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Eastman School of Music

Aerial view of Eastman School of Music

Democrat and Chronicle, August 30, 1913, Page 15.
Aerial View of Eastman School circa 1927, from The Eastman School of Music:
Its First Quarter Century, 1921-1946, by Charles Riker
Aerial View of Eastman School, from The University of Rochester:  A Story of Expansion and its Background, by Hugh A. Smith (1930)

The Rochester Conservatory of Music was incorporated in December, 1907 and the following year bought out John D. Beall's Rochester School of Music. In 1910 the Conservatory bought a building at 81 South Fitzhugh Street.

Musicians Alf Klingenberg and Hermann Dossenbach established the Dossenbach-Klingenberg School of Music in the fall of 1913 and it was provisionally chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York on September 25, 1913.  Klingenberg and Dossenbach chose a building at 47 Prince Street for their school, which they purchased from William Gleason of the Gleason Works.  Facilities for the new school were enhanced through the construction of a building at the rear of the property to provide for a recital hall and auditorium.

Klingenberg' s choice of location was as astute as his choice of partner, since the new school was situated adjacent to the campus of the University of Rochester and diagonally across the street from Sibley Hall, which housed the Sibley Music Library. This collection, given to the University in 1904 by Hiram W. Sibley, was an invaluable resource, and its nearby location was of obvious advantage to the new school.

The school was reorganized in 1914 with Oscar Gareissen and renamed the D.K.G. Institute of Musical Art.  In 1916 the institute was consolidated with the the Rochester Conservatory of Music to form the D.K.G. Institute of Musical Art and Rochester Conservatory of Music, although the second name soon faded from view.  On July 19, 1918, George Eastman purchased the school for $28,000, including its property and corporate rights and for the next 315 days Eastman was the sole owner of the school.  The University's charter was amended by the State Board of Regents on December 12, 1918, allowing the granting of music and other professional degrees.  Several parcels on Gibbs, Main and Swan Streets were sold to the University in early 1919 and on June 12, 1919 George Eastman transferred Institute of Music and its property on Prince Street for $1.00.  Ground was broken for the new school in early 1920..

Eastman, who founded the photo giant Eastman Kodak Company and the music school that bears his name, wanted the School and the Eastman Theatre to span Main Street from Gibbs to Swan Streets. When the owner of the property at Main and Swan, Alexander B. Lamberton, demanded too high a price, Eastman refused and built around the property. The University finally acquired this parcel in 1961 and used it as a parking lot for many years until the East Wing was built.

Buildings | Eastman School of Music Map (January 17, 2019) |
1913 Dossenbach-Klingenberg School of Music

1919 "Eastman School of Music Added to University," Democrat and Chronicle, June 18, 1919, Page 18.

1921 Eastman School of Music

1922 Eastman Theatre

1924 Eastman Annex 1

1925 Eastman Dormitories (on Prince Street Campus)

1927 Eastman Annex 2

1937 Sibley Music Library

1951 Hutchison House

1955 | Cutler Union | Munro Hall |

1975 Eisenhart Home

1988 Miller Center (formerly Eastman Place)

1991 Eastman Commons Student Living Center

2005 Messinger Hall

2010 East Wing

References | also see History of Music in Rochester |
1916 "Rochester Schools Form Combination," Musical America 24:20 (July 1, 1916)
Amalgamation of the Rochester Conservatory of Music and the D.K.G. Institute of Musical Art.

1916 "Rochester Solving Problems of Music for the Multitude," Musical America 24:139 (October 14, 1916)

1918 "New Plan for Institute of Music," Democrat and Chronicle, May 6, 1918, Page 17.
Provided contributions of not less than $2,500 a year for five years are obtained, George Eastman has offered to purchase the property now housing the Institute of Musical Art, No. 47 Prince street, the institution to be chartered by the regents of the University of the State of New York. Mr. Eastman would present the property to the trustees of the new corporation, in which no trustee or other individual would hold stock or have any proprietary interest. The contributions asked by Mr. East- 47 Prince Street. man would supplement for the support of an educational musical institution the income from pupils. Another provision stipulates that Alf Klingenberg, the present director, remain as director and teacher of piano for not less than five years.  Through co-operation with the University of Rochester, it is said, the usual lour-year course would be enlarged by the addition of college subjects.

