Each year, the Eastman School of Music and the Beal Institute of Film Music and Contemporary Media present a unique departmental recital. On January 20, 2024, at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall, Visual Music 6.0 presents current Beal Institute students in a live-to-picture staging of their original compositions. Each composer will conduct the performance of their pieces, as played by the Empire Film and Media Ensemble, comprised of 35 instrumentalists.
The featured student composers are Dian Shuai, Sam VanderWoude, Junwen Wu, and Austin Keck ’22E, who have composed a score to accompany the 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale.
“Live-to-picture shows are becoming increasingly more common amongst major orchestras around the world,” shares current master’s student Austin Keck. “Seeing how we are all pursuing film composition as part of our careers, it is an amazing experience to have very early on in that journey. Most composers must rise to fame before they ever get the opportunity to play this kind of show.”
The director of the Beal Institute and head of the Media Composition curriculum at Eastman is six-time Emmy Award-winning composer and conductor, Mark Watters. “Frankenstein, released in 1931, never had an original score created for it. We are very excited to be premiering a new score for this classic film,” shares Watters. He continues, “Four composers were given individual segments to score, and each of them will be on stage during the performance. Much like a relay team at a track meet, they will literally hand off the baton to each other as the film plays uninterrupted. No other school attempts to do this and I am most proud of my students for all their hard work!”
In addition to the full-length film, each student has been allowed to bring a smaller project to perform live-to-picture. These include nature documentaries “Forest” by Junwen Wu and “Apex Predators” by Austin Keck, an animated RIT film “Crumble” by Sam VanderWoude, and “Kirkman’s Address,” an excerpt from the Fox TV series Designated Survivor, by Dian Shuai.
The Visual Music 6.0 performance is free and open to the public. You may also click here to watch the concert via livestream, starting approximately 15 minutes before the event.
Media only: Lauren Sageer, Assistant Director of Public Relations and Digital Content,
(585) 451-8492, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the 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.
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.