Virtual Yearbooks: 1960s

During this period, the School is located at 238 East 105th Street.

Pictured here is the main entrance to the School.

Information on this page is arranged in ascending year order for this decade. It includes Manhattan School of Music historical facts and images from the School's archives, as well as items and quotes submitted by alumni. Each section also includes some Other Highlights of New York City's music history.


Operas abound: The Maletroit Door by Seymour Barab is given its World Premiere performance and Yu-Zuru: The Twilight Heron by Ikuma Dan is given its American Premiere (January); a double-bill is presented of Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica by Puccini (March); Verdi’s Rigoletto is given in workshop (April) as is Bizet’s Les Pecheurs de Perles (May); the Summer Opera Workshop presents a program of opera scenes as well as a complete production of The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten (July); and the year is wraps up with performances of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (November and December). The advanced opera workshop coaches 72 entire roles, from seven different operas — sung in French, German, and Italian — with two casts each.

Yehudi Menuhin (picture, left) gives a string seminar.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Max Roach (MSM alumnus) records “We Insist! Freedom New Suite,” lyrics by Oscar Brown, vocals by Abbey Lincoln.
  • Isasc Stern saves Carnegie Hall from demolition.
  • George Solti debuts at Metropolitan Opera.



Rosina Lhevinne appears as piano soloist with the School’s Symphony, under the baton of Jonel Perlea.

The World Premiere performance is given of The Sisters, a new opera by faculty member and alumnus Nicolas Flagello '50.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Henry Mancini receives Oscar for his score for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • Seiji Ozawa makes New York conducting debut.
  • Milton Babbitt produces Music for Synthesizer, working as a consultant composer with RCA on their RCA Mark II Synthesizer.
  • Celia Cruz and her orchestra begin performances at the Palladium Ballroom.
  • Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland make landmark performances at Carnegie Hall.
  • The Fantasticks, music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, opens off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Playhouse (17,163 performances).
  • Bob Dylan moves to New York and begins playing in Greenwich Village clubs.



January — The Opera Theater, under the guidance of John Brownlee, begins a series of plays (performed by voice students) on which composers have based operas. First up: Madame Butterfly, the play by David Belasco/John Luther Long, followed in concert by scenes by Puccini’s opera.

Lillian Fuchs joins the chamber music and viola faculities, and teaches at the School for almost 30 years.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Money Jungle by Duke Ellington, piano, Max Roach, drums (MSM alumnus), and Charles Mingus, bass, recorded for Blue Note Records.
  • William Schuman named president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Pianists Richard Goode, Ruth Laredo (former MSM faculty) and Ann Schein make New York debuts.
  • Leonard Bernstein conducts the first of the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts to be televised from Lincoln Center.



Paul Price, percussion faculty, conducts a student ensemble at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March. Conductor Leopold Stokowski was in attendance (personal note pictured).

May — The board of trustees announces an $8.5 million expansion program which includes the purchasing of the Juilliard building on Claremont Avenue.

Alumni Campaign Fund established for move to new building.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Alfred Brendel and Andre Watts make New York debuts.
  • Barbra Streisand’s first album, The Barbra Streisand Album, wins two Grammy Awards.
  • James Brown reaches national fame with self-financed LP, Live at the Apollo, released on King Records.



Anton Coppola (pictured) joins the conducting and opera faculties where he teaches for 15 years.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Elizabeth Schwarzkopf makes Metropolitan Opera debut in Der Rosenkavelier.
  • Pierre Boulez makes New York conducting debut.
  • Yo-Yo Ma, 9, makes Carnegie Hall debut.
  • Hello Dolly by Jerry Herman with Carol Channing opens at the St. James Theater (2,844 performances).
  • Beatles arrive in New York, perform on Ed Sullivan Show and to sold-out audiences at Carnegie Hall in 2 concerts the same day.
  • Funny Girl by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill with Barbra Streisand opens at the Winter Garden Theater (1,348 performances).
  • Rolling Stones make Carnegie Hall debut.
  • Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick with Zero Mostel opens at the Imperial Theater (3,242 performances).



Artur Balsam (pictured) joins the piano and chamber music faculties, where he teaches until 1993.

Fritz Kramer joins the faculty where he teaches music history, musicology, and music literature until 1988. (Shown here c. 1970 in a 122nd Street classroom.)

