Welcome to our Alumni News Highlights page!

This page consists of some of the many activities and accomplishments of our former students from the college division. The information on these pages has been submitted directly to us by individual alumni and/or their publicity representatives.

These listings are organized under the last year each alumnus/na attended the School and shows the degree program(s) in which they were enrolled. There is also a section honoring the memory of those alumni and faculty who have passed away in the last few years (In Memoriam).

Precollege | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

In Memoriam

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Questions or corrections for this page, contact Lauren Frankovich at lfrankovich@msmnyc.edu


Robert Lopez '93 won a 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Let It Go" from the Disney film Frozen.This makes him one of only twelve people who have ever won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award (known as the EGOT). 

Judith Oringer '61 has produced a CD in memory of her mother, Estelle Parnas Oringer (BM '45), comprised of recordings her mother made over the years. It was edited and mastered at MSM's Recording Studio by Chris Shade and Kevin Boutote.


CLASSES OF 1950–1959


Roy Eaton (BM ’50 / MM ’52) was inducted into the City College of New York Communications Alumni Hall of Fame at a ceremony in May at the National Arts Club. [posted 06/24/14]

Dianne Danese Flagello (BM ’52 / MM ’52) has seen the CD release of works by the late Nicolas Flagello on the Naxos label, including his Odyssey, Valse Noire (transcribed by alumnus Walter Simmons), Symphony No. 2, and Concerto Sinfonico. Phillip Scott of Fanfare magazine wrote: “The music is first-rate and the performances are excellent … Flagello’s sense of structure and the effectiveness of his scoring show the highest degree of expertise.” [posted 06/24/14]

CLASSES OF 1960–1969

Fredrick Kaufman (BM ’59 / MM’60) has seen the world premiere of his Piano Concerto “Guernica” given in Prague by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, with Kemal Gekic as soloist, in February. Prague’s Musical Review called the work “a convincing,  emotional and vivid piece of music.” Parma Records has recorded the work, which will be released by Naxos this summer, along with other works by Kaufman. [posted 6/17/2013]

Richard Elder Adams (MM ’61) has written his first play, The Treachery of Honesty, which will receive eight performances at The Birdcage Theater in Northern California this January. [posted 6/17/2013]

Lenard Bowie (MM ’63) has seen his book, entitled African American Musical Heritage 1600–Present, published by Xlibris. The 574-page resource includes six remastered CDs with 117 songs. Dr. Bowie is a member of the faculty at the University of North Florida. [posted 6/17/2013]

Hugh Masekela (BM ’64) has recently reunited with his colleague pianist Larry Willis (BM ’64) for a world tour, promoting their 4-CD collection of jazz standards on the new House of Masekela label. [posted 01/23/14] Masekela was the featured artist at Jazz at Lincoln Center in April for his 75th birthday celebration. [updated 06/24/14]

Capt. Kenneth Force, USMC (BM ’64 / MM ’65 / Professional Diploma ’70) was a featured speaker at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery this October for the unveiling of a restored grave site for American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Capt. Force had initiated the effort, which has been some fifteen years in the making. [posted 6/17/2013]

Linda Macrae Moss (MM ’65) has just received her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Phoenix. She has retired from ten years of teaching at the Alhambra District in Phoenix and now teaches piano and organ at South Mountain Community College in Tempe. [posted 01/23/14]

Nancy Marano (undergraduate studies ’64–67) toured The Netherlands and Belgium this spring introducing her new book, Musicianship for the Jazz Vocalist. Published by Advance Music, the book describes her unique “vocal and piano system, designed to empower all vocalists to become complete musicians.” She also sang in clubs with big bands in The Hague, Amsterdam, and Brussels and gave master classes at the conservatories of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Prins Claus in Groningen. [posted 6/17/2013]

Jim Petercsak (BM ’66 / MM’68) was honored this May by the State University of New York for his 45 years of service. He has taught percussion at SUNY-Potsdam since 1968 and is currently a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor. [posted 6/17/2013]

Joseph Rescigno (MM ’69) conducted the American premiere of the new critical edition of Rossini’s comic opera La Gazzetta, featuring the world premiere of the newly discovered Act I quintet, in a production at New England Conservatory this April. [posted 6/17/2013]

CLASSES OF 1970–1979

Noémi (Karpati) Neidorff (BM ’70 / MM ’72) was honored in March, along with her husband, with the Corporate Champions Award at the Martin Foundation’s Heartworks St. Louis event, celebrating the couple’s many philanthropic activities. Michael and Noémi 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. Noémi is a current member of the MSM Board of Trustees. [posted 06/24/14]

Jim Kendrick (BM ’74), an attorney and publisher, was a panelist at Yale University in October for a composers’career workshop sponsored by ASCAP. [posted 01/23/14]

Aleck Karis (BM ’76) appeared at Merkin Hall in NYC this December performing the late piano and chamber works of Morton Feldman as an extension of Karis’s latest album, Wolpe, Feldman & Webern (Bridge Records). [posted 01/23/14]

George Manahan (BM ’73 / MM ’76) conducted a benefit concert in February for the New York City Musicians’Emergency Relief Fund which celebrated the 70-year history of New York City Opera and included several fellow MSM alumni. [posted 06/24/14]

Penny Prince (BM ’74 / MM ’76) produced and directed her latest collaborative musical, titled When I Get to Where I’m Going, presented at Lehman College in the Bronx. The story line concerns the bus boycotts of the 1950s. [posted 06/24/14]

Cathy Frankel (BM ’77) is now Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel for companies associated with star chef Mario Batali, including Via Alta Productions, Mr. Batali’s production company. [posted 06/24/14]

Brian Masuda (MM ’77) is currently musical coach for the Dutch National Opera Academy in Amsterdam and,since 2008, has regularly worked as guest musical coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. [posted 01/23/14]

Joan Bujacich (BM ’78) has been appointed President of the Music Educators Association of New Jersey. She made a 17-minute film tracing the history of the MEA from the 1920s to 1960 which was presented at their Gala last year. Her past volunteer work for the organization also includes running the audition program (1,400 piano students on average a year) and helping to update their theory program. [posted 01/23/14]

