President's Notes

Spring 2014

Announcements | Students | Faculty | Alumni



Alumna and Board of Trustees Member Noémi Neidorff (BM '70 / MM '72, piano) and her husband Michael were honored on March 1 with the Corporate Champions Award at the Martin Foundation's Heartworks St. Louis event, celebrating the couple's many philanthropic activities. Mr. and Mrs. Neidorf were also honored by Opera America at New York's University Club in February for their work on behalf of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.



Manhattan School of Music launched its YouTube channel on March 19 with archival videos of Thomas Hampson's Distance Learning master classes. MSM's YouTube channel has 37 subscribers and the videos have had 1,997 views.

On March 19, Mr. Hampson gave a master class in the school's Greenfield Recital Hall that was made available live on the web and reached 42 countries, 132 cities and 34 of the 50 states. It can be viewed at Distance Learning @ Manhattan School of Music.

Mr. Hampson is Distinguished Visiting Artist at MSM and a member of both the Board of Trustees and the Artistic Advisory Board.




Olivia Chew (MM '15, viola, an Orchestral Performance student of Karen Dreyfus) joined the viola section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a temporary position through February 2014.



Hannah Choi (PS '14, violin, an Orchestral Performance student of Glenn Dicterow and Lisa Kim) has won a position with the Grant Park Orchestra. Made up of professional musicians from throughout the U.S., the orchestra is part of a 10-week summer festival held in Chicago's Millennium Park. Ms. Choi is also profiled this month by Stay Thirsty Media, a privately held global news and entertainment company that publishes an internet magazine seen in more than 180 countries. Read the profile. Her other April highlights include leading the MSM Symphony as concertmaster in its Carnegie Hall debut.


Benny Benack III and Adam O'Farrill



Trumpet majors Benny Benack III
(MM '15, BM '13) and Adam O'Farrill (BM '16) were interviewed for a segment on Hugh Masekela (BM '64) in conjunction with his appearance at Jazz@Lincoln Center that will air on CCTV Africa and CCTV America. Also appearing in the segment is saxophonist Morris Goldberg (BM '65). Watch the video on YouTube.



Bass Scott Russell (MM '15, a student of Mignon Dunn) was selected as the Eastern Regional winner in the Metropolitan Opera's 2013-14 National Council Auditions and competed in the Semi-Final Auditions held on March 23.



Kalle Toivio (DM '15, an organ student of McNeil Robinson) participated in the 2014 Kennedy Center Organ Showcase this past February in Washington, D.C. He performed on the newly acquired Kennedy Center organ as well as rehearsed on the organ at the National Cathedral.



The MSM Precollege Salles Jazz Combo, directed by Felipe Salles, took first place in the Specialized Combo Category at the 2014 Mingus Festival Competition on February 16. The group consists of Zachary Berro, jazz alto saxophone; Louis Danowsky, jazz alto saxophone; Eli Koskoff, jazz guitar; Cole Davis, jazz double bass; Matthew Malanowski, jazz piano; Ashwin Prasanna, jazz drumset.


The MSM Jazz Arts Quintet; Adam O'Farrill



The MSM Jazz Arts Quintet, with Adam O'Farrill (BM '16, trumpet), Patrick Bartley (BM '15, saxophone), Martin Kenney (MM '14, double bass), Curtis Nowosad (MM '15, drums), and Antonio Madruga (BM '16, piano), were named the winners of the 2014 International Jazz Combo BIMHUS Keep an Eye Award (Amsterdam). As part of the prize, they will be performing at the Amsterdam Jazz Festival in June.



MSM Jazz Arts was honored with five Downbeat Student Music Awards this year for outstanding jazz performance. The awards will be announced on April 29.




Jay Anderson (Jazz Arts bass faculty) performs on the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy award-winning album Winter Morning Walks. This recording, a song cycle by Maria Schneider, also features vocalist and MSM alumna Dawn Upshaw (see Alumni).



Hayes Biggs (composition faculty), with his Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, C4, is having works performed at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on May 29 and at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields on May 31.



Glenn Dicterow (Chair of the Graduate Program in Orchestral Performance and MSM Board of Trustees member) will perform with the MSM Symphony in their Carnegie Hall debut on April 13. He also gave a farewell recital presented by the New York Philharmonic in collaboration with The Juilliard School at Alice Tully Hall in January. Performing with Mr. Dicterow were Gerald Robbins (chamber music faculty) and members of the Antonin String Quartet Lisa Kim (Orchestral Performance violin faculty), Karen Dreyfus (Orchestral Performance viola faculty), and Eileen Moon. Read the New York Times review.



David Geber (Vice Provost and Dean of Artistic Affairs) traveled in March to Peking University in Beijing to present a lecture, "Master Teaching in Classical Music: Traditions and Trends in a Timeless Art Form," co-sponsored by Peking University School of Engineering and the De Tao Masters Academy.



David Leisner (Chair, Guitar Department) was featured on the February 2014 cover of Classical Guitar with an accompanying article about his work. On March 27, he performed at Symphony Space in the Music of Now program Guitar, Guitar, Guitar! presented in collaboration with Guitar Plus.



Donny McCaslin (Jazz Arts saxophone faculty) received a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for Stadium Jazz, from his CD Casting for Gravity.



Marjorie Merryman (Provost and Dean of the College) received the Arts and Letters Award in Music from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Given in recognition of "outstanding artistic achievement," the award "acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his/her own voice." The awards ceremony will take place in May.



Ted Rosenthal (Jazz Arts piano faculty and MSM Board of Trustees member; BM '78 / MM '81, piano) performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra on February 12, in its 90th anniversary celebration at Town Hall. His most recent CD, Rhapsody in Gershwin, is being released in May.



