The original version of this article appeared in the printed edition of the Winter 2022 Eastman Notes magazine. Since it appeared, we’ve been able to update a number of commissioned titles and other facts, which are reflected in this online version.
It officially began last fall, and it is still going strong. Eastman’s centennial celebration has featured numerous performances by world-renowned artists—including composers, vocalists, instrumentalists, and quartets—alongside student groups and as part of residencies, master classes, conferences, and festivals. Many of our alumni have been featured guests as performers or composers of commissioned works, and several Eastman faculty members have contributed works to the centennial through their own recitals, commissioned works, and more. (You can find more information about several of these commissioned works and their composers, and other centennial events, by clicking the links found below.)
Here is a summary of Eastman Centennial events, some recently past, some to come, by categories. You can read details about several of them, and read about those to come, at esm.rochester.edu/100.
FESTIVALS: On March 3, 1922 the Eastman School of Music officially opened its doors to the community. On that date, the main building’s floors had been completed, including the Main Hall (not yet Lowry Hall), the Cominsky Promenade, and Kilbourn Hall. A chamber music concert was given that evening to dedicate the concert space that has now heard thousands of performances.
Almost one hundred years later to the day, the school once again opened its doors to the Rochester community for a five-day event that included performances in all of Eastman’s halls. The 2022 version of “Eastman Opens the Doors”, from March 2 through 6, was ushered in with an opening concert bringing together the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Musica Nova with premieres by Augusta Read Thomas, Jeff Tyzik ’73E, ’75E (MM), André Myers ’96E, and Brad Lubman. (See “A Centennial Cornucopia” below for details on all centennial commissions.)
Other events in this busy weekend included the participatory online event 100 Concerts in 100 Days; a “Performathon” on March 4 which involved many Eastman students performing throughout the school; a Community Indoor Music Festival, featuring 200 musicians from the Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) joined by 400 musicians from local orchestras, wind ensembles, and choirs; a reading and book signing with Eastman Historian Vincent Lenti ’60E, ’63E (MAS) of the third volume in his ongoing history of the school, Nurturing the Love of Music: Robert Freeman and the Eastman School of Music; Sense of Community: Bach’s Moveable Feast, a multimedia event inspired by J.S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue at Rochester Artisan Works; and a collaboration with Rochester’s Biodance and Cordancia, including the world premiere of Pierrot in America by Professor of Composition David Liptak ’75E, ’76E (DMA). Eastman also opened its doors throughout the Rochester area, with many “pop-up concerts” and performances at SUNY Geneseo, soup kitchens, senior residencies, museums, and other locations.
Eastman’s Women in Music Festival returned from March 21-25, 2022. This event, which occurred annually at Eastman from 2006 to 2015, celebrated women involved in all aspects of music. Festival highlights included world premieres by composers Pam Marshall ’76E and Jennifer Bellor ’13E (PhD) with Eastman’s Horn Choir, and by Natalie Draper with organist Anne Laver ’11E (DMA); lunchtime concerts with student and faculty performers; a composers’ forum featuring Georgina Derbez; and a symposium and legacy concert dedicated to Florence B. Price.
Price’s music, which has recently been rediscovered to much acclaim, also appeared in the returning Gateways Music Festival, held at Eastman from April 18-20, 2022. Gateways—an annual festival, presented in association with Eastman, whose mission is to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent — not only celebrate its 22nd festival here; it also made its New York debut, including a Gateways Orchestra concert in Carnegie Hall performance on April 24 that included the premiere of I Can, by the Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Jon Batiste. Gateways President & Artistic Director is Lee Koonce ’96 (MM).
CONFERENCES: Eastman is celebrating its reputation in musical scholarship with a number of important conferences. The fall saw Eastman hosting the College Music Society (CMS) in October and the Winter Conference of New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) in December.
The spring included a joint meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State and the regional chapter of the American Musicological Society, celebrating the 50th anniversary of MTSNYS along with Eastman’s Centennial, in April. A Diversity Conference is planned for fall 2022.
In addition, the Musicology and Music Theory departments are celebrating their alumni. A Musicology Symposium Series includes Seth Brodsky ’07E (PhD); Alexander Stefaniak ’12E (PhD); Kira Thurman ’13 (PhD, UR); and Tamara Levitz ’94E (PhD). The spring 2022 Music Theory Colloquium invited Professor Emeritus Robert Gauldin ’58E (PhD), Daphne Tan ’13E (PhD), Jenine Brown ’14E (PhD), Peter Kaminsky ’90E (PhD), Trevor de Claerq ’12E (PhD), Alyssa Barna ’19E (PhD), Jocelyn Neal ’02E (PhD), J. Daniel Jenkins ’07E (PhD), Sam Ng ’05E (PhD), and Zac Cairns ’10E (PhD).
