Rochester, NY – In a bold move that reflects an understanding of the changing nature of classical music in America, the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester has created the Institute for Music Leadership (IML) – the first center of its kind in the country.
Recognizing the fundamental power of music and its importance in peoples’ lives, the IML’s emphasis is on developing and maximizing musicians’ leadership potential by providing exceptional opportunities for professional development, nurturing innovative ideas, and bridging the gap between the academic and professional worlds. Funded in part through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this new and integral part of the Eastman School will serve Eastman students, alumni, and music professionals throughout the country at all stages of their careers.
"The Institute for Music Leadership will become a vital ‘hub’ for creating, sharing, and implementing cutting-edge ideas to ensure the vitality and relevance of music in the 21st century," said Eastman Director and Dean James Undercofler. "Its participants will obtain the broad education, specialized skills, and diversified experiences they’ll need – along with their exceptional musicianship – to become the new generation of musical and cultural leaders."
The IML is directed by Eastman Professor Ramon Ricker, who has the unique advantage of being equally at home in two musical worlds: as a distinguished member of the Eastman faculty since 1971 and a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1973. Susan Wharton Conkling, a Carnegie Scholar in the Pew National Fellowship Program and current member of Eastman’s music education faculty, holds the position of the IML’s new associate director for professional development. Both Ricker and Conkling will work under the guidance of Director Undercofler.
The Institute also will serve as the "umbrella structure" for Eastman’s existing and future certificate, diploma, and partnership programs. These include among others, the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program and certificate; the Orchestral Studies Diploma in Strings, a partnership with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; and Eastman’s new diploma in Sacred Music. The IML embraces an interdisciplinary approach provided by Eastman faculty (all of whom will be associates in the Institute), key administrators, and prominent leaders in music and the arts.
Additionally, the Mellon Foundation has recognized Eastman’s significant and innovative leadership initiatives in the symphony orchestra world. Through its Symphony Orchestra Program, Mellon’s Music Program currently provides grants to 14 American orchestras already grappling with fundamental questions of organizational structure and dynamics, leadership, and culture – working not only to strengthen, but to transform their organizations. To help realize Mellon’s goals, the Eastman School already has joined these orchestras in Mellon-sponsored professional forums. All members of this partnership are realistically examining both the problems currently facing the symphony orchestra and the critical link between academic institutions and the orchestra world. Eastman has the great distinction of being the only academic institution chosen for such a far-reaching opportunity.
"During these times of tremendous challenge to music in America," said David Zinman, one of America’s most prominent conductors, "it gives me tremendous optimism to learn of the Eastman School’s new Institute for Music Leadership, where aspiring young artists and professionals will gain the insights and understanding necessary to help shape this country’s musical future. I look forward with excitement and anticipation to the IML’s evolution." Zinman is music director of Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival and School. He is conductor emeritus of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and was music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1974-1985.
"The Eastman School has always been at the forefront of educating musicians of the future," said IML Director Ricker. "By actively promoting the School’s longstanding ideals of artistry, scholarship, and leadership, the IML will serve as a center – and benchmark – for programs and activities that will ultimately lead the music profession into a new era."
For more information on the Institute for Music Leadership, visit its Web site at www.rochester.edu/Eastman/IML.
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