Charter Inductees

The RMHF Charter Inductees were all inducted in 2011 as a means to illustrate to the public the inclusive nature intended for the Hall of Fame while emphasizing the exclusive honor being a member would represent.

In order to properly honor and celebrate each one of our Charter Inductees we will strive to include one or more of them with each new “Class of…” inductees until all have had their day.

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Ronald Levin “Ron” Carter  (Celebrated with the Class of 2015))

Corinthian Hall  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

The Performances of Mademoiselle Jenny Lind  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Gene Cornish  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Alexander Courage  (Celebration pending)

Doriot Anthony Dwyer  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

George Eastman  (Celebrated with the Class of 2013)

Joe English  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Renée Fleming  (Celebration pending)

Steven Kendal Gadd  (Celebrated with the Class of 2018)

Lou Gramm  (Celebrated with the Class of 2013)

Howard Hanson  (Celebrated with the Class of 2016)

David Hochstein  (Celebrated with the Class of 2014)

Paul Hoeffler  (Celebration pending)

Charlie Lowell  (Celebration pending)

Matt Odmark  (Celebration pending)

Charles Frank “Chuck” Mangione  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Mitchell William “Mitch” Miller  (Celebrated with the Class of 2013)

Charles Strouse  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

Jeff Tyzik  (Celebrated with the Class of 2012)

William Caesar Warfield  (Celebrated with the Class of 2015)

Emily Sibley Watson  (Celebrated with the Class of 2014)


corinthian-hall-captionCorinthian Hall     (Venue)

(1849 – 1879) – Original structure.
(1879 – 1898) – Remodeled and renamed the Academy of Music.
(1898 –  1928) –  Rebuilt after a fire & renamed The Corinthian Theater

Corinthian Hall was Rochester’s most prestigious site for concerts, lectures and balls.  The Hall hosted a Who’s Who list of historical speakers and held grand concerts and performances by some of the biggest names from home and abroad.  The hall was located at Exchange Place and Mill Street behind the Reynolds Arcade, where a parking garage currently stands, at the end of what is now called Corinthian St.

Corinthian Hall was built by the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics’ Association, now known as The Rochester Institute of Technology.  It was a merger of the Athenaeum, an organization formed by Nathaniel Rochester to sponsor lectures from America’s best known orators, and the Mechanic’s Literary Association, founded by William A Reynolds, as a club for young men to discuss worldly topics and literature.  Hard economic times and other pressures led to the merger of the two clubs. Together they realized the need for a hall.  Reynolds owned the land behind the Reynolds Arcade and saw the building of a hall there as a business opportunity.   Dues from members could provide funds to sponsor lecturers and others would pay to hear them speak.

Corinthian Hall was designed by architect Henry Searle.  Originally the hall was to be called the Athenaeum, but the day before the dedication, Reynolds looked at the large Corinthian columns Searle placed behind the stage and thought of the more fitting name.  Exchange Place was also renamed Corinthian St.  Though it was a simple design, the hall was praised far and wide as the most perfectly constructed for acoustics of any hall in the country.  Architects came from other cities to study its proportions, ease of access, heating and ventilation systems and its gas lighting.  It was truly a source of pride for the emerging city.

The building was remodeled in 1879 and thereafter often called, the Academy of Music.  After being ravaged by fire in 1898 the Hall was rebuilt and reopened in 1904 as the Corinthian Theater.  It never regained the splendor of its earlier time, and the building was razed in 1928.

During Corinthian Hall’s heyday there were continuous bookings of all the great orators of the day including Susan B. Anthony, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, William H. Seward, William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.  In July of 1851, a parade of grand vocal and instrumental concerts took place.  On July 22 and 24, the famed Swedish soprano, Mademoiselle Jenny Lind, known around the world as “The Swedish Nightingale,” brought her tour group sponsored by P.T. Barnum to Rochester for the most unforgettable performances Rochester had ever seen.

Jenny_Lind_retouchedThe Performances of Mademoiselle Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale”    (Event)

(Performance Dates: July 22 and July 24, 1851)    Johanna Maria “Jenny” Lind – (b. Oct. 6, 1820 – d. Nov. 2, 1887)

The Swedish soprano Mademoiselle Jenny Lind known as the “Swedish Nightingale” was one of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century. At the height of her fame she was persuaded by the showman P.T Barnum to undertake a long tour of the United States. The tour began in September 1850 and continued to May 1852. Barnum’s advance publicity made Lind a celebrity even before she arrived in the U.S., and tickets for her first concerts were in such demand that Barnum sold them by auction. The tour provoked a popular furore dubbed “Lind Mania” by the local press,

In July of 1851, a parade of grand vocal and instrumental concerts took place at Corinthian Hall in Rochester including Jenny Lind and her tour group.  On July 22 and 24 Rochester witnessed two of the most unforgettable performances it had ever seen,

Jenny Lind arrived at the train station (then on Goodman St.) and was met by the Mayor, and a throng of fans.  The Mayor scurried off with her by carriage through back roads to escape the adoring fans and get her safely to the Eagle Hotel in the heart of the city.  After arriving at the hotel, she greeted her fans from a balcony and acknowledged the applause from the crowd gathered in the streets below.

