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SPOTLIGHT ITEMS | CURRENT STUDENTS | ALUMNI | PRECOLLEGE

SPOTLIGHT ITEMS


Seven current MSM students and three alumni (as well as one non-MSM singer) formed a kind of rotating rep company as part of the Metropolitan Museum’s recent “Sonic Blossom,” a live-music installation by artist Lee Mingwei. The singers – two for each session (roughly three and a half hours in length) – approached museum-goers with the question, “May I offer you the gift of a song?” and, with a positive response, proceeded to sing one of five choices of Schubert lieder. The experience reduced the New York Times’s James Oestreich to tears, and in his review, he singled out tenor Dominick Corbacio (BM ’17), who he said “gave one excellent performance after another.” The other MSM students and alumni performing as part of “Sonic Blossom” were: Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15); Crystal Glenn (MM ’16); Yeonji Lee (BM ’13, MM ’16); Margaret Newcomb (MM ’14); Jordan Rutter (MM ’15), pictured; Joshua Sanders (MM ’17); Tookah Sapper (MM ’16); Catherine Swindle (MM ’16); and Maggie Woolums (MM ’16).



In an  article and photo spread for the December issue of Vanity Fair ("These Millenials are Shaking Up the Jazz World"), Will Friedwald writes: "So, what makes jazz – which is hot, hot, hot these days and nights – so different in the second decade of its second century? Once again, young musicians are taking the lead and flocking to jazz." Among the musicians cited in the photo spread as leading the way are several MSM alumni, including Ambrose Akinmusire (BM '05), Gerald Clayton ('05), Josh Holcomb (BM '13), Joe Saylor (BM '08), and one current student – Adam O'Farrill (Precollege '12, BM '16). And in a related article posted this month on the magazine's website, Michael Katsobashvili claims that "sensational, young jazz players are emerging with each season," and because the magazine was unable to feature all of them in Friedwald's photo gallery piece, Katsobashvili went on to give shout-outs to "the many other notable artists who also deserve to be singled out for praise." Among that list? Current student Elena Pinderhughes (BM '17), pictured, current Precollege student Julius Rodriguez, and the following MSM Jazz Arts alumni: Kate Davis (BM '13), Sullivan Fortner (MM '10), Linda Oh (MM '08), and Christian Sands (BM '11, MM '15).



After a global search, Queensland Symphony Orchestra has named MSM alumna Alondra de la Parra (BM '06, MM '08) to the position of Music Director, a designation that will include the combined roles of Chief Conductor, Artistic Director, and Community Arts Leader. She is the first woman to ever hold the position of Music Director with the organization. Calling the acclaimed conductor "one of the most compelling of her generation," QSO Chief Executive Officer Sophie Galaise says the company is "thrilled" to secure her as Music Director. According to the QSO press release announcing the appointment, "Alondra de la Parra is set to have a profound influence on the future of the QSO, musically and culturally." French newspaper Le Monde wrote that "there is no doubt that, with Alondra de la Parra, classical music has arrived into the twenty-first century."



MSM alumni J'nai Bridges (BM '09), Sol Jin (MM '15), and Yunpeng Wang (MM '13) are among the "25 Rising Opera Stars" featured in the October Issue of Opera News. Of mezzo-soprano Bridges, the publication has this to say: "Her rich, dark, exciting sound and easy top (which mistakenly leads some to think she's a soprano-in-progress) were developed by Joan Patenaude Yarnell at the Manhattan School of Music." Of baritone Jin, the article recalls his Lissner's winners concert at Zankel Hall last April, saying that "he was a standout with 'Di Provenza' – an incisive performance, evenly and beautifully sung." And finally, the article describes baritone Wang's breakthrough, when he was invited to study at MSM on a full scholarship ("an absolute miracle," the singer says). As for his 2013 performance of "Ah! Per sempre" at the School's Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition, which he won, the magazine says that Wang sang "with such passion and elegance that he brought tears to the eyes of at least two judges."