1919 "Concert Hall and School of Music in Building to be put up by George Eastman," Democrat and Chronicle, February 14, 1919, page 21.

1919 Deed from William H. Ward to the University of Rochester, February 27, 1919, book 1052, page 162.
Lot on Swan Street.

1919 Deed from Leonard B. Bacon to the University of Rochester, April 5, 1919, book 1054, page 365.
Lot at corner of Main and Gibbs Streets.

1919 "Music Hall Site Will Take in Lot This House Occupies," Democrat and Chronicle, April 9, 1919, page 21.

1919 "Million Building Fund for Eastman School of Music; Endowment Fund $2,139,000," Democrat and Chronicle, August 6, 1919, Page 21.
These and other details made public by Dr. Rush Rhees at dinner of National Association of Motion Picture Industry.

1920 "Eastman School of Music to Develop Rochester into Community of Music Lovers," Democrat and Chronicle, February 20, 1920, page 21.

1922 "Central Heating Plant," The Note Book, March 2, 1922, Page 3.

1922 "The following-named firms and individuals participated in the construction and equipment of the new Eastman Theater and School of Music," Democrat and Chronicle, September 10, 1922, Page 8.

1923 "Eastman Theatre and School of Music," American Architect and Architecture 123(2424):181-200 (February 28, 1923)

1923 "The Heating and Ventilating System and Soundproofing for the Eastman Theatre and School of Music," by Allen S. Crocker American Architect and Architecture 123(2424):200-202 (February 28, 1923)

1923 "New Story to be Added to Eastman Theater Wing to Provide Ballet Studio," Democrat and Chronicle, June 24, 1923, Page 33.

1923 "New Electric Station Will Supply Theater," Democrat and Chronicle, June 28, 1923, Page 19.
New Substation to convert alternating current to direct current to be distributed to customers in that section.

1923 "The Electrical and Illuminating Equipment of the Eastman Theatre and School of Music," by Frederick A. Mott and Loyd A. Jones, Journal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers 42(6):569-582 (June 1923)

1923 "Huge Generator for Swan Street Station Arrives," Democrat and Chronicle, October 18, 1923, Page 21.
3,000-horsepower motor generator set.

1923 A Monograph of the Work of Gordon & Kaelber Architects

1926 "Test Music School Boiler," Campus, February 19, 1926, Page 8.

1926 Plat Book of the City of Rochester
Plate 2:  Eastman School and Theatre
Plate 8:  Eastman School Annex and Powerhouse

1927 A descriptive and pictorial presentation of some features of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre

1927 "Eastman Theater Issues Booklet," Democrat and Chronicle, March 1, 1927, Page 24.
Building and Music School Pictures and Described.

1927 Rochester, the making of a university, by Jesse Leonard Rosenberger, with an introduction by President Rush Rhees.
Page 302-316:  Eastman School of Music

1928 Rochester Gas & Electric News & Year Book, February, 1928
Pages 18-21:  Progress in the Steam Department
During 1927.Au additional load of 275,000,000 pounds of steam was contracted for which means an increase of approximately $230,000 in annual revenue.
In addition to the customers obtained in the Broad Street Section, a number of large consumers were obtained in the Lawn Street District.  Among these are the Eastman Theatre and School of Music

1928 "Eastman School Annex Set Fire by Cigarette," Democrat and Chronicle, May 18, 1927, Page 21.
Two-story frame structure at 28 Swan street.

