Eastman News Highlights December 7, 2015

Here are some select recent clippings showing the variety of hits/mentions identifying musicians and scholars as Eastman School of Music alumni, faculty or students. (Note: Some links may have expired.)

The Top 25 Music Schools 2015

(The Hollywood Reporter 11/25/2015)

Although it ranks among the top conservatories in the country and accepts only 13 percent of applicants, the Eastman School of Music also boasts a surprising connection to Hollywood — it was originally formed by George Eastman of Eastman Kodak as an institution to create music for silent films.

It’s an expensive school but also generous with financial aid, with virtually every student attending the school receiving some form of scholarship. “It’s an amazing school,” says composer Jeff Beal (Emmy winner for Netflix’s House of Cards). “You can’t go through a place like Eastman without really being trained in the mechanics of orchestration and production. Eastman has always had some sort of a media component — they had a jazz program, a film scoring class, so I got my feet wet in that — but the skill I’m most happy about is a general sense of music literacy. The idea of being a film composer is so eclectic and it is such a deadline-driven business that you have to be able to do anything.”

Teachers were confident 2007 North graduate would make it as musician
(Chicago Tribune © 11/27/2015)

When it comes to jazz, Katie Ernst is the trifecta, playing bass, performing as a vocalist, and teaching a future generation of musicians. It’s all in a day’s work for the 2007 graduate of Naperville North High School.

Ernst went on to graduate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in 2011, and continued to pursue her passion for jazz. In 2013, she was one of 24 young artist-composers selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, an international jazz residency program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Today, she regularly composes and performs with the band Twin Talk, and in 2015, officially released “Little Words,” an original album based on the poetry of Dorothy Parker.

Inside Rapid City’s New Horizons Band

(KEVN Black Hills FOX 12/02/2015)

They’re mostly adults over 50 years old… and these musicians tour all around our area to delight people with the sound of music. The New Horizons Program started in 1991, at the Eastman School of Music in New York… and currently there are around 200 bands worldwide.

People from all different backgrounds join the band, some are adults who played early in their life and would like to play again, some are beginners with an attraction to music. Winter says, “It’s a gift to the community and it’s a gift to the people who participate because it’s a very healthy environment to be in because it challenges your mind and your body all at the same time. “

New Horizons Band celebrates 20th year with Dec. 12 concert
(Las Cruces Bulletin © 11/30/2015)

NHB is a nonprofit and continues its affiliation with NMSU. Mike White, of White’s Music Box of Las Cruces, is also a band sponsor. All band rehearsals are on the NMSU campus, and it performs three or more times a year at NMSU’s Atkinson Recital Hall, which is also called the Music Building.

The first New Horizons band was formed by Dr. Roy Ernst, who taught for 25 years at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. He started an NHB there in 1991, and the model has since expanded to more than 130 bands across the country, including three in Las Cruces, the NHB, the New Horizons Swing Band and the New Horizons Symphony; and one other in New Mexico, the NHB of Rio Rancho. There are also NHBs in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia.

A Prize-Winning Rediscovery from 1840s Paris (and 1830s Egypt)
(Opera Today © 11/30/2015)

Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century. In recent days, it has been brought back to the concert hall—and introduced to the recording studio—by prominent and adventuresome conductors. The recording reviewed below is only the second that the complete work has ever received. On 18 November 2015, it was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles Cros, in the category “Redécouverte du répertoire” (that is: for rediscovering an important work from the past).

I wrote a mostly glowing review of this recording for American Record Guide (July/August 2015). It is reprinted below (with kind permission of ARG), lightly expanded and updated.

Ralph P. Locke
Ralph Locke is Professor Emeritus of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music. His most recent books are Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections and Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart . He is also the founding editor of Eastman Studies in Music, a book series published by University of Rochester Press.

New Met Opera Radio Host Has Ties to Rochester
(Rochester Democrat & Chronicle © 11/30/2015)

The 2015-2016 season of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts begins on December 5 on WXXI Classical 91.5, with its new host, Mary Jo Heath behind the microphone, as the fourth full-time radio host in the Met’s history. The announcement came in August 2015 when Heath, who was senior radio producer for the Met for nine seasons, was named to succeed Margaret Juntwait, who passed away in June.

