What is the history of the IML?

Always at the forefront of educating musicians of the future, the Eastman School is dedicated to the comprehensive education of world-class musicians, scholars and leaders. With a particular focus on the changing state of classical music, the IML was created to serve as a center – and benchmark – for music leadership programs and activities, and respond to and help shape America’s changing musical and cultural environment.

The impact of this cultural change on the country’s performing arts system was studied in-depth by RAND, a private nonprofit research organization, and supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts as part of a five-year initiative. The July 2001 report, The Performing Arts in a New Era, examined the entire performing arts system in America over the past 30 years, and indicated that a fundamental shift was taking place. (The major objectives of the study were to examine trends affecting audiences, artists, organizations, and finances, and to identify policy implications of those trends. For more information, visit www.pewtrust.org)

In 1996, the Arts Leadership Program (ALP) originated as part of the “Eastman Initiatives,” the Eastman School’s comprehensive restructuring of its curricular and co-curricular programs. In July 2000, the program was named in honor of Catherine Filene Shouse, in recognition of a major endowment grant from the Catherine Filene Shouse Foundation, and received additional endowment funding from The Starr Foundation.  Created in fall 2001 with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute for Music Leadership was the first center of its kind in the country. With the integration of the ALP into the IML, Eastman addressed many of these issues head-on to ensure the vitality and relevancy of music and the arts in the 21st century.

Moreover, the IML is true to founder George Eastman’s original vision of educating musicians of the highest quality who contribute meaningfully to community life. The programs and resources of the IML enhance Eastman students’ educational experience and professional development, helping them to envision and implement meaningful careers in music that bring value to the world around them.

How has the IML evolved since 2001?

In 2001, when the IML was created, its focus was primarily on the changing state of professional orchestras in America and a new curriculum that offered courses that bridged the “Ivory Tower” and the “Real World” – the Arts Leadership curriculum. The emphasis on orchestra issues and a practical, relevant curriculum are still there, but the IML has changed over time to reflect the needs of our students. The School administration also recognized that greater efficiencies could be met by folding the office of Careers and Professional Development under the IML umbrella, and they did so in the fall of 2005.

Entrepreneurial thinking has always been a hallmark of Eastman culture, and in 2004 the School was honored with a five-year, $700,000 grant from the Kauffmann Foundation to formally integrate entrepreneurship education into Eastman academic activities. This was done for Eastman students through the ALP curriculum and for senior U.S. music school administrators through the presentation of several influential workshops at national conferences.

These gifts, which are outlined above, helped ESM to leverage the financial, physical, and intellectual assets of the Symphony Orchestra Institute, Paul R. Judy founder, and create the Orchestra Musicians Forum (OMF). In 2013, Mr. Judy endowed the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research, dedicated to the 21st Century evolution of the innovative ensemble, influenced by both the symphony orchestra and the chamber music traditions, with a focus on creative, artist-center ensembles that reflect new models of artistic innovation, organizational relationships, and operational sustainability.

With the Kauffmann gift coming to a close, the Center for Music Innovation and Engagement (CMIE) was established in 2009 to continue the evolution of entrepreneurial thinking at the School. To focus the related goals of the CMIE, the Orchestra Musician Forum, and the Paul R. Judy Center, all three were aligned in one IML division in 2017, the Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research.

In 2016, Mary and George Hamlin announced a 2.5 million dollar gift to endow the The Hamlin Family Director of the Institute for Music Leadership.

The IML has had three directors since its founding: Ramon L. Ricker, 2001 – 2015, James C. Doser, 2015 – 2021, and Rachel Roberts, 2021- present. Both Ricker and Doser have had a significant impact on the Hamlin’s son, Alex, a professional musician in New York City. Alex studied privately with Jim Doser throughout his middle and high school years, and with Ray Ricker at Eastman. To support the mission of the IML, and to continue the development of resources for the next generations of Eastman students, the Hamlin Family has embraced this opportunity to continue the legacy of the IML.

The establishment of the Institute for Music Leadership, and the generous support of foundations and philanthropists, has allowed the Eastman School to create a unique atmosphere among music schools, where ideas can flourish and students are empowered to shape their own destiny by developing the skills and networks they need to adapt to the changing and challenging arts world. The IML is committed not to follow, but to lead, react, adapt and morph its curriculum to meet the needs of the musical world that our students will inhabit as professionals.