George Eastman's Contribution to Classical Music
Every year, the classical music scene in Rochester expands: youth ensembles are growing in popularity and talent, classical concert attendance is increasing, and general classical music awareness has reached an all-time high. Many people are to be acknowledged for the success of Rochester’s classical music industry (i.e. school music teachers, patrons, and people who simply enjoy music), but all of this dulcet success can also be traced to one single person: George Eastman.
Many people know that George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak film company. But did you know that every morning he was consumed by organ music as he descended his red-carpeted, grand staircase? Eastman had his builders rip apart the middle of the 35,000-square-foot mansion so that he could recreate the “Conservatory Room”, which housed the massive pipe organ that he adored so much.
George Eastman was regarded as one of the most passionate music lovers of his day. He gained popularity among the local musicians because he would frequently hire them to perform in the comfort of his home (at extremely high rates). Eastman was also regarded as one of the most passionate music patrons of this millennium when he decided to contribute millions of dollars toward the construction of a classical music conservatory. Eastman’s conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, produces some of the world’s most advanced musicians and inspires young children in the area to participate in music.
With the creation of the Eastman School of Music came the construction of the Eastman Theater, home to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Eastman Theater is one of the most famous musical venues, attracting distinguished musicians from all over the globe. It also houses the concerts of youth musicians, who become inspired simply by setting foot on the stage of the lionized concert hall.
George Eastman’s legacy lives on through the lives of every classical musician who comes in contact with Rochester. The legacy of his appreciation and generosity toward classical music undoubtedly continues to spread throughout the world.