Assisting Jenny Lind in concert were Signor Billeti, her pianist, Otto Goldschmidt, her piano accompanist, and Joseph Burke, her violinist.  She performed a variety of songs including arias by Bellini and Donizetti, as well as one from Handel’s Messiah.

An article written afterwards read, “Jenny Lind Sings at the Corinthian Hall.  Demand to see her was so great that tickets to her second performance were auctioned. The proceeds over the regular price, $2,500 were donated to local charities. She also gave a private performance for four Indian Chiefs at the Eagle Hotel.”  It’s hard to imagine who could cause such a stir today.


DavidH with autographDavid Hochstein

(b. Feb.16, 1892 – Reported missing Oct.15, 1918)

Born in Rochester, New York to Russian, Jewish immigrants, violinist, clarinetist, composer, and award winner, David Hochstein was Rochester’s first homegrown superstar. He was considered to be one of the finest musicians ever to come from this area. In 1915 he made his Carnegie Hall debut and performed as soloist with the New York Philharmic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. He went on to perform in Boston, Chicago and all throughout the U.S. and Europe including London, Berlin and Dresden receiving rave reviews.

He received his first violin on his fifth birthday from his father who became his first teacher. At the age of eight he began studying with one of the City’s most respected musicians, Herr Ludwig Schenck. From 1909 to1912 he studied under Ottakar Sevcik in Vienna, with the enthusiastic support of Emily Sibley Watson. He graduated from Meisterschule with highest honors and became the first American to win triple prizes offered by the institution. He also was the first student to win both the “One Thousand Crown” and “First State” awards.

With backing from George Eastman He continued his studies in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Leopold Auer, considered to be the finest violinist of the time. Eastman later purchased two violins for him a 1735 Carlo Landolphi and a 1715 Stradivarius.

David went on to compose his own works of music and transpose others. His performances were always a delight to his many fans.

In 1917 he decided to join the army and was assigned to the Infantry Division. He began playing the clarinet in the military band and said at the time “…a great interpreter reveals his inner-most soul through his instrument, whatever it may be…,” but having said that, he nonetheless brought along his Stradivarius and wrote special pieces that allowed him to play violin with the otherwise unorthodox accompaniment of the military band.

On March 10th 1918 David and 13 other soldiers loaded into a small bus on route to a performance. The axle broke from the weight of the men and the bus crashed into a tree. Though shaken no one was hurt, but later upon opening the soft leather case of his violin, to his shock David found his $25,000 Stradivarius in pieces. It was insured for only ten thousand dollars, but Hochstein planned on purchasing another one while in France. Unfortunately for him and the music world in Oct. of 1918 Second Lieutenant David Hochstein died in France in the Battle of Argonne.

Rochester musicians rallied together on April 5, 1919 for a Hochstein Memorial Concert, attended by thousands. Leopold Auer wrote, “In him America has lost one of her finest artists.” The Hochstein Music School was founded in his memory.


Emily Sibley WatsonEmily Sibley Watson

(b. 1855 – d. Feb. 8, 1945)

Born and educated in Rochester, NY she was a member of one of the city’s first families. She was the daughter of the Western Union Company founder, Hiram Sibley, the sister of Hiram Watson Sibley whose music collection became the Sibley Music Library, and the wife of banker and philanthropist James Sibley Watson. Her position of wealth and prominence was soundly planted, but so too were her roots and a commitment to Rochester.

Mrs. Watson traveled throughout the world seeing and experiencing a side of life not common to the streets of Rochester. She gained a fond appreciation of art and music and with her generosity greatly enriched Rochester’s cultural life. She took on musical protégés advising them and assisting them with financial support. Upon hearing for the first time young David Hochstein practicing the violin at a neighbors home she immediately recognized his great potential and became his benefactor allowing him to study under the finest teachers.

Her close friendship with George Eastman no doubt influenced his own appreciation for music and led him to purchase David two rare violins and finance his continued studies in St. Petersburg, Russia under Leopold Auer, considered to be the finest violinist of the time.

Upon the death of David Hochstein in war Emily Sibley Watson sought to honor his life. With her friend George Eastman they founded the Hochstein Music School in David’s memory. To this day the Memorial Music School has served as Rochester’s community school of the arts and has produced many talented individuals.

