Prospective Student Information Degrees Offered
The comprehensive graduate program at the Eastman School of Music offers four masters- and doctoral-level degrees with a variety of majors.
Master of Arts:
Master of Music:
Doctor of Musical Arts:
Doctor of Philosophy:
Welcome from the Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Master of Music in Performance and Literature curriculum
Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature curriculum
Graduate Awards at Eastman
If you have been scheduled for an audition/interview for graduate study at Eastman, you will be sent this video by the Admissions Office. Financial Support
The Graduate Studies program at Eastman offers merit-based funding in the form of Graduate Awards. These awards consist of tuition scholarships and often stipends, both of which are related to services students provide for the School as Teaching and Departmental Assistants.
Information on Graduate Awards
Financial Aid FAQ 2021-22 (coming soon)
Former Eastman graduate students are pursuing vibrant careers in a variety of musical settings. The following list of PhD and DMA alumni in faculty positions and gallery of selected alumni from the MM, DMA, and PhD programs highlight some of the exciting accomplishments and projects of Eastman graduates.
Eastman School of Music PhDs on the Faculties of Selected Educational Institutions
Eastman School of Music DMAs Serving as Faculty Members and Leaders of Selected Musical Institutions
Daniel Pesca, pianist and composer, is a passionate advocate for new music and a committed proponent of the chamber music repertoire. Daniel has premiered over fifty solo and chamber works, many of which were composed for him. He has shared the stage with groups such as Imani Winds, Spektral Quartet, Chiara Quartet, Orchestra of the League of Composers, Zohn Collective, Ensemble Signal, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble Dal Niente. He has recently performed at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, and at numerous international festivals.
Daniel is Artist-in-Residence and Director of the Chamber Music Program at the University of Chicago. Starting in Fall 2018, Daniel will be the pianist of the Grossman Ensemble, the new resident ensemble at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition. He has also taught at Northeastern Illinois University, Syracuse University, and Ithaca College.
Daniel has a duo partnership with flutist Sarah Frisof (University of Maryland). They have performed over forty recitals at venues such as Interlochen Center, the Arts Club of Washington, and the Dame Myra Hess concerts in Chicago. Their recording of the music of Joseph Schwantner was released on Centaur Records, and a second CD is forthcoming. Daniel’s other CD recordings feature works by Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. New recordings of solo music by Augusta Read Thomas, Bernard Rands, and Matthew Schreibeis are slated for release in 2019.
“The intensive Eastman graduate culture prepared me for the multifaceted musical life I now enjoy. The DMA afforded me the opportunity to take a deep dive into my creative practice, with the guidance of the remarkable composition and piano faculty. The program broadened my intellectual scope, thanks to the diverse musicology and theory faculty that introduced me to entirely new avenues of inquiry. I gained invaluable classroom experience that enabled me to move seamlessly from doctoral study to professional life. Finally (and perhaps best of all), the Eastman network is like no other—many of the people I met at Eastman remain my closest friends and collaborators.”
Quinn Patrick Ankrum performs a wide variety of repertoire spanning the centuries, from the early Baroque period to the works of living composers. Equally at home on the concert, opera, and recital stages, she has sung with opera companies, orchestras, and festivals throughout the United States and abroad, including the Dallas Opera, Jacksonville Lyric Opera, Mercury Opera (Rochester, NY), National Orchestra of Mexico, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Ash Lawn-Highland Summer Festival, Lorn Live Chamber Music Festival (Oban, Scotland), and the East Anglian Academy of Early Music (Framlingham, England). She returns to both Lorn Live and the East Anglian Academy this August.
An advocate of new music, Ankrum has premiered several works in recent years, including John Harbison’s chamber work
Crossroads and Libby Larsen’s duet “Little Birds”, both with former colleagues at Texas Tech University. With pianist and University of Oklahoma faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Avery (DMA, 2009), she is the co-creator of Living Song Project, a unique online database that promotes the art song and vocal chamber music of living American composers.
