This Saturday, the Eastman School of Music will honor former flute teacher Joseph Mariano. The celebration will include a concert, a master class and a panel discussion.

The event commences with a master class in the early afternoon. It will take place in Kilbourn Hall, and will feature approximately four flute students, who will play for Mariano. At 4 p.m., a portrait of Mariano – who is 92 years old – will be unveiled in the Cominsky Promenade, taking its place among several other portraits of esteemed Eastman professors.

Later that evening, there will be a panel discussion featuring Mariano and other former Eastman professors who were colleagues of Mariano – David VanHoesen, bassoon, Morris Secon, horn, and Stanley Hasty, clarinet. The panel, which is entitled “Winds of Change – A Discussion of the Evolution of Woodwind Performance from the Mid-20th Century to the Present,” will be moderated by Eastman Director and Dean of the Eastman School James Undercofler.

The event will conclude with a concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Neil Varon. The concert begins at 8 p.m. The program, appropriately, will consist of Mozart’s “Overture to the Magic Flute” and Darius Milhaud’s “Creation of the World.” Finally, sophomore flutist Hilary Abigana will be the featured soloist, performing Carl Nielsen’s “Concerto for Flute” with the orchestra.

Both the concert and the panel discussion will take place in Kilbourn Hall.

A native of Pittsburgh and graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Pennsylvania, Mariano joined the Eastman faculty in 1935, after being asked to do so by then Eastman School Director Howard Hanson. He remained Eastman’s professor of flute until 1974 and was also principal flute of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for over 30 years.

Mariano’s playing is recognized worldwide, and, during his time at Eastman, he was asked by conductors such as Fritz Reiner, Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and the NBC Symphony, respectively, which he declined in order to continue teaching at Eastman.

Current Eastman professor of flute Bonita Boyd was a student of Mariano.

“He taught without verbalizing – great things happen musically when you take chances, use your sound and let the music speak for itself in beauty and simplicity of line,” Boyd, who has taught at Eastman since 1976, said in a recent press release about the event.

Mariano is known for both his gorgeous sound and his ability as a teacher. In addition to other honors that he has received, Mariano was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Flute Association two years ago. His playing has been recognized by several famous flutists, and he has made several recordings on the Mercury recording label.

“As one of the greatest artists on any instrument, [Mariano] truly has become a legend in his own time, while caring enough about others to pour himself out as a teacher,” Boyd said.

Undercofler is also excited to bring Mariano back to Eastman. “For these gifts that he passed on to so many flutists who have graced the stages of the world, and who probably single-handedly has populated more orchestra flute sections than any other teacher, Eastman is proud to salute Joseph Mariano,” Undercofler said.

Jansen can be reached at cjansen@campustimes.org.



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