CLASSES OF 1980–1989

John Musto (BM ’76 / MM ’80) saw all four of his operas produced this past season: The Inspector at Boston Lyric Opera; Volpone at Rice University in Houston and McGill University in Montreal; Later the Same Evening at Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and Bastianello at Northwestern University in Chicago. Last season he appeared as piano soloist in Mozart’s Concerto K.271 with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Caramoor, and Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with the Greeley Philharmonic. His performances of his own piano concertos with the Odense Symphony and the Greeley Philharmonic were released on Bridge Records in July. [posted 01/23/14]

Grace A. Hackett-Faroul (BM ’76 / MM ’80) has recently retired from the New York City Department of Education after 31 years of teaching. She will continue her work as a voice instructor at the Newark School of the Arts in New Jersey. [posted 01/23/14]

Aaron Minsky (BM ’80 / MM ’81), aka Von Cello, has been commissioned by the London Cello Society to compose a work for 100 cellos for the society’s 10th anniversary concert in 2014. His Von Cello Band performed at this year’s NYC Marathon. [posted 01/23/14]

Ted Rosenthal (BM ’78 / MM ’81) performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at Town Hall in February with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra for its 90th anniversary celebration. A release for his Trio’s album, Rhapsody in Gershwin, was held at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in May. [posted 06/24/14]

Roberta Rust (MM ’81) gave a piano master class at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) in January,performed a solo recital and gave a master class at the University of Iowa(Iowa City) in February, and appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony (Illinois) in April. This past summer, she gave master classes at the Chautauqua Festival and taught at the new Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival in Tampa. She is Artist Faculty/Professor and head of the piano department of Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida. [posted 01/23/14]

Fred Bronstein (MM ’82) has been named the next Dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.He served as CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 2008. [posted 06/24/14]

Frank Daykin (BM ’83) has seen his 750-page book, The Encyclopedia of French Art Song: Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, published by Pendragon Press. The multidisciplinary work fuses encyclopedic entries on songs, poems, poets, historical and cultural figures, and movements with a dictionary of pertinent nouns and adjectives. [posted 01/23/14]

Shara Sand (BM ’83) is a professor and psychologist in private practice and has given several recent conference presentations, including “From Hiding to Priding: Intergenerational Queer Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender Conflicts in Training and Supervision” in April and “Multiculturalism and Marginalized Populations” in May. She is the division programming coordinator for the LGBT division (44) of the American Psychological Association’s 122nd annual conference this year. Dr.Sand has also published the paper “Coming out, being out: Reconciling loss and hatred in becoming whole” in Psychoanalysis,Culture and Society. She was appointed Director of Counseling at MSM in 2012. [posted 06/24/14]

Lauren Flanigan (’84) was featured in a benefit concert in February for the New York City Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund which celebrated the 70-year history of New York City Opera. The concert was conducted by fellow alumnus George Manahan. [posted 06/24/14]

Laura Hamilton (BM ’81 / MM ’82 / DMA ’84) has been appointed Concertmaster of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, resident ensemble at the Sydney Opera House. Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1999, she led Met Live in HD performances of Parsifal and Giulio Cesare last season. She is also Concertmaster of Lake Tahoe SummerFest and appeared as concerto soloist in Vivaldi’s L’estate in the inaugural season last summer. [posted 01/23/14]

Edward Cibener (MM ’85) is a piano teacher and collaborative pianist at the Veksler Academy of Music and Dance in Sunnyvale, California, where he has a full rostrum of students and participates in biannual recitals at Le Trianon Theater in San Jose. In addition, he holds a professional clear credential in mild/moderate disabilities and has been very active in the field of special education. [posted 01/23/14]

Wendy Rolfe (MM ’76 / DMA ’85) can be heard as flutist on the recording Images of Eve, which features music written by women from across the globe. A review in Flute Talk magazine calls her playing “impeccable, poetic, imaginative, and colorful … This will be an album you will listen to repeatedly.” [posted 06/24/14]

Alex Shapiro (’83) has been appointed to the Board of Directors for ASCAP. [posted 06/24/14]

Richard Sussman (MM ’85) received the 2013 College Music Society Fund Technology Award for designing music technology and film scoring curricula and implementing two technology studios at MSM, where he is on faculty. [posted 06/24/14]

Dawn Upshaw (MM ’85) was named winner of a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo for her work on on the ArtistShare recording of Winter Morning Walks by Maria Schneider. [posted 06/24/14]

Arthur Hanlon (MM ’86) appeared in concert at the Nassau Coliseum (New York) in December. In November, he performed at the closing show of the Latin Grammy Acoustic Sessions in Miami. The pianist’s latest album, Encanto del Caribe, was filmed live in Puerto Rico’s Castillo San Cristobal and features guest appearances by friends Marc Anthony, Laura Pausini, Cheo Feliciano, Natalia Jimenez, Ana Isabelle, and Bernie Williams (who is currently attending MSM). [posted 01/23/14]

Beryl Yuan-Chih Chang (BM ’87) 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. [posted 06/24/14]

Jeffrey Sharkey (BM ’86) will be leaving his position as Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute to become Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September of next year. [posted 01/23/14]

Susan Graham (MM ’87) recently co-starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of The Enchanted Island along with fellow alumnus Anthony Roth Costanzo. Performance highlights this spring included a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I in Paris at Le Théâtre du Châtelet. [posted 06/24/14]

Susan (Merdinger) Greene (’87) made her Chicago debut last summer with the Chicago Philharmonic at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, performing two works by Gottschalk and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Last fall, she was invited to perform again on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series, and also performed a solo recital for the 8th Annual Latino Music Festival in Chicago. [posted 06/24/14]

Peter Vinograde (BM ’71 / MM ’73 / DMA ’88) gave a recital featuring the last three English Suites by J.S. 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 last August. [posted 06/24/14]

Carolyn Enger (’89) saw her latest CD on the Naxos label, Ned Rorem: Piano Album I, ’Six Friends,’ selected by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini for a December 2013 “Favorite Sounds”list. A review from American Record Guide reads: “The other thing to celebrate in this album is the pianist, who is ideal for this project. Carolyn Enger’s playing is beautifully nuanced and songlike through all of these pieces… Enger brings them fully to life.” [posted 06/24/14]