1929 "A Retrospect of Music in Rochester," by Stewart Sabin, Rochester Historical Society 11:45-90 (1929)

1931 The Eastman School of Music, 1921-1931, a decade of progress, by Howard Hanson

1933 "Janitor at Eastman Falls Dead at Work," Democrat and Chronicle, March 4, 1933, Page 12.
Louis Thorns.

1935 Plat Book of the City of Rochester  
Plate 1:  Eastman School and Theatre

1940 Milestones in the history of music.  A series of programs illustrating the development of musical composition presented over station WHAM and the Red network of the National Broadcasting Company, 1940-1941, by Eastman School of Music.

1948 The Eastman School of Music: Its First Quarter Century, 1921-1946, by Charles Riker

1955 "University to Use Prince St. Campus for Eastman School," Democrat and Chronicle, February 7, 1955, Page 13.

1961 "Main-Swan Site Sold to UR for $225,000," Democrat and Chronicle, July 7, 1961, Page 16.
Sold by Jarold Properties, Inc.  The university took over a $60,250 mortgage and paid the remainder in cash.

1963 "The Expanding University:  5.-The Eastman School of Music," Democrat and Chronicle, August 11, 1963, Page 1M. | Part 2 |

1963 The Eastman School of Music, 1947-1962:  A Sequel, by Charles Riker

1974 "City Asks UR to Delay Decision," Campus Times, January 21, 1974, Page 1. | Part 2 |
Opposes ESM Move

1974 "Director Freeman Weighs Possible Eastman Move," Campus Times, March 1, 1974, Page 1 | Part 2 |

1975 "Changing times at Eastman School," Democrat and Chronicle, February 16, 1975, Page 1E. | Part 2 |
This is the first of a four part series

1975 "The question:  Should it be moved?" Democrat and Chronicle, February 17, 1975, Page 1C. | Part 2 |

1975 "Robert Freeman and Eastman's Future," Democrat and Chronicle, February 18, 1975, Page 1C. | Part 2 |

1975 "A Conversation with Robert Freeman," Democrat and Chronicle, February 19, 1975, Page 1C.| Part 2 |

1975 "Eisenhart home given to school," Democrat and Chronicle, August 10, 1975, Page 2B. | part 2 |
The 1316 East Avenue home of the late Mr. and Mrs. M. Herbert Eisenhart will be given to the University of Rochester and used by its Eastman School of Music as a residence and meeting place. Mr. Eisenhart, who died this year, stipulated in his will that the residence, together with the income from a $250,000 fund for its maintenance and upkeep, was to be used as the family determined. The house, located at the northwest corner of East Avenue and East Boulevard will be used initially as a residence for the director of the University's Eastman School of Music.

1975 The Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre, by Lois K. Clutz

1977 "$5 million facelift at Eastman School," University Record 17(2):3 (February 1977)

