George Eastman transformed the corner of Main and Gibbs streets in the early 1920s by building the Eastman School of Music and adjoining Eastman Theatre. He founded the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in 1922, which has enriched the cultural life of the Rochester community ever since. George Eastman's lifelong passion for music and his philanthropic investments were motivated by his vision of making Rochester one of the world's great music centers.
Today, the Eastman School's students, faculty, and alumni, along with the musicians of the RPO, are using the power of music to inspire people around the globe. The Eastman School is widely recognized as one of the top music schools in the world. The RPO is internationally regarded as one of the best orchestras of its kind, with a deep commitment to education and community engagement.
For decades, Eastman Theatre has served as the community's preeminent performance venue, a magnificent treasure for Rochester, and a hub for cultural life year round. More than 300,000 members of the Rochester community pass through its doors each year.
George Eastman's cultural legacy in Rochester and his impact on music is profound. We have an exciting opportunity to complete his vision. We invite you to join us in building a future for Eastman Theatre that is as impressive as its past.
Student enrollment at the Eastman School of Music has tripled over the past eight decades. The school's recital halls and studios no longer meet the needs of faculty and students. Some of the 700 annual performances are held in settings designed for alternative uses or in off-campus locations. The Eastman School of Music auditions approximately 2,100 students nationally and internationally each year.
Many are eager to attend the Eastman School, but there is stiff competition for those students with institutions like the Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and The Royal Conservatory of Music. The Eastman School must stay competitive by providing contemporary performance, rehearsal, and lecture facilities and technology. The same competition applies to recruiting and retaining first-rate faculty, who deserve and expect excellent facilities.
The Eastman School and the RPO have joined in a unique partnership for the benefit of current music lovers and future generations. They share faculty, student, and graduate talent. Many RPO players are on the faculty of the School, and many Eastman School graduates play professionally with the orchestra. The RPO sponsors internships and classes for Eastman students. They collaborate in attracting and retaining the best and brightest young musicians and faculty, helping to maintain Rochester's special status in the music world. The extension of the artistic collaboration into project planning and fund raising is truly pioneering and has already inspired several leadership donors to make exceptional investments.
The project will fulfill George Eastman's vision and serve as a key component in the further revitalization of Rochester's East End. Cultural offerings are a historic strength of Rochester, and studies in urban development consistently link the importance of cultural programs to a city's rejuvenation. The wealth and quality of events hosted within the Eastman complex and in the community are a sure sign of the area's vitality.
Each member of the Rochester community can benefit from and be proud of the Eastman renovation and expansion, much as they did more than 85 years ago.