CLASSES OF 1990–1999


Russ Cusick (BM ’90) is an artist and photographer who exhibits his work at his own studio (The Russ Cusick Gallery) and at Spire Studios in Beacon, New York. One of his Hudson River panoramic images was recently licensed by A.J.W. Architectural Products for use in their promotional materials and he receiveda scholarship to participate in the 2013 Lancut Art Residency this past summer in Poland. [posted 01/23/14]

Shuler Hensley (BM ’90) appeared on Broadway at the Cort Theatre with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Billy Crudup in a double bill of Harold Pinter’s comedy No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s classic Waiting for Godot. He sang the role of Tony in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella at City Center this April on the Encores! series. Steven Suskin of Playbill wrote: “Hensley brings more acting ability to the role than you get from one of the ex-opera singers who usually play the role, making [the role] sympathetic and believable.” Hensley was awarded an honorary doctorate by MSM President James Gandre at this year's commencement ceremony in May. [updated 06/24/14]

Roger Peltzman (MM ’90) has released a CD, Dedication: Roger Peltzman Plays Chopin, on the Astre label. The recording honors the memory of hisuncle Norbert Stern, “a Jew in Nazi-held Belgium who was a brilliant performerthe world would never know.” [posted06/24/14]

D.D. Jackson (MM ’91) has recently been appointed Jazz Chair at the Harlem School of the Arts, where he teaches composition, jazz piano, and directs the advanced jazz combo. [posted 06/24/14]

Paul Verona (DMA ’91) has seen his recording of Isaac Albéniz’s Iberia Suite for solo piano released by Centaur Records. [posted 01/23/14]

Doug Quint (BM ’92) is co-owner and co-founder of Big Gay Ice Cream which opened its first brick-and-mortar store in NYC’s East Village in the summer of 2011. They are praised in the 2012–13 Zagat Food Lover’s Guide for “dispensing ‘gourmet soft-serve ice cream’ extraordinaire … with ‘exquisite toppings’ from wasabi pea-dust to cayenne pepper.” The company was named by the editors of Dessert Professional magazine as one of the Top Ten Frozen Dessert Retailers of America in 2012. [posted 01/23/14]

Anne Mironchik (BM ’92) has relocated to Boston to begin graduate school at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, majoring in speech language pathology with a concentration in singing and vocal rehab. [posted 01/23/14]

Kristin Norderval (DMA ’93) created asound installation entitled piano, piano, pianissimo for the 2013 Ultima Festival in Oslo this past fall. [posted 01/23/14] Shesaw her work Re-Play #4: Name Piece performed at New York’s Ultima Festival by Ne(x)tworks. [updated 06/24/14]

Sarah Chan (BM ’94) performed this season as piano soloist with the New York Concert Artists Symphony and the Enid Symphony Orchestra. She made her NYC solo recital debut at Merkin Concert Hall in October and presented a solo recital at Kunstlerhaus Concert Hall in Munich this past summer. [posted 01/23/14]

Bridget Dolkas (MM ’94) is a violinist in the Peter Sprague String Consort, made up of a string quartet and a jazz trio, and is Principal Second Violin of Pacific Symphony. This past May, she wrote and produced a music video for the musicians of the orchestra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and to help the symphony spread the word about the excitement of classical music. [posted 01/23/14]

Jonathan Smith (MM ’94) is Associate Musical Supervisor for the musical Jersey Boys, where he runs auditions, teaches music to new hires, and helps mount new companies around the world. He also helps develop new projects through his involvement with the New York Musical Theatre Festival. [posted 06/24/14]

Tonna Miller (MM ’95) was featured in a benefit concert in February for the New York City Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund which celebrated the 70-year history of New York City Opera. The concert was conducted by fellow alumnus George Manahan. [posted 06/24/14]

Jeffrey Barone (MM ’96) was recently featured in Scott Yanow’s new book, entitled The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide published by Hal Leonard. [posted 06/24/14]

Olivera Medenica (BM ’96) is a partner at Wahab & Medenica, where she has practiced law for the last ten years. Recently, she chaired and organized a conference on fashion law,entitled “Behind the Scenes of Fashion & Style,” and co-authored the American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Fashion Design. [posted 06/24/14]

Heather Johnson (MM ’97) was featured in a benefit concert in February for the New York City Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund which celebrated the 70-year history of New York City Opera. The concert was conducted by fellow alumnus George Manahan. [posted 06/24/14]

Brandon Jovanovich (’97) appeared in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Dvořák’s Rusalka in February. The Chicago Tribune wrote: “As handsome and strapping as any storybook prince, Jovanovich sings with heft and lyricism.” [posted 06/24/14]

Lisa DeSpain (MM ’97) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Music and Theatre at La Guardia Community College–CUNY, where she continues to serve as Director for the Performing Arts. [posted 01/23/14]

Jason Moran (BM ’97) is the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Advisor for Jazz and recently curated an international jazz residency there, created to discover and present the next generation of jazz musicians.[posted 06/24/14]

Tara Hofmeister-Sheng (MM ’97) is co-founder and Artistic Director of the International Music Academy of China. [posted 01/23/14]

Anthony Mazzocchi (BM ’95 / MM ’97) was one of 25 semifinalists for the first-ever Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation last February. In total, more than 30,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. He is Associate Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University and Executive Director of Kinhaven Music School in Vermont. [updated 6/24/14]

Talise Trevigne (BM ’98) recently performed the featured role of Pip in the National Opera’s East Coast premiere of Jake Haggie’s Moby-Dick, seen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. [posted 06/24/14]

Andrew Schmidt (BM ’99) recently accepted a position at Crédit Industriel et Commerical in NYC as Vice President of Regulatory Compliance, having been at Delaware Place Bank as Senior Vice President. [posted 01/23/14]

Tom Jim Solon (BM ’99) and Jin Krista Kang (BM ’96 / MM ’99) are co-founders of Canticum Scholare, a professional male a cappella ensemble based in NYC. The ensemble, which specializes in vocal music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, presented its first concert last June. [posted 01/23/14]

