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:
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
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 Educational Institutions
Brian Alegant is Barker Professor and Chair of the Music Theory Department at the Oberlin College Conservatory, where he has taught since 1996, and the CASE and Carnegie Foundation 2015 Professor of the Year. His research interests include pedagogy, twelve-tone music, and analysis and performance, with a particular interest in post-tonal music. He has served as editor of Intégral and Music Theory Spectrum, authored The Twelve-tone Music of Luigi Dallapiccola, published over two dozen articles, and delivered many presentations at conferences, workshops, and pre-concert lectures. In 2014 he collaborated with cellist Paul Dwyer on the premiere recording of Robert Morris’s Refrains (1995); the recording and an accompanying analytical essay appear in “Robert Morris at 70,” a special issue of Perspectives of New Music.
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.”
Coming to Eastman from a liberal-arts college to pursue scholarly research, I got what I expected: a first-rate graduate training with an excellent and diverse faculty, and a remarkable research library. Eastman also gave me two other things that I did not expect, which were just as valuable.
First, it provided the atmosphere and resources to grow as a musician as well as a thinker about music. I never felt that I had to choose between them. I have come to appreciate just how special Eastman is in this regard; it is the standard to which all conservatories should aspire.
Second, Eastman gave me the opportunities to become a teacher. During my six years there, I was able to teach in five very different classrooms at three different levels, and was given the flexibility to create my own materials and strategies. By the time I left Eastman, I was fully prepared for a career in the university classroom.
Each of these skills feeds all the others, so that I can hardly locate the boundaries between them. Growing in so many ways at once allowed me, after I left Eastman, to find my way to institutions where I have been able to do things that I love: making music, analyzing music, writing about music, and talking with stimulating and knowledgable colleagues and students. There are other institutions that could have trained me well as a scholar, but I don’t know of any other institution that could have prepared me in such a complete way for the career and life that I have developed.
Richard Cohn is the Battell Prof of the Theory of Music at Yale University.
Mary Jo Heath
Mary Jo Heath is the fourth Radio Host in the history of The Metropolitan Opera, a role she took over after serving as Senior Radio Producer at the company for nine seasons and almost 1,000 live broadcasts. She earned a Ph.D. in music theory from Eastman in 1988.
While growing up in Norman, Oklahoma, Mary Jo became what she calls a “jack of all musical trades,” playing piano and clarinet, singing in choir, and working as Music Director for a small opera company. All that led her to study music theory because she wanted to understand how music fit together.
While an Eastman student, she was also a part-time radio host at WXXI. Following a stint in New York City – first at classical radio station WQXR, then at the Philips Classics record label – she moved to the Philips headquarters in Amsterdam for eight years working in product management, marketing and business development. Throughout her 25+ years in the music industry from Philips to researching to writing and to the internet, the glue of radio kept pulling her back. She joined The Metropolitan Opera in 2006.
“Going to Eastman was such an important step for me. Everybody there was so talented, and for those of us who weren’t performers, taking advantage of all the opportunities Eastman offered and using our instincts gave us the best chance to discover our place in the music world. The years spent exploring music and learning about myself while at the school were great preparation for my journey.”
John W. Parks IV
John W. Parks IV is Associate Professor of Percussion at The Florida State University. He has performed with the Kansas City, Alabama, Key West, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestras, and appeared as a performer/clinician at the 2009 Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference in Bangkok, National Public Radio, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, NACWPI, and state MENC conventions, in addition to PAS Days of Percussion and guest artist residencies across the United States. Parks also leads the acclaimed FSU Percussion Ensemble, winner of the 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition, and is currently the Second-Vice President of the Percussive Arts Society. He won a university-wide FSU Teaching Award for the 2005-2006 school year and recently released FSU Percussion Ensemble: Volume One, which has received unanimous critical praise.
“Not a day goes by that I do not rely on my training from the Eastman School–whether it be something I remember from a class with Steve Laitz or David Headlam, playing under Donald Hunsberger, or working with John Beck. I am so proud to be part of the Eastman family, and it is an honor to see my former students from FSU joining the family as well.”
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
Violist 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.”
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.