  • Our local poets who shared their work during the noontime concerts from 2008 to 2014.  Their reading added a unique touch to the festival.  Their participation was so greatly appreciated.
  • Jonathan Baldo, for spending hours with me in the early years, chugging coffee and trying to match poetry and music.
  • The composers-in-residence who so generously shared their love for music, their knowledge, and their enthusiasm for Eastman’s performers.  Their presence at Eastman served as a great model for our young composers.
  • David Headlam, husband and father extraordinaire, who had to celebrate the “Man at Home Festival” for the first couple of years.  He also set up chairs, picked up catering, videotaped concerts, etc. I couldn’t have done this without him.
  • PERFORMERS!!  Without you, nothing would have been possible.  You brought this music to life and to the world.

With our 10th anniversary, I am bringing the festival to a close, but I urge everyone to keep the spirit of the festival alive.  Encourage your daughters to become composers, discover women composers through repertoire and music history, and support performers and ensembles who include these great works in their programs.  

I would also love to hear from you!  Please share your stories about projects that have originated or grown from the Women in Music Festival:  collaborations with composers, recordings, research projects, or other projects that would not have happened without the festival.  Please email me at:  sbeaudette@esm.rochester.edu

 Thanks to all of you for coming to our concerts and for celebrating women’s achievements with us.

 Sylvie Beaudette, Artistic Director

April 2014