She died peacefully in her home on Prince St. at the age of 90. Her life had been spent finding ways to use her wealth to better her community. An editorial appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle the day after her funeral. It read:

Made Community Richer. An indication of the spirit in which Mrs. James Sibley Watson made her contributions to Rochester opportunities for cultural enjoyment is contained in the fact that when she established the Memorial Art Gallery she was particularly interested in making it a place for living art rather than a dead storehouse of treasures. The children’s classes and others that have helped carry out this purpose have given the Rochester gallery a reputation and standing among galleries of the country which is respected and recognized by directors of more famous institutions. This interest was backed by generous gifts to the Gallery’s collection as well as the initial building and with her husband, the large addition which doubled its capacity. Her interest in the Genesee Hospital, in the Rochester Civic Music Association, her special interest in David Hochstein and the establishment of the Hochstein Music School in his memory, revealed her genuine desire to use her wealth for the enrichment of the life of all her Rochester neighbors and for the alleviation of their distress. Neither advanced age nor illness dimmed her interest in others or her helpfulness. The boys of the Army Air Corps who trained here and marched past her window daily through several months had reason for their daily salutes beyond the material contributions she made to their comfort and recreation. She was a Rochesterian whose name and personality will be recalled for many years as the cultural inspiration of her benefactions persists. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 9, 1945 and February 10, 1945.


George-E.-e1362085581556-251x300George Eastman

(b. July 12, 1854 – d. March 14, 1932)

He was born in the Town of Marshall south of Utica NY. At the age of five his family moved to Rochester where his father began to establish the Eastman Commercial College. When His father died the college failed and the family was faced with financial hardship. Young George dropped out of school at the age of 14 and found work as an office boy so he could help support the family. His work ethic and sharp mind propelled him up the latter of success.

By 1874 ten years after he quit school to work for three dollars a week he found that he had enough discretionary money to take a vacation. When he told a co-worker that he planned a trip to Santo Domingo the suggestion was made that he document the trip by taking photographs. At the time you needed a mule to carry all the paraphernalia necessary to do the job. This was how he first became interested in photography and though he never did make that trip by 1880 he was ready to start his own photography business. Several inventions and a few years later Kodak was born in 1888 and the rest of course is history; Rochester’s history, and more to the point Rochester’s music history.

Eastman said, “It is fairly easy to employ skillful musicians. It is impossible to buy appreciation of music. Yet without a large body of people who get joy out of it, any attempt to develop musical resources of any city is doomed to failure “ In 1921 he purchased the DKG institute of Musical Art and transformed it into The Eastman School of Music. Since then the school has become world renown with an endless stream of brilliant students and faculty. The alumni alone say it best: Mitch Miller, Ron Carter, Chuck Mangione, Renee’ Fleming, Steve Gadd, Jeff Tyzik and many more.

He then built the magnificent Eastman Theater that opened in 1922. It was designed primarily for silent film, but has become a primary concert hall for all sorts of music. Next came Kilbourn Hall in 1924, named after his mother’s maiden name. It is considered to be among the finest chamber music halls in the world. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Eastman in 1922. It’s an amazing orchestra for a city this size and recognized nationally for artistic and organizational excellence, creativity and innovation.

The list of philanthropic gifts to the city from Eastman goes on and on, but there is another aspect of his great generosity and empathy for his fellow man that often gets over looked. He said, ”…It is necessary for people to have an interest in life outside of their occupations…I am interested in music personally, and I am led thereby to want to share my pleasure with others…” In 1919, he gave one third of his own holdings of Kodak stock to his employees as a wage dividend. Next he established a retirement annuity, life insurance, disability benefits, not to mention all the good paying steady jobs his company provided. With this kind of stability and security the middle class grew and found the time and had the money to go out and enjoy music and events. They could afford to send their children to the fine schools in the area, including the Eastman School. With the exception of three or four others, Eastman was the king of philanthropy in his day. But you won’t see his name on nearly as many buildings and monuments as the Carnegies or Rockefellers of the time. Eastman often made donations anonymously or under fictitious names because he didn’t do it for the publicity. He did it because he truly enjoyed seeing others have a good time and a good life.