Patrick Soluri (BM ’99) saw the world premiere of his opera Figaro & The Zombie Apocalypse given by Fort Worth Opera in October. He conducted the world premiere of his dance score Fire & Air at the Kennedy Center last April and the Bowen McCauley Dance company gave repeat performances at the Guong Dong Festival in China and at at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington. The D.C. Metro Arts review stated: “Soluri has written a powerful score—beautifully played and filled with lush strings—that builds to a blazing ending.” [posted 01/23/14]

CLASSES OF 2000–2009

Kirill Gerstein (BM ’99 / MM ’00) appeared as soloist last fall with the New York Philharmonic (Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini), Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1), and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2). [posted 06/24/14]

Alicia Hall Moran (BM ’00) appeared with The Motown Project as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival in June. She is currently starring as Bess in the national tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess. [posted 01/23/14]

Simon O’Neill (MM ’00) sang the role of the Drum Major in the Metropolitan Opera’s spring performances of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck along side Thomas Hampson, MSM Board of Trustees Member. [posted 06/24/14]

Michael A. Smith (MM ’00) has been named Executive Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, where he was a member of the trumpet section for the past seven years. [posted 06/24/14]

Nadejda Vlaeva (PS ’00) was recently invited to join the Yamaha Artist Roster. She took part in the 2014 E.G. creativity conference in Monterey, California, this past May and was featured in an animation short that premiered at MoMA in 2013. [posted 07/21/2014]

Jim Albrecht (BM ’01) is the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Trombone at the University of Akron(Ohio). [posted 01/23/14]

Laquita Mitchell (MM ’01) can be seen and heard starring as Bess in a new DVD release of the 2009 San Francisco Opera production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. [posted 06/24/14]

Yoojin Oh (MM ’96 / DMA ’01) performed Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin and Piano in D Minor in December at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, where she serves on the piano faculty. She will give a second performance of the work in February 2014, alongside her husband Olivier Fluchaire (MM ’96), with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra (Wisconsin). Earlier this year, Yoojin performed at the Summit Music Festival and at the United Nations Consular Corps. [posted 01/23/14]

Katrina Svalbe Querriera (BM ’01) formed her own company, YouTurnMusic, in 2010. Her new product, the YouTurn™ Music Page Holder, is exclusively distributed by Hal Leonard Corp., the world’s largest print music publisher. [posted 01/23/14]

Donato Cabrera (graduate studies ’00–02) has been appointed Music Director of the California Symphony. He will continue to serve as Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as Music Director of the SFS Youth Orchestra, Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the New Hampshire Music Festival. [posted 01/23/14]

Scott Holden (DMA ’02) has been promoted to full professor at Brigham Young University, where he teaches piano and is the Keyboard Division Coordinator. [posted 06/24/14]

Nathan Morgan (BM ’02) closed the national tour of Cats in the role of Old Deuteronomy. He now performs eight shows a week as the Jeweler in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. He is also understudy for the role of Ubaldo Piangi and has been called to perform it several times. [posted 01/23/14]

Riko Higuma (BM ’01 / MM ’03) is pianist of the Zodiac Trio, along with fellow alumni Kliment Krylovskiy and Vanessa Mollard, who performed at (le) Poisson Rouge in January. The program included the U.S. premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Lamentation. [posted 06/24/14]

George Mathew (MM ’03) organized and conducted a benefit concert, “Shostakovich for the Children of Syria,” at Carnegie Hall, presented by Music for Life International with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. [posted 06/24/14]

Amy Shoremount-Obra (BM ’01 / MM ’03) was featured at the 59th Consecutive Viennese Opera Ball to benefit Carnegie Hall at The Waldorf=Astoria Grand Ballroom in February, where she sang selections from Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. She will be making her Metropolitan Opera stage debut this fall as the First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. [posted 06/24/14]

Kimberly Thompson (BM ’03) is now the dummer for the 8G Band on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. [posted 06/24/14]

Matthew Worth (MM ’03 / PS ’04) recently performed a featured role in the National Opera’s East Coast premiere of Jake Haggie’s Moby-Dick, seen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. [posted 06/24/14]

Yu Zhang-Koslovsky (BM ’04) is a member of the music department faculty at The City College of New York. [posted 01/23/14]

Ambrose Akinmusire (BM ’05) has received critical acclaim for his recently released CD as a jazz trumpet player, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint (Blue Note). He was featured in the April cover story of Downbeat, which singles him out as “one of the primary voices in 21st century jazz,” and in a March Wall Street Journal article, titled “They’re Breaking Down the Walls.” [posted 06/24/14]

Anna Clyne (MM ’05) saw the world premiere of her work, Prince of Clouds, given this March by violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Also in March, was the world premiere of Clyne’s A Wonderful Day, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. [posted 06/24/14]

Kyle Saulnier (MM ’06) is releasing his Awakening Orchestra’s debut recording, Volume I: This is Not the Answer, on the Innova label. [posted 06/24/14]

Nathaniel Hepler (MM ’07) has won the position of Second Trumpet in the Baltimore Symphony. He also directs his own brass quintet, Main Line Brass, and publishes his compositions and arrangements with his own publishing company, Valley Music Press. [posted 01/23/14]

Daniel Andai (MM ’07 / PS ’08) is Concertmaster of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He holds the Marialice Shivers Endowed Chair in Fine Arts as Professor of Violin at the University of Texas Pan American and is a faculty member at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, at Miami-Dade College, and at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont. [posted 01/23/14]

Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05 / DMA ’07) gave a solo piano recital at New York’s Symphony Space in May. A critic for the Armenian Reporter wrote: “[She] is not just a joy to hear, but a spectacle to behold. The artist commands the stage, the nuances of her facial expressions adding depth to her powerful interpretation of the music she performs.” Her CD of Aram Khachaturian’s piano works is to be released this year on NAXOS. [posted 06/24/14]

Kristi Shade (MM ’07) has been appointed to jointly head the new Young Artist’s Harp Seminar’s Prep Division with fellow alumna Kathryn Andrews. In May, Kristi was featured harp soloist with the One World Symphony in Manhattan, performing premieres by Antonio Lauro and Sung Jin Hong. [posted 06/24/14]

Haik Arsenyan (PS ’08) has performed recently as pianist and composer at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and Salle Cortot in Paris and served as a jury member at the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition. [posted 01/23/14]

