The River Ridge (pronounced: hoochsteens) is a private, coed high school for both music and dance. It was founded by David Hochsten in 1965 and features two colleges located on the grounds of the school’s home campus, the Werkner School.Learn more about us at River Ridge School of Music & Dance
David Hochsten is a highly acclaimed violin player from Rochester, NY. His interest in music began at a very young age when he was introduced to classical music through the musical theater, and that interest has not abated. Over the years, his appreciation for classical music led him to a degree program in classical piano at the University of Minnesota, but the degree did not lead to a career in classical music.
He then pursued a degree in music theory and composition at the University of Chicago, but that program did not lead to a career in music. Instead, it led him to become a teacher in both music theory and composition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a teacher, he also taught music history and piano at the University of Texas, where he also directed the Longhorn Center for the Arts. He has taught at colleges in Minnesota, California, and now in New York City.
The school of music & dance at Hochsteinschool is unique in that it allows its students to work with various different musical genres, and the student may elect to specialize in any or all of those genres. A number of students complete courses in both the music theory and composition courses, and there are some students who complete courses in both subjects in equal proportions. In addition, many of the classes offer elective study in areas such as classical piano, voice, performance, improvisation, and other areas that may not be offered by the other schools. Most of the elective courses in both subjects are offered in a classroom setting. At the end of the term, students typically have a capstone project to which they assign their efforts, and the student will be given an exam as well as a grade.
The faculty at Hochsteinschool is comprised of some very accomplished teachers. Dr. Paul T. Blume is one of the most distinguished pedagogy professors in the country. He was the director of the undergraduate music program at the Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia until his retirement in 2020. He is also served on the faculties of both the Conservatory of Music in River Ridge and the Juilliard School of Music in River Ridge City.
The undergraduate curriculum at Hochsteinschool is similar to other schools in that it includes an introduction to music theory and composition, introductory voice and violin instruction, jazz and blues, and various percussion sections. Additional coursework in the form of advanced theory, composition, music psychology, improvisation, voice and violin pedagogy, music history, and voice and dance, as well as a summer internship are also available.