MSM History

Centennial Celebrations

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Celebrating Years of Manhattan School of Music

Manhattan School of Music celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2018–19 with the re-opening of its fully renovated concert hall, a new campus entrance, and a season of special events and performances to mark this auspicious landmark.

The Centennial Project

After several years of strategic planning and ongoing fundraising, the Centennial Project — comprising a renovation of Manhattan School of Music’s principal performance space and the opening of a grand new campus entrance — has been completed. More than a mere refurbishment of Neidorff-Karpati Hall, this endeavor represents a wholesale re-imagining of the hall’s aesthetic and acoustic environment; its re-opening will reverberate through every corner of MSM.

A larger, more open stage easily accommodates the largest symphony orchestras, opera, and musical theatre productions, while new, comfortable chairs in an acoustically sound and resonant listening environment will enhance the live music and theatre experience for future generations of listeners. And getting there is half the fun: all who enter MSM are welcomed through a grand new entrance on Claremont Avenue, one that radiates the warmth of the MSM Community and underscores the artistic excellence for which we are known.

“We’re thrilled to share elements of our past, present, and future with New York audiences and the world in a year of events that tell a ground-breaking story of vision, community, inclusiveness, and artistic excellence.”

President of Manhattan School of Music

Centennial Events

The 100th Anniversary of this remarkable institution will allow us the opportunity to celebrate the dedication, talent, and vision that have brought MSM to its current place among the world’s great music conservatories, and also allow us to mark the dawn of our next 100 years. Three prominent concert events, featuring current students, faculty, and distinguished alumni, will serve as focal points for MSM’s season-long Centennial celebrations:

Full details of MSM’s 2018–19 Centennial celebrations will continue to unfold on this page as they are announced. Below are aspects of our Season as they relate to our history by category.

Please read more details about our Centennial programming in this overview by John Blanchard (MM ’89), Institutional Historian & Director of Archives.

*premiere given at MSM

The School’s Founding

Significantly, the Centennial Project’s work re-imagining the MSM campus is timed to conclude during the fall semester of 2018, right in the heart of our Centennial celebrations. Yet while Manhattan School of Music will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary during the 2018–19 academic year, the beginnings of the institution are somewhat fluid.

In the years before the U.S. entry into World War I, a remarkable woman – a pianist who had also earned a degree in social work – began teaching music to neighborhood children at the Union Settlement House in New York’s East Harlem district. In the fall of 1917, she learned that the Union Settlement could no longer subsidize her work because of the war effort. So she mobilized patrons, music teachers, and artistic advisors (including Pablo Casals and Harold Bauer) to establish an independent music school. This force of nature was Janet Daniels Schenck, who, by 1918, had formed a small community music school that what would eventually become the international music conservatory known as Manhattan School of Music.

For more information explore:

Meet Our Founder
Timeline Overview
Architectural History
Virtual Yearbooks Pre-1940s
Virtual Yearbooks 1940s
Virtual Yearbooks 1950s
Virtual Yearbooks 1960s
Virtual Yearbooks 1970s
Virtual Yearbooks 1980s
Virtual Yearbooks 1990s
Virtual Yearbooks 2000s
Virtual Yearbooks 2010s