The Beal Institute Presents: Visual Music 3.0: An Evening of Original Music Performed Live-to-Picture by the Empire Film and Media Ensemble

January 28, 2021

Visual Music posterThe Beal Institute, under the direction of Associate Professor Mark Watters, presents “Visual Music 3.0: An Evening of World-Premiere Film and Music Collaborations,” Thursday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Eastman School of Music. Visual Music will be presented through livestream as a virtual performance.

Compositions from Eastman’s Contemporary Media and Film Scoring Department will be performed live-to-picture by a 17-piece section of the Empire Film and Media Ensemble. The compositions featured are from five graduating Master’s students: Joseph Hagen, Darren Huang, Philip Millman, Gary Wang, and Ruiqi Zhao.

The program shows off an enormous variety of styles, including the classic Disney short “The Old Mill” from 1937 and an excerpt from  a popular “Tom and Jerry” movie, “Shiver Me Whiskers,” from 2006. Excerpts from two popular nature documentary series, “The Blue Planet” and “Veneficus”, will also be featured.  Additionally. Eastman student Joe Hagen has created an original film, “Zoom Out” that explores humanity’s place in the Universe, and the program also includes an original film from RIT students, Taotie. Finally, the concert will feature two different scores to the same short film: “Somos Tierra”, an emotional drama about family, home, and the importance of traditions. The audience will have a unique opportunity to view a short, nine-minute film twice, with two different musical scores.

“I am very proud of the class of 2021,” shared Mark Watters, an Emmy Award-winning conductor and composer and director of the Beal Institute. “This will be a night of premieres conducted and performed by an extraordinary group of young artists.”

The Visual Music performance will be livestreamed at and will be free to view. The stream will start approximately 15 minutes before the event.

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About Beal Institute: 

The Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music provides students with instruction and experiences that prepare them for the increasingly evolving opportunities to write, produce, and perform music for film and contemporary media. Founded in 2016 by Emmy-winning composer Jeff Beal (BM85) and vocalist Joan Beal (BM84), and under the direction of Mark Watters, Emmy Award- winning composer and conductor, the program builds on the film legacy of the School’s founder, George Eastman.

Students in the Beal Institute have opportunities to work with established visiting artists: professional composers, arrangers and musicians who are actively engaged in the film, television and video game industry. Students are also encouraged to collaborate on cross-disciplinary and multi-media projects with other students, faculty members from humanities, composition, and other Eastman departments, community arts organizations, and other area universities. The Institute enhances the graduate degree program in convergent media and film music.

Jeff Beal, who received his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman with High Distinction in 1985, serves as artistic director of the Institute and continues to be closely involved with the students, faculty, and administration of the school. 

About Eastman School of Music: 

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim Fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community.