The Gift of Music. Kodak magnate George Eastman couldn’t read or play music, but he had a great affection for it, and he wanted to share it with others. So he suggested a music school to President Rush Rhees. He subsequently gave $6.5 million to build a school of music in Rochester and establish its endowment and another $3 million for an adjoining concert hall. The Eastman School of Music, which was to be dedicated to the highest levels of artistry and scholarship, first opened its doors in 1921.
Musical wizards. Eastman’s faculty members would have been Mr. Eastman’s heroes because they are some of the world’s most esteemed performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are the winners of Grammy and ASCAP Awards, they are Guggenheim fellows, and they are published authors and recorded artists. And unlike professors at many other schools, most Eastman professors consider teaching their professional priority (making endowed professorships an Eastman School priority). This gives students a steady combination of expertise and dedication in a challenging, but supportive, learning environment.
Eat. Sleep. Music. Eastman students’ mantra is a t-shirt, but it is also an actual lifestyle. They take “practice makes perfect” literally. A typical day goes well beyond classes and studying to include individual practice, orchestra and chambers music rehearsals, opera stagings, and other rehearsals outside of the classroom. And somewhere between it all they eat and sleep. Fifteen-hour days are normal, making extra time for a part-time job—or anything else—almost impossible, and that makes scholarships a critical need for most students.
Halls of harmonized sound. One of the best ways to appreciate the musical wizardry possessed by Eastman’s faculty and students is to hear them—and others—play in one of the School’s historic performance halls. Eastman Theatre has been Rochester’s preeminent performance space since 1922 and is home to the Eastman Philharmonia, the RPO, and the concert series Eastman Presents. Kilbourn Hall is considered to be one of the world’s finest chamber music halls and Hatch Recital Hall offers state-of-the-art acoustic and multimedia technology.
I Love Rock n’ Research. Founded by Telegraph tycoon Hiram Watson Sibley in 1904 “for the use of all music-lovers in Rochester,” the Sibley Music Library is the largest music library affiliated with any college or University in the United States. In January 1922, the library’s 8,600 books and scores were moved to the new Eastman School building. Over the next century, its holdings grew to nearly 750,000 items. Today, Sibley Library is one of the world’s preeminent research libraries devoted to all aspects of studying music.