New York, NY (April 14, 2014) MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC To Hold School’s 88th Commencement Ceremony FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. at THE RIVERSIDE CHURCH

Manhattan School of Music President James Gandre to Confer Degrees on 357 Graduates

The Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, honoris causa will be awarded to:
Joan Taub Ades, Shuler Hensley, Peter G. Robbins, and Matthew VanBesien

The Presidential Medal for Distinguished Faculty Service will be presented to:
voice professor Hilda Harris and jazz professor Chris Rosenberg

Manhattan School of Music will hold its 88th Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. at The Riverside Church (located at 490 Riverside Drive, New York City). This year, degrees will be awarded to 357 graduates from the School’s graduate and undergraduate programs who come from 46 states and more than 40 countries.  President James Gandre will confer the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, honoris causa on philanthropist Joan Taub Ades; Broadway star, Tony Award winner and MSM alumnus Shuler Hensley; MSM Board of Trustees Chair Peter G. Robbins; and New York Philharmonic Executive Director Matthew VanBeisen.  Shuler Hensley will deliver the commencement address.

President Gandre will also be awarding the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Faculty Service to Hilda Harris, a longtime member of the School’s voice faculty, and Chris Rosenberg, Manager of MSM’s Jazz Arts Administration and a longtime jazz faculty member. Each year, Manhattan School of Music recognizes distinguished faculty by bestowing the Presidential Medal on individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to MSM. This award, inaugurated in 1998, honors those persons who have shown longevity and service to the school; extraordinary pedagogical influence in the community; distinguished scholarship and creativity demonstrated in performance, composition, or publications; and distinguished service to the institution outside of the teaching studio and classroom.

Biographies: Honorary Doctorate Recipients (alphabetical order)

Joan Taub Ades is a prominent member of New York’s premiere philanthropic circles.  She and her husband, Alan M. Ades, have also played a vital role in the field of philanthropy throughout the United States.  Their significant contributions to the arts and education have touched the lives of countless people.

In 2007, as dedicated and longtime patrons of Manhattan School of Music, they opened the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Performance Space, a versatile performance and event space that is outfitted for music, theater, dance and multimedia events. For the past five years they have provided funding for the Ades Vocal Competition at MSM, to provide career-entry funding for graduating singers of outstanding potential in opera. Other initiatives at Manhattan School of Music have included Music for the Seasons, an interactive concert series that brings stellar students and alumni to perform at NYC care programs and facilities. Recently, under Joan’s guidance, Music for the Seasons expanded to include jazz programming at Project Renewal, a nonprofit that empowers homeless men and women suffering from addiction and/or mental illness to move permanently from the streets or shelters to health, homes, and jobs. Joan Ades is also the creator of “Joan’s Closet,” a program exclusive to MSM female students which provides them with appropriate clothing for auditions, concerts and recitals at no charge.

At the Morgan Library, Joan Taub Ades is a member of the Council of Fellows and the Director's Roundtable, where two years ago, a major art show was held featuring her collection of old master drawings. A former board member of the American Ballet Theatre and of ProjectRenewal, Joan was also a member of the Patrons Committee at the Metropolitan Opera,where she gave backstage tours; served as president of Horizon Concerts; andwas a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among many other activities. 

Joan Taub Ades is a former interior designer, who also ran her own silk and dried flower business. She earned both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University. Alan M. Ades is a Trustee Emeritus at Manhattan School of Music.

Shuler Hensley, BM ’90, most recently performed Tony in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella for the New York City Center Encores! series, as well as starring on Broadway in No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot in rep with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

He has appeared on Broadway as The Monster in Young Frankenstein, Kerchak in Tarzan, Jud Fry in Oklahoma! (also at the National and London’s West End; Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Olivier Awards) and Javert in Les Misérables. Off Broadway appearances include Fiorella! (Encores), Silence! The Musical, Sweet and Sad (Drama Desk Outstanding Ensemble), That Hopey Changey Thing, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical.  Other credits include Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, All About Us, The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (Hamburg, Germany).

Opera appearances include Wozzeck (Curtis Institute of Music) and Regina (Kennedy Center).  He also appeared in Carousel at Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic, which was nationally broadcast on PBS.  Other orchestras include the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the New World Symphony Orchestra. Television includes The Americans, Ed, Deadline, Gary Powers, Law and Order SVU, Criminal Intent and The Jury. Films include After Life, The Legend of Zorro, Van Helsing, The Bread, My Sweet; and Opa!  and the upcoming films include Odd Thomas and Cruiser.  This past year, Shuler Hensley's role as Charlie in the drama The Whale was named “Stage Performance of the Year” by New York magazine.

Peter G. Robbins was elected to the Manhattan School of Music Board of Trustees in 2006, after being introduced to the School when his son, Noah, attended the Precollege. He has generously supported both the College and Precollege divisions and as Board Chair for the past seven years has led and worked with the Board during a period in which the School’s endowment more than doubled.