This year, fully five MSM alumni were counted among the winners of the prestigious Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, including Jason Moran (BM '97, 2011 "Outstanding Young Alumni" award recipient), pictured, who took home the top prize, Musician of the Year. The other MSM alum to receive awards were: Ambrose Akinmusire (BM '05), Trumpeter of the Year; Steve Turre (MM '88), Trombonist of the Year; Miguel Zenon (MM '01), Alto Saxophonist of the Year; and Chris Potter (MM '92), Tenor Saxophonist of the Year.



In the annual "best of the year" issue of Opernwelt (an important German monthly), Gay City News chief opera critic David Shengold lists MSM's fall 2014 production of Ernest Bloch's Macbeth as Best Revival of the Year. In his review of the production last December, Shengold called it "a triumphant outing" for MSM.



CURRENT STUDENTS



Cellist Sujari Britt (Precollege '14, BM '18) is featured and interviewed in the October issue of Strings magazine. Of her time in MSM's Precollege, she calls the program "wonderful," saying: "[It] afforded me opportunities for solo, chamber, and orchestral performance, as well as theory, ear training, and other instruction. Master classes with respected musicians, occasions to attend public performances, and opportunities to engage the NYC music community made my experience particularly nurturing."



Jazz trumpeter Adam O'Farrill (Precollege '12, BM '16) was featured as the Spotlight artist in the fall issue of Stay Thirsty magazine. The quarterly publication hailed O'Farrill's recent third-place finish in the 2014 Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Trumpet Competition (where he performed before a judging panel that included, among others, Randy Brecker, Roy Hargrove, and Quincy Jones) and the fact that he is a recipient of both the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award and the ASCAP Gershwin Award.



Pianist Yuting Zhou (MM ’16) earned a remarkable three awards last month at the 2015 Liszt-Garrison Festival & International Piano Competition in Baltimore: First Prize in the Young Artist Category; Best Interpretation of a Composition by Franz Liszt; and Best Interpretation of a Composition by a Composer from the Americas.




Baritone Benjamin Dickerson (BM '17) won the 2015 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, which took place July 18 at the Music Academy of the West's Hahn Hall. Dickerson, along with fellow prize-winner, pianist Alden Gatt, received the Regina Roney Prize of $3,000, and each will be presented in recital on tour in Santa Barbara at Hahn Hall, in partnership with the Dallas Opera, and in New York at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, in partnership with WQXR, the city's classical music station. This year, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition included 23 singers and six vocal pianists.



Guitarist Jake Hertzog (MM '16) performed two solo sets as part of the Caramoor Jazz Festival in the Rosen House Music Room at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York, last summer. Hertzog, who has been called a "blazing wunderkind" and "one of the finest young jazz guitarists on the scene" by Guitar Player, released his fifth solo album, an all-standards recording called Beyond the Standard Model that is available exclusively by digital download at the artist's website.



Pianist Alexander Bui (BM '16) performed with the Ocean City Pops Orchestra and received a favorable review in the Ocean City Sentinel, with the paper citing Bui's "precise runs" and "controlled rubato."



Mezzo-soprano Aggie Nyama (BM '16) was featured in Stay Thirsty magazine as the hip arts-and-culture quarterly's Thirsty Spotlight artist for Summer 2015. Nyama performed the role of Desiree Armfeldt last spring in the MSM American Musical Theater Ensemble production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. In an AP review that ran in the New York Times, she was praised for her "gleaming voice and assured tone."



The top three prize winners at the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition were swept by MSM: Violinist Yuan Tian (MM '16), pictured, won first place; violinist Ahra Cho (MM '16) won second place; and MSM alumnus David Derrico (MM '14, viola) won third place. As the competition's winner, Tian performed as featured soloist with the Texas Music Festival Orchestra.



Violinist Xiao Wang (BM '13, MM '15, AD '16) was named a laureate in the prestigious, highly competitive 2015 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition. In a performance of Sibelius's Violin Concerto by the MSM Symphony Orchestra last spring, Wang attracted the attention of the New York Times's James Oestreich, who wrote in his review that Wang is a "brave and excellent young soloist."