Wael Farouk (PS ’07) has seen his debut solo album, Russian Portraits, released by Carlock Records. David Dubal stated: “Here is piano playing that brings chills to theflesh, performed with a rare virtuoso technique.” He appeared at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in June celebrating the 140th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s birth, a program he will repeat in honor of Solomon Mikowsky next season in Chicago. [posted 01/23/14]

Olga Vinokur (MM ’00 / DMA ’07) toured London and Prague in October appearing on the London Chamber Music Society concert series and at Dvořák Hall in Rudolfinum. In Prague she also recorded a CD with the Martinů Quartet which will be released in 2014. Her recent appearances at Bargemusic in New York were critically acclaimed by the New York Times, which praised her “exquisite performance.” [posted 01/23/14]

Christopher Allen (BM ’08) has been selected by James Conlon to be a conducting assistant and coach for the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera, assisting Maestro Conlon and Placido Domingo in the LA Opera productions of Carmen and Falstaff, as well as the Britten War Requiem this season. [posted 01/23/14]

Chanell Crichlow (BM ’08) is M.C. and sousaphonist of Pitch Blak Brass Band, a Brooklyn-based 10-piece band whose style and sound represents hip-hop from the 1980s to present day. The group released their debut album, You See Us, last fall. [posted 06/24/14]

Sequina DuBose (PS ’08) sang the role of Annie in the Royal Danish Opera’s production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in several performances this March–May. [posted 06/24/14]

Gabriel Escudero Braquehais (MM ’08) has been appointed to a full-time piano teaching position at the FaceArt Institute of Music in Shanghai, China. [posted 06/24/14]

Anthony Roth Costanzo (MM ’08) appeared in two Metropolitan Opera productions this season: as Ferrando in The Enchanted Island (along with fellow alum Susan Graham) and Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus. In addition, a January New Yorker article profiled his work in the Metropolitan Opera’s outreach and education programs. [posted 06/24/14]

Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (DMA ’08) has joined the faculty of the Mannes College The New School forMusic, teaching piano ensemble. Her latest recording, Music for Dreams, Vol. 3, has been released and is available on iTunes. This collection has been created with the medical team at BlueSleep®, dedicated to providing complementary treatment for sleep disorders. [posted 06/24/14]

Kathryn Andrews (MM ’09) has been appointed to jointly head the new Young Artist’s Harp Seminar’s Prep Division with fellow alumna Kristi Shade. [posted 06/24/14]

Jeanine de Bique (BM ’06 / MM ’08 /PS ’09) sang the role of Clara in the Royal Danish Opera’s production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in several performances this March–May. [posted 06/24/14]

Fabian Almazan (BM ’06 / MM ’09) has been signed to Blue Note Records and ArtistShare and can be heard as jazz pianist on the CD Rhizome in February, on the Blue Note/ArtistShare label. He is featured in a March Wall Street Journal article, titled “They’re Breaking Down the Walls.” [posted 06/24/14]

Clay Hilley (PS ’09) returned to Carnegie Hall last December to sing Schweiker von Gundelfingen in Strauss’s rarely performed Feuersnot with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, having debuted with the ensemble last year as tenor soloist for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. He will sing Radames for Bob Jones University’s production of Aïda this spring. [posted 01/23/14]

Dan Kempson (MM ’09) is on the Metropolitan Opera artist roster this season for its production of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys. He appeared as baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, as Lieutenant Gordon in Fort Worth Opera’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, and as Marcello in La bohème with Savannah Symphony Orchestra’s Voice Experience. [posted 01/23/14]

Alondrade la Parra (BM ’05 / MM ’08) was named by WQXR as one of the top five up-and-coming women conductors of today. Alondra has recently been a guest conductor with the Dallas,Houston, San Francisco, Phoenix, and New World symphony orchestras, as well as the MDR Leipzig Symphony Orchestra this past season. She was named Music Director of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco in 2012. [posted 01/23/14]

CLASSES OF 2010–2013

Gabrielle Mirabella (BM ’10) is touring the U.S. with the Broadway national tour of Mamma Mia! in the principal role of Tanya. [posted 01/23/14]

Paul Stodolka (MM ’10) completed as ix-month run playing trumpet for the Broadway national tour of Shrek the Musical and is now on the road with Elf the Musical. He also maintains a private studio in the Minneapolis area. [posted 01/23/14]

Jake Robinson (MM ’10) has taken over the main drum set studio at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains as of last year, becoming Assistant Dean. His responsibilities were also expanded to include being Program Director for the school’s Summer Music & Arts Program. His original funk band, The Uptown Partydown, for which he is co-leader and main composer, consists of several other MSM alumni, and was in residency at Rockwood Music Hall earlier this year. [posted 01/23/14]

Jarrett Cherner (MM ’10) can be heard as jazz pianist on his latest recording, SKETCHES Volume One,with fellow MSM alumni Matt Holman (MM’10) and Martin Nevin (BM ’10). Jarrett also teaches at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster,Pennsylvania. [posted 01/23/14]

Itamar Zorman (AD ’10) was awarded one of five Avery Fisher Career Grants for 2013. [posted 01/23/14]

Maria Christina Spiessberger (MM ’11) recorded her debut album, entitled The Timeless in You, which was co-produced by Theo Bleckmann and features vocalist/pianist Peter Eldridge as well as several fellow MSM alumni. It’s been released on the Cracked An Egg label. [posted 01/23/14]

Austin Walker (BM ’09 / MM ’11) is drummer for the John Raymond Quartet, in addition to leading his own group in appearances at the Garage Restaurant, Smalls Jazz Club, and the Kitano Hotel.He also accompanies modern dance classes at Ballet Academy East and at the 92nd Street Y. [posted 01/23/14]

Nicola Schrire (MM ’11) saw her debut jazz vocal album, Freedom Flight,released last year on the Circavision Productions label. The album landed on the Best Releases of 2012 lists of All About Jazz, Jazz History Online, Step Tempest, and Popdose. Her latest recording,Space and Time, has been called “an intimate stunner” (All About Jazz) and “emotionally eventful, richly crafted music” (Ottawa Citizen). [posted 01/23/14]

