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This timeline overview contains important milestones in the School’s history.

1913

Janet Daniels, a young musician and graduate of the New York School of Social Work, begins teaching music at the Union Settlement on East 104th Street in Manhattan.

1917

Due to the events of World War I, The Union Settlement notifies Janet Daniels Schenck that they can no longer support the Music School financially. She establishes an independent Board which keeps the School going.

1918

In March, Harold Bauer and Pablo Casals become the founding members of the artist auxiliary board.

A budget of $3,000 for 1918–1919 is approved by the new Board of Trustees.

1919

The first District Music Service begins (community outreach) with concerts given at various divisions of Ellis Island, including the tuberculosis and psychopathic wards. Surgical and shell-shock hospitals are visited weekly.

1920

The School’s first charter is issued. The School is incorporated as the Neighborhood Music School under the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.

1921

In October, the Board of Trustees purchases a building from the Jewish Guild for the Blind, giving the Neighborhood Music School its first real home, at 238 East 105th Street.

1922

May — The first commencement is held and the first diploma awarded.

1925

The School’s first auditorium is constructed seating over two hundred people.

In November, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York grants the School’s permanent charter.

1928

The School moves into a new four-story building, built on the same site as the old.

1930

New library and elevator for the library are added; a beautiful reading room is constructed in place of the entrance court.

1938

Amendment to charter of the Neighborhood Music School renames the institution Manhattan School of Music.

The new Hubbard Auditorium and additional rooms added to the building are completed.

1940

The Concert and Placement Bureau (placement office) opens in May “to secure engagements for our gifted students so that they may have the encouragement and discipline of frequent appearances.”

1941
Postgraduate department is formed.

1942
The School awards its first postgraduate diploma.

1943
Amendment to the charter authorizes the School to grant the bachelor of music degree.

1945
Janet D. Schenck, the School’s director, is assisted by Dr. Harold Bauer in conferring the degree of bachelor of music for the first time.

1947
Amendment to the charter authorizes the School to confer the master of music degree.

1954
School is expanded; library wing is added.

1956
Janet Schenck retires as director; she remains on the School’s board of trustees and becomes director emeritus and trustees’ representative to the administration.

Board of trustees appoint Metropolitan Opera baritone John Brownlee as the School’s new director. He serves as director/president until 1969.

School receives full membership to the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

1958
Two additional floors are added, which include a large and beautiful dining hall, a recital hall, studios, and additional practice rooms.

1963
May — The board of trustees announces an $8.5 million expansion program (later changed to $9.5 million) which includes the purchasing of the Juilliard building on Claremont Avenue.

1968
Children’s opera theater, under the guidance of Cynthia Auerbach, is established to present opera for children, sung by children.

1969
School president John Brownlee dies unexpectedly on January 10.

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

The School moves to 120 Claremont Avenue.

1970
John C. Borden Auditorium dedication concert is held on January 31 at the School’s new home on 120 Claremont.

1971
A group of alumni organize an effort to redeem the stone seal from the old building by contracting stone cutters working on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

1974
Amendment to the charter authorizes the granting of the doctor of musical arts degree.

1976
John Crosby becomes president, a position he holds until 1986.

1980
Josephine C. Whitford, dean of students, retires after 50 years of service.

1981
The Business of Music: Anatomy of a Career is offered in the spring. Taught by Richard E. Adams (Class of 1961), it is the first course of its kind.

1982
Jazz studies courses are offered for the first time.

1984
American String Quartet becomes quartet in residence.

Jazz/Commercial Music major in the Graduate Program is announced.

1986
Gideon W. Waldrop, composer, conductor, and former dean of The Juilliard School, becomes president (president until 1989).

1987
Jazz/commercial music department offers new bachelor’s degree program.

1989
Peter Simon, pianist and former director of academic studies at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, becomes president (president until 1991).

1991
Graduate Program in Orchestral Performance begins.

1995
Marta Casals Istomin, formerly artistic director of the Kennedy Center, becomes president (president until 2005).

First American Musical Theater Ensemble production, Love Songs and Alka Selzer, is performed.

1996
Videoconferencing begins at Manhattan School of Music on November 1 — esteemed French composer Henri Dutilleux is broadcast live from Paris into Borden Auditorium at a concert which features the New York premiere of his composition, Timbres, espace, mouvement.

1999
July 5 — The Manhattan School of Music Summer Music Camp opens exclusively for public school students in grades 5 through 8 from the five boroughs.

2001
The G. Chris and SungEun Andersen Hall is completed and opened in the fall, housing over 350 students. This wonderful new facility provides  students with an increased sense of community as well as much-needed practice rooms, doubling the practice space previously available for our students. There are also plans for a new library and two new performance spaces.

2002
Hubbard Recital Hall is given major renovations over the summer and renamed Gordon K. and Harriet Greenfield Recital Hall.

2003
A new degree offering in the doctoral program is announced for the fall: the jazz department will offer a DMA in Jazz Arts Advancement. This degree is unique in its shared emphasis on composition, performance, and pedagogy.

2004
Work is completed on the Peter Jay Sharp Library in the new building, and doors open for use in the fall.

2005
The Preparatory Division is renamed the Precollege Division.

Robert Sirota is appointed the School’s eighth president, effective October 2005.

2007
Construction of a president’s residence and two state-of-the-art performance spaces is completed in the spring. The new spaces include: the Peter Jay Sharp President’s Residence located atop the 19-story G. Chris and SungEun Andersen Hall; the William R. and Irene D. Miller Recital Hall; and the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Performance Space.

Manhattan School of Music inaugurates graduate degree program in Contemporary Performance, the first of its kind.

A dual-degree program in music education is begun. Graduates will earn a master’s degree in performance, a master’s degree in education (from Teacher’s College at Columbia University), and 1-12 certification to teach n the New York City public school system.

2010
A Center for Music Entrepreneurship is launched, continuing and expanding the offerings of the previous Office of Career Development.

2013
Dr. James Gandre is appointed the School’s ninth president. An educator and musician with a deep commitment to students and the development of American conservatory learning, Dr. Gandre assumes the presidency on May 6.

2015
A new degree program in Musical Theatre is announced.

2017
The Centennial Project is announced, revitalizing the heart of the campus.