If her name rings a bell, that’s because she served as a host at WXXI-FM while she was working on her Ph.D. in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music in the 1980s. Mary Jo is “obnoxiously proud of being from Norman, Oklahoma” where she received two degrees in music. She took piano lessons for 20 years and voice for 10, and her teachers there encouraged her to “jump into a bigger pond.” Once she got to Eastman, she enrolled in voice lessons “just for fun and to keep me practicing” and told us, “it was a lucky bit of serendipity that they assigned me to study with Renée Fleming.”

Eastman School of Music professor wins Polish studies prize
(Penfield Post © 12/02/2015)

Lisa Jakelski, assistant professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music, has been named a recipient of the Polish Studies Association’s 2015 Aquila Prize for the best English-language article in

(Rochester City Newspaper © 12/02/2015)

Eastman School of Music‘s student-led ensemble dedicated to contemporary classical repertoire — is no stranger to interpreting works by living composers. On Friday, OSSIA will present a concert that highlights Japanese composer Jo Kondo, who will be in-residence at Eastman for five days as a Howard Hanson visiting professor.

(Rochester Business Journal © 11/27/2015)

Kondo at Eastman
Composer Jo Kondo will be in residence at the Eastman School of Music from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, as Howard Hanson Visiting Professor. Kondo is one of Japan’s most distinguished composers and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His music is described as a blend of East and West and has been widely performed, commissioned and recorded. He has written more than 130 compositions.

Kondo will lead a symposium and master class, and he’ll attend rehearsals and a concert by Ossia, Eastman’s student-run new music ensemble. Ossia will premiere Kondo’s “Variations (triskelion),” composed for the group, in Hatch Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Dec. 4. The group will play two additional works by Kondo, “Wait,” for five percussionists, and “Surface: Depth and Color.”

Lioi: Realize the beauty of God this Advent season
(Auburn Citizen © 11/29/2015)

During these four weeks of Advent, Saint Mary’s Church will offer beautifully crafted experiences of instrumental music and sung prayer. On the first three Sundays evenings of Advent (Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13), Compline (night prayer of the church) will be sung in candlelight at 8 p.m. by a special schola cantorum. Compline will be preceded at 7:30 p.m. by an organ recital performed by organ students from Eastman School of Music. Both the organ recital at 7:30 p.m. and Compline at 8 p.m. are a quiet, reflective way to begin each Advent week.

A look at the Orlando Philharmonic, as executive director steps down

(Examiner.com © 12/02/2015)

More than five years ago, I shared my enthusiasm about the future of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO), as the city’s linchpin for art music. Around that time, the organization had weathered a difficult recession, which affected Orlando’s arts and cultural organizations in the late 2000s. In addition to the excellent work of former Music Director Christopher Wilkins, I pointed out Executive Director David Schillhammer’s administrative leadership as a vital part of the orchestra’s development, and its future outlook.Two weeks ago, the OPO announced that Schillhammer is stepping down from his role, after almost 16 years of service and a strong track record. Schillhammer, 50, came onboard as the first executive director of the OPO, and started his tenure alongside Hal France, the organization’s first music director.

“I think that my successor needs to build upon the arts district legacy that the Phil has had, and work with Jacobsen to continue to build a strong patron base and diversify it,” says the Vermont native and Eastman School of Music graduate. “Eric has wonderful programming ideas; he is known as ‘the future of classical music.’ Those initiatives need to move forward.”

Robert Re ‘The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.’ At Vitellos
(Broadway World © 12/02/2015)

On Jan 10th, Los Angeles audiences are about to receive a rare experience and opportunity to see and hear the legendary Bill Pursell and successful daughter, Laura Pursell, sharing their family legacy on stage for the first time in years – With special appearance by family friend Don Most (Happy Days).

Pursell was born in Oakland, California and raised in Tulare. He studied composition in Baltimore and arranged for the U.S. Air Force Band while serving in World War II.[2]Bill Pursell studied classical composition under Howard Hanson at the Eastman School of Music and earned a master’s in composition in the mid-fifties.

Guest conductor creating a ‘Holiday Feast’ for GSO
(Batavia Daily News © 12/03/2015)

The holidays are a time to gather around a table with beloved people, dishes and songs. That’s the spirit that Yunn-Shan Ma wanted to bring to her role as guest conductor for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra’s “Holiday Feast”. Ma, a doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music and an instructor at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges, didn’t want to approach the show as a Christmas concert, because of the universal feeling of the season that crosses faiths and backgrounds.

“Since most of us spend time with family and friends on holidays, I wanted to come up with a program that is not only filled with holiday spirits, but also providing various genres, styles of music to be true feast,” Ma said.