ROCHESTER, NY — Students aren’t the only musicians returning to the Eastman School of Music this fall. More than 200 graduates of the School are expected to “come home” to Rochester this month for the School’s biennial Alumni Weekend, September 13-15. Together, they’ll launch a new year at Eastman with a special weekend filled with music, education, and entertainment.
Concurrently, the School’s organ department will host a special organ festival as part of its Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative, while Chamber Music America brings “Insights into Outreach,” an institute for chamber ensembles featuring interactive workshops and lecture demonstrations, to the School.
Highlights of the weekend, which includes several concerts and events that are open to the public, are listed below. For more information, visit www.rochester.edu/Eastman/alumni/weekend or call 274-1110.
Special “Family Concert” with the Ying and Cavani Quartets
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2-3 p.m. Kilbourn Hall
Two of today’s hottest and most engaging string quartets – Eastman’s own Ying Quartet and the all-female Cavani Quartet – come together for a special chamber music concert designed especially with families and youth in mind. This fun and free performance, presented without intermission and co-sponsored by Chamber Music America, will culminate with a thrilling performance of Mendelssohn’s Octet.
Eastman Virtuosi with special guest Mitch Miller
Saturday, Sept. 14, 8:15 p.m. Eastman Theatre
The legendary Mitch Miller – a Rochester native who, remarkably, graduated 70 years ago this year from Eastman – returns to his alma mater for a special public conversation (led by Eastman Director James Undercofler) and presentation during this free concert featuring the Eastman Virtuosi. Featured faculty include Bonita Boyd, Steven Doane, and Barry Snyder performing Carl Maria von Weber’s Trio in G minor for flute, cello, and piano; tenor Robert Swensen; and Kenneth Grant, Richard Killmer, John Hunt, and Peter Kurau performing Mozart’s Sinfonie Concertante for solo winds and orchestra with the Eastman Chamber Orchestra, led by newly appointed faculty conductor Neil Varon.
Saturday, Sept. 14, 8:15 p.m. Kilbourn Hall
It will be difficult to choose between the above concert and this one, co-sponsored by Chamber Music America, which takes place at the same time. The multiple award-winning Brentano String Quartet returns to the Kilbourn Hall stage for the first time since 1995 to perform works by Stravinsky, Mozart, Bartok, and Josquin des Prez. Reserved tickets are $15, $12, $10, and $5, and are available by phone through Ticketmaster at 232-1900, on the Web at ticketmaster.com, in person at Ticket Express (100 East Ave.), or at the hall box office one hour before concert time (subject to availability).
EASTMAN HOSTS FIRST-EVER ORGAN FESTIVAL
The first public step of the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI) – Eastman’s comprehensive plan to assemble a collection of new and historic organs unparalleled in North America – begins with an Organ Festival in Rochester, which coincides with the School’s Alumni Weekend. It features recitals, seminars, exhibits, and demonstrations involving the “king of instruments,” many of which are free and open to the Rochester community. For more information, call Eastman’s organ department at 274-1452.
EVENTS OF NOTE (all free and open to the public):
Inauguration of new organ in Christ Church
Thursday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. Christ Church (141 East Ave.)
The public is invited to the inaugural performance of a beautiful new organ – inspired by the style of the 17th century organ builder Esaias Compenius and built by Paul Fritts of Tacoma, WA – featuring Eastman organ faculty members David Higgs and Hans Davidsson, as well as the Ying Quartet. The Fritts organ, located in the sanctuary of Christ Church, will be used by the congregation but also will be available for use by Eastman students. It will be installed just days earlier on Sunday, September 8 – a fascinating process in and of itself.
Noontime recital featuring Eastman student organists
Friday, Sept. 13, noon Downtown United Presbyterian Church (121 N. Fitzhugh St.)
Four of Eastman’s most talented student organists – including recent national prizewinner, Timothy Olsen – perform a special lunchtime concert for the Rochester community.
U.S. premiere of new work for organ by Peter Eben
Friday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m. Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word (597 East Ave.)
The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, a new organ cycle by prominent Czech composer Peter Eben that had its world premiere in May 2002, will receive its American premiere by visiting European organist Johannes Landgren (to whom the work is dedicated). Eastman faculty organist Hans Davidsson will recite the spoken word that accompanies the music.
Outdoor sandcasting of organ pipes
Saturday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Christ Church Courtyard (141 East Ave.)
For the first time on American soil, it will be possible to witness the casting of organ pipe metal on a bed of sand (as opposed to wood, metal, or other materials) – in the outdoor courtyard of Christ Church. With more than 25 square feet of trucked-in sand, a team of three will demonstrate this unusual, complex, and unique process of organ pipe-making and voicing – which is the 17th-century, North-European way to produce pipes for the organ. Invited guests include several American organ builders, who will have the chance to witness and partake in this fascinating process. The public is welcome!
“An Organ as a Mirror of its Time”
Saturday, Sept. 14, 3-5 p.m. Christ Church (141 East Ave.)
A presentation and panel discussion, led by Professor of Musicology Jürgen Thym and Hans Davidsson, of the recent book from Oxford University Press by the same title, edited by Eastman Professor Emerita Kerala Snyder.
Debut recital by William Porter
Sunday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m. Christ Church (141 East Ave.)
Don’t miss the newest member of Eastman’s organ faculty, William Porter – internationally acclaimed harpsichordist and expert in organ improvisation – as he performs locally for the first time a special harpsichord and improvisational recital.
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