… It’s audition season!!!!!

You can tell it’s coming – you can smell it in the air, you can feel it in your mind, you can see it in the panicking eyes of your colleagues… It’s audition season!!!!!

I don’t know who decided audition season should be during the coldest, snowiest possible time of year. I know it makes sense with the school year timeline, but boy oh boy does struggling through giant snow drifts with an instrument, in formal dress, not sound fun. Luckily all of you auditioning at Eastman will have lots of help from the student committee, so none of you will get lost somewhere deep inside the practice room annex.

I remember how stressful auditioning for college was – I used to have weird nightmares about going to an audition with my violin, and the committee handing me a bassoon and telling me to play on that instead! But really, nothing crazy like that is going to happen. As I prepare for grad school auditions now, I’m learning there actually isn’t any magic to this. You dedicate yourself and prepare as much as you can; your hard work won’t suddenly disappear when you walk into that room full of committee members. It might *feel* scary, but in reality, you’ve got this. Good luck with all your auditions this semester!

by Shannon Reilly

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Imagine: everything you’ve done at Eastman has led up to this moment. All the practicing and rehearsals, the studying, every moment of frustration and triumph as you push yourself to exceed your teacher’s expectations. And finally, suddenly, your degree recital is here.

I waited as the usher read the fire safety announcement for Kilbourn Hall. In only a few seconds, I would walk onstage to my audience’s applause and perform my senior recital. As I stood there, the gleam of the moment captured me. I had spent years working towards this one concert. All the nerves and last-minute preparations faded as I felt this instant become part of my history.

I had crossed a bridge. Suddenly all my toils transformed into the rungs of a ladder; this was the final step. The door opened, I walked out and took my place on the stage, and the applause of my family and friends, all the people who had taught me and changed my life while I attended this school, welcomed me. I had achieved the success for which these years at Eastman had prepared me.

Written by Shannon Reilly 

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Bach: Six Suites for Solo Cello Recital


This performance of the 6 Bach Suites will be unique, and informative…….. Dr. Steven Laitz will talk about things he sees in Bach`s process of composing, and set the scene for each suite.

To quote Dr. Laitz;

“What I’m thinking: 15 minute (20 max) intro to the suites…….before Suite I is played, to set the stage regarding what Bach’s “game” is and why these pieces are so special. I’ll do this visually, making the “coolness” clear. And I’ll need the Suite I player (Yunwen Chen) to work with the day before. She will need to do some interesting things with the Chopin c minor prelude (Op. 28, no. 20) that everyone knows, turning it from a piano piece into a Bach cello piece, step by step. Then 10 minutes to put each subsequent piece into context, dwelling on a specific and different aspect, e.g., in the Eb, giant phrases that are symmetrical and that can be heard, and which align with magnificent moments in the piece…….or in the d minor, that each movement is generated by a tiny opening gesture in the prelude, etc., but I”ll make it clear that ALL of the suites use nearly all of these glorious compositional techniques.”

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French composer, Nicolas Bacri’s “Piccolo Concerto Notturno” to be performed

This past year, the Eastman School of Music Viola Department joined together with the Paris Conservatoire to commission a work for solo viola and viola ensemble by the renowned French composer, Nicolas Bacri, whose music we featured at the 2012 International Viola Congress here at Eastman. The piece he wrote for us in 2015 is entitled “Piccolo Concerto Notturno”.  It will have its American premiere on Saturday , October 10th at 8 PM in Kodak Hall, as part of the Eastman Philharmonia and ESSO Meliora Weekend concert. The concert is free and open to the public. This past Saturday, we had a student competition here at Eastman to determine who would be the soloist.  Alexander McLaughlin, a sophomore violist studying with Carol Rodland, won the competition.  Chanmi Na, a master’s degree student studying with Carol Rodland, was the alternate.  Peter Folliard, DMA conducting student of Neil Varon, will conduct the Eastman Viola Ensemble at the performance.  The composer will be here from Europe to work with the students prior to the performance, and we also hope to have him speak briefly to the audience about the piece at the concert.