Along with cellist JeongHyoun Lee, pianist Tong Tong (DMA '19, accompanying) won first prize this month at the Plovdiv International Chamber Music Competition in Bulgaria. As part of the prize the duo was invited to perform a concert at the Balabanov's House Music Days International Music Festival.


ALUMNI


2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients (left to right), guitarist Pablo Villegas (PD '04, PS '06, AD '07), composer Angelo Badalamenti (BM '58, MM '59), composer/vibraphonist Stefon Harris (BM '95, MM '97), with MSM President James Gandre at the recent MSM Alumni Reunion.



Over the summer, Lauren Frankovich (MM ’09) was appointed as MSM’s Alumni Engagement Officer and will work to support and engage MSM alumni, expand alumni initiatives, and help build an ever-more vibrant alumni community. She is a company member of the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and was most recently seen in their productions of The Mikado  (Peep Bo), The Pirates of Penzance, and Iolanthe. Last November Lauren made her Carnegie Hall debut singing “Make Our Garden Grow” with the New York Pops and Essential Voices USA.



Founded by MSM alumnus Jonathon Thierer (BM '15), pictured, Venture Opera is New York City's newest opera company, having celebrated its opening production, Don Giovanni, earlier this month. Apart from founder and General Director Thierer, the production, which was housed at the Angel Orensanz Center, involved an array of MSM alumni, including: Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM '01, MM '03) in the role of Donna Anna; Mikayla Sager (BM '15) covering for Zerlina; Elizabeth Novella (MM '14) covering for Donna Elvira; Carlton Moe (MM '15) covering for Don Ottavio; and Stage Director Edwin Cahill ('05). The orchestra featured: Meaghan Burke (MM '13), cello; Patrick Duff (BM '10), bass; Sasha Gee Enegren (MM '10, PS '11, DMA '15), bassoon; William Lang (MM '09), trombone; Eileen Mack (MM '06), clarinet; John Popham (BM '05/MM '09), cello; Anna Urrey (MM '11/PS '12), flute; Karl Vilcins (MM '04), bassoon; and Tema Watstein (MM '12), violin. As for the production itself, according to the Voce di meche blog, "[Don Giovanni's] casting was perfect, and each singer was as superb dramatically as he/she was vocally. The musical values were excellent.” In praising the production for a review in Opera News, David Shengold wrote that Shoremount-Obra “sang a really outstanding Anna, accurate and with exciting thrust, including the best vengeance aria I’ve heard since Carol Vaness’s heyday.”



Recent recordings from tenor saxophonist Adam Larson (BM '12, MM '14) and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) – the latter featuring the artist's husband Jason Moran (BM '97) as producer and guest pianist – were reviewed in the New York Times this month. Regarding Larson, Nate Chinen writes: "At 25, he's still forming his identity as an artist, but his third album, Selective Amnesia, suggests that he's closing in on something perceptive and streamlined." The review also cites Fabian Almazan (BM '07, MM '09), who plays piano on the recording. Of Hall Moran's Heavy Blue, Chinen writes that the album "runs less than 40 minutes but covers some ground, moving with purpose through an African-American spiritual, a Duke Ellington overture, a Renaissance lute song, and a few emotionally potent originals."



Five of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions District and Region Winners for 2015-16 are MSM alumni, including Alaysha Fox (BM ’13, MM ’15), Anna Dugan (MM ’16), pictured, Joshua Arky (MM ’16), Michael Gracco
(BM ’18), and  Sol Jin (MM ’15). These singers are representing the program's Eastern Region and will move on in the national competition, with five overall winners to be announced in spring 2016. The National Council Auditions are designed to discover promising young opera singers and to assist in the development of their careers.



