Welcome to our Alumni News Highlights page!

Check out the recent activities and accomplishments of our alumni. 

Precollege | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

In Memoriam


COLLEGE DIVISION

CLASSES OF 1950–1959

Nicolas Flagello's (BM ’49, MM ’50) Concerto for String Orchestra was performed by the German orchestra Deutsche-Kammerakademie conducted by Lavard Skou Larsen on April 2, 2017.

Kenneth Lane (’54) performed for the New Life Expo at The New Yorker on March 18, 2017. Selections included love songs from opera, Viennese operetta, and musicals, and even included a few tunes by The Beatles and Elvis.

CLASSES OF 1960–1969

John Corigliano (63, Honorary Doctorate 1992) is a 2017 Grammy Award winner for The Ghosts of Versailles under the category "Best Engineered Album, Classical" and "Best Opera Recording." 

Carl Topilow (BM ’68, MM ’69) will be celebrating his 40th season in Summer 2017 as Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO). This year also marks the 20th anniversary season of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, an ensemble for which Carl is the founding conductor. Currently in his 36th season as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), Carl has appeared as guest conductor with 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries. His CIM students and NRO alumni may be found as orchestra members and conductors both nationally and internationally.  


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CLASSES OF 1970–1979

Douglas Hedwig (BM 73) In July 2016, Dr. Hedwig’s work for concert band, Tone Poem on Taps (published by TRN Music), was performed for a sell-out crowd at the Blossom Music Festival and included instrumentalists from the Cleveland Orchestra. A Certain Slant of Light was recently published by Carl Fischer Music. His new choral work, Gitanjali, based on poems by Nobel Prize winning Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, received its world premiere by Choral Arts of Chattanooga on October 29, 2016. Douglas’s three-movement String Quintet, commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, premiered on February 19, 2017.

Larry Hochman (BM 75) was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion. Larry was a 2016 Tony Award nominee for Best Orchestration for She Loves Me. He is also the orchestrator of the Broadway revival Hello Dolly!, starring Bette Midler. 


 

 

Katherine Hoover (MM 74)
has been awarded the National Flute Association’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”, which was celebrated with concerts and honors at the San Diego NFA Convention in August 2016.  Katherine’s Flute Concerto “The Four Winds” was performed at the Masterworks Festival in Cedarville, Ohio, with Bonita Boyd as soloist. “The Four Winds” was also performed on October 8, 2016 featuring Amy Porter with the Michigan Philharmonic. Ms. Hoover’s “Requiem for the Innocent” for chorus, soloists, brass, percussion and organ was given at New York’s historic Trinity Church on September 21, 2016 which is World Peace Day. A CD of the “Requiem for the Innocent” was issued in August by Fortay Records.

George Manahan (BM ’73, MM 76, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) conducts the American Composers Orchestra this season at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in the 2016–17 season.

Bob Mintzer (74) is a 2017 Grammy-nominee for his album All L.A. Band under the category "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album."

David Owens (MM 73) reports the premieres of three new major works in 2016. In February the Opal Ensemble (clarinet, viola, piano) introduced his Trio Opalesco in Arlington, MA. October saw the premiere in Boston of his Sky Legends: Twelve Vignettes on Signs of the Zodiac for Piano Four-Hands. In November, at its inaugural concert in Brookline, MA, the new Amabile Piano Trio gave the first performance of Owens’s Out of the Shadows.  Albany Records recently released a CD of several of Mr. Owens’s compositions, including his Sonata for Two Pianos.

Ann Tedesco (MM ’76) performed her 23rd Piano Benefit Concert on March 28, 2017 at St. John’s University, where she is a faculty member.

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CLASSES OF 1980–1989

Audrey Axinn (BM ’86) taught a masterclass in collaborative piano at Oberlin Conservatory on Oct. 29, 2016.

Fred Bronstein (MM ’82), Dean of Peabody Institute, was named one of The Musical America Worldwide’s top 30 innovators in the performing arts industry during 2016.

Frank Daykin (’83), member of the advisory board of the Art Song Preservation Society of NY, has been invited to give an all-Poulenc masterclass on May 17, 2017, to be held at Manhattan School of Music.

Karen Geer (MM 85) is the new Executive Director of InterSchool Orchestras of New York.

Aaron Jay Kernis (MM 81) premiered his new flute concerto with Marina Piccinini and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on February 4 and 6, 2016. Piccinini performed the U.K. premiere in February 2017 with the London Philharmonic and it will be performed again in April 2017 with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin. 

Peri Mauer (BM 88, MM 90) premiered a new orchestral work, All Along the Heights, with the Jackson Heights Orchestra on December 14, 2016.  In November her composition Trumpet Trio received its world premiere at Good Shepherd RC Church in Brooklyn, NY. The world premiere of her string quartet, Shadow Lake, was performed on February 21, 2017 by the Klang String Quartet, featuring alumnus Gregor Kitzis (BM ’83, MM '86).

In October 2016, Susan Merdinger (’87) performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico conducted by Gabriela Diaz Alatriste. The concerts took place in the Sala Felipe Villanueva in Toluca and at the Festival Quimera in Mexico, with over 3,000 in attendance. On October 23 and 24, Susan joined forces with National Symphony Orchestra cellist, Steven Honigberg, to perform an All-Beethoven program for the Northbrook Public Library and then recorded the same program for Live from WFMT with host Jerry Frumkin. At the end of November, Merdinger recorded works by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Copland for Steinway-Spirio. In January 2017, Merdinger performed the continuation of her Beethoven cycle for WFMT and at the Northbrook Public Library, with violinist Ilya Kaler. Spring 2017 brings chamber music performances of Piano Quartets by Beethoven and Brahms by Susan’s ensemble, Pianissimo!, on March 26 and April 23, and a chamber music concert by Susan on May 7. She performed a special Piano Concerto and Orchestra event on March 25, entitled “Piano Masters: A Journey through the Ages” at the Merit School of Music. The second half of the program featured Pianissimo! performing Bach-Vivaldi’s Four Piano Concerto, a world premiere work by Jeremy Beck, followed by Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, and Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos.

