2021 at Eastman: A Year in Photographs

January 13, 2022

2021 was the year that Eastman returned to campus, with in-person classes, events, and concerts. It’s also the year that Eastman began its centennial with many memorable events … and many more to come in 2022. Our series of photographs of the highlights of 2021 tell the story of this year, from saying goodbye to the Class of 2021 in May to the return of Holiday Sing in December, rounding out a memorable, turbulent year with thoughts of music and peace.

In the spring semester, we announced our 2021 William Warfield Scholarship recipient, soprano Jazmine Saunders, who performed as part of the ceremony in Kilbourn Hall.

Eastman Opera Theatre’s imaginative response to a ban on in-person performances was the video production Mozart Mayhem, recorded on location in several Rochester venues; this is a scene from Le Nozze di Figaro.


The Eastman students in the award-winning Sequoia Reed Quintet had a busy semester taking part in the James E. Clark Chamber Music Residency (above) and glamming up to celebrate the kick-off of Eastman’s Centennial Campaign (below).


Life in “The Real World” began for Eastman’s Class of 2021 on May 23, with a return to our traditional Commencement ceremony in Kodak Hall with pomp and circumstance, followed by a joyous leavetaking among our students.

2021 Commencement speaker Kelly Hall-Tompkins ‘93E (center) is shown with University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf (left) and Eastman Dean Jamal J. Rossi (right).


Eastman’s normally busy Summer Session continued online in 2021, but the relative quiet provided a chance to spruce up our iconic spaces, both inside (Cominsky Promenade) and out (touching up the Eastman Theatre doors).


Only a couple of months after the Class of 2021’s Commencement, the cycle began again with move-in day for the first-year students in the Class of 2025.

Soon after arriving for the fall 2021 semester, students were eager to enjoy the end-of-summer weather, and to make music for all to enjoy.


The fall 2021 semester began in late August with another Eastman tradition, Convocation. This year’s event, the official beginning of the school year, featured centennial-related musical performances by the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Mark Davis Scatterday, and by Professor of Double Bass, James VanDemark, recipient of the Eisenhart Teaching Award.

Eastman students and faculty members were back on campus, but still followed pandemic safety guidelines, including the wearing of masks and social distancing.

In early September Eastman dedicated a new statue of one of its most famous alumni, the African American baritone William Warfield (’42, ’46(MM), ’88 Honorary Degree) (1920 – 2002). Designed by Shawn Dunwoody, the statue in Miller Center was unveiled by Warfield’s nephew Thomas Warfield in the presence of community leaders and Warfield family members. Music was provided by our current Warfield Scholarship winner, soprano Jazmine Saunders ’22. This collaboration included the William Warfield Scholarship Fund (WWSF) along with Thomas Warfield, The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the City of Rochester.


Our Alumni Weekend brought a return of many traditions. Performances included a spectacular evening at Kodak Hall featuring Garth Fagan Dance (celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary), Eastman’s Saxophone Project and Percussion Ensemble, and the presentation of the Luminary Award to Garth Fagan himself.


Other Alumni Weekend events included an “I <3 Eastman” event for all University students, food trucks, and a belated graduation ceremony in Kodak Hall for the “COVID class”  of 2020.


Eastman Opera Theatre continued its resourceful reaction to the continuing pandemic with imaginative video productions, including Elizabeth Cree by Kevin Puts ‘94E, ’99E (DMA) staged and recorded in Kodak Hall. EOT returned to Kilbourn Hall in November for a double bill by women composers, Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens (Suite), shown here, and Missy Mazzioli’s Proving Up.











Special guests in the fall 2021 semester included an Eastman favorite, the great jazz guitarist Gene Bertoncini, who received an Eastman Centennial Award. Gene is shown here in Kilbourn Hall (second from left) with Dean Jamal Rossi, along with Jazz Faculty Bill Dobbins, Rich Thompson, Jeff Campbell, Clay Jenkins, and Bob Sneider.












Godzilla (AKA Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Bert Bones) pays a Halloween-time visit to Betty’s Café and surprises Dean Jamal Rossi.

In October, Professor of Harpsichord Lisa Crawford organized a concert featuring four students in concerti by J. S. Bach for two, three, and four harpsichords. Our beautiful instruments are shown here in rehearsal.


Eastman’s beloved Holiday Sing returned on December 3, this time in a socially-distanced performance in Kodak Hall. It was still a memorable event, with performances by several Eastman student groups, and it ended with the traditional singing of Dona Nobis Pacem.

Photographs by J. Adam Fenster, Michelle Martorell, John Schlia, Hannah Kim, David Raymond, Willord Simmons, Josh Lau, Nic Minetor