The Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester is pleased to announce the next stage in the evolution of its Institute for Music Leadership (IML): noted philanthropist Paul Judy—chairman of the Chicago Philharmonic Society, life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), former president of the CSO board, and founder of Eastman School of Music’s Orchestra Musician Forum and its online resource center Polyphonic.org—has made a $1 million commitment to establish the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research at Eastman. The Paul R. Judy Center will be a new component of the IML that will be devoted to understanding and stimulating the development of innovative ensemble models that can find success in the changing music world.
“Musicians face many challenges after graduation, not the least of which is finding a sustainable way to practice their art,” said Douglas Lowry, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “Mr. Judy’s generous gift will help put Eastman and the IML on the cutting edge of providing young musicians with the tools they need to create their own performance opportunities and become self-sustaining as advocates for the music they love.”
An Important Time for Musicians
The founding of the Paul R. Judy Center comes at a time of great upheaval in our concert-music culture. Many of America’s orchestras, faced with the long-term challenges of aging audiences, financial pressures, and competition from other cultural forms, have been cutting positions or going out of business entirely. At the same time, smaller artist-led ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, eighth blackbird, and the International Contemporary Ensemble have emerged and grown both in critical stature and in budget.
While the Paul R. Judy Center will certainly encourage discussion on how to rejuvenate orchestral performance in the 21st century, its focus will be creating research on and programs for alternative artist-centered ensembles that foster new models of artistic innovation, organizational relationships, and operational sustainability.
“As a former board chair of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and current chairman of the Chicago Philharmonic Society, and as someone who has followed and supported major musical organizations for a long time, I am greatly concerned about the news of orchestra bankruptcies and financial difficulties,” said Judy. “Unfortunately, these developments are not surprising given the limitations of the traditional orchestra organization model. I see great hope in the entrepreneurial spirit of the musicians who are taking it upon themselves to energize our culture with their own new groups, and I am pleased to be able to contribute to their continued growth through this gift to Eastman.”
What the Paul R. Judy Center Will Offer
The Paul R. Judy Center will encourage scholars to engage in a new field of research, one that focuses on alternative ensembles, their business models, and their impact on contemporary culture. This is an underrepresented area in music studies that can yield cross-disciplinary results valuable to addressing the real-world problems our musicians face today.
This research will provide the basis for new courses and experiential learning opportunities for young musicians. Finally, and most importantly, the Paul R. Judy Center will serve as an incubator for emergent alternative ensembles.
In addition, the Paul R. Judy Center will sponsor a biennial festival and conference for scholars, orchestra managers, ensemble administrators, music school leaders, and students that will offer discussions, presentations, and performances. The inaugural festival and conference is scheduled for early 2015.
The Paul R. Judy Center and the Institute for Music Leadership
The Paul R. Judy Center will put the Eastman School of Music on the cutting edge of preparing students for the demanding, shifting economics of concert music. Within Eastman, the Paul R. Judy Center will be part of the Institute for Music Leadership as a division of the Orchestra Musician Forum. The forum also includes Polyphonic.org, which Mr. Judy founded in 2006 as a resource for orchestral musicians.
In addition to the Orchestra Musician Forum, the IML includes three divisions that prepare musicians for professional life today: the Office of Careers and Professional Development, the Center for Music Innovation and Engagement, and the popular Arts Leadership Program, which offers specific courses and internships that bridge the gap between Eastman and the world beyond its walls.
By providing musicians with tools to develop their own ensembles, the Paul R. Judy Center will add a dimension to the IML that will not just address present realities, but will also shape the future for music.
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About the Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music ranks among the nation’s premier music schools, boasting Guggenheim Fellows and Grammy and ASCAP Award winners on its distinguished faculty. The school has been commended and recognized nationwide for giving its students an intensive professional education, entrepreneurial opportunities in their musical disciplines, and the experience of a broader liberal arts education within the University of Rochester.
Eastman’s prominent alumni include opera singers Renée Fleming, Anthony Dean Griffey, Joyce Castle, and the late William Warfield; jazz musicians Ron Carter, Steve Gadd, and Chuck Mangione; composer-conductor Maria Schneider; and composers Dominick Argento, Charles Strouse, Michael Torke, and Jeff Beal. The school presents more than 700 public concerts a year and hosts a variety of prestigious festivals and events, including, most recently, the 40th International Viola Congress, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and “The Prismatic Debussy” festival.