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Eastman School goes online for January, postpones performances

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Emily Hunt for WXXI News
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Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester.

If you are a music fan planning to hear the Ying Quartet in concert on Jan. 30, or a student planning to give a recital this month at Eastman: You’ll have to wait.

All instruction for the University of Rochester, including the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Community Music School, is moving online for the month of January. Musical performances have been postponed or canceled.

Jessica Kaufman, director of communications for the Eastman School, says it was a difficult but necessary decision.

She says Eastman has "tried at every moment to prioritize in-person music making wherever possible,” but it wasn’t possible anymore because “our priority had to be safety above all else.”

Music lessons for Eastman students will be online, along with their classes, and the same holds true for learners through the community school.

Although there is a sense of fatigue, there is also a sense of hope. Kaufman points out that teachers and students are more prepared this time around, and “a lot of folks have found great new opportunities for creative teaching creative collaboration, new ways to utilize technology.”

Individual music lessons are one thing, but it’s bit more difficult for an orchestra or a wind quintet to rehearse online. Musical groups will be announcing plans soon, and “there's a lot that has been worked on as far as emphasizing different kinds of curriculum or repertoire work that can be done in small groups online,” according to Kaufman.

If things go well, these lessons will be put into practice later in the semester.

“Everyone's goal is to have as much in-person music making as possible,” she says. "We hope to get back to that as soon as possible.”

UR and the Eastman School will make the decision by Jan. 26 on whether to remain online or return in some fashion to in-person instruction and performances for the rest of the semester.

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein at 12:10 p.m. Wednesdays, interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.