Thoughts on the Eastman Case Studies by Robert Freeman

By Freeman, Robert | Notes, March 2020 | Go to article overview

Thoughts on the Eastman Case Studies by Robert Freeman


Freeman, Robert, Notes


Thoughts on the Eastman Case Studies by Robert Freeman. It was just after a stroll on the beach at Hilton Head in the spring of 1994 with my two golden retrievers that I first began to focus on a number of troublesome concerns. Several intertwined questions intruded on what had been the peace and quiet of a happy vacation with my dear wife, Carol. What right had we as a faculty to imagine that the skills we were providing music students in the 1990s were the skills they would need in the century ahead? What abilities would musicians require, in addition to musical ones, to stem the apparent tide of waning audience numbers? What new kinds of skills would musicians need to master in the years ahead? Would "classical" and "popular" repertories remain forever as separate categories and careers? What sorts of new means of analogue and digital entertainment would music have to compete with for an audience? How could we convince the general public that musical study for children and adolescents would add academic skills in other areas, that music study might well assist in the development of human beings blessed with better attention spans?

Back in Rochester a week later, with the advice of Jon Engberg, I appointed five committees of half a dozen faculty and staff members each to ponder the curricular implications of the questions that had occurred to me in South Carolina. After a year of work, those committees came forward with the ideas that were quickly branded as The Eastman Initiatives. Buttressed by the publication of "The Performing Arts in a New Era," sponsored by the Rand Corporation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, Eastman's Arts Leadership Program was launched in 1996, supported by generous grants from the Catherine Filene Shouse Foundation and the Starr Foundation. The Eastman School, ever true to the philosophy of its founder, George Eastman, established in Rochester the Institute for Musical Leadership (IML) in 2001, the first such academic undertaking in the United States, under the directorship of Ramon Ricker. Further financial support accrued under Ricker's leadership from the Kauffman Foundation and from Paul R. Judy, which led to regular international conferences on musical leadership and the development of a curriculum of the kind I had begun to dream of in 1994. In 2015, with the retirement of Ramon Ricker, the reins of leadership at IML were entrusted to James Doser, reporting to Dean Jamal Rossi, both inspired educational leaders of the first rank, leading to the development of the Eastman Case Studies and many other initiatives.

For many years, the concept of publishing a series of case studies focused on issues that leaders in music face had been discussed at Eastman. The concept gained enthusiasm in conversations between Eastman's Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Music Theory Marie Rolf and Associate Professor of Musicology (and current editor of the Eastman Case Studies) Michael Anderson. Both Rolf and Anderson were members of the search committee to fill the directorship for Eastman's IML, and during the search process, the concept of publishing a case studies series as resources for current and future students was discussed. Upon the hiring of Jim Doser as IML Director, a strategic plan for research and publication was launched. Support from Eastman's Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research provided the funding necessary to begin and sustain publication. The case studies topics were chosen based on criteria that they:

* are timely, relevant, and can be applied to multiple issues;

* cover a wide range of topics that, given the publication of a critical mass of cases, fall into appropriate and useful categories (e.g., financial management, mission, strategic planning, crisis management, programming, and board management);

*allow collaborating organizations to share information and partici pate in discussions surrounding the cases. …

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