Josu de Solaun (BM ’03 / MM ’05 / DMA ’11) made his debut as piano soloist with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St. Petersburg this September playing Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Aaron Copland’s Piano Concerto. [posted 01/23/14]

Nicole Haslett (MM ’12) performed in the Grand Finals Concert of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2013–14 National Council Auditions in March.[posted 06/24/14]

Briana Elyse Hunter (MM ’12) was a finalist in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition held in Rochester, New York,winning an award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number. [posted 06/24/14]

Pierre Lapointe (DMA ’12) is violist of the Escher String Quartet along with fellow alumni Adam Barnett-Hart and Wu Jie. They have recorded the piano quartets of Alexander Zemlinsky for the Naxos label, with the first volume being released last summer. Matthew Rye of The Strad called their playing”unimpeachable in its technical accomplishment, sense of ensemble and rhythmical sharpness.” [posted 06/24/14]

Kevin McDonald (MM ’12) was appointed drummer for the United States Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, the Commodores. [posted 06/24/14]

Chris Reza (MM ’12) has been performing in various Broadway pit orchestras playing reeds with such productions as Matilda, Book of Mormon, Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, and Pippin. [posted 01/23/14]

ArcoIris Sandoval (MM ’12) was a semifinalist in the Montreux Solo Jazz Piano Competition and won an ASCAP young jazz composer’s award. Her multimedia, collaborative work for a 40-member jazz philharmonic orchestra, called The D.O.M.E. Experience (Dance, Orchestration,Media and Environment), was performed in April. She has recently joined the faculty of the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, teaching jazz piano. [posted 01/23/14]

Jenny Q Chai (BM ’06 / MM ’07 / DMA ’13) has recorded a solo piano album of music by former composition faculty member Nils Vigeland which will be released on Naxos. In January, she performed works by Bach, Gibbons, Schumann, Debussy, Stockhausen, Stroppa, and Kurtág at (le) poisson rouge in the East Village. [posted 01/23/14]

Rachel Cordeiro (MM ’13) was a finalist in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition held in Rochester, New York. [posted 06/24/14]

Natalie Cressman (BM ’13) recently released her second CD, Turn the Sea,with a CD release party at Joe’s Pub. [posted 06/24/14]

Kate Davis (BM ’13), a singer-songwriter and jazz bassist, performed her own compositions part of Lincoln Center’s 2014 American Songbook series. [posted 06/24/14]

Matthew Decker (BM ’11 / MM ’13) has won the Assistant Principal Percussion position with the North Carolina Symphony. [posted 06/24/14]

Eric Hopkins (MM ’13) has won the position of section percussion and Assistant Principal Timpani with the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera Orchestra. [posted 6/17/2013]

Khowoon Kim (PS ’13) is the first-prize winner of the 2013 Cidade de Ferrol International Piano Competition in Spain. [posted 01/23/14]

Sarah Markle (MM ’13) won a permanent section cello position with the Charlotte Symphony in North Carolina.[posted 06/24/14]

Eva Ryan (MM ’13) has won the position of Co-Principal Flute with the Sinfonia Lahti in Finland. [posted 6/17/2013]

Daniel Tosky (MM ’13) has won the position of section bass with the New World Symphony. [posted 6/17/2013]

Maren Weinberger
(MM ’13) gave her New York concert debut at Symphony Space this fall. Entitled Kurt Weill on Broadway, it featured guest performers Ron Raines, Judy Blazer, Melissa Errico, and Brent Bennet, with Richard Jay-Alexander directing and James Holmes conducting. In September,she sang the role of Mrs. Whatsit in the Fort Worth Opera workshop of a new work by Libby Larson, A Wrinkle in Time,to be premiered in 2015. [posted 01/23/14]

Christopher Zuar (MM ’13) is a recipient of the 2014 ASCAP-Herb Alpert Young Composer Award. [posted 06/24/14]

In Memoriam

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

Robert Ashley (MM ’54, composition) passed away on March 3, 2014. More information here: http://www.robertashley.org

John Bergamo (BM ’61 / MM ’62,percussion) passed away from an apparent stroke on October 19, 2013, in Piru, California, near Los Angeles, at age 73. He founded the Percussion Program at California Institute of the Arts in 1970, where he continued to teach for the next 35 years, and was a noted composer and performer. He was inducted in the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Bergamo had studied percussion with Paul Price at MSM. Bergamo founded the Percussion Program at CalArts, where he continued to teach for the next 35 years. Throughout his storied and eclectic career, Bergamo published more than 25 percussion compositions,performed on numerous Hollywood film soundtracks and worked with music legends such as John Cage, Ringo Starr and Frank Zappa. He’s also remembered as one of the first Western percussionists to study East Indian rhythmic systems and percussion instruments such as tabla, ghatam, thavil and kanjira. It was former Music School Dean Mel Powell who hired Bergamo to start CalArts Percussion Program precisely because of his background that mixed jazz, contemporary and world music. While at CalArts, Bergamo co-founded two all-percussion groups: The Repercussion Unit in 1976 with Larry Stein, Ed Mann, James Hildebrandt, Greg Johnson, Paul Anceau,and Steven “Lucky” Mosko; and The Hands On’ Semble with Andrew Grueschow, Randy Gloss and Austin Wrinkle in 1997.(The latter ensemble still performs today.) In Austin, Texas, in 2008, the Percussive Arts Society’s (PAS) annual convention—the largest percussion event in the world—featured a tribute concert of Bergamo’s works performed by the CalArts Percussion Ensemble with David Johnson, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri with Hands On’semble and Houman Pourmedhi. Last year, PAS inducted Bergamo into its Hall of Fame,joining a veritable who’s who ofthe percussion world. In a message to the CalArts community, David Rosenboom,dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts wrote: “…Perhaps most of all, [John] will always be remembered as the extraordinarily loving and inspiring mentor for no less than an entire generation of ground-breaking percussion artists, who have in turn carried his musical wisdom with them into successful careers spanning the globe. John’s great gift of spirit and boundless music will always keep him with us. For this, we join in a resounding chorus of honor and gratitude.”

Nancy S. Bidlack (BM ’70) passed away on December 23, 2012. [More bio information to come.]