After initially working on Wall Street, Mr. Robbins entered the food industry, developing a farm-direct consumer driven retail market. He subsequently was involved with one of the earliest gourmet coffee importers, roasters, and distributors.  In the late 1980s, he and a partner formed Riverland and Indian Sun, an investment partnership which focused on opportunities in real estate and agriculture, becoming one of Tropicana Food Products’ largest Florida suppliers. His company has been a subject of case studies for the Harvard Business School.

He and his family have been active supporters of the arts, championing educational, theatrical, and artistic institutions for over 35 years. They have been involved with Cornell University for more than three generations, serving on the Boards of the Johnson Museum, the Arts and Sciences Council, the University Library Council and the School of Art, Architecture and Planning. He serves on the Board of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (Connecticut) and is a former member of the Board of the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art.  

Peter G. Robbins has been a producer or investor in theatrical productions such as Frost/Nixon, Billy Elliot, and Mark Twain’s Is He Dead?, and with his wife Jody has been an active supporter of the Westport Playhouse. Peter has also served on the Board of Miami’s New World Symphony.

Matthew VanBesien is the Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic.  Prior to coming to New York, he served as the Managing Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2010 to 2012.  In addition, Mr. Van Besien was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Houston Symphony from 2005 to 2010, and General Manager from 2003 to 2005.  He is a member of the Board of Overseers for The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and a former Board Director for Symphony Services International (formerly Symphony Australia).
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. VanBesien earned a Bachelor of Music degree in French horn performance from Indiana University.  As a professional musician, he was second French horn of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans from 1992 to 2000.  In the 2001-02 season he completed the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, a highly selective, year-long management training program designed to develop orchestral leadership talent.  During this fellowship he worked at the Aspen Music Festival, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, and Pittsburgh Orchestra.  

Matthew VanBesien is married to Rosanne Jowitt, a geoscientist.

Presidential Medals for Distinguished Faculty Service

Hilda Harris, formerly a leading mezzo-soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, has performed throughout the United States and Europe. A native of Warrenton, North Carolina, she is known for her portrayals of the “trouser” roles in the mezzo repertoire. She has established herself as a singing actress and has earned critical acclaim in opera, on the concert stage, and in recital. At the Metropolitan Opera, she made her debut as the Student in Lulu and also sang Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), the Child (L’Enfant et les sortileges), Siebel (Faust), Stephano (Roméo et Juliette), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), and Sesto (Giulio Cesare). During her extensive career, she has sung such roles as Carmen in St. Gallen, Switzerland; Brussels; and Budapest. In Holland and Belgium she sang the roles of Dorabella (Così fan tutte) and Rosina (Barber of Seville), and the title role in La Cenerentola. She has also sung leading roles with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Seattle Opera, Spoleto USA, and the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy.

Ms. Harris has appeared extensively in symphonic and oratorio repertoire with the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Quebec Symphony, Helsinki Orchestra, Sweden’s Malmö, Symphony and the radio orchestras of Hilversum in the Netherlands. Ms. Harris is a member of the Chicago-based Black Music Research Ensemble, whose purpose it is to discover, preserve, promote and perform music of black composers.

Her accomplishments have been documented in And So I Sing, by Rosalyn M. Story; Black Women in America, an Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Darlene Clark Hines; The Music of Black Americans by Eileen Southern; and African-American Singers by Patricia Turner. Ms. Harris’s discography includes Hilda Harris (a solo album); The Valley Wind (songs of Hale Smith); Art Songs by Black American Composers (album); X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X (CD); From the South Land, songs and Spirituals by Harry T. Burleigh (CD); and Witness, Volume II, compositions by William Grant Still (CD).

Ms. Harris taught voice at Howard University from 1991 through 1994 and is presently a member of the voice faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattan School of Music, where she has been on faculty since 1991. She maintains a private studio in New York City and is on the voice faculty at the Chautauqua Institution during the summer months.
Chris Rosenberg, a guitarist, composer and educator, has performed in many of the major cities of 23 countries around the world. An alumnus of both the University of Minnesota (Bachelor of Music) and Manhattan School of Music (Master of Music '85), where he has been a member of the faculty since 1988. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, the New School, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and New Jersey City University.

Mr. Rosenberg has performed with many notable musicians, including Laurie Anderson, Don Cherry, Terry Clarke, Harold Danko, Jerry Garcia, Anthony Jackson, Pat Metheny, John Mosca, Dick Oatts, Daniel Ponce, Dewey Redman, Lou Reed, Lew Soloff, Steve Turre, and Eliot Zigmund, among others. He performed for 13 years with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Lifetime winner Ornette Coleman in his award-winning ensemble Prime Time. Mr. Rosenberg has also been a featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and the Tokyo Symphony. He is a Verve recording artist.