At the age of 77 suffering from spinal stenosis George Eastman put his estate in order and on March 14, 1932 he died by his own hand. The note he left simply said, “My work is done. Why wait?”

howard-hanson-captionHoward Hanson

(b. Oct. 28, 1896 – d. Feb. 26, 1981)

Born in Wahoo, Nebraska, Hanson was a composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and ardent champion of American classical music. He was the Director of the Eastman School of Music from 1924 to 1964 and made the school what it is today. The impact of his influence is replete in the world class reputation of the school, the prestigious outcomes of so many of its students and the pride the city has for its musical heritage.



cab-calloway-captionCabell “Cab” Calloway III

(Dec. 25, 1907 – Nov.18, 1994)  Birthplace: Rochester, NY. – Singer / Dancer / Band Leader / Song Writer

With his attire ranging from a fedora and zoot suit to white top hat and tails, Cab’s scat singing and dancing along with his energetic style and comedic personality made him a perennial favorite.  In 1931 Cab recorded his biggest hit, “Minnie the Moocher,” which became his signature song and gave him the nick name, the “Hi De Ho Man.” The song was the first jazz record to sell over one million copies, and his band broke all existing audience records for an all black band.  He had one hit recording after another with many of them being used in films and cartoons. He did voice-over work and appeared in a number of movies including Stormy Weather (1943).

Calloway was born on Christmas day 1907, on Sycamore St. in Rochester NY where he lived with his family for 11 years before they moved to Baltimore.  His parents wanted him to follow in the family business and become a lawyer. He tried law school in Chicago, but found himself spending his evenings performing in local night clubs.

He got his first taste of show biz after high school when he joined his older sister, Blanch, in a touring production of a black musical revue, Plantation Days. She would establish herself as a jazz singer and an accomplished bandleader before Cab, but he always gave her credit for being his inspiration.

Cab began performing as a singer and drummer and emceed at several clubs around Chicago. At the Sunset Café he met Louie Armstrong who taught him the art of “scat” singing.  He first led a band called the Alabamians and next took over the Missourians. Cab and the Missourians performed at the Cotton Club in New York City where they were hired to replace the Duke Ellington Orchestra while on tour. Twice weekly their shows were broadcast on national radio.  Cab broke the broadcast network color barrier by appearing as the featured artist on Walter Winchell’s Lucky Strike radio program and Bing Crosby’s show at the Paramount Theater.  Cab Calloway and His Orchestra toured all over the country.  One night in 1941, while on stage, Cab felt a spit ball hit him, coming from the direction of his orchestra. He wrongly accused his trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie which resulted in a scuffle and Dizzy stabbing Cab in the leg with a small knife. Needless to say Dizzy was looking for a new gig the next day.

In 1944, The New Cab Calloway’s Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive was published.  Cab translated jive for the uninformed fan. “Kicking the gong around” was jive for smoking opium. He popularized the term, “Jitterbug.”

Cab won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award for 1999 and the Grammy Life Time Achievement Award of 2008. He’s in the Big Band Hall of Fame as well as the Jazz Hall of Fame, and you can see him in the movie the Blues Brothers. He continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 88.


Mitch-Miller-e1362086406496Mitchell William “Mitch” Miller

(b. July 4, 1911 – d. July 31, 2010)

Born in Rochester, NY and a 1932 graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Miller began his phenomenal career in music as a classically trained oboist and English horn player with the Columbia Broadcasting Systems (CBS) radio network symphony. On the night of Orson Welles’ infamous, “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast Miller was one of the musicians playing the musical accompaniment. He started doing session work and recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra at RCA. When CBS bought the American Record Company in 1939 and renamed it Columbia Records he recorded with many prestigious groups, conductors and composers.

He left Columbia Records in the late 40’s for the emerging Mercury Records label, still working in the classical field, producing the Fine Arts Quartet. In 1948 he became head of A&R for Mercury’s pop music division. He signed and produced Frankie Laine and even conducted the orchestra on some of his recordings. The singer had a string of huge hit singles, including “Mule Train.” Patti Page, another singer Miller signed had a huge hit with “Tennessee Waltz.” During this busy and productive period he found time to play oboe on Charlie Parker’s most unusual album, Charlie Parker with Strings.

He returned to Columbia Records in 1950 as head of A&R pop music division. His keen marketing sense and skill in the studio enabled him to produce many hits from such stars as: Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Mahalia Jackson, Jerry Vale, The Four Lads, Johnny Mathis, Johnnie Ray, the New Christy Minstrels, Jo Stafford, Guy Mitchell and others.

Soon he began his own recording career as a pop artist and conductor. “Mitch Miller and His Gang” made large scale choral recordings in the 50’s. One of his many hits, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” spent six weeks at number one. All together “Mitch Miller and the Gang” had 19 Top 40 hits. All this success led to him getting his own TV show on CBS, “Sing Along with Mitch” with a cast of performers including Leslie Uggams. It was a big hit for several years.

For over 15 years Mitch Miller was a giant in the recording industry and one of the most powerful people in the music business.  He left Columbia Records in 1965, but occasionally reappeared as a conductor of light classical recordings. In 1986 he hosted a tribute to his late friend Alec Wilder. His album sing along with Mitch was one of the first CD’s issued by Columbia and by the 90’s no less than ten of his albums were out on CD. For many years he could be seen walking on the Upper West Side Streets of Manhattan where he lived until his death at the age of 99.


