The education of pianists at the Eastman School of Music emphasizes the development of a large performance repertory along with the pianistic skills that will prepare students as solo artists and collaborative musicians. In addition to traditional works from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, pianists are encouraged to explore early keyboard music, contemporary, and experimental literature. Frequent performance opportunities in a variety of venues include concerto performances, solo recitals, chamber recitals, master classes, and studio classes. The dedicated support of the piano faculty provides Eastman piano students with flexibility, security, and musicianship that will carry over into their professional careers. Recent guest artists and lecturers in the department have included Emanuel Ax, Paul Badura-Skoda, Gordon Back, Alicia de Larrocha, Philippe Entremont, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Gary Graffman, Angela Hewitt, Warren Jones, Robert Levin, Ivan Moravec, Murray Perahia, and Pascal Roge’.
The piano department also is committed to developing the skills of pianists whose majors are in areas other than performance, such as composition, music education, and music theory. From the bachelor’s through the doctoral level, instruction and guidance are tailored to the specific career goals of non-performance majors.
Harpsichord performance is available as a major on the master’s and doctoral levels. A strong program in early music that includes the Collegium Musicum and Baroque Ensembles — as well as support courses such as continuo realization, harpsichord performance and literature, and numerous theory and musicology courses — gives harpsichord performance majors strong preparation for careers in early music performance. Graduates of the program have gone on to fine careers with universities and churches all over the United States, usually combining harpsichord performance with other keyboard instruments.
In addition to major study, the study of harpsichord may be undertaken as a secondary discipline. This has been the main thrust of the department since its inception in 1983, and organists and pianists have greatly benefited from such secondary study. The School’s fine collection of harpsichords of various styles permits an authentic approach to 17th and 18th century keyboard music, and enhances the training of our students.