Donovan Mixon (MM ’85) released his first YA novel, Ahgottahandleonit, in March 2017 by Cinco Puntos Press. His bookings included a Black History Month presentation in February 2017 and a talk about the blending of music and literature in April 2017 at Evanston Library. On March 23, Donovan presented for writer’s week at Niles North High School. HER Story Theatre in Chicago produced a live music and dramatic reading for the project in March and upcoming is the Chicago Printer’s Row Festival this June. Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/search/?q=ahgottahandleonit&t=all
More info here: donovanmixonwriter.com

Brenda Murray (MM ’86) performed a concert at Meredith College on March 21, 2017 with Manny Laureano, the principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra, conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Youth Orchestra. Brenda also performed on March 25, 2017 at Meredith College with alumna Lorraine Duso (MM ’87), Professor of Double Reeds at University of Central Arkansas and Oboe/English Horn of the Arkansas Symphony.

David J. Wolfsohn (DMA 84), partner at Duane Morris LLP, has been named Co-Director of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Section of Litigation Division VI for the 2016–2017 year. David will oversee 10 section committees focused on the legal profession—Corporate Counsel, Ethics and Professionalism, Federal Practice, Implicit Bias, LGBT Litigator, Minority Trial Lawyer, Solo & Small Firm, The Woman Advocate, Young Advocates, and Young Lawyer Leadership Program. 

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CLASSES OF 1990–1999

Pianist Sara Davis Buechner (DMA 94) gave two summer recitals at the Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts in Wheatley Heights, Long Island for students at the creative summer academy, as well as master classes and lessons at the Orford Arts Center in Quebec. In August Sara gave a solo performance for Music Niagara in Ontario at St. Marks Church followed by performances of the Ravel Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Minor for the Brott Music Festival at the McIntrye Performing Arts Center in Hamilton, Ontario. Sara was a featured performer at the NY Mets Pride Night event at Citifield, performing her YouTube sensation arrangement of "Meet the Mets." Sara made her solo debut performing music in honor of Busoni's 150th anniversary at the XX Festival Internacional de Piano En Blanco y Negro at Mexico City's Centro Nacional de las Artes in September 2016. October performances included a performance of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall as the Audience Choice performer pick for the season. Other performances include Sara's debut performance of Bartok’s Concerto No. 3 with the Harrisburg Symphony, conducted by Stuart Malina, at the Forum Auditorium  and Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 with Marc Taddei and the Vallejo Symphony at Hogan Auditorium. In November Sara performed a solo concert at Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya, Japan, including music of Mozart and Liszt’s Paganini Études, followed by her debut recital at Temple University, where Sara has recently joined the piano faculty. In December Sara made her debut performance with the Shanghai Symphony performing Rhapsody in Blue.

Robert Cassidy (MM ’92) performed Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise with MSM alumnus and operatic singer DeAndre Simmons on March 19, 2017 at Castleton in Performance. He made his Parisian recital debut in April 2017 at The American Church in Paris.

Michael Dabroski (BM ’90) led the Vermont Mozart Festival in multiple performances as conductor, violinist, and lecturer this past year.  The Vermont Mozart Festival provides fellowships to the most talented and promising young professional musicians seeking artistic training and entrepreneurial guidance.  Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana invited Michael to perform two all-Mozart violin recitals in Havana, Cuba, in February 2017.   

Marlon Daniel (BM ’93) made a debut in London at the Southbank Centre for the Chineke Foundation in the Royal Festival Hall and in the Africa Utopia Festival in August 2016. He conducted the Pazardzhik State Symphony Orchestra on September 21, 2016 and also conducted Ensemble Pi’s 13th Peace Project Concert: BLACK LIVES MATTER on November 11.  Marlon was privileged to be guest lecturer at Yale University and is returning as a guest artist and lecturer at Columbia University Teachers College for the Diversity in Classical Music Project for Fall 2016–Spring 2017.  Marlon is also making his debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba (National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba) in April 2017. Marlon continues to work as the Artistic Director of the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra (BNSO) workshop project and as the Music Director of Colour of Music Festival.  He will also be the 2017 Saint-Georges International Music Festival Artistic and Music Director.

In October 2016 Michael Fennelly (MM ’95, DMA ’01) performed at National Chorale's "All Gershwin Concert" at Geffen Hall playing Rhapsody in Blue.  He also played for Renee Fleming and Tituss Burgess at the Sing for Hope Gala.

Gila Goldstein (MM ’90) was busy touring China in October 2016.  She gave master classes in Beijing’s Middle School of the Central Conservatory and at Minzu University, as well as at Xinghai Conservatory Middle School in Guangzhou, the Wuhan Conservatory and the Shanghai Conservatory. Gila also performed recitals at Minzu University and at the Wuhan Conservatory. During the first half of 2017 she will perform recitals in Boston, Jacksonville, New York, Israel, and Los Angeles.



Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM ’95)
 completed her run as the violin soloist in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof in Fall 2016 and this spring she joins the Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard as the concertmaster and soloist of the orchestra. Kelly performed the U.S. premiere of Siegfried Matthus’s latest violin concerto “Dream of A Summer Night” on November 18, 2016 with the Oakland Symphony and conductor Michael Morgan.  In January 2017, she was the featured Guest Soloist in Fiddler on the Roof with StarStruck Theatre and is also performing with the Ritz Chamber Players in various locations in Florida and New York City from January through May. Kelly is also the winner of a 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.  

Stefon Harris (BM ’95, MM 97) will join Manhattan School of Music in July 2017 as Associate Dean and Director of the Jazz Arts program.

Shuler Hensley (BM  ’90, MSM Honorary Doctorate 2014) performed the role of Marsh in Muny’s 42nd Street in Summer 2016 and also in the sold out Off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster in Fall 2016.  Shuler also appears in the TV series Shades of Blue, The OA, and Elementary.


Hyung-ki Joo (BM 93, MM ’99)
 was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion.

Brandon Jovanovich (98) sings on the recording of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, which recently received a Gramophone Award

Internationally acclaimed violist Gilad Karni (BM 93) was appointed Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. She is also Professor of Viola at Lausanne HEMU. Principal violist of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra since 2004, Gilad recently founded the K2K Viola & Piano Duo.

Martin Kuuskmann (BM 97) performed on the recording of Theofanidis's Bassoon Concerto, which has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy under the category "Best Contemporary Classical Composition".

Carla López-Speziale (DMA ’98) performed as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in November 2016 and also played the title role in Carmen in December 2016 at Hong Kong City Hall.

Kristin Norderval’s (DMA 93) receives two OPUS prizes for her opera The Trials of Patricia Isasa: Best Production in Montreal in 2016 and Best Production of New Music in 2016. The OPUS prizes are given annually in February by the Quebec Council for Music to institutions and ensembles who have had noteworthy productions the previous year.
Here is a look at a 9 minute mini documentary on the production: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hEoJjJjYm8
And a film of the full opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBTdgoFtngM

N’Kenge Pacurar (BM 96) was featured soloist in Indianapolis Symphony's Yuletide Celebration performing alongside THE VOICE Winner Josh Kaufman through December 23. 2016.  She was recently was seen on national TV performing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden. N'Kenge made her debut as a soloist this season with both Sarasota Symphony and Jacksonville Symphony.  She joined the all-star cast of Hairspray the musical with Baltimore Symphony with John Waters as the narrator.  N'Kenge is a soloist at NY's legendary jazz club BIRDLAND and graced the cover of Sexy Magazine in the August Summer Edition. 

Isabel Puente (PS 97), currently a professor at Madrid Royal Conservatory, recently discovered the original score of Manuel de Falla’s composition Noches en los jardines de Espana. The manuscript was considered lost until Isabel unearthed it at a library in Switzerland. The Spanish press El Pais wrote an article about this fascinating story: http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2016/11/25/actualidad/1480086276_897802.html

Bryan Register (MM ’94) performed as Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the UK’s Grange Park Opera and in Tokyo under Maestro Jesús López Cobos. Highlights of 2017 include Bryan’s role debut as Énée in Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Frankfurt, Tristan in Trieste, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Grange Park Opera and appearances at other leading European festivals. 

Cynthia Scott (BM 93, MM 95) was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in October 2016. In March, she performed at the Iridium Jazz Club and Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in New York City.  Cynthia reported “Deshana Barber, a black woman, was crowned Miss USA and I had a flash back. Did you know I was the first Black girl to ever enter an all-white beauty pageant and Place... maybe in the whole world? It was 47 years ago, June 29th, 1969. Read the whole story here... ” 




Maksim Zhdanovskikh (MM ’96)
performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.



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CLASSES OF 2000–2009

Kathryn Andrews (MM 09) and Kristi Shade (MM 07) of the harp duo, Duo Scorpio, recently received an award from the Classical Recording Foundation at National Sawdust in Brooklyn in November 2016. The duo will be releasing their new album Two Bridges on April 18, 2017 at National Sawdust. The album is made up entirely of newly commissioned works by MSM alumni and composers Andy Akiho (MM 09), Christopher Deitz (MM ’02), and Giovanni Piacentini (MM ’13), as well as composers Nico Muhly and Ferdinando DeSena.

Sharin Apostoulou (MM ’06) debuted in the U.S. premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women/Anais Nin in the 2016-17 season at National Sawdust and performed in Resphigi’s La campana sommersa with New York City Opera. Sharon returns to The Little Opera Theatre of New York as Nell Gwynn for the New York premiere of Carlisle Floyd's latest opera, Prince of Players, and Ash Lawn Opera for her first Ado Annie in Oklahoma!. 

Hayk Arsenyan (PS ’08) performed in Musical Armenia 2017 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in March 31, 2017 and also performed a solo concert on April 2, 2017 at Steinway Hall in New York City.

J'Nai Bridges (BM 09) performed the role of Bersi in Andrea Chénier with San Francisco Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper, as Nefertiti in Akhnaten with LA Opera, and as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking with Vancouver Opera during the 2016–17 season. 




Rebekah Diaz-Fandrei (MM ’07) became the Director of the department of Community Engagement and Education with Florida Grand Opera in 2016.

Shirin Eskandani (MM 08) made her stage debut as Mercedes in Carmen with the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Daryl Freedman (MM 09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.