The current cast and pit orchestra for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which won the Best Musical Tony Award in 2014, features several MSM alumni, including: Judy Blazer  (BM '77), pictured, in the role of Miss Shingle; Amy Justman  (MM '02), a swing; Keve Wilson ('92), oboe/English horn;  Thomas Sefcovic ('78), bassoon; Rober Zubrycki (MM '86), violin; David Blinn (BM '93), viola; and Anik Oulianine (BM '85, MM '87), cello. MSM faculty member Erik Charlston (drums/percussion) is also in the show's pit orchestra. Steven Lutvak, who wrote music and lyrics for the show, also has strong Manhattan School of Music ties, having attended the School for the 1980-81 academic year. Also of note, Judy Blazer will be joining MSM’s faculty as part of the School’s recently announced Musical Theatre Program, which will launch in fall 2016.



Nate Chinen, reviewing Aria, the debut solo album from Sullivan Fortner (MM '10), in the New York Times, wrote that Fortner's "fundamentals as a player could hardly be stronger, and his instincts as a composer and bandleader are almost startlingly mature." In March, Fortner, who has played in a band led by fellow MSM alum Stefon Harris (BM '95, MM '97), won the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz.



Julia Suriano (BM '15), who last spring performed the role of Fredrika in MSM's American Musical Theater Ensemble production of A Little Night Music, received a positive review on BroadwayWorld.com for her performance of Maria in West Side Story with the Fireside Theater (Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin). "Julia Suriano as Maria exudes the sweet naiveté expected of her character," according to the review.



The Tony Award-winning Broadway great, Shuler Hensley (BM '90, Hon. DMA '14), is the subject of a major feature in the fall issue of the expansive "culture quarterly," Stay Thirsty  magazine. Hensley, whose Tony Award was earned for his searing and unforgettable portrayal of Jud Fry in the 2002 Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, is currently performing in Tokyo for the Broadway-bound production of The Prince of Broadway, a musical tribute to legendary director Harold Prince. As Co-Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee for MSM's much-buzzed-about new Musical Theatre (Bachelor's degree) Program, which launches in fall 2016, Hensley told Stay Thirsty that the new program is designed to give students the tools to be their best selves, to allow them to "find [their] own voice and prepare [them] for whatever comes [their] way."



As reported by Musical America, at a recent Met Opera performance of Il Trovatore, as the second act ended, the house lights remained dark. After a brief hold, the curtain rose again, and Met General Manager Peter Gelb joined the cast on stage, along with mezzo-soprano and MSM alumna Dolora Zajick (MM '83, Hon. DMA '02), who had just completed a triumphant performance singing the role of Azucena. To commemorate her having reached the quarter-century mark with the company, Gelb unveiled a large golden anvil, a play on Il Trovatore's "Anvil Chorus." In addition to reaching 25 years with the Met, it's also worth noting that Zajick has sung the role of Azucena 53 times – more than anyone in the Met's history – and marked her Met debut with the role in 1988.



Tenor Christopher Lilley (MM '15, voice) received a positive review in the New York Times for his role as Cherubino in Hiram Titus's Rosina with New York's Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble. "As Cherubino the tenor Christopher S. Lilley was vocally solid and dramatically convincing," wrote Times critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. "His aria recounting the opera's back story – presented as a lullaby sung to the strains of a Spanish guitar – was nicely turned out and a good example of Titus's skill at weaving musical styles in a way that pulls together time, place and affect."



Charenée Wade (MM '06) received a rave review in the New York Times for her performance at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center. According to the Times's Nate Chinen, "Ms. Wade is a jazz singer of commanding skill, an heir to the legacies of Betty Carter and Carmen McRae. She exercised dynamic restraint in this performance, intent on serving the songs."




Teacher and musician Kate Christopher Goldbas (BM '10) and her band, The Lost Boys, were featured in an article at BluegrassToday.com regarding her unique way to involve young students in the rhythmic aspects of music. "After receiving my degree from Manhattan School of Music," Goldbas says in the article, "I accepted a position at Diller-Quaile School of Music in New York City. My new position fused my two greatest talents, singing and engaging young children through music."