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Monserrat Caballé, Renata Scotto, and Mirella Freni debut at Metropolitan Opera.
  • Rev. John C. Gensel becomes pastor to NYC jazz community.
  • Popular songs include “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel and “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan.
  • An Evening with P.D.Q. Bach features Prof. Peter Schickele at Town Hall.



March — The Opera Theater presents a production of The Judgement of St. Francis by faculty member and alumnus Nicolas Flagello '50 (pictured).

The Modern Jazz Quartet gives benefit concert for MSM, arranged by alumnus and MJQ pianist John Lewis, at Carnegie Hall (pictured are members of the planning committee discussing marketing plans and guests arriving at the event).

November — Jonel Perlea leads the Orchestra in a performance of the Wheeler version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony, performed only once previously in New York.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Faculty member Leon Kirchner’s String Quartet No. 3 wins Pulitzer Prize.
  • George Rochberg’s Black Sounds wins Prix Italia.
  • Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, with the premiere of Samuel Barber’s Anthony and Cleopatra starring Leontyne Price and Ezio Flagello (MSM alumnus).



Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson is honorary chairperson of the School’s Salute to American
Musical Theater
presented at the Waldorf-Astoria and repeated twice, by special invitation, at the White House (picured). Photo courtesy of Helene Freedman Blue (BM '68) who writes:
"In Washington, I thought the days passed by in an instant. After our first performance, there was a reception in the East Room to which we were all invited. I was asked to dance by President Johnson and Vice President Humphrey. I could not believe a girl from Brooklyn could have an experience like this. It was like a dream..."

Volo di Notte by Luigi Dallapiccola is given its New York Premiere in March by the Opera Theater, conducted by Anton Coppola.

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Grateful Dead gives free afternoon concert in Tompkins Square Park.
  • Carnegie Hall is designated a New York City landmark.
  • Harvey Lichtenstein becomes executive director of Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Brooklyn-born Clive Davis becomes president of Columbia Records and begins signing rock artists
  • Hair opens off-Broadway at the Public Theater, founded by Joseph Papp



A double-bill in March by the Opera Theater pairs Médée by Darius Milhaud with Medea (Act I) by Luigi Cherubini.

The MSM Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Paul Price, became the first unit of its kind chosen by the Department of State to represent the U.S. abroad under the auspices of the Cultural Presentations Program. The nine-member Ensemble toured nine countries and gave 54 performances.

Children’s opera theater, under the guidance of Cynthia Auerbach, is established to present opera for children, sung by children.

The School celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Dr. Janet D. Schenck, founder and Director Emeritus, receives the Handel Medallion of the City of New York at a Philharmonic Hall reception (May 21). Mayor John V. Lindsay writes: "...the City has been proud to bestow upon you [this honor] for your dedicated service to the cultural life of New York and to the cause of musical education, in particular."

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • The Boy’s Choir of Harlem is founded by alumnus Walter J. Turnbull (MM '68 / DMA '84).
  • Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia receives New York premiere.
  • Bobby Short appears with Mabel Mercer at Town Hall, then later that year opens at Café Carlyle.
  • Alumnus Clem De Rosa (MM '55) co-founds and becomes president of the National Association of Jazz Educators in NYC.
  • Dave Grusin (MSM alumnus) wins a Grammy Award for his score to The Graduate.
  • Duke Ellington’s Second Sacred Concert premieres at Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
  • Fillmore East opens at corner of 6th Street and 2nd Avenue.
  • Luciano Pavarotti makes Metropolitan Opera debut.
  • Placido Domingo makes Carnegie Hall debut.



School president John Brownlee dies unexpectedly on January 10.

George Schick (pictured), noted opera conductor and music director of the Metropolitan Opera Studio, is appointed president and assumes office in the fall term. He is president until 1976.

Josephine Whitford begins to compile the School’s first alumni mailing list.

Mezzo-soprano Betty Allen joins the voice faculty, where she teaches until her death in 2009.

September — Manhattan School of Music moves from East 105th Street to 120 Claremont Avenue in the Harlem community of Morningside Heights. The move is coordinated by administrator Stanley Bednar (BM '49 / MM '51).

Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:

  • Miles Davis records In a Silent Way, with pianist Herbie Hancock (MSM alumnus), and Bitches Brew.
  • Pinchas Zukerman (current MSM faculty) makes New York debut.
  • Sean Jean Combs also known as Diddy, Puff Daddy, and P. Diddy, born in NYC, November 4.
  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is founded.


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