News from another planet

News from another planet


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2023

Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, has updated its priorities.

This is what schools of music are expected to do:
Eastman School of Music, at the University of Rochester, is proud to announce that it will host the inaugural Context Conference: Contextualizing Equity and Inclusion in Music on November 3-4, 2023, in Rochester, NY. Conference Host Dr. Crystal Sellers Battle, Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion at Eastman, along with Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts, Chair and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Jackson State University, are the keynote speakers.

The two-day conference will include breakout group sessions, pre-concert receptions, two performances, and more, framed around the following five areas:

Classroom Innovation
Curriculum Shift
Ensemble & Applied Area Repertoire and Performance Practice
Community Engagement
Recruitment and Retention

Currently, the conference is soliciting proposals for sessions.


  • Peter San Diego says:

    Two whole days out of the year! Dearie me, pass the smelling salts!

    • Bedrich Sourcream says:

      It’s a serious issue, because it is putting politics above art, race above talent, and pretending barriers exist where there are none. It creates favoritism, and unfair advantages.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    How is this “news from another planet”, Norman?
    These types of courses are regularly offered to educators (in the non-benighted US states, that is), and all forward-thinking schools both private and public offer similar programs to their teaching staffs.

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    An institution where a single hour private lesson charges well over $850.

    $23,640 per year for about 26-28 hours of private lessons it seems.

    Mind boggling they charge this amount yet have very little to show in the international performance scene. Need to pay for the deans it seems.

    • Been there, done that says:

      My daughter went there for 2 1/2 years before she’d had enough and left for a better school. She only had half of her lessons because her teacher was out-of-town so often promoting her own solo career; of course at her students’ expense.

    • Bedrich Sourcream says:

      Eastman grads are in demand for many teaching positions, they dominate their region but also many other areas. Juilliard is not alone.

  • Fenway says:

    Glad my beautiful and artistic daughters are out of school and working so they don’t have to be subjected to this garbage. Equity is what I have in my home.

    • Jeff says:

      Explain why having an ethnomusicologist speak is garbage? Seriously, explain yourself. It’s two freaking days out about 9 months of schooling.

  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    You do notice that it’s a 2-day conference, not a curriculum revamp, don’t you?

  • Nicholas says:

    Well, at least there’re two performances instead of semi-staged sharings. I miss Robert Freeman, R.I.P., who commissioned Joseph Schwantner to compose music to some of the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King which yielded New Morning for the World – a very fine work.

  • Bedrich Sourcream says:

    The Cultural Revolution has swept through perhaps every major conservatory. How disgusting. That’s what happens when they are run by administrators. I heard a number of top faculty quit Manhattan School of Music because of this.