New music is heard frequently in concert halls and alternative performance spaces throughout Rochester. Eastman’s reputation for performance excellence combined with performer enthusiasm for new music offers a great benefit to composers. The Musica Nova ensemble, directed by Brad Lubman, is devoted to the performance of up-to-the-minute contemporary music and 20th and 21st-century classics each year, often with the composers present. In addition, the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra (ESSO), Eastman Philharmonia, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and various chamber and choral ensembles regularly include 20th century and contemporary works in their repertoire. Performance majors are required to play at least one piece of twentieth-century music written since 1960 on their senior recitals, but in recent years there has been so much interest in new music performance on the part of undergraduate and graduate students that autonomous performance organizations such as Ossia and the Composers Sinfonietta have emerged to perform new music not easily presented by traditionally established performance forces and venues.
In addition, the Eastman Audio Research Studio [EARS] offers some of the most advanced software and equipment available, including its own mobile performance equipment, usable by student composers for professional DVD-quality recording and production, as well as a sophisticated permanent studio offering hardware and software developed locally and in conjunction with major Centers around the world, designed to facilitate a diversity of compositional interests.
Rochester’s own prestigious orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, has an exemplary history of performing new and established works of American composers and has a rich history of interaction with the Eastman School in reading and performing Eastman composers’ music.
Other forms of American music, such as jazz and popular music, are studied and performed at Eastman as well. Non-western and other traditional musics can be heard in World Music Series concerns and associated lecture/demonstrations, which feature artists and performing groups from all parts of the world. Eastman’s Department of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media offers another avenue for pursuing compositional studies.
The study of new music and its repertoires is greatly facilitated by the vast holdings of the Sibley Music Library, one of the largest music libraries in the world. Books, periodicals, dissertations, scores, manuscripts, and recordings of twentieth-century and contemporary music are readily available for performance and analysis.