Blake Friedman (MM ’09)
performed in "American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice" in Fall 2016.  In January 2017 he played the role of Nemorino in L’elisir D’amore with St. Pete Opera. On March 5, 2017, Blake was the Evangelist in Bach’s The Passion with Canterbury Choral Society.  March also included performances in Rossini’s Otello with LoftOpera. He also performed in The Sarasota Artists Series Concerts in April, as well as the Tenor Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with The Sarasota Orchestra. In May, Blake performed as the Tenor Soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with The York Symphony Orchestra.

David Friend (BM ’05, MM ’07) is a guest pianist on Third Coast Percussion’s Steve Reich album, which won a 2017 Grammy award for best chamber music performance.
Link to the album for further info: http://www.cedillerecords.org/albums/third-coast-percussion-steve-reich
Link to third coast's web post about the Grammy win: http://thirdcoastpercussion.com/news/first-grammy-award/

Emma Gerstein (BM 09) won the 2nd Flute position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2017.

Kirill Gerstein (MM ’00) made his Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra debut at the end of January and Berlin Philharmonic debut in April. In March, Kirill also toured Europe with the Czech Philharmonic, traveling to Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Kirill’s world premiere recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is one of three recordings nominated in the Concerto category for the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016. Kirill premiered a new piano concerto by Thomas Adès in the 2016–17 season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he returned to play with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall in February 2017. 

Jennifer Goode Cooper (MM ’01) performed in American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice in Fall 2016.  Jennifer debuted at Anchorage Opera as Older Alice in Glory Denied in February 2017 and also sang Mimi in La Bohème at the Festival of the Arts, Boca, under the baton of Constantine Kitsopoulis.

Clayton Hilley (PS 09) performed in Dead Man Walking with Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in March 2017.

Scott Joiner (BM ’05, MM 07, DMA candidate) started off 2016 performing the role of Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with St. Petersburg Opera.  He performed the title role of Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeus and the tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul with the Greenwich Choral Society, as soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Garden State Philharmonic, and made two appearances at Carnegie Hall, including his hall-debut as Piemonteser in Strauss’s Friedenstag with the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein, then as tenor soloist in the New York premiere of Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem with Distinguished Concerts International. He performed as Joseph Treat in Victoria Bond’s opera Mrs. President at the National Opera Center, as soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Helena Symphony Orchestra, and in concert with Jessica Fishenfeld (MM ‘15) and Kristin Noverderval (DMA ’93) for Eric Salzman and Friends with the Center for Contemporary Opera. In April 2016, the Rainy Park Opera Co (a collaborative project between Joiner and filmmaker Adam Taylor) released their first short-film opera, Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera, which starred Joiner as vocalist/actor (alongside more than a dozen MSM students and alumni), with a score composed by Joiner. In addition, Joiner performed as jazz pianist in the film. The film was screened at Los Angeles’ Downtown Independent Theater and was an official selection of numerous festivals, including the Orlando Film Festival, the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, and Ireland’s Kerry Film Festival, where it won Best Score. Opera Carolina adapted the piece for live performance and gave the world-stage premiere as part of National Opera Week.  Joiner’s second work with the Rainy Park Opera Co, Something Blue: L’opera del Bachelor received its world-premiere screening at MSM in December, co-starring soprano Jessica Fishenfeld.

Tae Yeon Lim (MM ’06) is featured on a new CD released by Toccata Classics. The album, Joachim Raff: Complete Music for Cello and Piano, marks the first time the complete cello and piano catalog of the 19th Century German-Swiss composer has been presented in its entirety. The recording features Raff’s Two Romances, Op. 182, Two Fantasy Pieces, Op. 86, Duo, Op. 59, and Sonata for Cello and Piano in D major, Op. 183. Tae Yeon recently completed his DMA at University of Southern California, has appeared as a concerto soloist across the world and received the Special Award at the MPE Loeb Competition.

Rebecca Jo Loeb (MM 07) performed in Rusalka and La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2017.

Remy Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’09) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.

Scott Lindroth (MM 10) is the Co-Founder of New Camerata Opera, a newly formed opera company based in New York City whose mission is to broaden the reach of opera to current and future generations by offering a wide range of repertoire through both live performance and digital media channels. Last fall, NCO created and produced an opera pastiche that included works from Lehar’s The Count of Luxembourg and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. We have also commissioned a comedic opera that will be distributed via Youtube in the springNCO has also created a new children's opera based on the story of Peter Rabbit. For more information about New Camerata Opera, please visit www.newcamerataopera.org

Yi-Hsuan Lu (BM 02) was invited to play a piece by VK, currently one of the most popular piano composers of Taiwan, in his "Wings of Piano Concert" at ATT Show Box in Taipei on October 9, 2016. The music Yi-Hsuan played was an rearrangement of VK's "Evolution Era." The original rhythm of the piece is in 4/4 time and she rearranged it into triplet "waltz" style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wigGZ6dT_EE. Yi-Hsuan has been conductor and Director of the children's band at ZhongShan Elementary School in Taipei since 2011, and the band has won its fifth "excellent" prize in the music competition of Taipei. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJU_ZPw1JsU&feature=youtu.be) This year the band performed Yi-Hsuan's composition "Solomon" in the competition. (https://tw.streetvoice.com/Skier/songs/305558/)

Nicole Mitchell (MM ’04) performed in the U.S. premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women/Anais Nin in the 2016-17 season at National Sawdust in New York City. 

Nathan Patrick Morgan (BM 02) is currently performing in the new Broadway production of Cats the Musical.

