Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra music director Christopher Seaman will receive an honorary degree and Boston Symphony Orchestra managing director Mark Volpe will give the address and receive the Eastman School of Music’s Alumni Achievement Award during the School’s 84th annual commencement ceremony. The ceremony for students receiving their undergraduate and master’s degrees will be held at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, May 17, in Eastman Theatre.
Seaman is being awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Music from the University of Rochester. Currently in his eleventh season as the RPO’s music director, he is recognized worldwide as one of today’s leading conductors. He is highly sought-after as guest conductor and has had regular engagements in North America, Eastern Europe, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and in his native Great Britain. He completed a highly successful tenure as conductor-in-residence at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and also served as principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony and the Northern Sinfonia.
Seaman has become an integral part of the greater Rochester community and is recognized as having raised the artistic level of the orchestra to its present excellence. He is a champion of strong connections with the Eastman School of Music and an indefatigable supporter of a renovated Eastman Theatre.
Volpe, who received his Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School with a major in clarinet performance in 1979, was appointed managing director of the Boston Symphony in September 1997. Among his achievements, he is credited with steering a historic transition in music leadership from the end of Seijii Ozawa’s 29-year tenure as music director to the engagement of James Levine as his successor; leading a record-breaking capital campaign and growing the orchestra’s endowment; and overseeing the orchestra’s enhanced national media exposure and the launch of the orchestra’s own recording label.
Prior to joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Volpe served as executive director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, as vice president and general manager of the Minnesota Orchestra, and as general manager of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He earned a law degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1983.
The doctoral ceremony for students receiving a DMA or Ph.D. degree will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16.
During the doctoral ceremonies, Professor of Piano Nelita True will receive the University of Rochester’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education. True, who joined the Eastman faculty in 1987, made her debut at 17 with the Chicago Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall and has performed around the world during the course of her career. True’s students have won top prizes at national and international competitions, including an unprecedented five First Prizes in national-level Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competitions. Among her awards are Eastman’s Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching, the 2002 MTNA Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Keyboard Pedagogy Conference.
Approximately 250 candidates for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees will graduate from the Eastman School of Music this year.
Information for graduating students, families, and faculty is available at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/registrar/commencement/
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