Donald Byrd (DP '58, trumpet / BM '62, trumpet / MM '63, music education) died on February 4, 2013, in Dover, Delaware. He was 80. Byrd was considered one of the leading jazz trumpeters of the 1950s and early 1960s, who became both successful and controversial in the 1970s by blending jazz, funk and rhythm and blues into a pop hybrid that defied categorization.

Earl Carter (BM ’70, Theory / MM ’72,Theory) passed away on July 8, 2013 at the age of 76. Mr. Carter was currently a member of the Precollege Faculty and had taught in the College Division as well. Born in Pennsylvania, Mr. Carter received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Howard University and a master’s degree from New York University before attending MSM where he studied with Ludmila Ulehla. He began his teaching career in the New York City public school system, later teaching at Manhattan School of Music from 1972 to 1987, and serving as the chairman of the preparatory division music theory department. He also taught theory and sight-reading at the Boys Choir of Harlem school and at The Juilliard School Evening Division. 

Christine C. Chu (MM ’02, cello) Christine C. Chu (MM ’02, cello) passed away on May 5, 2013 from lymphoma. Her friends have set up a fund-raising campaign to assist her 20 month old daughter. More information can be found here: http://ral.ly/t/868264

Felicity Dell-Aquila (Former administrator, undergraduate studies 1949-52) passed away on January 10, 2013. The School will be forever indebted to Felicity for her steadfast work as a member of the administration and with the former Alumni Association. More information here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?pid=162289265

Guido Della-Vecchia (voice studies 1958-60) passed away on March 13, 2013. He was married to fellow MSM alumna Johanna Meier. More information here: http://www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2006324&fh_id=13327

Volo Dreyfus (Precollege) passed away on November 18, 2013. [More bio information to come.]

Linda Fennimore (BM ’69, violin) passed away peacefully on February 23, 2013, after a brave battle with cancer. An internationally recognized jazz violinist, Fennimore was involved in a tragic automobile accident in her mid 20s, and was told she would never play again. Yet, with remarkable determination she began the laborious process of picking up and, finally, playing the violin. It took years, but her perseverance paid off. Linda had the ability to play various musical styles, including classical chamber music, jazz fusion, and American standards. Her playing drew accolades from Stephane Grappelli, the acknowledged master jazz violinist, with whom she toured in Europe, and rave reviews from The New York Times, Variety, New York Daily News, among others. A consummate entertainer, she was also known for her elegant fashion flair and a collection of extraordinary hats, which became her trademark. She spent most of her life in New York City, where she played in orchestras, clubs and restaurants, taught violin, and toured with her own one-woman show, “Love Life.” She also enjoyed hiking and sailing. She is remembered for her vibrant personality and resilient spirit, her music and unique style, and her deep faith and love of life. Donations in her memory may be made to Manhattan School of Music.

Laurie Fink (Jazz Trumpet Faculty since 2002) passed away on July 13, 2013. She had a long-standing international performing and teaching career. She collaborated with musical luminaries ranging from Benny Goodman to the Saturday Brass Quintet, and her former students are among the most prominent brass players in the industry. Justin DiCioccio, Associate Dean for Jazz Arts, characterized Laurie eloquently: “Everyone who knew Laurie felt her caring, warm, and compassionate approach to people and life.  She was beloved and respected as a human being, musician, mentor and friend.  Laurie will be missed by all.” More information here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/arts/music/laurie-frinktrumpeter-and-brass-instructor-to-many-dies-at-61.html

Zenon Fishbein (BM  '60/ MM '61) was a member of the Manhattan School of Music College faculty since 1963 and taught in the Precollege since 1961. Born in Argentina, of Russian parents, he made his official debut to the general acclaim of the press at thirteen. As a recipient of a fellowship from the Argentinian government, he traveled to Rome, Vienna, and Paris, where he studied and coached with such eminent artists as Carlo Zecchi, Paolo Denza, Margherite Long, and Walter Gieseking. He holds a degree from the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, a diploma from the Salzburg festival, and an MM from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Dora Zaslavsky and, upon graduation,received the Harold Bauer Memorial Award. A winner of numerous awards at international competitions held in Geneva, Rome, Vercelli, and Buenos Aires, he has appeared in hundreds of concerts and solo recitals worldwide, as well as performing as soloist in chamber music and orchestral programs. He has collaborated for joint concerts with Herta Gatz, Jens Nygaard, Justino Diaz,and Mishel Piastro. His broad range of repertory includes a cycle of recitals dedicated to the works of Chopin, a series by romantic composers, and the premiere of contemporary piano works.  Mr. Fishbein has been a guest at universities in Seoul, Manila, Beijing, New York, and  Londo, offering masterclasses and lectures. A former chairman of the screening committee for the Fulbright grants for studies abroad, he has also served as a frequent adjudicator in international competitions. He is the founder of Midsummer Music, dedicated to sponsoring music festivals in the Italian cities of Pesaro, Urbino, Sulmona, Caprarola, and Tivoli. He is a former faculty member of the Hartt College of Music, Brooklyn College, and Hanse University in Korea.  A recording artist for the Sound Starton label in Germany, he has also been a contributor to many musical publications. The late Harold Schonberg of the New York Times declared Mr. Fishbein “a  real talent” and his debut “unusually impressive.” Other critics have called him a “master of the grand manner”(Theodore Strongin, New York Times) and “A marvelous colorist… A fine pianist indeed.”  Click here to read a remembrance by his former student Penny Prince (BM ’74 / MM ’76):
 Mr. Fishbein: The Legacy of a Master Teacher.

Harris Goldsmith (BM ’56 / MM ’58,piano) passed away on April 3, 2014. A pianist,teacher, and longtime classical music journalist and critic, he was 78 and had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure. In the days when print magazines were alive and well, Goldsmith’s byline appeared regularly in the pages of High Fidelity, Musical America, Keynote, and Opus. More recently he has written for the Musical America International Directory,focusing primarily on up-and-coming artists. Most of his predictions have been spot-on. He was a highly accomplished pianist and had recorded for RCA Victor,Columbia Masterworks, and Musical Heritage Society, among others. More information here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/arts/music/harris-goldsmith-classical-pianist-and-critic-dies-at-78.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar

Raynard Gorobetz (BM ’49, piano) passed away on November 27, 2011. He began his career in the Yonkers Public Schools in 1958.  He served in several schools as instrumental music instructor, guidance counselor, and assistant principal. His last professional assignment was Roosevelt High School. He retired from the district in June, 1991. In addition to his professional duties, Ray was an accomplished and talented musician and composer. However, his proudest accomplishment was his service to his country during World War II. Ray leaves behind his devoted wife Harriet, his two sons David and Peter, as well as his grandsons Jake and Andrew. “We will always miss his spirit of generosity as well as his marvelous sense of humor,” fellow alumnus Jerry Colaio writes.

