George Eastman, philanthropist and founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, established the Eastman School of Music as the first professional school of the University of Rochester. In 1921, he explained his belief in the importance of music education:
The life of our communities in the future needs what our schools of music and of other fine arts can give them. It is necessary for people to have an interest in life outside their occupations … I am interested in music personally, and I am led thereby to want to share my pleasure with others.
It is impossible to buy an appreciation of music. Yet, without appreciation, without the presence of a large body of people who understand music and get enjoyment out of it, any attempt to develop the musical resources of any city is doomed to failure. Because in Rochester we realize this, we have undertaken a scheme for building musical capacity on a large scale from childhood.”George Eastman
In the 100 years since its founding, the Eastman Music School has graduated musicians ranging from Renée Fleming and William Warfield to Chuck Mangione, Mitch Miller, Charles Strouse, and more. And to celebrate this milestone the school is celebrating its anniversary with a series of events, including the “Opening the Doors” Festival this weekend with performances taking place in all of Eastman’s halls.
I’m honored to have been asked to perform with the Brockport Symphony Orchestra as part of this festival. Our performance in Kilbourn Hall is Sunday March 6 at 4 PM, where I will be singing pieces selected specifically for this celebration. I hope you can make it.