Composer Angelo Badalamenti (BM '58, french horn; MM '59, music education), who was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at October's MSM Alumni Reunion, is on tap to compose the score for director David Lynch's reboot of the cult television series, Twin Peaks. "The man behind the musical style often referred to as 'Lynchian' has confirmed his place in the new Twin Peaks," a recent article in The Guardian said. “[Badalamenti], who scored the original show, not to mention [Lynch's] Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, is the latest Twin Peaks alumni added to the line-up for of the forthcoming series.” Badalamenti won a Grammy award for his theme to the original Twin Peaks, and he is a Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement award-winner.



Georgia Jarman (MM '99, soprano) received a positive review from the New York Times for her performance as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto at Santa Fe Opera. The Times's Zachary Woolfe wrote: "As Gilda, the soprano Georgia Jarman had a melting tone that benefited from hints of birdlike fragility."





Pianist Alexander Moutouzkine (MM ’03, PS ’05, AD ’06, 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) received a glowing review by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin for his August recital as part of the Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy. According to Dobrin, "Clarity and brilliance propelled the last etude, gathering intensity to a rather thrillingly paced last few bars."





Pianist Xiayin Wang's (DMA '13) Chandos Records recording of Rachmaninoff Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 received a positive review on ClassicsToday.com (Artistic Quality 8; Sound Quality 10), with reviewer Jed Distler calling Wang's performance of Sonata No. 2 a "knockout," adding that the pianist "often adapts a lyrical approach and luxuriates in the keyboard writing while keeping a grip on momentum."



Joshua Cohen (BM '01) received an extraordinary review from Dwight Garner in the New York Times, but it wasn't for his jazz writing; it was for his recently released novel, Book of Numbers. According to Garner, Cohen's book "is in its fractured way, more impressive than all but a few novels published so far this decade. Mr. Cohen, all of 34, emerges as a major American writer."



Countertenor sensation Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM '08) recently completed his run in the world premiere of composer Jake Heggie's new opera, Great Scott, which opened on October 30 at Dallas Opera. The production also starred Joyce DiDonato, Frederica Von Stade, Ailyn Perez, and Nathan Gunn. In its review of the production, The Dallas Morning News called Roth Costanzo one of "the vocal stars of the show" and cited his "astonishingly powerful and well-focused countertenor."



Mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis (PS '13) – winner of both the 2015 Hilde Zadek International Voice Competition in Vienna and the 2015 Sedat Gürel-Güzin Gürel International Voice Competition in Istanbul – performed last month in recital at New York's National Opera Center. Bryce-Davis has been hailed by the New York Times as a "striking mezzo-soprano."



Soprano Laquita Mitchell (MM '01, 2009 MSM Young Alumni Award recipient) was featured in the New York Philharmonic's "In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy" last month. The concert was organized by renowned bass-baritone Eric Owens (he delivered a voice master class at MSM on October 22). It was a rousing tribute to Marian Anderson, Betty Allen, George Shirley, and William Warfield, barrier-busting singers with strong ties to the Phil. In his review for the New York Times, Zachary Woolfe wrote: "A highlight of the touching event was the Philharmonic's belated first performance of selections from Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha. The soprano Laquita Mitchell's dark-hued tone didn't prevent her from floating in the gently flowing narrative 'The Sacred Tree.'"



This fall Clarissa Lyons (MM '09) joined the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. A native Californian, Lyons has been garnering praise for her "luxuriant, large soprano" (Los Angeles Times) and earlier this year won the grand prize at Florida Grand Opera's Young Patronnesses of the Opera Competition and the Glenn & Ginger Flournoy Award at Shreveport Opera's Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition.



Soprano Sequina DuBose (PS '08) made her Carnegie Hall debut this month with pianists the Altino BrothersNerva (MM '01) and Robenson (MM '01). Beyond Boundaries featured piano concertos by Tchaikovsky and Liszt, as well as Broadway and popular favorites and the world premiere of a double piano concerto composed by Nerva.



