Eastman School of Music celebrates 100 years

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, New York Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblyman Demond Meeks were among the lawmakers present. They presented the school with special centennial proclamations from the city of Rochester, Monroe County, and New York State.

Since 1922, Eastman has consistently ranked among the top music schools in the United States. It opened its doors to the public a century ago this week, and since then it has earned a reputation as a dream school for the best young musicians around the world.

“I’ve wanted to come to Eastman since I was 15,” said Mason St. Pierre, who is studying conducting and led a live music ensemble at Friday’s centennial event. “Finishing my degree here at a dream school is quite an honor.

The institution also serves as an academic and musical home for many local musicians, such as Bella Lau de Mendon, who is part of the Centennial class.

“I had been part of the Eastman Community School of Music since 2011, so I’ve been going to Eastman for a long time, and being part of the centennial so close was really special,” Lau said.

Excellence in music is clearly the school’s forte, but access to world-class performances isn’t the only benefit of having a top-notch conservatory in the heart of downtown Rochester. Mayor Evans highlighted the positive economic impact of the school bringing new people to the city. In addition to the economic and cultural contributions to Rochester, the school also holds special personal significance for many.

“I didn’t really realize how special it was until I came here and met so many great people from all over the country and other countries,” Lau said.

Innovation and the arts are part of Rochester’s DNA, and Joan d’Eastman and Martin Messinger Dean Jamal Rossi hope the next century will see them working together in harmony.

“There’s no doubt that we’re going to see a growing influence of technology on music, and that’s exciting,” Rossi said. “But I hope that 100 years from now people will still come in person to Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater and Kilbourn Hall and sit down and just experience the joy of making music live.”

For more information on the school’s centennial events, concerts and campaign, click here.

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