Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal, a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, will be the Commencement Speaker for Eastman’s graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 15, and will receive the School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
In addition, Eastman School faculty member Jonathan Baldo will receive the University’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching during the ceremony, which starts at 11:15 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
The Sunday commencement exercises are for students receiving their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The doctoral ceremony for students receiving a DMA or Ph.D. degree will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Kodak Hall. Approximately 265 candidates will receive their undergraduate and graduate degrees during the School’s 86th annual commencement.
Beal studied composition and trumpet at the Eastman School and received his Bachelor of Music degree with High Distinction in 1985. While an Eastman student, he won an unprecedented 11 awards from DownBeat magazine recognizing his skills as a jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger. Since then, he has built a career incorporating composition, recording, and performance.
As a film composer, Beal wrote the scores for the Academy Award-nominated Pollock and other movies such as No Good Deed, Door to Door, and The Passion of Ayn Rand. Television viewers have heard his work on Ugly Betty, Carnivále, and Rome. Beal has received 12 Emmy nominations and won Emmys for Peggy & Dorothy, Monk, and Nightmares and Dreamscapes.
Beal’s concert music has been performed by many leading orchestras, including the St. Louis, Pacific, Frankfurt, Munich, and Detroit Symphonies. He has received commissions from artists such as clarinetist Eddie Daniels, The Ying Quartet, and conductor Ken Nagano, for whom Beal wrote “Alternate Route” for trumpet and orchestra, and performed as the soloist for the premiere. His CD recording titles include Alternate Route, Three Graces, Contemplations, and Red Shift.
Baldo, associate professor of English, has taught in the Humanities Department of the Eastman School of Music since 1983. He has presented papers and written scholarly articles, reviews and books on Shakespeare, Kafka, Gabriel Garcia Marques, and other subjects. Among his honors is a Tuition Fellowship from Northwestern University’s School of Criticism and Theory in 1983. Baldo received the University of Rochester Junior Faculty Award in 1989. The following year, he received a University Bridging Fellowship for interdisciplinary study. In 2000, he was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
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