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Benefit Concert for Foodlink

(TWC 10/19/2014)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A concert benefiting Foodlink took place Sunday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester. It’s part of the “If Music Be the Food” series, which is in its 6th season.

It raises awareness and support for those who go hungry in the Rochester community. The price of admission was an optional nonperishable food item or cash donation that will go directly to benefit Foodlink. The evening’s program of music celebrated the 150th birthday of composer Richard Strauss.

“It’s just fantastic, the more we can do to address this issue in our communities the better. More and more people are joining us on this quest and we share a meal of beautiful music with everyone who comes,” said Carol Rodland, Professor of Viola at the Eastman School of Music.

The next concert series is scheduled for Sunday, January 25th at the Third Presbyterian Church.

For more info and video: Benefit Concert for Foodlink

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Extraordinary People: Alexander Pena

(WROC-TV © 10/22/2014)

Rochester is in many ways a city of the arts – and its wealth of classically-trained musicians is one reason why. One of them is violist Alexander Pena. Pena is the director of RocMusic — a non-profit that teaches music to children who live downtown.

“You cross here into the inner loop into this side of town and it’s almost a musical desert,” Pena said.

For Pena, directing RocMusic is a natural fit. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music and performs regularly in the local ensemble, Sound Exchange. He proudly introduced the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra when the RPO played at the Gantt Community Center. Many of the RocMusic students and their families were in the audience.

For more info and video: http://www.rochesterhomepage.net/story/d/story/-/JSy5KVGR2UiTIUFgJ7kkug

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Good News from the Harp Department

Sarah Kramer and Sophie Rusnock will be inducted into the Beta Pi Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda.


Sarah Kramer, Harp and International Relations majors

Hannah Chute, Harp and Comparative Literature majors

have been nominated for membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

They are 2 of 5 ESM students nominated this year.


Sophie Rusnock has been awarded the Transfer Student Award for 2014, one of the Student Life Awards given by the River Campus.

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Eastman Guitarists win at 2014 Great Lakes Guitar Competition

Eastman Guitarists swept all prizes in this 2014 Great Lakes Guitar Competition in Buffalo.  Guitarists from the US, Australia and Canada competed.

First Prize:  Daniel Nistico

Second Prize:  Kahlil Sarikey

Third Prize:  Austin Wahl


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Daniel Nistico Wins Second Place in The World Competition

Daniel NisticoDaniel is a classical guitarist from Melbourne Australia, originally taught by his father at an early age. Daniel studied at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) Young Academy and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS), a specialist music and dance school and subsequently completed his undergraduate at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) under award winning guitarist Anthony Field and Eastman alumna Donna Coleman.

Daniel has performed in numerous countries across the globe including the USA, Serbia, Chile and New Zealand and has performed regularly and given masterclasses in Australia. Daniel released his debut album in June, titled ‘Un Viaje Mistico … A Mystical Journey’ that includes a variety of both well-known and obscure repertoire. Daniel has been the recipient of many prizes including the Welsford Smithers Travelling Scholarship, a grant of $40,000 that enabled him to pursue study at the Eastman School of Music.

In 2011 Daniel competed in Seattle representing Australia and New Zealand, winning first place in the Lions Global Youth Music Competition.

In October 2013 Daniel won second place in The World Competition, a competition open to all instruments, run entirely online with a total prize pool of $10,000. Entrants submitted videos in three rounds, which were judged by a panel of 14 highly esteemed musicians including Benjamin Northey and Li Wei Qin. This competition is currently open for Jazz musicians and will be open for Classical musicians in January 2014. You can find out more information at http://theworldcompetition.com. For more information about Daniel please visit www.danielnistico.com.


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Graduate Arts Award for Erika Pinkerton

Erika Pinkerton, an MM degree violin student in the studio of Juliana Athayde, is one of 20 recipients of a Graduate Arts Award from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Chosen from approximately 450 applicants, Pinkerton stood out because of her community service work, academic achievement, and artistic goals.

Congratulations, Erika!

To read the entire Eastman News Room Press Release:


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