Office of Advancement

Emily Wozniak

“Eastman is where the ‘doers’ go.”
          – Emily Wozniak ’14E (MM)

Emily WozniakHello! My name is Emily Wozniak and I am currently a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music pursuing degrees in horn performance and music education. My musical path has been somewhat unusual, especially since I’m the first musician in my family. In fifth grade I became intrigued by instruments and wanted to play in band, but unfortunately scored low on a music aptitude test and was put on a waiting list. After begging my mom, she convinced my teachers that I was a hard-worker, and they said I could play the horn. At first, playing the horn wasn’t as fun as I had imagined; it was my first instrument and I was by far one of the worst performers in my sixth grade class. But, I practiced diligently, and as my skills improved, music drew me in.  

I remember the first time I sat in an orchestra: I was mesmerized by the sound of strings floating around me and I wondered how such beautiful music could be real. When I performed Symphony No. 2 by Sibelius in high school, I could barely play in some parts because I couldn’t stop smiling; the music was that magical to me. At a young age, music became my sanctuary. Today, after 13 years of horn-playing, I am still inspired by music and I want to spread my passion in every way possible as a performer, teacher, and innovator.

After finishing a bachelor’s degree in horn performance, I wanted a well-rounded experience for my master’s degree, which I knew I could receive at Eastman. It had always been my dream to play professionally in an orchestra, but as I continued my collegiate education, I became aware of a big problem in our country: many orchestras are struggling financially and arts education programs are getting cut in schools. Essentially, the future of classical music is uncertain.

I decided to come to Eastman because it is where the “doers” go. At Eastman, we design our own paths. Before I started my master’s degree I was able to meet professors in all of the departments I would be involved in, and they eagerly pointed me in the right direction to start a student-run orchestra that would be dedicated to exploring alternative ways of presenting all genres of music. I am passionate in my belief that music is not only relevant to society, it is essential to our well-being; my professors made me feel like I had support and fuel for my passion before school had even started.

During the first week of school I started Sound ExChange ( I knocked on practice room doors and asked my peers to join a new student orchestra that would innovate the traditional presentation model for orchestras. After just one day, I had found an overwhelming number of students who were interested. It has now been over seven months since its inception and Sound Exchange is currently comprised of over 40 participants including Eastman undergraduate and graduate students, University of Rochester medical students, business students, a film major, and an English major.

Sound ExChange started with the goal of performing orchestra concerts at various University of Rochester academic schools where we could demonstrate the relevancy of classical music, show new audiences that music is vital to our culture, and generate interest in orchestra concerts.  We designed an entirely new seating plan for our concerts: the audience sitsin the orchestra so they can watch the conductor and feel the electricity generated by fifty musicians playing together.  So far, we have performed at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Simon School of Business, Sage Art Center, and the Spurrier Dance Studio. Clearly, there is a demand for orchestras and live classical music; we just need to readjust the way it is presented.

Eastman has opened the door to so many opportunities for me. At school, I am amazed by the level of investment I witness from the faculty in every department I am involved in. The environment at Eastman is like an enormous pool of talent and creativity. Students, faculty, and alumni like you define Eastman: passionate, enthusiastic, gifted, intelligent, and dedicated to music.

Eastman has had a tremendous impact on my life and my ability to make a difference in the field of classical music.

I have experienced the environment of other schools in larger cities with prestigious performance departments and I can sincerely say that I believe Eastman is educating the musicians who will design the future of classical music. I am excited about the creativity young musicians bring to classical music and I hope Sound ExChange and other similar groups will ignite a music revolution, none of which would be possible without your support. For these opportunities and Eastman, I will always be thankful.


Emily Wozniak's Signature

Emily Wozniak ’14E (MM)