Listen. Create. Inspire.
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is SUNY’s only All-Steinway institution and is one of only ten Yamaha Institution of Excellence programs nationally.
The Crane School of Music offers rigorous undergraduate and graduate programs with a strong emphasis on performance and practice, in a tightknit atmosphere. With a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio, you’ll benefit from working closely with our distinguished faculty artists, teachers and scholars.
The Perfect Balancing Act
Pursuing a degree at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music is a daunting task in and of itself, but Natalia Buitrago ’21 went the extra mile, recently graduating with a double major in music performance and music business. Over the past four years she has not only continued to refine her abilities as a musician, but she learned valuable entrepreneurial and communication skills.
Love and Music
As an alumnus of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Drew Coles ’12, has come full circle, and is now leading Crane’s music business program as an assistant professor and program director. Leaning on the experience he’s acquired as a musician and entrepreneur through the Metropolitan Players—a highly successful wedding band business he launched with his wife Erin Coles ’12—he is sharing his real-world experiences with his students, and preparing them for successful music business careers.
Serendipity and Divine Providence
Dr. Lonel Woods has had an illustrious career as opera singer, Broadway actor, and music educator—the latter of which has been his greatest passion, with 12 years of experience as a dedicated professor of voice at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. He was recently selected as the interim dean of The Crane School of Music, a new role that he is embracing with open arms and a fresh perspective.
From Zeppelin to Mozart
Introduced to music on his father’s electric guitar, Alex Mariano ’21 played the songs of Led Zeppelin and Van Halen throughout his youth. Now he’s pursuing a music performance degree at The Crane School of Music where he’s been mastering the classical guitar under the guidance of Dr. Douglas Rubio.
SUNY Potsdam’s TikTok Sensation
A refuge from the grief of COVID-19 became a way to connect with millions of viewers for alumnus Daniel Mertzlufft '15. His viral TikTok videos struck a chord with many, including the Late Late Show’s James Corden, who recently hosted him on the show and featured Mertzlufft’s latest hit, “The Thanksgiving Musical,” a tension-relieving romp through collective pandemic realities, holiday foibles, and even post-election drama.
The Man Behind the Music
The otherworldly sound of an orchestra playing Adagio for Strings can be lost without someone like Dr. Douglas McKinnie, the audio and video streaming engineer at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. Since 2014, McKinnie has worked behind the scenes at Crane to ensure that hundreds of performances are professionally recorded—leaning on two decades of experience as the chief engineer of live sound at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Shank ’16
After getting her Master of Music degree in vocal performance from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Melanie Shank ’16 landed a job at the most prestigious performing arts center in the world. Shank now works as the executive assistant to the vice president of concert halls and operations at Lincoln Center—helping to run the operations for 26 performance spaces on over 16 acres in Manhattan.
Finding a Higher Octave Down Under
Jenn Belisle ’20 has thrown the doors of possibility wide open. The Crane School of Music student broadened her horizons when she took the plunge and traveled on a teaching assignment to another hemisphere.
Cameron Hewes ’15
Amazon has nothing on Cameron Hewes ’15. The giant online retailer sells almost anything you can think of, but don’t expect to find specialized sheet music for the clarinet. For that, musicians can now turn to CAMco—The Crane School of Music alumnus’s new business that offers hundreds of options for purchasing sheet music composed specifically for the clarinet family of instruments.
Kelley DiPasquale '20
Set high in the Rocky Mountains, Banff, Alberta, is known for its world-class skiing and prestigious film festival. But for Kelley DiPasquale, a non-traditional student in the music business program at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, it was something else entirely that drew her to the snowy mountain town. DiPasquale is in the middle of a six-month-long audio recording internship at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The hands-on practicum has allowed her to oversee professional audio recordings for bands like the Rapidgrass, a Colorado-based bluegrass quintet, and work with jazz drummer Jerry Granelli, best known for recording the “Charlie Brown Christmas” album with the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
Mary Catherine Sawyer ’19
SUNY Potsdam alumna Mary Catherine Sawyer ’19 landed her first job just months after graduating from SUNY Potsdam this year. With degrees in music education and theatre education—and extensive student teaching experiences as an undergraduate—she’s well prepared for her new career as a music teacher in the Bronx, N.Y.
Alanna Pinard-Brace ’19 & ’20
Alanna Pinard-Brace ’19 & ’20 is one of the newest faces in the graduate program in music education at the Crane School of Music—an expedited one-year master’s degree available to Crane graduates. She recently returned from Peru where she was learning about Andean music and hiking the Salkantay and Inca trails to Machu Picchu as part of an international travel course.
Crane Students Embark on Epic Journey Through Peru
From May 19 to 31, a group of 16 current and former Crane students traveled to South America for an epic journey through the Andes in Peru with Dr. Jeffrey Francom, an associate professor and coordinator of the choral area at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. They started by learning traditional Andean music at a cultural center in Calca, Peru, before setting out for a seven-day backpacking trip along the Salkantay and Inca Trails.
Erica Ylitalo ’19
Like all music education students at The Crane School of Music, Erica Ylitalo spent her last semester at SUNY Potsdam as a student teacher in both a middle school and high school in Central New York—leading everything from band rehearsals and band lessons, to music theory classes.
Rosario Fuschetto '18 & '19
After getting his bachelor’s degree in music education in May, Fuschetto returned to campus this fall for an intensive one-year master’s program in music education—a decision that went hand-in-hand with his goal to improve his teaching skills before landing his first job as a music teacher...
Dominique Santiago ’19
For Dominique Santiago ’19, music has always been a source of comfort. She has faced several personal tragedies as a student at SUNY Potsdam, but through it all, she has persevered and found solace from both faculty and by making her own music...
Jayde Martin ’18
Jayde Martin ’18 has always had her sights on becoming a music teacher. When she was trying to choose the right school, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music proved to be the perfect fit for her...