ROCHESTER, NY ― Funded by a gift of $1.2 million from the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester has established the Orchestra Musician Forum. The mission of the Forum is to enhance the professional development and broaden the perspectives of symphony orchestra musicians.
The first task of the Forum will be to develop a website presenting comprehensive professional, educational, and informational content of particular usefulness to professional musicians working in symphony and other musical arts organizations. It is expected that this site will be launched in early 2006.
The development of the Forum will be overseen and advised by a five member board, consisting of Eastman Dean James Undercofler, two other senior administrators of nationally prominent music schools, and two musicians with extensive orchestra experience. In addition to Undercofler, the initial appointees to the Forum Board are Joseph Polisi, president of the Juilliard School; David Stull, dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Fred Zenone, former cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra and former President of the Symphony Orchestra Institute; and Bill Moyer, former personnel manager and trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“Since its founding, the Eastman School has been committed to educating music leaders who can affect change ― talented musicians interested in continuing artistic and professional advancement,” said Undercofler. “We are extremely grateful to Paul Judy who has entrusted and released to Eastman the endowment he established with the Symphony Orchestra Institute. Our vision is for the ‘OM Forum’ to become a national effort and a leading resource for professional orchestra musicians throughout North America.”
The Symphony Orchestra Institute was founded in 1994 by Paul R. Judy to foster improvement in the effectiveness of symphony orchestras. Over the subsequent eight years, the Institute sponsored organizational development programs within various symphonies, and published sixteen issues of Harmony, the content of which are posted on the Institute’s website. This site also contains a range of other ideas and insights that promote better functioning orchestra organizations, along with an extensive bibliography of literature from symphony orchestras. Along with all other Institute intellectual property, the SOI website is being conveyed to Eastman, and much of its content will in due course be absorbed into the new OM Forum website.
“I am pleased to entrust the Institute’s wealth to Eastman to help pursue this new path,” said Judy. It has become increasingly apparent that the artistic growth, personal fulfillment, career advancement, and job satisfaction of orchestral musicians are highly interdependent with the artistry, robustness, adaptability, and sustainability of the organizations in which they are employees and central stakeholders. It is clear that Eastman is dedicated to educating the ‘whole musician.’ The School brings special insights, and will provide great leadership and stewardship to this much needed, and quite specialized, continuing education effort.”
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