The Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music was founded in 2016 by Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal ‘85E (BM) and vocalist Joan Beal ‘84E (BM). Jeff,  who received his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman with High Distinction in 1985, serves as artistic director of the Institute and continues to be closely involved with the students, faculty, and administration of the school.

Under the direction of Mark Watters, Emmy Award-winning composer and conductor, the Institute builds on the film legacy of the School’s founder, George Eastman.

Live Performances, Recording Sessions and More...

The Institute provides students with instruction and opportunities that prepare them for the increasingly evolving demands in the professional world. Students compose for more than a dozen recording sessions and live performances, featuring superb Eastman instrumentalists. In addition to numerous recording sessions, there is the annual departmental recital, Visual Music, featuring all of the second year students conducting their compositions live-to-picture.

Collaborative experiences abound

Beal Institute students have opportunities to work with established visiting artists: professionals actively engaged in composing, producing, orchestrating and/or conducting for film and other contemporary media. Students also collaborate on cross-disciplinary and multi-media projects with fellow Eastman students and faculty members from the humanities, composition, and other departments. There are also opportunities to work with community arts organizations and universities such as the Rochester Institute of Technology’s world renowned film, animation and video game developing schools. The Institute enhances the graduate degree program in convergent media and film music.

Eastman’s graduate media composition program provides excellent opportunities to perform live, like the Rochester International Jazz Festival or performances in Kodak Hall and other venues. We also work with other schools in the area, providing a great opportunity to collaborate on a variety of projects.

Meet, greet and travel!

Second-year students travel to Los Angeles during their Spring Break where they attend recording sessions, meet working composers, orchestrators and studio music executives. This trip is funded, in part, by a generous donation from BMI.

Limited enrollment = Personalized experience

Enrollment is limited, allowing for a more personalized experience. At least a quarter of the curriculum is left up to the student and director, Mark Watters, to decide. Some students will want or need more training in technology. Others will choose more traditional studies such as conducting, orchestration or counterpoint. Having a small class size, and this boutique, individualized approach, allows us to work more closely with each student to develop their unique talents and skills.

For more information about the Master of Music in Contemporary Media/Film Composition