The seeds of Music for All were planted in 1985, when Jon Engberg, then Associate Director of the Eastman School of Music, proposed an “audience-building project” which would include a new and radical undergraduate requirement: that each student develop and be involved in a project, “the intent of which would be to initiate or foster an interest in music in an audience…[that] does not normally attend concerts.” The presentation was to be held somewhere outside the confines of Eastman where concerts are not normally held, and would have “as a significant element, discussion by the presenter about the music, the instrument(s), the performers, the composer, etc.” Ten years later, directed by former concert manager Andy Green and Professor of Harp Kathleen Bride, a pilot project was officially in place.
Dubbed Music for All, a name suggested by Viola Professor John Graham, the program initially recruited eight student volunteer chamber music groups to perform locally at a school or community site. Since then, the program has grown steadily.
Today, the program is integrated into the chamber music curriculum, ensuring that nearly the entire school participates. The scope of the program has grown exponentially and now more than 2000 people in the Rochester community benefit from this experience. Petar Kodzas, Outreach Coordinator meets with every group individually to make sure they have the proper tools to perform at the highest level.