In addition to being an active performer and researcher, Dr. Ankrum is a voice teacher with a deep interest in Musicians’ Health and Wellness; she studies Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique. She incorporates the principles of these disciplines into her studio teaching. In addition, she works with students (singers and instrumentalists alike) to help them find greater kinesthetic awareness and freedom in their singing and playing through the use of Body Mapping. She has plans to complete her licensing as an Andover Educator in 2019.
Dr. Ankrum received degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio (BM, MAT), the University of Colorado at Boulder (MM) and the University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music (DMA). She was a Young Artist in the Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artists Program and the Baltimore Opera Studio, and participated in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Intern Program. She has been a finalist and winner in numerous regional and national competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions (Rocky Mountain Region) and the NATS Artist Awards competition (2nd place winner, 2006). She has served on the faculties of SUNY Fredonia (New York), Nazareth College (Rochester, NY), and Texas Tech University (Lubbock). She currently serves as Assistant Professor on the Voice Faculty at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
“It is difficult to put into words what my time at Eastman meant for me as a musician, teacher, and person. As an undergraduate student at Trinity University, I remember being in awe of two professors who were Eastman graduates (Drs. Carolyn True and David Heller). They, and Eastman, stayed in the back of my mind throughout my early musical and academic career, and when I finally decided to pursue a doctorate, Eastman was my “dream” school. My wonderful voice teacher, Dr. Robert McIver, convinced me to apply, and the rest is history. The three years of my time as a DMA student are still fresh in my mind, even though it’s been a decade since that time. Every time I run into an Eastman grad, we end up reminiscing about our days there, and suddenly I’m transported right back to the magic. The DMA at Eastman was exhilarating, invigorating, exhausting, intense … I entered a curious, ambitious musician, and was challenged on a daily basis. The people I met and experiences I had forged a path for me I never could have imagined! The world-class faculty who nurtured and supported me are now colleagues in the world of academia, and I have the great privilege of passing on the knowledge I gained to the students I teach. I would not be the artist-scholar I am today with Eastman!”
Kristian Bezuidenhout, born in 1979, began his studies in Australia, completed them at the Eastman School of Music (BM & MM) and now lives in London. His teachers have included Rebecca Penneys (piano), Malcolm Bilson (fortepiano), Arthur Haas (harpsichord) and Paul O’Dette (performance practice). At the age of 21, Bezuidenhout won the first prize and the audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition; in 2007 he was awarded the Erwin Bodky Prize.
Bezuidenhout has appeared as soloist with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Concert, Concerto Köln, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Collegium Vocale Ghent in many instances as guest director; and with celebrated artists including Christopher Hogwood, Ton Koopman, Daniel Hope, Pieter Wispelwey, Isabelle Faust, Jean Guihen-Queyras and Carolyn Sampson.
In 2006, he was invited by Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18
th Century to perform the complete late piano concertos of Mozart; this was followed by a cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Bezuidenhout has appeared in the early music festivals of Barcelona, Boston, Bruges, St. Petersburg, Venice and Utrecht; the Tanglewood Festival, Mostly Mozart Lincoln Center, Salzburg Festival, Schleswig Holstein; and at halls including the Berlin and Köln Philharmonie, Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus and Suntory Hall.
Recordings for Harmonia Mundi include VOL 1 & 2 of a projected 9 volume series of the complete keyboard works of Mozart (Volume 1 was awarded a Diapason D’Or and Caecilia Prize); Mendelssohn and Mozart piano concertos with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; and Schumann Dichterliebe with Mark Padmore. His recording of Beethoven violin sonatas with Viktoria Mullova (ONYX label) won an ICMA for the best chamber music album of 2011.
“My time at the Eastman School of Music was, without a doubt, the most important and influential of my life. There’s no question that the degrees offered here are among the richest and most comprehensive in the world; more importantly though, the sheer diversity of musical personalities I encountered during my undergraduate and graduate degrees had a dramatic effect on the shape of my career. My modern piano mentor, the wonderful Rebecca Penneys, was a constant throughout, encouraging me to explore and refine my experience with old instruments under the tutelage of Arthur Haas (harpsichord) and Malcolm Bilson (fortepiano); and it is was my extensive work with Paul O’Dette (performance practice and continuo playing) that finally made it clear to me that a life and career in early music was exactly what I had been dreaming of.