Alexander_CourageAlexander “Sandy” Courage

(b. Dec. 10, 1919 – d. May 15, 2008)

Born in Philadelphia, this American arranger, and composer received his degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1941. Courage wrote music primarily for television and motion pictures receiving numerous Academy award nominations and winning an Emmy in 1987 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction for a television Christmas Special staring Julie Andrews.  A partial listing of the vast number of TV series scores he composed and/or arranged would include Wagon Train, Peyton Place, Daniel Boone, The Waltons, Land of the Giants, and Lost in Space, among others. He composed the theme for Judd For The Defense, but he’s best known for writing the theme music for Star Trek. His credits as a movie composer/arranger include Funny Face, Guys and Dolls, Showboat, The Americanization of Emily, The Pleasure Seekers, Yes, Giorgio, Doctor Dolittle (1967), My Fair Lady (1964), and Superman (1976).


William Warfield #1William Caesar Warfield

(b. Jan. 22, 1920 – d. Aug. 26, 2002)

This bass baritone singer and actor born in West Helena, Arkansas was raised in Rochester, NY. He majored in voice at the Eastman School of Music where he cut short his pursuit of a master’s degree to perform on Broadway. He went on to tour Europe performing in Porgy and Bess and in 1951 appeared in the motion picture musical, “Showboat”, singing the definitive film version of “Old Man River.” He made many live TV appearances and in 1984 won a Grammy Award in the spoken word category.


Doriot Anthony DwyerDoriot Anthony Dwyer

(b. March 6, 1922) Birthplace: Streator IL. – Pioneering Flutist – 1943 Eastman School of Music Graduate

In 1952 Miss Doriot Anthony began her successful and critically acclaimed 38 year relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the very first woman to win a principal chair in a major U.S. orchestra.  Newspaper headlines of the day read: “Woman Crashes Boston Symphony:Eyebrows Lifted as Miss Anthony sat at Famous Flutist’s Desk” Boston Globe, 10/12/52 and“Flutist, 30 and Pretty, Here with Boston Symphony” Springfield Morning Union, 10/10/52.  Comparisons are unavoidable between Doriot and her second cousin, famed suffragette Susan B. Anthony considering their kindred accomplishments.

Doriot’s musical education began at home listening to radio broadcasts of various orchestras from New York to Chicago.  At the age of 8 she received her first lesson on flute from her mother Edith whom Doriot later described as being a “…prodigiously talented flutist.”  Her mother encouraged her to be an “interesting” musician and “Never, never put yourself down because you are a female.”  The likelihood of a female musician other than a harpist ever winning a principle chair on a major Orchestra in those days was nil, but with continued positive feedback, she pursued further study.

She progressed through a number of teachers, including Ernest Liegl, then Principle Flute in the Chicago Symphony.  Twice a month for five years she would make the 5 hour trip, by train, to and from Liegl’s house for each lesson.  When her application to attend the Curtis Institute of Music was rejected by their flute teacher, William Kincaid, she chalked it up to overconfidence and began private lessons with Kincaid instead.  In 1939 the Eastman School of Music director, Howard Hanson, offered Doriot a scholarship to study under the esteemed Professor of Flute, Joseph Mariano.

Upon graduation from Eastman, Doriot immediately found work with the National Symphony as second flute followed by a series of other jobs including freelance work in New York City, performing on a radio program, and playing with a jazz band accompanying Frank Sinatra at the Paramount Theater.  Next, when a ballet troupe she was touring with folded, she found her skill at sight reading and her experience playing “modern music,” gained while at Eastman, led to lucrative work with recording studios in Los Angeles as well as performing on radio programs produced there.

Over her long career she would work with conductors such as Bruno Walter, Arthur Fiedler, Charles Munch and Leonard Bernstein just to name a few. She performed with the popular Hancock Ensemble, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic before making history by winning the position of First Flute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


Charles StrouseCharles Strouse

(b. June 7, 1928)  Birthplace: New York, New York – Composer / Lyricist -1947 Eastman School of Music graduate.