Isabelle O’Connell (MM ’01) gave a solo recital at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland in September 2016 as part of the ‘Composing The Island Festival’, a 100-year retrospective of musical composition since the founding of the Irish state. Her recital focused on recent works from the last decade for solo piano and piano with electronics.
Review: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/exceptional-composing-the-island-surveys-last-100-years-of-music-in-ireland-1.2806323
Isabelle is also featured on a double-CD release, featuring highlights from the festival on the Lyric fm label and it is now available on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/composing-island-century-music/id1186765340?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Alicia Olatuja (MM 07) made her Miller Theatre debut at Columbia University with the Alicia Olatuja sextet on November 12, 2016. Alicia wowed audiences when she sang at Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration and has been called “one of the most thrilling vocalists of today” by JazzTimes.

Adrien Roberts (MM ’03) made her Opera Santa Barbara debut as Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica in Spring 2016.  She returning to “rule the roost” as the Rooster in The Cunning Little Vixen on March 3 and 5, 2017 and performed again with Opera Santa Barbara in April as Yvette in La Rondine.

Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM 08) was nominated in the International Opera Awards this spring for Male Singer. He was also featured in Vanity Fair as one of the "7 emerging artists you should know about."  Anthony was recently a National Sawdust curator and performed as Orpheus in Orphic Moments in March 2016.  He also performed in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten with English National Opera and as Roane in Jake Heggie’s Great Scott at San Diego Opera.  In June, Anthony performed in the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Only The Sound Remains at the Ojai Festival. In the 2016–17 season, he sung the title role in LA Opera's Akhnaten and as Prince Go-Go in Ligeti’s Le grand macabre with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars.

Kyle Saulnier (MM 06) and his ensemble, the Awakening Orchestra, released interlude: Atticus Live!,  the music of Jesse Lewis, on December 6, 2016 on Biophilia Records. Also involved with the project were MSM alumni Nick Biello, Seneca Black, Michael Boscarino, Vito Chiavuzzo, Will Clark, Aaron Kotler, Jesse Lewis, Nadje Noordhuis, Joshua Paris, James Rogers, Samuel Ryder, Max Seigel, Daniel Urness, and Biophilia Records founder Fabian Almazan.

Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01, MM ’03) will be portraying Joan Sutherland in the Casta Diva scene from Norma in the 2018 film Untouchable, starring Nicole Kidman, Bryan Cranston, Julianne Margolis, and Kevin Hart.

Kimberly Thompson (BM ’03) was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2016 MSM Alumni Reunion.

Joseph Trapanese (BM 06) In 2016, Joseph composed the music for the documentary Game Fever, film-short Present, and movie Shimmer Lake. Coming out in 2017 is Granite Mountain starring Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and Jeff Bridges.

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CLASSES OF 2010–2015

SeungHyeon Baek (MM ’13) performed in a double bill of Cavelleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with the Martha Cardon Opera at the Good Shepherd Faith Church in New York City in December 2016. 

Evan Bennett (MM ’10) was appointed the Learning and Engagement Manager at Seattle Opera in February 2017.Helena Brown (MM ’14) received an Encouragement Grant from the Wagner Society of New York in October 2016.


Patrick Brancato (BM ’13) made his Off-Broadway debut as the lead in Stone Soup, the Musical (Soldier 1) and also performed in A Christmas Carol (Fred/Mr. Fezziwig/John) both with the Players Theatre in New York City. Most recently, Patrick was cast in Jesus Christ Superstar (Soldier/Ensemble) with the Seven Angels Theatre, which ran from March 23rd to April 23rd in Waterbury, CT.

Jean Caze (BM ’04) performed with Michael Bublé on Good Morning America in October 2016.

Theresa-Marie Chaix (BM ’15) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipient.

Yajie Chen (BM 12/MM 14) found a Chinese publisher and translated Angela Myles Beeching's book Beyond Talent in Chinese.

Gideon Dabi (MM ’06, DMA ’16) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Marc Day (MM 11) sung on the 2017 Grammy-nominated Steinberg: Passion Week recording with the Clarion Choir.

Jill Dewsnup (MM 10) performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Core Supplemental Chorus in the 2016–17 season for performances in Les Troyens, Norma, and Carmen.

Jessica Fishenfeld (MM 15) is currently in her second year of residency with the Palm Beach Opera as a Benenson Young Artist, singing the roles of Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance family performance), covering Gilda (Rigoletto), and performing as a soloist in concerts with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and the PBO Orchestra. Last season (2015–16), directly following her graduation from MSM, she had a fruitful debut season with PBO, singing lauded performances of Frasquita (Carmen), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Norina (Don Pasquale family performance). Between seasons, she reprised the role of Frasquita with the Long Island Opera, was featured in the Music for Montauk Festival’s Inspired By Shakespeare concert, performed in concert with Scott Joiner (BM ‘05, MM ‘07, DMA candidate) and Kristin Noverderval (DMA ‘93) for Eric Salzman and Friends with the Center for Contemporary Opera, and—along with three other short/feature film appearances—co-starred in the Rainy Park Opera Co.’s latest opera-film Something Blue: L’opera del Bachelor alongside tenor/composer Scott Joiner, which received its premiere screening on December 14 at MSM.

Chelsea Rose Friedlander (MM 12) performed the role of Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone with Light Opera of New Jersey in November 2016. She will make her Dayton Opera debut in February 2017 as Blonden in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Ms. Friedlander will then continue on as the Artist in Residence singing Opera Outreach programs throughout schools in Ohio and will conclude with Dayton Opera as Frasquita in Carmen in May 2017. www.chelseafriedlander.com

Bryn Holdsworth (BM 14, MM ’16) is currently in Atlanta Opera’s opera studio and performing as Madeleine in Silent Night, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Norina in Don Pasquale, and First Handmaiden in Turandot in the 2016–17 season. 