Michael Guidry (MM ’84, Piano) passed away on September 3, 2012. [More bio information to come.]

Deborah Hoffman (Harp Faculty) passed away on February 11, 2014. More information here: http://www.metorchestramusicians.org/in-memoriam-deborah-b-hoffman-1960-2014/

John Melady (BM ’55, Trombone) passed away on December 21, 2013. [More bio information to come.]

Lynn Owen (former Voice Faculty) passed away on April 26, 2014 at the age of 80. She died peacefully in New York City after suffering for some time with Alzheimer's. Daughter of Robert and Lillian Rasmussen of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Lynn graduated with honors from the Juilliard School and the Vienna Academie. While at Tanglewood, she met the loveof her life, Judge Richard Owen, at that time a young lawyer and budding composer,for whom she would later sing the leading role in many of his operas. Lynn sang over 50 leading soprano roles in major opera houses in North and South America and Europe, including the Metropolitan in New York, Vienna and Bellas Artes,under the baton of James Conlon, Julius Rudell and Christopher Keene, among others. She also was on the voice faculty of the Manhattan School of Music,Barnard and Columbia University and left a significant legacy to hundreds of young singers who have gone on to musical careers. Lynn is survived by her husband, two sons and five grandsons all of whom share her passion for music.Those interested in honoring Lynn's teaching legacy may wish to consider making a contribution to the Carl Owen Scholarship at the preparatory division of the Manhattan School of Music.

Martha Pestalozzi (Former Faculty, BM ’51/ MM ’53, Piano) passed away on February 10, 2014. She studied piano with Scoville and Goldsand at MSM and also attended Wells College. She gave performances on WQXR and WNYC, adjudicated the Baldwin Piano Competitions, and taught at the Third Street Music Settlement and Westport School of Music.

James Preiss (Former Percussion Faculty) passed away on January 21, 2014, after along illness. He was 72. He taught percussion at Manhattan School of Music from 1970 until 2006. He also taught Mannes College of Music, Columbia Teacher’s College, and Lehman College, influencing hundreds of musicians. Mr. Preiss earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman School of Music (1963) and a Master of Music degree from MSM in 1969. His teachers included William Street,Fred Hinger, Morris “Arnie” Lang, and Paul Price. He was a member of the U.S.Marine Band, “The President’s Own,” in the 1960s, where he was timpanist and marimba soloist and played the snare drum in funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy. Preiss enjoyed a long career as one of the most “in demand”percussionists in the New York area.  He was a founding member of Steve Reich & Musicians (1971), and Parnassus.  He played with the Opera Orchestra of New York, Rochester Philharmonic, and Eastman Wind Ensemble, and was principal percussionist of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and the Westchester Philharmonic. Jim performed and recorded with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New Music Consort, and numerous other chamber ensembles is such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher, Carnegie, Merkin, and Town Hall. He can be heard on recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, CRI, and Koch International. In 1979, Preiss formed the Manhattan Marimba Quartet – the first professional marimba quartet in the world.  Preiss later joined the Quartet, and was bass marimbist in the group from 1980–2000. After retiring from teaching, Jim Preiss founded a commissioning project for solo marimba works.  Among the composers who wrote works dedicated to him are Dan Levitan, Davide Zannoni, Eva Weiner, and others. 

Carline Ray (MM ’56, Voice) passed away on July 18, 2013, at age 88. In the 1940s, when it was difficult for women to be accepted as jazz musicians, Ray found a home in the all-female band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm as the guitarist and a featured vocalist. A pioneering musician, she was also a bass player who performed with Sy Oliver, Mercer Ellington and Mary Lou Williams. Ray was born in Harlem in 1925 during the Harlem Renaissance. She graduated from Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. Her husband, Luis Russell, led his own band and worked as Louis Armstrong’s music director. Ray’s daughter, Catherine Russell,is an acclaimed jazz singer. When Fresh Air recorded a concert and interview with Russell last year, she talked about her mother. "She wanted to play, and she was inspired by all the jazz on 52nd Street and hearing Billie Holiday live," Russell told host Terry Gross. Catherine Russell produced a new album of her mother singing — between 2008 and 2011, when the collection was recorded, she still had a rich contralto voice — which was released just before Ray died.

Morey Shepard (MM ’53, trumpet) passed away on November 10, 2012.

PeterSims (percussion studies 1957–59) passed away on November 20, 2012. [More bio information to come.]

John Warner Swallow (Member of the MSM Brass Faculty from 1978 – 1993) passed away on October 20, 2012, after a long illness. A Professor Emeritus of Music at Yale University (he retired in 2001, Dean Robert Blocker wrote of the community’s “admiration and affection” for Professor Swallow. “John was both artist and teacher in the most exemplary fashion,” wrote Blocker, ”and his ready smile and collegial manner endeared him to students, faculty, and staff alike.” Swallow was a member of the New York Brass Quintet for many years and was considered one the most important trombone performers and teachers in the United States. He enjoyed performance associations with the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel and the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner, and was a member of groups such as Gunther Schuller’s Twentieth Century Innovations and Arthur Weisberg’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. He was the subject of a doctoral thesis by Brett Arthur Shuster, “John Swallow: A Study of His Life and Influence in the Trombone World” (Arizona State University, 2002).

Joe Wilder (BM ’53 and 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient) passed away on Friday, May 9. "Gentleman Joe" will be sorely missed by all. The New York Times tribute is found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/10/arts/music/joe-wilder-horn-player-dies-as-92-elegance-was-his-theme-song.html?_r=0


CLASSES OF 1960–1969