Strouse is best known for his work on Broadway theater musicals.  His first musical was Bye, Bye Birdie, (1960) written with his long time collaborator, Lee Adams, and starred Dick VanDyke, Chita Rivera, and Paul Lynde.  It earned him his first of three Tony Awards and produced the hit songs “Put on a Happy Face” and “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.”  In 1970, Applause, staring Lauren Bacall, won him his second Tony.  Strouse earned a third Tony in 1977 when he teamed up with lyricist, Martin Charnin, and librettist, Thomas Meehan, to write the score for Annie, that included the songs, “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”

In 1958 Strouse wrote the pop song, “Born too late,” performed by the Poni-Tails. It went to number seven on the Billboard Charts.  Other songs of his have been recorded by generations of top recording artists such as Louis Armstrong,  Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Harry Connik Jr., and even rapper Jay-Z, who won a Grammy Award in 1998 with his version of “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”

Strouse’s reach also extends into film and television.  His movie score for Bonnie and Clyde(1967) was nominated for a Grammy, and he’s added Emmys and a Peabody award to his collection for various musicals produced for television.

From the time Strouse was a young boy, music had been a source of happiness for him.  Every week he and his mother would go to Woolworth’s to buy the latest sheet music.  It would be demonstrated by a sales person on piano, but they couldn’t wait to get home with it where the whole family would stand around the piano and sing while his mother played.  It was this memory that would resurface years later to become the inspiration for the opening scene and theme song for the TV show All in the Family.

His formal musical education began at the age of 10 with piano lessons from a teacher at Camp Wigwam in Maine.   He didn’t have much interest in “serious” music, but when his mother hired Abraham Sokoloff to continue his lessons at home, his feelings changed.  Sokoloff would teach him the chords to popular songs that he could then play by ear.  Grade school came easily to Charles, and he raced through high school skipping grades along the way.  He was just 15 when he enrolled at the Eastman School of Music where he received a Bachelors degree in composition.  He went on to win two scholarships to Tanglewood where he studied under Aaron Copeland and David Diamond.  He also spent time in Paris with the renowned composer, conductor and teacher Nadia Boulanger.

Strouse was inducted into the Song Writers Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Theater Hall of Fame in 2002.  In 2011 he received the Johnny Mercer Artist of Distinction Award.


Paul-Hoeffler-captionPaul Hoeffler

(b. 1937 – d. July 30, 2005)

Beginning in the fifties, this Rochester Institute of Technology educated photographer, documented the Rochester, NY jazz scene and beyond. Famous for catching on film unscripted and behind the scene moments of all the legends from Billie Holiday to Duke Ellington and from Stan Getz to Dave Brubeck, he became an artist in his own right, as improvisational as many of his subjects. He influenced a generation of photographers that followed him. Ken Burns featured Hoeffler’s photographs through out the 2001 television documentary, “Jazz.”


ron-carter-captionRonald Levin “Ron” Carter

(b. May 4, 1937)

Born in Ferndale Michigan, Cellist and Double bassist Ron Carter is one of the most recorded bassists in history being heard on over 2,000 albums, numerous times on cello as well. Carter earned a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1959 and becoming the first African American to play in the Rochester Philharmonic. It was at Eastman where he became disillusioned with the orchestral world and shifted his focus to jazz. The turning point came when he was 20. Leopold Stokowski, then the conductor of the Houston Symphony, had come to Rochester to guest-conduct the orchestra. Stokowski pulled Carter aside after rehearsal and told him, “I’d love to have you in my orchestra in Houston, but they’re not ready for colored people who play classical music.” The two time Grammy winner is still performing today.


chuck_mangione_b&w_hi-resCharles Frank “Chuck” Mangione

(b. Nov. 29, 1940)  Birthplace: Rochester, NY – Flugelhorn / Composer / Band leader -1963 Eastman School of Music graduate.

Chuck Mangione has been chasing the clouds away with his music for more than five decades. He’s reached fans around the world with over 30 albums, striking gold and platinum in the process and earning him 13 Grammy nominations, winning two. His “Feels So Good” album became one of the most successful jazz records ever produced and millions of people heard Chuck perform “Give It All You Got” at the closing ceremonies of the1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.

From his early days playing trumpet with the Jazz Brothers and on through Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Art Blakey it was clear that with his creative talent the sky was the limit.  As it turned out the sky wasn’t the limit when he blasted off on a Mercury mission called “Friends & Love.”  It was his first time on a major record label (Mercury) and it earned him his first Grammy nomination.  Just a few years later he would release one of his most popular albums, “Land of Make Believe,” making believers out of everyone with a second Grammy nomination.

Growing up in a home steeped in jazz, Chuck and his brother Gap would listen to their father’s jazz albums while other kids their age were listening to Elvis or Jerry Lee Louis.  Their father encouraged the boys’ appreciation for jazz and would take them to Sunday afternoon matinees at jazz clubs around the city.  It would not be uncommon for them to hear sets by Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderly.   Their father would invite these amazing artists to come home with them for a good home-cooked Italian meal.  Of course, they were more than happy to eat home cooking after being on the road.  Chuck grew up thinking everyone had Carmen McRae and Art Blakey over for dinner.