Soloman Howard (MM 10) performed the role of the Prince in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Gina Hughes (BM 10) won the position of piccolo with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Fall 2016.

Mark Hui (MM ’14), the Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Festival Orchestra, performed Brahms' Violin Concerto with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell in November 2016. Among the orchestra members were MSM alumni and violinists Tingting Mo (MM ’13) and John Sit (MM ’14).

Michael Jarrett (MM 16) has won a position with the New World Symphony in the 2016-17 season.

David Kaverman (MM ’10) is making his Equity and National Tour debuts as Smokey Robinson in Motown the Musical! www.davidkaverman.com

Andy Klima (MM ’12) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Pascal Le Boeuf (BM ’07, MM ’10) and Remy Le Boeuf (BM 07, MM 09), The Le Boeuf Brothers, released their new album, Imaginist, on October 14, 2016 in collaboration with the JACK Quartet and are touring the West Coast in November and Canada this spring.  Imaginist was selected as a music pick of the week by the New York Times.

LaMarcus Miller (MM 13) made his New York City Opera debut as the leading baritone role in Fallujah in November 2016.




Brian Michael Moore (BM 15) joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Thomas Mulder (MM 14) is performing in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016–17 season in the chorus of Guillaume Tell, Fidelio, and Der Flingender Höllender. In October 2016 Tom performed as OB in the premiere of Roscoe: An American Grand Opera, starring Deborah Voigt, with the Albany Symphony.

Tim Murray (MM ’16) is covering the baritone solos in Britten’s War Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York in April 2017 and performing the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with ARE Opera in New York City the following month.  This summer he is singing Moralés on the mainstage in Carmen and Ananias in Britten’s The Burninging Fiery Furnace as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera. He is joining the resident artist program with Lyric Opera of Kansas City singing Zaretsky and the Captain in Eugene Onegin, Guy Cotter in Everest, Marullo in Rigoletto, and the Seargent in Il barbiere di Siviglia, . Tim is also covering the title role in Eugene Onegin and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Scott Ninmer (MM ’13) is a 2017 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.

Megan Pachecano (MM 10) made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the chorus of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the spring of 2017.

Elliott Page (MM 15) joined the Metropolitan Opera extras chorus in the 2016–17 season for performances in Der Flingender Höllender.

Tookah Sapper (MM ’16) performed in American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice in Fall 2016. This summer, she will perform with The Chautauqua Opera Company, under the direction of Steven Osgood, as a Studio Artist for their 2017 season.

Michelle Siemens (MM 15) joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at LA Opera in the 2016–17 season.

Julianne Skones (BM ’08, MM ’10) won the Principal Oboe position with the Austin Symphony Orchestra in August 2016, and a month later won the English Horn position with the Austin Opera.  

Alexa Smith (MM ’10) performed in the ensemble of New York City Opera's Fall opening production of Aleko and Pagliacci.

Jason Smoller (MM 11) was featured on English Horn for the New York City premiere of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’s Concerto for English Horn with the Chelsea Symphony on January 28, 2017. 

Colin Stokes (15) is currently the cellist in the Berlin-based electro-classical crossover band, Symphoniacs (www.symphoniacs.com).  After the band’s album release, they performed for 8 million people on ARD’s Schlagerboom and were featured in Das Bimild, Germany’s largest paper.  Live Nation is producing their tour in Spring 2017. www.colinstokes.com

Sophie Subbayya Vastek (MM ’13) releases “Histories”, her debut solo album, produced by multiple Grammy-winning engineer and MSM alumnus Adam Abeshouse (MM ’85), and includes works by composers Michael Harrison (MM ’15), Donnacha Dennehy, and John Cage. 

Josefina Urraca (MM ’14) is Co-Director of CreArtBox and performed in Visuality at Queens Theatre on December 3, 2016, which featured MSM alumni and ensemble members Aminda Asher (MM ’08) and Jonathan Cohen (BM ’12). CreArtBox is an award-winning multidisciplinary music ensemble based in New York City led by flutist Guillermo Laporta and pianist Josefina Urraca and known for its merging of classical and contemporary music, with visual art, stunning stage design, and cutting-edge technology.

Xiao Wang (BM 13, MM 15, AD 16) won the 2016 William C. Byrd International Competition and the New York Concert Artists Competition. Xiao  performed a recital in Berlin this October and will be performing with the Flint Symphony Orchestra in April 2017.

Yunpeng Wang (MM ’13) was recently reviewed by Musical America. “Yunpeng Wang, who has been singing Prince Yamadori at the Met, made this bitter figure intriguing, his flexible and attractive dark baritone seething in anger in flowing phrases. His bedroom explosion, on overhearing Parisina’s dreams (she murmurs a couple of stanzas, not just "Ugo") raised the theatrical level considerably.” Yunpeng will be performing the role of Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017.

Alyssa Weinberg (MM ’13) is a 2016 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipient.

Marta Wryk (BM ’11) performed the role of Wellgunde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, and Siegrune in Die Walküre at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden in the 2016-17 season.

Christopher Zuar (MM ’13) is a 2017 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award recipient.