Eastman’s Morning Chamber Music dedicated its season to alumni of color, beginning in October with violinist Curtis Stewart ’08E, continuing in April with a concert dedicated to music of the late George Walker ’56E (DMA), as part of the dedication of our new George Walker Center for Equity and Inclusion in Music. This concert included a performance by one of George Walker’s sons, violinist and composer Gregory Walker. Jeff Ziegler ’95E, former cellist of the Kronos Quartet, will return in this series next fall.
GUESTS: The Eastman Wind Ensemble’s first concerts of the semester brought back Allen Vizzutti ’74E, ’76E (MM) and Mike Titlebaum ’91E, ’92E (MM), each premiering a new work. Guest trombonist and composer Michael Davis ’83E helped the Eastman Trombone Choir celebrate its 80th birthday in November.
Noted song and music theatre composer Ben Moore, whose music was featured in Eastman Opera Theatre’s fall 2020 virtual production Our Voices, visited in September to coach voice and opera students for a full evening of his music directed by master’s student Madeleine Snow.
Composer, bandleader, and musical polymath Vijay Iyer, who was described by the New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker, and multicultural gateway,” was this year’s guest in the Glenn E. Watkins Lecture Series, hosted by the musicology and Jazz and Contemporary media department.
Noted new-music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, which had its origins at Eastman in the 1990s, came for a residency and joint performance with OSSIA in February, including conductor Alan Pierson ’06E (DMA) premiering a new work by Alyssa Pyper.
FACULTY RECITALS AND ENSEMBLE CONCERTS: Eastman faculty members have also embraced the centennial. Premieres figured on several programs this fall, notably “…and she said…” by Jon Lin Chua ’17E, performed by Professors Renée Jolles, violin, and Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo soprano; Three Rhapsodies by Carter Pann ’94E, performed by Professor of Piano (and Pann’s former classmate) Marina Lomazov ’93E, ’00E (DMA); and Canticum Psalmi Falsum (Sing-Psalms are False) by Hannah Lash ’04E, with William Weinert leading the Eastman Chorale.
Professor Tony Caramia and his piano students took a different tack, devoting two recitals to music written in 1921, the year of Eastman’s opening. For his Faculty Artist Series recital, Associate Professor of Clarinet Michael Wayne chose to salute two of his great Eastman predecessors, Stanley Hasty (who taught here from 1955 to 1985) and Peter Hadcock (1985 to 1993).
In the spring 2022 semester, we enjoyed performances of commissioned works by Cynthia Folio ’79E (MA), ’85E (PhD) by Eastman Virtuosi; Jung Sun Kang ’08E (MM), ’13E (DMA) by Professor of Viola George Taylor; Eastman Wind Ensemble (Robert Paterson ’95E); EWE Harmonie (Tonia Ko ’10E); Eastman Philharmonia (David Liptak ’75E MM, ’76E DMA); and Eastman Jazz Ensemble (Legacy by its longtime director Bill Dobbins, retiring this year).
THIS WEEK AT EASTMAN: Enjoy glimpses from 100 years of Eastman! David Peter Coppen, the Sibley Music Library’s Special Collections Librarian, is curating This Week at Eastman, looking back at the events of a particular week in Eastman’s history. This Week at Eastman is archived on the Sibley Library website: esm.rochester.edu/sibley. This archive includes full accounts, additional historical items, and photographs.
A Centennial Cornucopia: New Music, with Much Fanfare
Eastman’s Centennial Celebration includes more than 50 new compositions, world premieres, and centennial fanfares written specifically for Eastman’s ensembles, faculty, and guest artists. The “Who’s Who” includes some of the most prominent names in contemporary American music, a number of current and former Eastman faculty members, and three Pulitzer Prize winners.
“The Centennial is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the people and achievements of the school’s first century, but to also launch the new initiatives that will help shape the school’s second century of musical excellence and leadership,” says Dean Jamal Rossi. “The commissioned compositions by so many distinguished composers will provide lasting contributions to the repertoires of our performing ensembles. It will be wonderful to observe the many performances these works will receive by ensembles around the world, knowing that these compositions were inspired by Eastman.”
Some titles are yet to be confirmed.
Samuel Adler: As You Like It (Eastman Philharmonia)
Matthew Barber ’15E (PhD): TBD (Eastman Audio Research Studio)
Anthony Barfield: Avante (Eastman Trombone Choir)
Jon Batiste, I Can (Gateways Music Festival, Carnegie Hall) ADD COMMISSION INFORMATION
Derek Bermel: TBD (Ying Quartet)
Billy Childs: The Inexorable Motion of Time (Eastman Percussion Ensemble)
Anthony Davis: work for narrator and orchestra with text by poet laureate Joy Harjo,for the Eastman Philharmonia. Eastman received a $15,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment of the Arts to support this commission project as part of the School’s Centennial year.