Mangione studied at the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelors degree in music education.  He returned to Eastman in 1968 to direct the fledgling Eastman Jazz Ensemble and expand the school’s jazz programs until 1972.

In 2009 this humble flugelhorn player became a national treasure, figuratively and in fact.  Chuck signed away a cache of his music memorabilia to The Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  Among the items donated are his signature brown felt hat, scores to his most important works, photos and albums, and even an animation cell from the  King Of The Hill TV cartoon series in which he plays himself promoting the discount home center Mega-Lo Mart.

To all his success Chuck has said, “If you’re honest and play with love, people will sit down and listen… my music is the sum of all I have experienced.”


Gene Cornish 2Gene Cornish

(b. May 14, 1945)  Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada. Relocated to Rochester – Guitarist / Singer / Song Writer – Ben Franklin High School graduate.

Gene Cornish has always been revered and respected among fellow musicians.  Since the early 60’s he has inspired countless budding guitarists, all striving to reproduce his sound and feel, while making it all look so effortless.  Whether he’s laying down a cutting riff, a chord bending growl, a brilliant flourish or just a rocking rhythm, Gene’s technique and style are unforgettable.

Gene honed his guitar chops playing in garage bands around his neighborhood and learned to hold his own on bass, harmonica, drums and vocals.  His first gig was at the Avenue D playground where he and his band mates earned 50 cents each.  With the support of his parents, his stepdad would take him to recording studios in Philadelphia and New York to learn the craft, and his mother, who had been a singer with big bands including Ozzie Nelson, once said of Gene, “…he’s going to be on the Ed Sullivan show.”  It took years of playing in clubs and bars, but in 1966 Gene performed on the Ed Sullivan show.

Cornish had worked with a number of rock acts and even tried going solo for a time.  In 1964 he was the front man for a band called The Unbeatables. Their sound was reminiscent of an earlier pop/rock vocal band, but the influence of the Beatles was already being felt.  They released a single called “I want to be a Beatle” that unfortunately garnered only modest sales leading to middle of the road gigs.  It was around this time that Gene started playing with Joey Dee and the Starlighters who had had a big hit back in 1961 with the song “Peppermint Twist.”  Call it fate, but lightning was about to strike when he and fellow sidemen, keyboardist Felix Cavaliere and singer Eddie Brigati got together and realized that they should start their own band.  All they needed was a spark to set off the chain reaction and that spark was drummer par excellence Dino Danelli.  With a clap of thunder the Young Rascals were formed.

They began performing their brand of blue-eyed soul in 1965 and quickly signed with Atlantic Records.  They were offered more money elsewhere but Atlantic gave them full creative control over their recordings.  In March of 1966 Atlantic launched their debut album.  It was a mix of R&B cover tunes including a little song called “Good Lovin’” that went to number one.  Over the next four years they wrote and produced hit after hit.  They recorded 8 albums with 13 songs reaching Billboard’s top 40 chart including “How can I be sure”, “Groovin”, “It’s a Beautiful Morning” and “People Got to be Free.”

Just as music trends were changing, the band members began to stretch out in different directions.  Gene moved on to form the bands Bulldog, Fotomaker, G.C. Damgerous, and currently, Gene Cornish’s Guitar Club for Men.  In 1997 the Rascals were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where all four members were reunited and performed on stage together for the first time in 27 years.  Gene summed up his time with the Rascals saying, “We had our moment in the sun, we had a great run.”


Steve GaddSteven Kendal Gadd

(b. April 9, 1945)

Steve Gadd was born in Rochester, NY and attended the Eastman School of Music. He’s considered to be the most influential drummer of contemporary music as well as the most sought after studio drummer in the world. His drumming can be heard on many hits by artists such as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan and Chick Corea just to name a fraction of them.


JOE_ENGLISH_BW.jpg_0001Joe English

(b. Feb. 7, 1949)  Birthplace: Rochester, NY. – Drummer / Singer / Band leader

Back in the 70’s, when British rock royalty Sir Paul McCartney needed a drummer to finish recording a Wings album, it was Joe English who came to the rescue.  By the time his tenure with the famed ex Beatle was through, Joe had played on five gold and platinum Wings albums and toured the world.

According to Joe, he first picked up a pair of drum sticks when he was 13 years old.  Like so many other kids across America, he had seen the four lads from Liverpool on TV, and was instantly bitten by the music bug.  “I want to be like that one day,” he said to himself.  His parents bought him a drum set and it wasn’t long before he was performing in nightclubs and in concerts.