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PRECOLLEGE / PREPARATORY DIVISION (all classes)


Andrew Mayer (Precollege 1999-2001) is currently an ensemble member in Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. http://www.andrewcmayer.com/

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In Memoriam

We honor the memory of alumni, former faculty, and staff members who have passed away in 2016 and 2017:

Robert Christesen (MM 72, Voice) passed away on October 12, 2016 at the age of 73. Robert was known to his students and colleagues in the Wake County Public School System as “Mr. C.” He was a respected husband, father, grandfather, educator, and former opera singer. Born in Washington D.C., he was a Congressional Page Boy in high school, then continued his education at East Carolina University, University of Madison, Wisconsin, and NC State. He specialized in Danish, German, Spanish, French and Italian. His love for singing started when he was a young boy, eventually landing him a full scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music. He won numerous international vocal competitions including the 1973 Prague Spring Music Festival, where he met his Czech wife Mirka, a reporter for a radio station. He was a professional baritone opera singer in Frankfurt and Dortmund, Germany for thirteen years, with many guest performances throughout Europe. Among his favorite roles were Rigoletto, Onegin, and Don Giovanni. He moved with his family to North Carolina in the mid-1980s, accepting a teaching job within the Wake County Public School System. Robert taught foreign languages and Social Studies at Ligon and Carnage Middle Schools before becoming Foreign Language Chair at Wake Forest Rolesville High. His first job as an administrator was in Vance County in 1994 and then at Enloe High in 1995. He worked at West Cary Middle School as Assistant Principal until his retirement in 2009. As an administrator “M. C” was a teachers’ advocate and cared deeply about the students in his care. However, he never totally left his singing. Throughout the years, he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Duke Chapel, and at memorial services for his close friends and co-workers. As a devoted Rotarian, he contributed to numerous charities to aid the needy both in the Carolinas and abroad. His commitment to the Wake Forest Rotary lasted until his final days. At 6’5” tall, his larger than life presence and booming voice made him an unforgettable figure on the stage and came in handy also in the school hallways.

Leroy “Lee” Oliver Earle (BM 61, Theory, MM 63 Music Education) of San Antonio, Texas passed away on July 28, 2016 at the age of 78. Lee was born Sept. 26, 1937, in Harlem, N.Y.  Lee’s childhood was filled with music lessons because his mother was fueled by the passion of the Harlem renaissance and the music of The Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater.  She felt that young Lee needed a craft that would assist him in going to college.  Lee worked as a music teacher and administrator for the New York City Board of Education, teaching primarily at I.S. 292 in Brooklyn for more than 30 years.  For more than 40 years he freelanced as a musician all over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York.  Lee’s hobbies were music, traveling with his wife, and being a dad.  He was active in his local churches and gave piano lesson until 2009, when his health began to fail. Lee married Priscilla Jane Fullerton on March 26, 1964; they were married 49 years. http://southsidedaily.com/2016/08/01/obits-leroy-oliver-earle-78/

Irwin Katz (BM 51, Trumpet, MM 52, Music Education), musician and recording industry executive, passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 87.  Beloved husband for nearly 67 years and devoted father of four children and eight grandchildren, Irwin is remembered for his dashing good looks, numerous creative talents, and his singular joy of life. A Brooklyn native, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he played soccer and met Rose, the love of his life. Graduate of Manhattan School of Music, he played the trumpet with many orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and the Cleveland Orchestra-- the first American orchestra to tour behind “the iron curtain” after World War II. He left the orchestra to help build the Discount Records chain (CBS).  During this time, Irwin reconnected with many performing artists, who were his kindred souls. He later joined RCA Records as the Director of Marketing for Classical Music and then returned to CBS Masterworks (Sony) as the head of Artists & Repertoire. In his retirement, he and his wife, Rose, established a boutique label, Helicon Records. (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?pid=180761728)


Ursula Mamlok (BM 57, MM ’58, Former College Faculty) passed away on May 4, 2016 at the age of 93.  Born in Berlin in 1923, Ursula’s life and musical studies were uprooted when she and family fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and found refuge in Ecuador.  She came on her own to New York and studied at the Mannes College of Music with George Szell.  She then earned bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Manhattan School of Music.  Ursula also studied with Roger Sessions, Ralph Shapey, and Stefan Wolpe.  For 66 years Ursula Mamlok lived in New York, composing, and teaching primarily at Manhattan School Of Music, and was a leading figure in New Yorkʼs musical scene.  Among her numerous commissions are those from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Music Foundations, Alaria Chamber Ensemble, Eastman School of Music, Earplay and the San Francisco Symphony.  She has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1995, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.  Her works are regularly performed by major domestic and foreign ensembles and have been recorded by the CRI, Gasparo, Leonarda, Newport Classics, Music and Arts, Opus One, True Media, and Centaur labels and are published by C.F. Peters Corporation, American Composers Edition, McGuinness and Marx, and Hildegard.  In 1987, Ursula Mamlok received a Commendation of Excellence "for her contribution to the world concert music" by BMI.  Since her move back to Berlin in 2006, she had been championed by such leading musicians as Heinz Holliger, and performed widely throughout Europe.  She is the subject of a biography Time in Flux (in German) by Habakuk Traber.  Recordings have appeared on CRI, New World, Naxos, and Music and Arts.  The intrepid Bridge Records has recorded five volumes of her music. 

Edmund Niemann (BM 68, MM 73, Piano) was a longtime member of Steve Reich and Musicians and founding member of the contemporary ensemble Parnassus.  He and Nurit Tilles formed the piano duo, Double Edge, which made its New York debut at Town Hall in 1987. The duo performed throughout Europe, Australia and the U.S. In March 2008, Double Edge returned to Los Angeles to play Visions de l'Amen in a celebration of Messiaen's centenary. Edmund also appeared as guest artist with the New York New Music Ensemble, the Da Capo Players, Speculum Musicae, and Newband. The New York Times said of his l984 Merkin Hall solo debut, "throughout the evening his playing was technically dazzling, his musicality unquestionable." His teachers included Artur Balsam, Robert Goldsand and Arminda Canteros. Edmund taught at Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Hoff-Barthelson Music School and Third Street Music School Settlement.  MSM alumna and registrar of Hoff-Barthelson Music School, Terry Wager, said Edmund Niemann was a “treasured faculty member” and the School called him “a supremely gifted musician; he will be sorely missed by the students whose lives he touched and by all who had the good fortune to have known him.”