Katrina DiCrasto: Holy Departure (Eastman Youth Chamber Singers)
Bill Dobbins: Legacy (Eastman Jazz Ensemble)
Nadine Dyskant-Miller: This is the Silence Before the Leaf Sound Grows (Krusentjerna Flute Choir)
Cynthia Folio ’79E (MA), ’85E (PhD): Musical Vistas (Bonita Boyd and Nicholas Goluses)
Jeremy Gill: Tous le monde à la fois (Double Reed Ensemble)
Bill Holman: Arbitration (Eastman Jazz Ensemble)
Vera Ivanova: High Up! (Eastman Treble Chorus)
Tonia Ko ’10E: Giving Ground (Eastman Harmonie)
Hannah Lash ’04E: Canticum Psalmi Falsum (Sing-Psalms are False) (Eastman Chorale)
Jon Lin Chua ’17E: “…and she said…” (Renée Jolles and Katherine Ciesinski)
David Liptak ’75E (MM), ’76E (DMA): Pierrot in America (Biodance, Cordancia); New England Primer (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Brad Lubman: ESM 100 (Musica Nova)
Matthew Lucia: What I Found Under This Rock (Drum Joy Ensemble)
John Mackey: TBD (Eastman Saxophone Project)
Robert Morris ’65E: All Tonics for 13 musicians; Canonical Minutes for 15 musicians; TBD (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Lawrence Neeck ’90E: Ceremony and Celebration (New Horizons Band, for New Horizons’30th anniversary)
Carter Pann ’94E: Three Rhapsodies (Marina Lomazov)
Rob Paterson ’95E: The Winds of Time (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Kevin Puts ’94E, ’99E (DMA): The Brightness of Light (Eastman Philharmonia)
Augusta Read Thomas: Dance Mobile (Musica Nova). This new piece, premiered March 2, 2022 by Eastman Musica Nova, already has had performances scheduled in Iowa, Florida, Chicago, and Hong Kong.
Ramon Ricker ‘73E (DMA): Three Jazz Settings for the Eastman Saxophone Ensemble
Dave Rivello ’89E: TBD (Eastman New Jazz Ensemble)
Mark Scatterday ’89E (DMA): Fanfares from the Second Symphony, arranged from Howard Hanson (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Maria Schneider ’83E (MM): The Great Potoo (Eastman New Jazz Ensemble)
Joseph Schwantner: Fast Forward (Eastman Percussion Ensemble)
Baljinder Sekhon ’08E (MA), ’13E (PhD): Dreamers (Garth Fagan Dance, Eastman Percussion Ensemble, Eastman Saxophone Project)
Philip Silvey: The Art of Being (Eastman/University of Rochester Women’s Chorus)
Jung Sun Kang ’08E (MM), ’13E (DMA): Les Tombeaux (George Taylor)
Michael Titlebaum ’91E, ’92E (MM): Lifelong Journey (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Ivan Trevino ’06E. ’10E (MM): TBD (Ivan Trevino, Michael Burritt, Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Jeff Tyzik: ’73E, ’77E (MM): Symphonies for Wind Orchestra (Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Allen Vizzutti ’74E, ’76E (MM): River of Light; Quartet for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble (both for Eastman Wind Ensemble)
Zoe Yucong Wang: 17E, ’10E (MM): Reunion: A Picturesque Rochester (Double Reed Chorus)
These Eastman alumni composers created 15 fanfares especially for the Eastman Centennial and various ensembles, a project that Eastman Wind Ensemble director Mark Scatterday ’89E (DMA) calls “one of the most rewarding projects for the Centennial Celebration. These fanfares all strive to depict the ‘ever better’ motto of our school and university.”
Joel Balzun ’15E: Eastman Centennial Fanfare
Austin Chanu ‘20E (MM), ‘22E (DMA): 30 break 30
Steve Danyew ’10E (MM): Festival Music
Todd Frazier ’92E: Hear the Future Now
Stanley Friedman ’75E (MM), ’76E (DMA): A Swan Song
David Heinick ’76E, ’77E (MM): Centennial Fanfarade
Sydney Hodkinson ’57E ’58E (MM): Meliora!
Michael Isaacson ’79E (PhD): An Honor and a Privilege
T. Kloth ’78 (MM): Wings Extended
Michael Lee ’08E: Fanfare for the Unspoken Heroes of Our Times
Andre Myers ’96E: This Door, This Day
Diana Rosenblum ’21E (PhD): Flights of Fancy/Frenzy
Walter Saul ’79E (MM), ’80E (DMA): Fanfare for Eastman
Max Stern ’69E: Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
Christopher M. Wicks ’95E: Fanfare for the Musician, Common or Uncommon