Summer@Eastman, directed by Dr. Sylvie Beaudette, has played a significant role in the Eastman School of Music’s curriculum since the school’s beginnings in 1921. On a hand-written draft of his 1928 report to then University of Rochester President Rush Rhees, composer, conductor, and Eastman School director Howard Hanson mentioned the Summer Session in glowing terms: “The summer school, under the direction of Mr. [Raymond] Wilson, has been organized so that its courses now integrate with the courses of the regular school year, thus making the summer session of much greater importance in the general educational scheme of the institution” (Sibley archives).
The first summer sessions mostly offered classes in “public school music,” now called Music Education. Between 1954 and 1972, under Allen Irvine McHose’s leadership, Eastman’s Summer Session grew rapidly, thanks in part to innovative programs such as ‘Opera Under the Stars’ at the Highland Park, the Eastman Chamber Orchestra, and workshops for piano teachers, church musicians, librarians, saxophonists, and arrangers. The Summer Session was also instrumental (pun intended) in promoting the Suzuki method in the United States.
In the early 1970s, the Eastman School’s preparatory department—now known as the Eastman Community Music School (ECMS)—began coordinating pre-college programs for high-school musicians. As Vincent Lenti notes in his book on Eastman, Serving a Great and Noble Art: these programs “were among the very first programs in the United States that brought pre-collegiate students to a college campus for a summer of intensive music study.”
Today, Summer@Eastman—as Summer Session is now known—offers nearly 50 programs and courses every year including: a summers-only masters degree in Music Education; collegiate classes in Music Theory and Musicology; a Study Abroad program in Paris; two pre-collegiate programs: Eastman Experience: Summer Classical Studies and Eastman Experience: Summer Jazz Studies; as well as various institutes, online workshops, and a full-day music camp. We hope you can join us this summer!