Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra for over 20 years, is finally retiring after an amazingly successful career.

Innovation and risk-taking characterized Dohnanyi’s years with the orchestra, as he would often perform lesser-known contemporary works alongside their much-studied, much-performed counterparts.

An article written by Anthony Tommassini for the Jan. 28 issue of the New York Times explained Dohnanyi’s programming choices, stating that “an effective way to recapture what was daring about standard repertory works is to perform them alongside daring works of today.”

Answering the questions that the world of professional music asks of its composers, conductors, performers, theorists and critics today requires the use of more than just the traditional schools of thought.

The Insitute for Music Leadership was created at Eastman this past fall to inspire and better prepare students, alumni and professional musicians to achieve success on the same plane as the retiring Dohnanyi. While this may seem a daunting task, Eastman’s brand new IML is more than motivated and equipped to handle the challenge.

The IML is the first organization of its kind in the country, serving as an “umbrella structure” for already-existing Eastman programs like the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program, the Orchestral Studies Diploma in Strings, the Sacred Music Diploma, Music for All and the William Warfield Partnership with the Rochester City School District. A new program that would culminate in the earning of an “Art of Teaching” certificate is currently in the works.

The IML is not a part of any individual degree program at Eastman ? it is meant to strengthen and sustain core programs that help shape graduates into great leaders.

“[The IML] will help bridge the gap between the end of college and the beginning of professional life,” said IML director and saxophone professor Raymond Ricker.

“It will try to make that transition more seamless, giving [students] real-world kinds of tools and [making them] advocates in the arts,” Ricker said.

Ricker also serves as director of the Orchestral Studies Diploma and co-director of the Arts Leadership Program. This program, a part of the IML, has provided students with a diverse course offering since 1996. The program also provides paid, for-credit internships in Rochester, as well as paid summer and post-graduation “externships” in the United States, Canada and around the world.

This program, along with the others encompassed by the IML, have undergraduates as their target audience. Susan Conkling, the IML’s associate director for professional development, stressed along with Ricker the fact that high standards of musicianship will still be upheld in conjunction with the professional skills gained.

“The reason that undergrads should experience the world of the advocate, businessperson, educator, producer, publicist, etc. is not because they won’t have viable careers as soloists or symphony orchestra members ? far from it,” Conkling said.

“You’ll all use the knowledge and skills you gain, as you sample from those careers, to enrich and enhance your existing knowledge skills, to “push at the boundaries” of traditional music careers, andtransform them,” she said.

The birth of the IML has been drawing a great deal of national attention. To find out more about the opportunities offered through the IML, visit www.rochester. edu/IML.

Weiss can be reached at

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