I am so grateful for the many doors that Eastman has opened and I remain convinced that it is one of the finest musical institutions of its kind.”
Julie Scott is Professor of Practice and Co-Chair of Music Education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, where she teaches courses to undergraduate and graduate students in elementary and choral music education. Prior to teaching at the college level, Dr. Scott taught elementary music and choir in Texas schools for 18 years, as well as two years as a music administrator. During that time, four of her elementary groups—two Orff and recorder ensembles and two choirs—were invited to perform for the Texas Music Educators Clinic/Convention. Dr. Scott has taught summer Orff Schulwerk courses to adults at eight universities over the past 25 years and has presented over 200 conference sessions and workshops for the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the Organization of American Kodály Educators, state MEAs, Orff chapters, and school districts throughout the US. In addition, she has presented at international conferences and teaching venues in Germany, Scotland, Greece, Australia, China, Italy, and Thailand. Dr. Scott is a past president of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and she is Founder/Director of SMU Music Educators Workshops, which have been in existence for twenty-three years.
“After 18 years as a public school music educator, I was fortunate to spend two years “away at school” to attend Eastman School of Music. Those two years in residence working on a Ph.D. in Music Education were rewarding and unforgettable. I loved being challenged, both intellectually and musically, not only by unparalleled professors, but also by smart, talented students, 99% of whom were much, much younger than I. When someone asks me for advice on where to go to do a doctorate, my answer is always the same. Don’t choose a graduate school just because it’s close to where you live. Choose a school with a program of study that interests you, and which has professors from whom you want to learn. I’ll never regret spending the time and money to leave Texas for two years to complete coursework at one of the best universities in the US, where I learned from amazing professors. Thank you ESM. You will always hold a special place in my heart!”
Aaron Travers is a composer and professor of composition. He earned a BM in Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1997, as well as a BA in Classics from Oberlin College the same year. He later earned an MA and PhD in Composition from the Eastman School of Music in 2003 and 2005 respectively. Mr. Travers has received numerous awards, including 2 nd prize in the 2013 Alexander Zemlinsky Composition Competition from the Cincinnati Conservatory, and more recently the 2016 Red Note Music Festival Composition Award. He is winner of, among other awards, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and a Charles Ives Scholarship, both from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Fromm Music Foundation Commission Award.
Mr. Travers has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the University of Miami Frost Wind Ensemble, Ars Mobilis, the Third Coast Percussion Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble 61, the Avion Saxophone Quartet, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Tarab Cello Ensemble, the Barlow Endowment, and the South Dakota Symphony, among others. His works have been performed widely throughout the world, and his music has been featured at such festivals as the World Saxophone Congress, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, The GuitarArt Festival, and the Festival de Violoncelle in Beauvais, France. Some of his more recent compositional interests have included combining video and live performance, the intersection between classical music and Argentine tango, and exploring the links between music and nature in an attempt to confront environmental issues.
Mr. Travers currently serves as Associate Professor of Composition at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he resides with his wife, Winnie, and their two children, Rowan and Linden.
“My early days at Eastman were marked by a great deal of uncertainty. I had little conviction that anything I had written up to that point was worthwhile, and I gravitated toward isolation. I am very glad that those feelings did not last long. The openness, warmth and wisdom of the faculty at Eastman helped me to understand the value of what I was doing, and the friendships I made there, which last to this day, taught me humility and the importance of being open to new ideas and experiences. I am immensely grateful to Eastman for giving me the opportunities, the support, the musical skills, and the sense of self-worth I needed to succeed in a very competitive world.”
Kevin Michael Holzman was recently appointed Director of Wind Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Holzman received his DMA degree from the Eastman School of Music in 2017, where he studied with Mark Davis Scatterday. A Frederick Fennell Conducting Fellow and 2016 Recipient of the Walter Hagen Prize for Excellence in Conducting, Holzman has had the privilege to worked with professional ensembles including the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and as a cover conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. As Director of Wind Studies at the College-Conservatory of Music, Holzman serves as the music director for the CCM Wind Symphony (CCM’s premier large wind ensemble), the CCM Chamber Orchestra, the CCM Chamber Winds, and the CCM Bras Choir. His academic responsibilities include teaching graduate conducting, survey of wind literature and related courses as well as the advising and mentoring of wind conducting students in CCM’s MM and DMA programs.