In addition to his work as a guitarist and composer, Mr. Rosenberg is an active clinician, lecturer, adjudicator, and consultant. He has created educational programs for Midori & Friends, been a guest lecturer at Yale University, adjudicated several competitions in the United States, and given clinics and master classes in the United States and Europe. His work has received several awards, including the Downbeat International Critic’s Poll award.

Chris Rosenberg currently teaches multiple courses at Manhattan School of Music where he has been a faculty member since 1988, as well as directing performing groups and maintaining a private studio. He is the Manager of the College Jazz Arts Program and Chair of the Precollege Jazz Arts Program.

Manhattan School of Music Honorary Doctorate Recipients (since 1979)

Honorary Doctorates

2013 Leonard Slatkin, Menahem Pressler, Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen
2012 Alec Baldwin and Lang Lang
2011  Jessye Norman and William D. Miller
2010  Anton Coppola, Alan M. Ades and Angela Lansbury
2009 Thomas Hampson, JoAnn Falletta and Alex Ross
2008 Pete Seeger, Billy Joel and Susan Graham
2007 Dave Brubeck and David A. Rahm
2006 Robert Mann and Marilyn Horne
2005 Marta Istomin and Claude Frank
2004 Sydney Harth and Constance Keene
2003 Jon Faddis and Paul Gemignani
2002 Dolora Zajick
2001 Evgeny Kissin and Adele Addison
2000 Ned Rorem
1999 Martin E. Segal and Dianne Flagello
1998 Ron Carter and Dawn Upshaw
1997 Mstislav Rostropovich and Clark Terry
1996 John Lewis and Julius Rudel
1995 Wynton Marsalis and Susan Wadsworth
1994 Gordon K. Greenfield and Kurt Masur
1993 Harold Prince and Pinchas Zukerman
1992 John Corigliano
1991 Rose L. Augustine
1990 Josef Gingold and Max Roach
1989 The Honorable Richard Owen
1988 Alice Tully and Frances Hall Ballard
1987 Gunther Schuller and Andres Segovia
1986 Dora Zaslavsky Koch
1985  Elmar Oliveira
1984 Frank E. Taplin
1983 Avery Fisher
1982 Birgit Nilsson
1980 William H. Borden
1979 Josephine C. Whitford

The President’s Medal for Distinguished Faculty Service

2013 David Geber, Vice Provost and Dean of Artistic Affairs and David Gilbert, Resident Conductor
2012 Linda Chesis, Chair/Woodwind Dept., BOT, Flute/Chamber Music faculty, and John Pagano, Chair/Humanities
2011 Mignon Dunn, mezzo-soprano; Nils Vigeland, composition
2010 Arkady Aronov, piano; Orin O’Brien, double bass
2009 Maitland Peters, Chair/Voice Department; Marc Silverman, Chair/Piano Dept.
2008 Toby Hanks, tuba; Solomon Mikowsky, piano
2007 Justin DiCioccio, Associate Dean/Chair of Jazz Arts Program; and Sylvia Rosenberg, violin
2006 Constance Colby, humanities; David Noon, composer/music history, former Dean of Academics and Students
2005 Joseph Robinson, oboe; Homer Mensch, ’51, double bass
2004 Nathan Stutch, cello; Leonard Davis, viola
2003 Richard Elder Adams, ’61, former Vice President and Dean of Faculty; Ursula Mamlok, ’58, composition; Rosetta Goodkind, piano
2001 Stanley Bednar, ’54 violin; Lucile Lawrence, harp
1998 Ludmila Ulehla, ’47, composition

One of the world’s leading music conservatories, Manhattan School of Music is deeply committed to excellence in education, performance, and creative activity, and to the cultural enrichment of the larger community. Founded as a settlement music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today it is recognized for its superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from 44 states and more than 40 countries; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. The more than 800 concerts and recitals Manhattan School of Music presents each year are recognized as some of the finest musical events in New York City.

Dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, and offering both classical and jazz training, Manhattan School of Music enrolls approximately 850 college-age students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. True to MSM’s origins as a music school for children, our Precollege Division continues to offer superb classes to young musicians between the ages of 5 and 18.

With its tradition of excellence and outstanding faculty, representing all of New York City’s leading performance ensembles, MSM prepares students to be passionate performers, composers, and contributors to the arts and to society. Our graduates are among the most distinguished artists performing in concert halls, opera houses, and on jazz stages throughout the world today. Manhattan School of Music alumni can be found performing in more than 50 major orchestras throughout the world, with 64 of our graduates playing in New York City orchestras alone. Former students in our Jazz Arts program are recording artists with such major labels as Blue Note, Jazzheads, and Concord, and our voice graduates can be heard at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Bayreuth, and San Francisco Opera, among many other houses.


Debra Kinzler
Director of Communications
917 493 4469