New Music

From its inception in 1921, the Eastman School of Music has been a center for music composition and for the performance of new and recent music.  Eastman faculty and students have been internationally recognized since Howard Hanson’s advocacy of American composition in the 1930s.  The department often features distinguished guests, who lecture or present master classes in the Composition Symposium.

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.

Click on NEW MUSIC AT EASTMAN on the left to see the Eastman New Music Webpage, which lists upcoming performances of new music.

Use the MP3 players below to listen to selected audio excerpts:

Gyorgy Ligeti, Kammerkonzert, Mvt. III, performed by the Eastman BroadBand, Juan Trigos, cond, at the Chihuahua International Festival, September, 2008

Elliott Carter – Triple Duo (excerpt), Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, Brad Lubman, conductor.

Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Diaries (Mvt. 1, “Machine with Cat Whiskers”), performed by the Eastman BroadBand, Daniel Pesca, piano, and Juan Trigos, cond.

Michael Gordon – Weather 1 (excerpt) Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, Brad Lubman, conductor

Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, NiñoPolilla (excerpt), performed by the Eastman BroadBand, Juan Trigos, cond, on Zohn-Muldoon’s “Cantos” compact disc release on Bridge Records, 2010

David Liptak – Serenade For Alto Saxophone And Strings: I. A Backward Glance (2001)
Chien-Kwan Lin, Eastman Philharmonia, Brad Lubman, conductor
Recording: Bridge Records 9167 (recorded in 2005)

Juan Trigos, Ricercare de cámara VI, performed by the Eastman BroadBand, Juan Trigos, cond
Kilbourn Hall, September, 2008

Brad Lubman – Homage (prelude), Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, Brad Lubman, conductor

Roberto Sierra – Fandangos
Performed by The Eastman Wind Ensemble, Mark Scatterday, cond
Eastman Theater, February, 2005

Frank Zappa – Uncle Meat, Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, Brad Lubman, conductor

Robert Morris, Roundelay, played by OSSIA, Geoffrey Pope, conducting, at Setnor Auditorium in Syracuse, Feb. 21, 2009