University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Gift helps create musician forum

Funded by a gift of $1.2 million from the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), the Eastman School of Music has established the Orchestra Musician Forum, designed to enhance the professional development of symphony orchestra musicians.

"Since its founding, the Eastman School has been committed to educating music leaders who can affect change talented musicians interested in continuing artistic and professional advancement," says Eastman School Dean James Undercofler. "We are extremely grateful to SOI founder Paul Judy, who has entrusted and released to Eastman the endowment he established with the SOI. Our vision is for the 'OM Forum' to become a national effort and a leading resource for professional orchestra musicians throughout North America."

The development of the forum will be overseen and advised by a five-member board, consisting of Undercofler, two other senior administrators of nationally prominent music schools, and two musicians with extensive orchestra experience.

The forum's first task will be to develop a Web site presenting professional and educational content for musicians working in symphonies and other musical arts organizations. The anticipated launch date is early 2006.

"I am pleased to entrust the institute's wealth to Eastman to help pursue this new path," says Judy. "It has become increasingly apparent that the artistic growth, personal fulfillment, career advancement, and job satisfaction of orchestral musicians are highly interdependent with the artistry, robustness, adaptability, and sustainability of the organizations in which they are employees and central stakeholders. It is clear that Eastman is dedicated to educating the 'whole musician.' The school brings special insights and will provide great leadership and stewardship to this much needed, and quite specialized, continuing education effort."

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