The Eastman Studio Orchestra combines the personnel of the Eastman Jazz Ensemble with a full complement of strings, woodwinds, French horns, tuba, harp, and percussion from Eastman’s two symphony orchestras. Using the large professional recording studio ensemble, Hollywood film soundstage orchestras, European radio orchestras, and the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra as models, the 70-piece Eastman Studio Orchestra performs a broad range of repertoire that incorporates jazz, classical music, music for film, contemporary pop, and world music. Since 1995, the Eastman Studio Orchestra has performed Duke Ellington’s 1951 Harlem Suite (A Tone Parallel to Harlem), music from Vince Mendoza’s “Epiphany” suite, selections from Nancy Wilson’s Love, Nancy CD, film and Broadway works by Leonard Bernstein, and Eastman student film scoring projects. Works by current Eastman students are regularly performed and recorded by the Eastman Studio Orchestra.
Over the past 30 years, renowned artists have been featured with the Eastman Studio Orchestra. Stan Getz, Keith Jarrett, Dave Liebman, Oscar Peterson, Clark Terry, and Phil Woods have been showcased as soloists; composers Michel LeGrand, Bill Holman, Bob Brookmeyer, and Vince Mendoza have conducted the ensemble in programs featuring their original orchestral works; and the voices of jazz legend Nancy Wilson and Broadway star Davis Gaines have been accompanied by the group. The ensemble has frequently been named the winner of the Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards “Best Studio Orchestra” category. University and high school studio orchestra programs throughout America have been patterned after the design of the Eastman Studio Orchestra.