With the advent of the school year come many things – classes, homework, exams – like all universities. However, attending a music school means that these things are accompanied by things like practicing and the beginning of another several months of spectacular concerts. This includes, of course, concerts by Eastman School of Music students, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and many other guest artists.
As with every year, there will be performances by the Eastman wind ensembles, orchestras and chorales, which all have their opening concerts at the end of this month.
Musica Nova will perform a concert in celebration of Charles Wuorinen’s 65th birthday. Additionally, there will be concerts by the Gamelan Lila Muni, Ossia, and both the Jazz Ensemble and the New Jazz Ensemble.
This November, the Eastman Opera Theatre, directed by Steven Daigle, will perform Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” the story of a barber in London during the mid-19th century.
This spring, they will perform both “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” with music by Francis Poulenc, and also “Susannah,” by the American composer and librettist Carlisle Floyd, much later in the semester.
The four Eastman Concert Series will continue to bring excellent music to Kilbourn Hall. The World Music Series will sponsor four concerts this year, including both Odadaa! and Darma, featuring Eyal Sela, this fall.
Additionally, both the Kilbourn and Eastman-Ranlet Series will include concerts by artists such as pianist Richard Goode and flutist Mini Stillman, not to mention Eastman’s own Quartet in Residence, the Ying Quartet.
The Faculty Artist Series will consist of 20 concerts spread throughout this school year, featuring Eastman faculty members such as tenor Robert Swensen, clarinetist and saxophonist Ramon Ricker and pianist Rebecca Penneys this fall.
The Eastman Jazz Quartet and jazz artists Tony Caramia and Mark Kellogg will also perform this spring.
Expanding beyond Eastman musicians, a performance of Lully’s comic work “Le Carnaval Mascarade,” will bring together students from Cornell University and Eastman in two performances at the beginning of October.
The piece, which is sung in four languages, “looks like a ballet and sounds like an opera,” according to Cornell professor of music Rebecca Harris-Warrick, producer of the performance.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Seaman, will also have a whirlwind season this year. The season opens with a concert featuring renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, performing works by Beethoven and Franck.
Another concert titled “Tomorrow’s Talent” will feature select Eastman students performing with the RPO.
Later on this winter, pianist Terrence Wilson will return to perform John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto with the RPO. There will be a “Tribute to Nat King Cole,” featuring the John Pizzarelli trio.
RPO audiences will also be treated to “An Evening with Comedian Robert Klein” and “An Evening with Randy Newman” this season. Violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama will perform the Walton “Viola Concerto” with the RPO this November.
Throughout the season, other well-known conductors such as Joseph Silverstein and Daniel Hege will take a turn at conducting the orchestra in programs titled “Master & Prodigy” and “American Impressions,” respectively. And, of course, there will be many other great concerts not mentioned here.
Outside the walls of Eastman, students can trek to the Downtown United Presbyterian Church, where the Rochester Bach Festival will be presenting “50 Cantatas for 50 Years,” a series of four concerts throughout the fall featuring groups such as the Nazareth College Choir and the Rochester Bach Festival Chorus.
Looking for something or someone besides resident ensembles and musicians? On Nov. 9, comedian Bill Cosby will grace the stage of the Eastman Theatre. Trumpet player and former director of the Eastman Jazz Ensemble Chuck Mangione, whose 60th Birthday Bash Concert at the Eastman Theatre once raised $50,000 for charity, will perform in the Eastman Theatre on Dec. 13.
Needless to say, there are countless performances scheduled to take place this fall and next spring that have not even been mentioned here. The moral of the story? There’s no excuse for being bored this fall. In fact, there should even be a few concerts this fall that will be perfect excuses for not practicing.
Jansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.