Erica Ohm (MM 88, PS 88, Piano) earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University after completing her Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate in piano performance at MSM. An exciting pianist equally at home in the music of J. S. Bach and George Crumb, and committed to performing music of her contemporaries, she was a first-prize winner in Korea’s most prestigious competition, the Dong-A Music Concours, and the International Institute of Music Competition. After her acclaimed first recital in Seoul in 1993, she performed as a soloist as well as an ensemble player throughout Korea, Japan, and China and the United States. The concert series of the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas, with violinist Kyung Min Kim, and the complete Beethoven Piano Trios, with BINTRIO (cellist Hee Jin Paik, violinist Kyung Min Kim) have been featured on Korean radio and TV. Erica Ohm was named as one of “the best and the most active pianists in Korea” by Pianoforte (1997) and chosen as “pianist of the month” by Piano International (March 2011). Her solo CDs include Musical Moment (Blue Griffin Records) and Czerny—50 Kunst der Fingertigkeit (Ilsong Media). Erica served on the faculty of Michigan State University School of Music, Seoul National University, and Seoul High School of Music and Art, and was chair of the Department of Musical Arts, Seoul Arts College in Korea. Ms. Ohm passed away on January 27, 2016.

George Robert (MM 87, Jazz Saxophone) passed away on March 14, 2016 at the age of 55.  While enrolled at Manhattan School of Music, he studied with Bob Mintzer.  He played lead alto in the Manhattan School of Music Big Band for two years, which earned in 1985 the 1st Prize in the College Big Band Category in the Down Beat Magazine Jazz Awards.  George is internationally recognized as one of the leading alto saxophonists in jazz today.  His discography includes more than 50 albums, among others with Kenny Barron, Clark Terry, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, Ivan Lins, Ray Drummond, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart, the Metropole Orchestra and many others.  In 1995 George was hired as Director of the Swiss Jazz School in Berne, the oldest independent jazz school in Europe.   In 2006 he founded the Jazz Department at the Lausanne Music University.   He was named Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic in 2008.  George had been touring throughout the world since 1984 and is the author of The Music of George Robert.

Lawrence Paul Sobol (BM ’68, Clarinet; MM ’71, Music Education), renowned clarinetist, educator and author, passed away on November 28, 2016. Lawrence was hailed by The New York Times as an “intrepid music explorer.” The winner of the Ford Foundation Grant (1964-1965) to study at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, he later received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied clarinet with Harold Wright, Ignatius Gennusa, David Weber, Herbert Blayman and Rudolph Jettel and was recognized for his unique bel canto sound.  Mr. Sobol performed and recorded extensively throughout the world as soloist with orchestra, in recital and in chamber music programs. He worked with leading composers of the 20th century and expanded the clarinet literature for coming generations through the works of Karel Husa, Alan Hovhaness, Roy Harris, and William Schuman. Mr. Sobol led the Smithtown High School  music department for over 33 years. He remained dedicated to music education after his retirement from public education in 2001, maintaining his multi-faceted career in concert production and publishing. Further examples of his commitment to music include countless performances at major concert halls across the country most notably at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and lectures at America's leading colleges and universities. He continued to serve as a mentor, clinician and consultant at his Huntington, NY studio up to his final days. 

Jonathan Strasser (BM 67, Violin; MM 70, Music Education; Precollege Faculty), American violinist, conductor and educator, passed away on March 8, 2017. Since 1977, Mr. Strasser had been a beloved member of the MSM Precollege faculty and was the Conductor of the Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra for over 20 years.  He was a regular guest conductor of the renowned Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela in Caracas, Music Director of the Staten Island Symphony for nine years, and the Music Director of the orchestra program at the New York State Music Camp/Institute at Hartwick College for more than ten years.  He played the role of ‘the conductor’ in the 1980 MGM movie Fame. Mr. Strasser’s passion for music education was felt beyond MSM and extended to his nearly three decades as a music teacher at the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (also his alma mater) and as Music Director of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York. Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Strasser lived his entire adult life in Manhattan.  He was a graduate of the High School of Music & Art and of Manhattan School of Music. His violin studies were with Stanley Bednar and his conducting studies were with Anton Coppola and the late Nicholas Flagello.  He will be deeply missed by the MSM Community. Mr. Strasser is survived by his beloved husband, Romir Antonio Robles.

Elena Wolkonsky (Former Precollege Piano Faculty) passed away on August 14, 2016 at age 91 in New York City. She had given her last concert in May. Born in Ekaterinodar, Russia, Wolkonsky began her studies with her mother and graduated from a professional children’s school at 13 before moving on to the Leningrad Conservatory. According to a 1958 New York World-Telegram & Sun profile of her on the occasion of her Town Hall debut, she and her mother escaped the U.S.S.R. and walked across Europe after World War II and then settled in the U.S.; her father had been sent to Siberia and was never heard from again. In 1948, Wolkonsky entered Juilliard and studied with Beveridge Webster and Ernest Hutcheson and minored in chorus. She was on the precollege faculty at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. (information acquired from The Juilliard Journal)

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