Classical 91.5

"The Fiery Furnace"

Aug 24, 2018

Paul Burgett
Credit University of Rochester

To those who knew him, Paul Burgett was a professional encourager.

In the video below, see him tell his story.

It starts with his arrival as a student at the Eastman School of Music in 1964, where he entered what he called the "fiery furnace."

 We must all enter the fiery furnace, he says.

"The talk, which has evolved over more than three decades, could be described as a one-man morality play about the college experience. It has become familiar to just about anyone who has spent time at the University and is one of many traditions that is part of the full experience for any Rochester student. It's a good reminder, as Dean Burgett likes to point out to any student sitting in the front row, that they are sitting where he once sat and just like he did, they may someday have the opportunity to rise through the ranks and perhaps even stand on that stage as the University president. More important is the familiar refrain that appears throughout the talk that their "passion and ability drive ambition". Whatever their goal in life may be, it is this mindset that will allow students to find success wherever they set their sights."

The Rochester classical music community is mourning the loss of a beloved and influencial person. Paul Burgett died this week after a brief illness at the age of 72.  He was a Vice President and presidential advisor at the University of Rochester, where he served as chairman of the Gateways Music Festival.