Eastman 2021-2022 Morning Chamber Music Series: Featuring Three Alumni performances in Celebration of Eastman’s Centennial

September 2, 2021

Media only:  Katey Padden, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator, (585)451-8492,  kpadden@esm.rochester.edu


Eastman’s Morning Chamber Music Series announces three chamber music concerts for the 2021-2022 season. Each concert presents distinguished alumni who represent the rich diversity of the school, performing alongside current faculty and students. This series is directed by Eastman Assistant Professor of Violoncello, Rosemary Elliott. 

All performances will take place at 11 a.m. in Hatch Recital Hall at the Eastman School of Music. Dates and featured alumni are listed below:

  • Sunday, October 3, 2021: Curtis Stewart ‘08, violin
    • Program to include the Mendelssohn Octet, with members of the Ying Quartet and prizewinning students from the string department. 
    • Curtis will also lead performances of contemporary/jazz tunes
  • Saturday, January 29, 2022: Malcolm Merriweather ‘19 (MM), baritone
    • Program to include Dover Beach by Samuel Barber
    • Malcolm will also perform music by Margaret Bonds and Florence Price
  • Saturday, April 9, 2022: Jeffrey Ziegler ‘95, cello
    • Program to include selections from Jeff’s latest solo album, Zodiac

“I’ve wanted to include alumni in the Morning Chamber Music series for a long time. This year, distinguished alumni will join the nationally and internationally recognized chamber musicians on our current string faculty,” says Rosemary Elliott, director of this series. “Many of our students go on to have successful careers combining chamber music, teaching and performances in larger ensembles. Having alumni join us for this collaborative experience will provide great inspiration for our current students.”

The three alumni guests will establish a mini residency at Eastman during the week of their performances. They will engage with students through their shared performances and will also give classes and presentations to the student body as a whole.

This series is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Shreedevi K. Pandya.

The three-semester-long Eastman Centennial celebration will begin in Fall 2021 and continues throughout 2022. Highlights include acclaimed guest artists performing alongside Eastman’s ensembles; national academic and music conferences; alumni events throughout the country; a documentary being produced in partnership with WXXI, and more. Pillar events include: “Opening of the Doors,” a community-driven celebration scheduled for March 3-6, 2022; “100 concerts to celebrate 100 years”; and a Meliora Weekend celebration in Fall 2022.

For up-to-date information on the Eastman Centennial, including feature stories, future events, videos, testimonials, ways to engage, and more, please visit our Centennial website athttps://www.esm.rochester.edu/100.


About Curtis Stewart:

Grammy nominated violinist Curtis Stewart enjoys an eclectic career bouncing between various realms of music: from MTV specials with Wyclef Jean and sold out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal, to stints at the Kennedy Center with the Jimmy Heath Big Band and performance installations at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art. Curtis is on Faculty at the Juilliard School, and graduated magna cum laude from the Eastman School of Music with a BA of Mathematics from the University of Rochester.

Curtis has performed as a classical soloist at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, made chamber music appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the New York Philharmonic, and the Newport Jazz Festival. An avid teacher, Curtis is on the faculty of the Juilliard School, teaching Chamber Music and “Cultural Equity and Performance Practice,” He directed the Contemporary Chamber Music program at the Perlman Music Program, directed several orchestras and all levels of music theory at the Laguardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts for ten years, and is currently the Chamber Music and New Juilliard Ensemble Manager at the Juilliard School. Curtis graduated magna cum laude from the Eastman School of Music with a BA of Mathematics from the University of Rochester.

About Malcolm J. Merriweather: 

Conductor and baritone, Malcolm J. Merriweather enjoys a versatile career with performances ranging from the songs of Margaret Bonds to gems of the symphonic choral repertoire. The baritone can be heard on the GRAMMY nominated recording of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road (NAXOS). Hailed by Opera News as “moving…expertly interpreted,” his recording of Margaret Bonds’ The Ballad of the Brown King & Selected Songs (AVIE) has earned considerable praise around the world.

He is Music Director of New York City’s The Dessoff Choirs, known for their performances of great choral works from the pre-Baroque era through the 21st century. He is an Associate Professor, Director of Choral Studies and Voice Department Coordinator at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and the Artistic Director of “Voices of Haiti,” a 60-member children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. To read more visit: http://malcolmjmerriweather.com/biography/

About Jeffrey Zeigler:

Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. He has been described as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone” by the New York Times. Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. As a member of the Kronos Quartet, he is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts (Grammys), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society’s Cultural Achievement Award.

This Fall, Zeigler will release his next album, Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello with music by Paola Prestini. It will be a multimedia experience that combines spoken word, movement, music, and imagery into a unified exploration of love, loss, trauma, and healing. The project takes its title from the twelve houses of the zodiac as facets of the self and draws inspiration from explorations of the subconscious including Anaïs Nin’s House of Incest and the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey. Filmed by Murat Eyüboglu at MASS MoCA and Studio Polygons in Tokyo, Japan, the digital experience will feature the performances and original choreography of New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin and Butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka, a member of the acclaimed Butoh troupe Sankai Juku. To read more visit:  http://www.jzcello.com/about


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.

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. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.

About the University of Rochester:

The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.