While at Eastman, Holzman collaborated with David Maslanka and Bert Appermont for the “Celebration of the Symphony” concert with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman’s first live-streamed large ensemble concert. He regularly appeared as a conductor for OSSIA New Music, including multiple world-premiere performances, and also studied with Neil Varon, Director of Eastman Orchestras. In April 2017, Holzman was appointed conductor for a professional recording of the Music in the American Wild Ensemble, a National Endowment for the Arts grant-funded ensemble consisting of Eastman alumni that commissioned 11 new works in celebration of the 2016 U.S. National Parks Centennial.
“One of the greatest aspects of my time at Eastman is that it prepared me so thoroughly to be successful in any music director position. As a student of Dr. Mark Scatterday and graduate assistant to the Eastman Wind Ensemble, I was fortunate to receive so many incredible opportunities and be given invaluable responsibilities throughout my course of study. The connections I made with peers and professors while at Eastman endure today. The entire Eastman experience (and especially the Eastman Wind Ensemble) continues to serve as a model of excellence for me.”
Alan Pierson has been praised as “a young conductor of monstrous skill” by Newsday, “commanding” by the New York Times, and “gifted and electrifying” by the Boston Globe. He is the artistic director and conductor of Brooklyn Philharmonic and of Alarm Will Sound, which has been called “the future of classical music” by the New York Times and “a sensational force” with “powerful ideas about how to renovate the concert experience” by the New Yorker. Mr. Pierson has appeared as a guest conductor with the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Steve Reich Ensemble, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and The Silk Road Project, among other ensembles. He is also Principal Conductor of the Dublin-based Crash Ensemble, and was a visiting faculty conductor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has collaborated with major composers and performers, including Yo Yo Ma, Steve Reich, Dawn Upshaw, Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Michael Gordon, La Monte Young, and choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Akram Khan and Elliot Feld. Mr. Pierson has recorded for Nonesuch Records, Cantaloupe Music, Sony Classical, and Sweetspot DVD.
David Plylar is an accomplished composer, scholar, pianist and educator. He was appointed as a music specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. in 2012, where he currently serves as a producer of the Concerts from the Library of Congress series. Previously he worked as the Artistic and New Music Coordinator of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa. There he worked with composers, musicians and conductors from around South Africa and internationally to facilitate the creation and presentation of new music.
David’s award-winning compositions range from solo pieces to large orchestral works and independent film scores. He has received awards and recognition from the Meet the Composer Foundation, ASCAP, the American Music Center, the Minnesota Orchestra Reading Sessions, and the Hanson Institute for American Music, among others. The National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble recently premiered his conducted chamber work
Laocoön , and his current collaborations with the Inscape Chamber Orchestra have resulted in the digital release of his transcription of Stravinsky’s Petrushka for 17 players, as well as performances of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata no. 9 (“Black Mass”) for 10 players. David holds degrees from Duke University, the University of Louisville, and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his PhD in composition.
When not composing or performing, David enjoys studying and writing about the music of his contemporaries and 19th/20th century music. An adaptation of his dissertation (exploring compositional, theoretical and musicological features of Franz Liszt’s
Three Funeral Odes) is featured in Volume 59 of the Journal of the American Liszt Society. His tribute to Eastman composer Robert Morris was included in Volume 52 of Perspectives of New Music.
“Eastman is one of the rare institutions that successfully balances the performance focus of a conservatory with the intellectual rigor of top-tier academic programs. During my time there I developed relationships with many wonderful musicians, many of whom I now find myself working with professionally. The support I was given (and continue to get) came from all quarters; for instance, my dissertation committee included composer/theorist Robert Morris, musicologist Ralph Locke, and German/Film Studies professor Reinhild Steingröver—their salient wisdom has had a profound impact on my work. The students, faculty and administrators of Eastman collectively embody the artistic values to which I continue to aspire.”