Jose Llana ('95) joined the cast of Lincoln Center Theater's Tony award-winning revival of The King and I as the King, opposite Kelli O'Hara, who won a Tony for her performance as Anna. Both Llana and O'Hara are on the Artistic Advisory Committee of MSM's new Musical Theatre Program, which launches in fall 2016. Llana was a freshman voice student at MSM when he left the School to join the 1996 Broadway revival of The King and I, that time in the role of Lun Tha opposite Lou Diamond Phillips as the King and Donna Murphy as Anna.



Bassist/vocalist Kate Davis (BM '13) is becoming a fixture at Jazz at Lincoln Center of late: she was the face of the company's 2015-16 Season brochure; she peformed as one of the Ladybugs, a traditional jazz harmony group, on October 22 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola; and she will perform in April 2016 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.



Andréa Wood (MM '13) has a new CD, Kaleidoscope, that recently hit number 11 on the CMJ Top 40 Jazz Charts. According to a review of the album by Susan Frances of AXS, "the slow, fluid strides of [Wood's] vocals are entrancing, reminiscent of Sarah Vaughn with a touch of Joss Stone's deep sensual voicing. [Her] rippling inflections travel from one crescendo to the next, demonstrating the vast elasticity of her range and the complete control she has over her register."



Baritone saxophonist Leo Pellegrino (BM '13), trombonist Josh Holcomb (BM '13), and trumpeter Josh Gawel (BM '14) are members of the Lucky Chops brass band, now the house band of MTV's Girl Code: Live. According to their agents at Atypical Beast, Lucky Chops is a boy band/brass band "on a mission to change the world."



Jazz composer Miho Hazama (MM '12) was named the winner of BMI Foundation's 16th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize and Manny Albam Commission at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop's 27th Annual Showcase Concert in New York. The award is presented annually for the best original work created in the workshop and honors the memory of jazz legend Charlie Parker. Included in the prize is a $3,000 commission, named in honor of the Workshop's late founder and longtime musical director Manny Albam, to write a new work for premiere at the following year's showcase concert. Hazama's piece, "Somnambulant," was chosen as the winning work by a judging panel comprising Grammy-winning jazz musicians Bill Kirchner and Gil Goldstein and inaugural Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize winner, the acclaimed bassist, Rufus Reid. According to the BMI Foundation website, the Tokyo-born, New York-based Hazama "is a brilliant, award-winning composer and arranger, able to draw on many different musical sources to create her own highly distinctive and original sound."



This fall, two MSM alumni earned positions with the Seattle Symphony: Jonathan Karschney (BM '07, French horn) won the Assistant Principal Horn/Utility position; and Matt Decker (MM '13) won the Assistant Timpani/Percussion position. The latter had been Assistant Principal Percussion in the North Carolina Symphony since fall 2014. Among other recent orchestral appointments, violinist Fangyue He (PS '15) won a section position with the Oregon Symphony; oboist Alexander Vvedenskiy (MM '16) won the Principal Oboe position with the Louisville Orchestra; double bassist Ivy Wong (PS '15) won a section position with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (she was also a sub with the New York Philharmonic earlier in the year); and double bassist Noah Reitman (MM '10) won the Assistant Principal Bass position with the Vancouver Symphony.



Chloé Kiffer (PS '15) won the 2015 Waldo Mayo Memorial Violin Competition earlier this month and made her debut in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium with a Tchaikovsky violin concerto under conductor David Gilbert.




Ali Cook (PS '11) performed for Pope Francis in Washington, D.C., on September 23 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.




Joe Saylor (BM '08) is drummer for the recently unveiled The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Colbert replaced David Letterman this fall). Saylor is part of the show's house band, Stay Human, under the direction of Jon Batiste. A contemporary jazz-gospel-R&B-pop ensemble that was formed in 2004, Stay Human – the band also includes bassist Phil Kuehn and saxophonist Eddie Barbash – recorded its 2011 debut EP in various parts of New York City's subway system.



It was announced recently that internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin, who was behind the podium for the MSM Symphony Orchestra's 2014 Carnegie Hall debut, will lead the jury for the fifteenth edition of the Van Cliburn Competition, to be held May 26 to June 11, 2017, at Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall. Among other luminaries joining Slatkin on the jury will be pianist and MSM alumna Anne-Marie McDermott (BM '82).



