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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Historian traces Eastman history

The story of how, in 1921, Rochester industrialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist George Eastman founded the Eastman School of Music, is a story worth waiting for, says Vincent Lenti '60E, '63E (Mas), the newly appointed historian for the Eastman School. Lenti is compiling a chronology of the school based on decades of correspondence, publications, and personal interviews that he plans to publish as a three- volume history through the University of Rochester Press, with the first volume scheduled for release in time for the 100th anniversary of Eastman's Sibley Library in 2004.

In the first volume, Lenti provides a documentary history beginning with the origins of the Eastman School until the death of George Eastman in 1932. Some of Rochester's (and the country's) most well-known business leaders and artistic movers and shakers --such luminaries as American composer Howard Hanson; renowned dancer/choreographer Martha Graham; theater and film director Rouben Mamoulian; opera impressario Vladimir Rosing; Harper Prize-winning author Paul Horgan; University President Rush Rhees; and Eastman's first director Alf Klingenberg--figure prominently in the first volume.

The second volume will document the school through the retirement of Director Howard Hanson in 1964, and the third volume will take the story up through the present time. Lenti says that all three volumes will be designed as stand-alone publications.

"The University of Rochester Press is delighted to be able to publish Lenti's upcoming work on the Eastman School of Music," says University Press Editorial Director Tim Madigan. "It will be part of our new Meliora imprint, which specializes in books specifically on aspects of the University's history. Vince has been a pleasure to work with, and his book will be an important contribution not only to the University but also to the history of music in general."

After earning a bachelor's and master's degree, Lenti joined the piano faculty in 1963. His interest in Rochester's musical history was first spurred by an historical study Lenti did in the late 1970s of Eastman's Community Education Division, which he led for 26 years. This sparked an interest in the overall history of the Eastman School, and in 1996, Lenti's account of the historical origins of the school was published by Rochester History, a quarterly publication by the city historian of the Rochester Public Library.

"I can't think of a better person to chronicle Eastman's history than Vince Lenti," says Eastman Director and Dean James Under- cofler. "Through his more than 45 years of involvement in all aspects of the School, from undergraduate student through faculty member in the piano department, Vince has developed a unique perspective. We are fortunate to have someone in this position whose personal connections and recollections span more than half of the school's history."

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