Richard Sussman (Jazz Arts composition faculty; MM '85, jazz composition) received the 2013 College Music Society Fund Technology Award for designing Music Technology and Film Scoring curricula and implementing two technology studios at MSM. In addition, this fall he becomes director of a new MSM initiative, a Master's composition program in Music Technology and Contemporary Media (MTCM). Get more information about the program and how to apply.



Peter Vinograde (piano and music history faculty; BM '71 / MM '73 / DMA '88, piano) gave a recital featuring the last three English Suites by Bach at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. He dedicated this program to the memory of his former teacher, longtime MSM piano faculty member Zenon Fishbein who passed away in August 2013.



Ambrose Akinmusire and Fabian Almazan



Ambrose Akinmusire's (BM '05, jazz trumpet) recently released CD, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint (Blue Note), has been received to critical acclaim. He is featured in the April cover story of Downbeat, which singles him out as "one of the primary voices in 21st century jazz."

Fabian Almazan (BM '07, jazz piano) released his CD Rhizome in February, on the Blue Note/Artist Share label.

Ambrose and Fabian, who met at MSM when they were students, were the subject of a March 18th Wall Street Journal article, titled "They're Breaking Down the Walls." Read the article.


Kathryn Andrews and Kristi Shade



Kathryn Andrews (MM '09, harp) and Kristi Shade (MM '07, harp) have been appointed to jointly head the new Young Artist's Harp Seminar's Prep Division.



Fred Bronstein (MM '82, piano) has been named the next Dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Bronstein, a highly regarded orchestra head, served as CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 2008.



Beryl Yuan-Chih Chang (BM '87, violin) has been appointed to the faculty of Columbia University's Department of Economics, where she teaches a senior seminar in Behavioral Economics and the Financial Markets.


Kathryn Andrews and Kristi Shade



Rachel Cordeiro (MM '13, voice) and Briana Elyse Hunter (MM '12, voice) are finalists in this year's Lotte Lenya Competition to be held on April 12 in Rochester, New York.



Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM '08, voice) has appeared in two Metropolitan Opera productions this season: as Ferrando in The Enchanted Island and Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus. In addition, a January 20th New Yorker article profiled his work in the Metropolitan Opera's outreach and education programs.



Natalie Cressman (BM '13, jazz trombone) recently released her second CD, Turn the Sea, with a CD release party at Joe's Pub on March 20.



Kate Davis (BM '13, jazz double bass) will perform her own American songbook compositions on June 5 as part of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series at the David Rubenstein Atrium.



Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (MM '87, voice) recently co-starred in the Metropolitan Opera's production of The Enchanted Island alongside Placido Domingo and MSM alum Anthony Roth Costanzo. Performance highlights this spring will include a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (April 26), Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été at London's Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit (May 14), and, in June, Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I in Paris at Le Théâtre du Châtelet.



Soprano Nicole Haslett (MM '12, voice) performed in the Grand Finals Concert as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera's 2013-14 National Council Auditions. The concert was held at the Metropolitan Opera House on March 30.



Khowoon Kim (PS '13, piano) was named the first-prize winner of the 2013 Cidade de Ferrol International Piano Competition in Spain.


Lauren Flanigan and Heather Johnson



On February 21, New York City Opera was celebrated with a farewell concert, "70 Years of the People's Opera," which was put together by Cori Ellison (undergrad studies '75-79, voice), conducted by George Manahan (BM '73, MM '76, conducting), MSM's Director of Orchestral Activities, and featured Lauren Flanigan  (MM '84, soprano, voice), Heather Johnson (MM '97, mezzo-soprano, voice) and Tonna Miller (MM '95, soprano, voice), as well as numerous other MSM alumni who performed as members of the chorus and orchestra. Read the New York Times review.



Robert Lopez (Precollege 1989–1993, composition) won a 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Let It Go" from the Disney film Frozen. He is one of an elite group of only 12 people, known as EGOT winners, who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Mr. Lopez is also a co-creator of Broadway's The Book of Mormon.



Hugh Masekela (BM '64, trumpet) was the featured artist at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 4 and 5 for his 75th birthday celebration. Read a recent Wall Street Journal profile.



George Mathew (MM '03, conducting) led a benefit concert, "Shostakovich for the Children of Syria," at Carnegie Hall presented by Music for Life International. The orchestra, made up of 125 musicians from some 70 orchestras and freelancers, all donated their services. Proceeds went to Doctors Without Borders. Read the New York Times review.



Jason Moran (BM '97, jazz piano, MSM 2011 Young Alumni Award recipient), the Kennedy Center's Artistic Advisor for Jazz, recently curated an international jazz residency, created to discover and present the next generation of jazz musicians.



Jason Moran (BM '97, jazz piano, MSM 2011 Young Alumni Award recipient), the Kennedy Center's Artistic Advisor for Jazz, recently curated an international jazz residency, created to discover and present the next generation of jazz musicians.



Jeffrey Sharkey (BM '86, piano) was recently named Principal at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.



Michael A. Smith (MM '00, trumpet) has been named Executive Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, where he was a member of the trumpet section for the past seven years.



Kimberly Thompson (BM '03, jazz drums) has been hired by Late Night with Seth Meyers as the drummer of the show's 8G Band. She has played with Beyoncé, Kanye West, Bobby Hutcherson and Roy Hargrove.


Lauren Flanigan and Heather Johnson



Soprano Talise Trevigne (BM '98, voice) and baritone Matthew Worth (MM '03 / PS '04, voice) recently performed featured roles in the National Opera's East Coast premiere of Jake Haggie's Moby-Dick, seen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.



Soprano Dawn Upshaw (MM '85, voice) was named winner of a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo.



Christopher Zuar (MM 2013, jazz composition) is a recipient of the 2014 ASCAP-Herb Alpert Young Composer Award.