Eastman School of Music

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Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester
Eastman at night
Rochester, New York, USA
Type Private
Established 1921
Dean Jamal Rossi
Campus Urban

The Eastman School of Music is a music conservatory located in Rochester, New York. The Eastman School is a professional school within the University of Rochester. It was established in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company.[1][2][3]

Today, there are more than 900 students enrolled in the collegiate division of the Eastman School (approximately 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students). Students come from almost every state of the United States, and approximately 25% of students are from foreign countries.

Each year about 260 new students enroll (approximately 135 freshmen and 125 graduate students), selected from more than 2,000 applicants. Only about 13 percent of applicants are admitted.

About 1,000 students (ranging in age from 18 years to over 80 years of age) are enrolled in the Eastman School’s Community Music School.

In the 1997 and 2004 surveys conducted by U.S. News & World Report, the Eastman School was ranked first among graduate school music programs in the United States. In 1994, Eastman tied with The Juilliard School and the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University among the top graduate programs in music.


Alfred Klingenberg, a Norwegian pianist, was the school's first director. He was succeeded by composer Howard Hanson in 1924, who had an enormous impact on the development of the school, holding his post for four decades and continuing his involvement at Eastman after his retirement.


Eastman was named the "Hottest School for Music" in the US by the Kaplan/Newsweek How to get into college guide for 2008.[4]

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of speciality areas among music schools in the United States, Eastman was given the following ratings:[citation needed]

  • 1st in instrumental performance
  • 1st in piano performance
  • 1st in music education
  • 1st in composition
  • 2nd in conducting
  • 2nd in opera/vocal performance
  • 2nd in jazz


Since the founding of the Eastman School of Music in 1921, the school has been directed by six men. Alfred Klingenberg served as the school’s first director from 1921 to 1923. After a one-year interim under Acting Director Raymond Wilson, the young American composer and conductor Howard Hanson was appointed director of the school in 1924. Dr. Hanson is credited for transforming the Eastman School into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world. Upon his retirement in 1964, after serving as director of the school for 40 years, Hanson was then succeeded by conductor Walter Hendl. Hendl served as director from 1964 to 1972, and was then succeeded by pianist and musicologist Robert Freeman who served from 1972 to 1996. Associate Director Daniel Patrylak served as the acting director from the time of Mr. Hendl’s resignation (May 1972) until Robert Freeman assumed the position in July 1973. Following the resignation of Robert Freeman in 1996, James Undercofler was then appointed Director and Dean of the Eastman School, and held that position until he resigned in 2006 to accept the position of C.E.O. and President of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jamal Rossi, an Eastman alumnus, was appointed Interim Dean of the Eastman School in April 2006. On May 21, 2007, composer/conductor Douglas Lowry, formerly the dean of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, was appointed Dean of the Eastman School, to begin serving on August 1, 2007 [1].

  • Alfred Klingenberg (Director, 1921–1923)
  • Raymond Wilson (Acting Director, 1923–1924)
  • Howard Hanson (Director, 1924–1964)
  • Walter Hendl (Director, 1964–1972)
  • Daniel Patrylak (Acting Director, 1972–1973)
  • Robert Freeman (Director, 1973–1996)
  • James Undercofler (Acting Director, 1996–1997; Director, 1997–2006)
  • Jamal Rossi (Acting Director, 2006–2007; Acting Dean, 2013)
  • Douglas Lowry (Dean, 2007–2013)
  • Jamal Rossi (Dean, 2013-)

Campus and facilities[edit]

Kilbourn Hall

The Eastman School occupies parts of five buildings in downtown Rochester, New York. The main hall includes the recently renovated 3,094-seat Eastman Theater, the 455-seat Kilbourn Hall, and offices for faculty.

The Eastman Theatre opened on September 2, 1922 as a center for music, dance, and silent film with orchestral and organ accompaniment. Today, the 3,094-seat theatre is the primary concert hall for the Eastman School's larger ensembles, including its orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, and chorale. Also, the Eastman Opera Theatre presents fully staged operatic productions in the theatre each spring. It also is the principal performance venue for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. A $5 million renovation of the theatre was completed in October 2004. The Theatre is located at 60 Gibbs Street, on the corner of Main and Gibbs Streets. Due to a $10 million donation by Eastman Kodak Inc. in April 2008, the Eastman Theatre was officially renamed "Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre" upon the renovation's completion in 2010.

The Sibley Music Library—the largest academic music library in North America[5]—is located across the street from the main hall. Hiram Watson Sibley founded the library in 1904 using the fortune he made as first president of Western Union. It moved to its current location in 1989, and occupies 45,000 square feet (4,000 m²) on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the Miller Center, formerly known as Eastman Place. The Sibley Music Library currently holds almost 750,000 items, ranging from 11th century codices to the latest compositions and recordings. Considered among its jewels are the original drafts of Debussy's impressionistic masterpiece, "La Mer".

The Student Living Center, which is located at 100 Gibbs Street, is the dormitory building of the Eastman School of Music. In 1991, the new building was opened at the corner of Main and Gibbs Streets, replacing the University Avenue dormitories built nearly 70 years earlier. It is a four-story quadrangle and 14-story tower surrounding a landscaped inner courtyard. The majority of students enrolled in the undergraduate program live on campus in this building.

Degrees offered[edit]

The school offers Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degrees, Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees, Master of Music (M.M.) degrees, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees, and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degrees in many musical fields. The school also awards a "Performer's Certificate" or "Artist's Diploma" to students who demonstrate exceptionally outstanding performance ability. The Institute for Music Leadership, which was formed in 2001, offers a variety of diploma programs designed to educate and give students the skills and experience necessary to meet the demands of performance and education in today’s changing musical world.

Notable teachers[edit]

Faculty and alumni[edit]

Eastman alumni include artists like singer Renée Fleming, drummer Steve Gadd, author and journalist Michael Walsh, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic Judith Leclair Canadian Brass co-founder Charles Daellenbach, scholar Horace Clarence Boyer and composers Maria Schneider and Cardon V. Burnham. Current faculty include musicians and pedagogues like the Ying Quartet, Katherine Ciesinski and Paul O'Dette.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°9′27.63″N 77°36′5.18″W / 43.1576750°N 77.6014389°W / 43.1576750; -77.6014389