English was on a path to fame and fortune long before he met McCartney.  From 1969 to 1973 his powerful drumming propelled the horn infused rhythm and blues band Jam Factory based in Syracuse NY. They took to the road in 1970 to promote their debut album, Sittin’ in the Trap, and for the next few years, regularly opened for major acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead.  Noting the success of the Allman Brothers, the band moved to Macon, Georgia, changed their name to Tall Dogs Orchestra, and began playing southern rock.  Then one day Joe got a call from his friend Tony Dorcy.  Dorcy was a horn arranger working on McCartney’s Venus and Mars album in Nashville.   He had gotten wind that McCartney was going to fire his drummer, so he called Joe to say, “There’s a chance you might have the job.”  Joe was summoned to New Orleans on a Tuesday and by Wednesday he was recording with Paul McCartney and Wings.

Just like that, 26 year old Joe English was in one of the most popular bands of all time, being idolized by millions of fans world wide and possessing all the fame and fortune he could ask for.  Joe was living a dream come true, but life in the fast lane left him feeling homesick.  He chose to descend from the stratospheric heights of Wings to find some equilibrium at “Sea level,” a Georgia based band made up of ex members of the Allman Brothers Band. Next, he formed the Joe English Band and began making Christian rock albums for very eager fans.  Joe is no longer involved in the music industry, but he continues to sing in the World of Faith Fellowship choir in Spindalem, North Carolina.


Lou GrammLou Gramm
(b. May 2, 1950)

One of the most talented performers ever to come from Rochester, Lou began his music career as a drummer in local groups eventually taking center stage as the singer of the very popular hometown band “Black Sheep.” Though the band had signed with a major record label they had to abandon their promotional tour when their equipment truck got in an accident destroying all their equipment. During this interruption on the road to fame, British guitarist Mick Jones contacted Gramm and together they formed “Foreigner.” Including his successful post Foreigner solo career, Gramm composed and performed on 20 top forty singles. His music can be heard everyday on radios around the world and after battling serious health issues he continues to perform to enthusiastic crowds to this day.


Jeff-Tyzik-captionJeff Tyzik

(b. 1952)  Birthplace: Hyde Park NY. – Conductor / Arranger / Composer / Trumpeter – Eastman School of Music graduate

There are few hats in the field of music that Jeff Tyzik has not worn.  This tremendously versatile Grammy Award winning record producer has held the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1994.  Recognized for his brilliant arrangements, innovative programs and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages, he has been in great demand across America and Canada as a guest conductor. Currently he also serves as Principle Pops Conductor of the Oregon Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Tyzik’s life in music began at the age of nine when he first picked up a coronet.  Throughout high school he studied both classical and jazz music.  He went on to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition/arranging with Radio City Music Hall’s Ray Wright and jazz with the world renowned band leader Chuck Mangione.  He continued to work and perform with Mangione for the next few years as the consummate musician intent on learning every aspect of the music business.

His experience composing and arranging music for the Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman orchestras led to an opportunity to co-compose a trumpet concerto with virtuoso trumpeter Allen Vizzutti to be recorded by pops legend Doc Severenson.  Through this association he went on to produce the 1986 Grammy Award winning album The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severenson.  Tyzik has composed and produced theme music for many of the major television networks and released six albums of his own.  In 2007 a recording of Gershwin, works with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and conducted by Tyzik was released by Harmonia Mundi.  It reached # 10 on the Billboard Classical Chart.  Tyzik made his UK conducting debut in June of 2010 in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a three-week series of four popular programs.

His boundless energy and passion for music extends to his activity with community service and educational work.  Recalling one experience he had after performing the Shostakovich Festival Overture at an inner city school, he said “The kids had never heard music like this before.  They were so moved by the power of that piece that we heard a spontaneous roar and got a standing ovation twenty seconds before the piece ended.  We all learned the effect of great music on the human spirit.”  Tyzik currently serves on the Board of Managers of the Eastman School of Music and as a board member of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance.


Renée FlemingRenee-Fleming-caption

(b. Feb. 14, 1959)

This three time Grammy winning, international opera / recording star from Indiana, Pennsylvania grew up in Rochester, NY and finished her graduate studies at The Eastman School of Music. She feels as passionately about singing show tunes and jazz songs as she does performing in operatic roles. She can leave audiences wanting more even after a half hour of encores.


Charlie Lowell

Charlie Lowell

Matt Odmark

Matt Odmark

Charlie Lowell and Matt Odmark

Charlie Lowell (b. Oct. 21, 1973 and Matt Odmark Jan. 25, 1974, respectively)

2Half of the members of the three time Grammy winning band “Jars of Clay”, pianist Charlie Lowell and guitarist Matt Odmark are from Rochester, NY. Their debut album titled “Jars of Clay” produced the mainstream hit, “Flood” and the cd has since gone double platinum while their second album is certified platinum. Add a few more gold albums and a new release in 09 and this preeminent Christian rock band is on solid ground with a very active fan base.