Emmy-winning composer Jeff Beal and vocalist Joan Beal will commit $2 million to the Eastman School of Music, the couple's alma mater, in order to launch the Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media, the school announced on Tuesday.
Building on the film legacy of ESM's founder, George Eastman, the gift will create a program to prepare students for film and contemporary media music creation. Students will recieve instruction and opportunities to write, produce, and perform music for film and contemporary media.
"Not only is there a need for education in composition across contemporary media platforms," Jeff Beal said in a provided statement, "there is a growing trend for orchestras and ensembles to perform this music in the concert hall. Film music provides narrative connection, engages listeners, and can introduce new audiences to the power of the symphony orchestra."
Jeff Beal will serve as artistic director of the institute, which will provide support for student internships, scholarships, and projects; instruction; visiting artist residencies; and technology and infrastructure.
The institute will offer students real-world opportunities to work with professionals who write for film and other contemporary media. Collaboration on cross-disciplinary and multi-media projects with students and faculty from humanities, composition, and other Eastman School departments, as well as with community arts organizations and partnering universities, will be encouraged. The institute will also enhance the new Jazz and Contemporary Media graduate degree program in convergent artistry, focusing on writing scores for film and other applications, such as video games.
"Eastman has always been dedicated to developing artists with the strong musical fundamentals needed across the professional music world," said Joan Beal, whose career has spanned performances in opera, in concert with new music ensembles, and in recording studios as a singer on film and television scores and commercials. "My late father, Erwin Sapiro, is an Eastman alumnus. His career as a dedicated music educator has been my lifelong inspiration. Jeff and I are honored to invest in the School's initiatives to get students ready for new and expanding career opportunities."