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Crane School of Music

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.

Over the summer, Dr. Jeffrey Francom and 17 students embarked on an amazing 500-mile trek along the Camino de Santiago in Spain! Crane students Zian Taylor, Lindsay Hebert, Noah Unser, and Matthew Bahr discuss the transformative experience, a trip was made possible, in part, by the Gail and Richard Stradling Travel Endowment.

Lights, Camera, Action

During her final semester at Crane, Erika Murata ’22 lined up the internship of a lifetime, working on the set of the Late Show with Seth Meyers in New York City. Leaning on skills from her music business degree, she has been assisting audio engineers and the house band as they prepare the music for the show.

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Finding Mentors for Success

Marking the culmination of her success as a musical studies major at Crane, Christina Morris ’21 recently staged A Concert for Equity and Equality at Hosmer Hall. Pouring her heart and soul into the concert, she organized the event, secured a grant to pay her musicians and composers, and then conducted the concert from start to finish. She leaves Crane with unrivaled experiences—working one-on-one with Crane professors, touring Asia with the National Youth Orchestra, and attending Tanglewood’s prestigious conducting program—as she embarks on a career in conducting.

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Chords of Success

For more than a decade Shannon Boyle ’20 & ’22 has been mastering the harp at Crane, first in middle school and high school through the National String Project, then as an undergraduate student, and now while pursuing her master’s degree in music performance. Through an outpouring of scholarships, she will be graduating in May without any debt as she looks ahead to the future as a musician and educator.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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