Born in Kazan, Russia,
Daria Rabotkina received her musical education at the Kazan State Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, and the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Nora Kazatchkova, Guzel Abdoullina, Sergey Rabotkin, Vladimir Feltsman and Natalya Antonova. Since 2016, Dr. Rabotkina has been an Assistant Professor at the School of Music at Texas State University in San Marcos.
Dr. Rabotkina’s concerto highlights include San Francisco and New World Symphonies, Kirov (Mariinsky) Orchestra, Moscow State and Harrisburg Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Concepción, and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra (Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety). Her orchestral collaborations include conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Feltsman, Julian Kuerti, JoAnn Falletta, Benjamin Shwartz, and Giancarlo Guerrero. Dr. Rabotkina has given recitals at the Kennedy Center and Weill Recital Hall, Ravinia’s Rising Stars, Dame Myra Hess Series, the Moscow Conservatory, and in Denmark, Switzerland, and Japan.
Winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Dr. Rabotkina has received top prizes at international competitions and participated in Russia’s White Nights Festival, Finland’s Kuhmo Festival and Copenhagen’s Summer. In the U.S., Dr. Rabotkina has appeared at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the International Keyboard Institute, and Festival and PianoSummer at New Paltz.
“Several years after my graduation, the Eastman School is often on my mind. It comes up in conversations with colleagues and students; frequently, I find myself going, or rather, running down memory lane, drawing from the energy and enthusiasm that accompanied my studies, remembering the wonderful people and the thoroughness of the instruction. Doctoral studies were difficult in a reassuring way, because the fact that I was surrounded by a strong group of peers who also had to work very hard to get to the other end, made me feel like I was climbing the right hill. Thank you, Eastman School, for opening many doors and giving me the opportunity to do what I have always wanted, perform and teach. Thank you to my teacher, Natalya Antonova, for opening the Lost and Found box together with me and helping me lose my doubts and find love!”
John Pickford Richards
John Pickford Richards has gained a reputation for performing new and unusual music around the world. He was a founding member of the ensemble Alarm Will Sound, working closely with such composers as John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich at venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Holland Festival. John is currently the violist of the JACK Quartet, which works closely with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, and Wolfgang Rihm with appearances at the Library of Congress, Wigmore Hall, the Venice Biennial, and the Donaueschingen Festival. John has performed as soloist with the Pasadena Symphony, Armenian Philharmonic, Wordless Music Orchestra, Ossia New Music, and with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra performing the solo part to Luciano Berio’s Chemins II under the direction of Pierre Boulez. He holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy and Eastman School of Music where his primary teachers were David Holland and John Graham.
“When I arrived at Eastman, I craved a challenging environment that would push me to excel, and what I discovered was a community that encouraged me to seek my creative potential, both as a musician and as a person. The school, and the people who make it, kept my perspective broad, which prepared me to be flexible with my future, and I continue to feel the warmth and ambition I received there.”
Gregory W. Yasinitsky
Gregory W. Yasinitsky, Regents Professor of Music at Washington State University, has an international reputation as a composer, arranger and saxophonist. He is the winner of the American Prize for Orchestral Composition. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Jazz Education Network and is a member of the Washington State Music Educators Hall of Fame. Additionally, he is the recipient of the WSU Eminent Faculty Award, the university’s top award for faculty, and the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Yasinitsky is a recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Commission Project, Artist Trust and ASCAP. He has written music especially for David Sanborn, Clark Terry, Dave Liebman and the USAF “Airmen of Note” big band. Yasinitsky has over 210 published musical works which are performed in over forty countries world-wide, and his compositions and saxophone playing are featured on over fifty recordings. Yasinitsky has performed with Randy Brecker, Sean Jones, Tom Harrell, Ed Calle, Alex Acuna, Kirk Whalum, Claudio Roditi, Conrad Herwig, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Bellson, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, Lou Rawls, Manhattan Transfer, and many others. Yasinitsky is a Yamaha performing artist and a JodyJazz Artist.
The Eastman Advantage:
Highlighting Graduate Study at the Eastman School of Music
Thank you for your interest in graduate study at the Eastman School of Music. Please take a moment to watch this short video and learn what several recent Eastman grad students think about their decision to study at Eastman.