1977 History of the University of Rochester, 1850-1962, by Arthur J. May.  Expanded edition with notes
Chapter 18, The Birth of a Music Center
On Monday, September 12, 1921, the Eastman School of Music opened its doors to students, one hundred and four of them "regulars" of whom fifty-nine were candidates for certificates and forty-five were aspirants for a bachelor's degree; women outnumbered men in a ratio of seven to one. Over 1,200 entered as special students or in the preparatory department.
While the stage was large, it was less spacious than had been envisaged in the preliminary planning; off from it were sixteen dressing rooms for performing artists and facilities for one hundred orchestra players. Until 1926 warmth for the entire music center was supplied by a plant on the east side of Swan Street; thereafter, heat was purchased from the Rochester Gas and Electric Company.
Since the facilities for teaching soon proved inadequate, two annexes were erected along Swan Street. The first, of five stories, adjacent to the Theatre and available in 1924, furnished space principally for orchestral rehearsals, ballet training, and the preparation of properties for operatic spectacles; a runway crossed over to the stage entrance of the Theatre. Executives of the School and Theatre were assigned garage space on the ground level; Eastman, Rhees, and Todd on concert nights parked their cars in the heating plant.
Ten days before he took his life, Eastman wrote, "I am returning the key... as it is not likely that I will want to use the Swan Street garage any more...."
The second annex, a ten-story structure built in 1926 and linked to the School by a covered bridge, greatly enlarged the number of classrooms, studio and practice rooms, and contained a special area for the opera department, a gymnasium, and a laundry. For a few years, the former home of the Institute of Musical Art on Prince Street was used as a dormitory for women students, but in 1925, as is related later, residence halls for women along University Avenue were completed and the old Institute building thereafter served as living quarters for a few men students.
In the meantime, praiseworthy progress had been made in equipping the school with one of the largest, finest, most comprehensive musical libraries in the United States. Collections of books on music and musical manuscripts acquired by Hiram W. Sibley of Rochester formed the solid nucleus of the library. A lover of music himself, Sibley in 1904 had been persuaded to collect musical works by Elbert Newton, organist of the Central Presbyterian Church, who acted as purchasing agent. In the capacity of "angel," Sibley wished a "working" collection of books without "frills and curiosities," and in the light of that, directive Newton concentrated on buying standard titles and a considerable quantity of "modern" music. The holdings were deposited in the Sibley Library, built by the donor's father, on the Prince Street Campus; Sibley paid the salary of a curator who issued a catalogue of the collection and supplements. Although any responsible Rochesterian might borrow books, circulation was not large, but used freely by students in the nearby Institute of Musical Art.
In January of 1922 the Sibley collection was transferred to the music center and installed in a large room at the southeast corner of the first floor corridor of the School. Known as the Sibley Musical Library, the growing collections remained there until the separate library building became available (1937). On a wall of the reading room a portrait of the benefactor was hung (along the corridor a likeness of Wolfgang A. Mozart looked down benignly on the passing scene), and a bronze tablet just inside the entrance read: "This Musical Library given by Hiram W. Sibley is for the use of all music lovers in Rochester."
Chapter 28, Music and Medicine in the 1930's
Expansion of book collections and increase in the student body caused insufferable congestion in the temporary library quarters. Consequently, in 1937, a music library building, believed to be the first of its kind in America, was erected on the east side of Swan Street, and the former library facility was refitted as a relaxation lounge for students and teachers. On February 10, 1938, the new structure was formally dedicated. The book circulation department, card catalogues, and space for reading occupied the first level, while on the second floor seminar and listening rooms were provided. According to the original blueprints, book stacks would rise to ten levels with cubicles for study along the eastern wall; however, only four stacks were in fact built and plans for an elevator, alas, were not carried out.

1981 Potential Opportunities for Revitalization of the Rochester, New York Steam District Heating System, by Robert E. Gant, Michael A. Karnitz, Carroll W. Easton and Carl H. Thiele, September 1981.
Page B-6:  Steam customers converted to other fuels:  U of R Eastman School of Music 3/79 21,205 Annual Mlbs of steam.

1983 "UR, Eastman may build downtown," Democrat and Chronicle, January 25, 1983, Page 1A. | Part 2 |
Schools considering office building next to Eastman Theater.

1987 "A History of the Eastman Theatre," by Vincent A. Lenti, Rochester History 49(1):1-24 (January 1987)

1996 "The Eastman School of Music," by Vincent A. Lenti, Rochester History 58(4):1-32 with illus (Fall 1996)

1996 George Eastman: A Biography, by Elizabeth Brayer | another copy |

2004 For the Enrichment of Community Life: George Eastman and the Founding of the Eastman School of Music. by Vincent Lenti

2009 Serving a Great and Noble Art: Howard Hanson and the Eastman School of Music, by Vincent A. Lenti

2013 Hermann Dossenbach: Founding Father of Orchestral Music in Rochester, by Juliet Wu

2022 "Rediscovering the genius of R. Nathaniel Dett," by Mona Seghatoleslami, Rochester City Newspaper, February 2022
First black graduate of the Eastman School of Music

Eastman Theatre 

2021 Morris A. Pierce