Pianist and Delos Records signing Martin Labazevitch (PS '08) released his debut CD for the label in August 2015. For the recording, Labazevitch teamed up with fellow Pole and emerging conducting star Ewa Stusinska to record what the label calls "a supremely appealing, all-Polish program of beloved musical gems for piano and orchestra." The recording also features the Beethoven Academy Orchestra.



Berg, a trio made up of drummer Joe Peri (MM '15), trumpeter Sam Nester (MM '12), and composer/singer Izzy Gliksberg (MM '12), won the 2015 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artist of Choice grant for The Writers Trilogy, a hybrid of music, film, and literature that will be released in the form of a short album and three short films.




Kyra Sims (MM '12) received a 2015 Innovative Theatre Awards nomination for Outstanding Sound Design for her work with the New York Neo-Futurists on the production, The Human Symphony.




Flutist Gina Izzo (BM '09) and pianist Erika Dohi (MM '12) of RighteousGIRLS recently released their debut recording, Gathering Blue, featuring new works written especially for them and that draw from the worlds of contemporary classical music, avant garde jazz, and experimental pop. The innovative recording features several works composed by the album's producer, also an MSM alum, Pascal Le Boeuf (BM '07, MM '10). DownBeat gave the album a 4.5-star rave, calling it “revelatory.”



Pascal Le Boeuf (BM '07, MM '10) was again in the news, having received one of Chamber Music America's recently announced 2016 commissioning grants. Among the other recipients of the 21 commissions are Ekmeles, a vocal ensemble directed by MSM alumnus Jeffrey Gavett (MM '09), and composer Alex Mincek (BM '98).

PRECOLLEGE





Please see this "Current Students" entry for news on Precollege alumna Sujari Britt.



In a recent New York Times article, Precollege alumna Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (1984-1990) was interviewed in the context of her role as Chief Executive Officer of Glamsquad, an app-based beauty provider. In the article, Wilson namechecks MSM, calling her time at the School's Precollege one of her key influences.



Emily Mantone and Nicholas Burkel (pictured), Precollege cello students, were selected to perform in the 2015 National Association for Music Education All-National Honors Symphony Orchestra, featuring the top performing high school musicians in the country. Mantone and Burkel were the only cellists from the state of New York selected to perform in this ensemble.


Ari Boutris (Precollege, violin) was featured as a guest soloist with the Adelphi Orchestra performing Saint-Saëns's  Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor on October 25 at the River Dell Regional High School Auditorium, New Jersey.




As winners in the New York Chamber Players Orchestra (NYCPO) 5th Annual Concerto Competition, Precollege cello students Ian Maloney and Mia Kim Bernard performed Vivaldi's Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos with the NYCPO on November 13th at the Liederkranz Club Concert Hall.



Vincent Zhang, Precollege piano student, was a 2015 Grand Prize winner in the National League of Performing Arts in New Jersey competition and, as part of the honor, performed at Weill Recital Hall.



Precollege piano student Ryan Soeyadi won first prize in the LISMA Competition on Long Island.




William Chen (Precollege, piano) won first prize at the Kaufman Young Artist competition last spring, playing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111.




Violinist Sophia Steger (second prize in the String Division), violinist Sarah Ma (third prize in the String Division), and pianist Eugene Hong (second prize in the Piano Division) – MSM Precollege students all – were winners in the 2015 New York International Music Competition. Steger and Hong performed with the NYIMC Chamber Orchestra in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on November 22.



Kevin Melcer (Precollege, piano) won a Gold medal in the International Virtuoso Competition, which is open to advanced students of all ages up to 22 years old.



Jeannie She (Precollege, piano) won a special prize at the 2015 Piano Teachers Congress. She was awarded $100 and received the Regina Rubinoff 20th & 21st Century American Composer Award for her performance of Aaron Copland's The Cat and the Mouse.



Precollege alumnus Drew Petersen (2011, piano) placed fourth in the Leeds International Piano Competition.