This information is arranged by year and includes MSM historical and other highlights of New York City’s music history.
Composer Nicolas Flagello (BM ’49 /
MM ’50) joins faculty.
Raymond LeMieux joins the faculty and begins a graduate program in music education.
Raphael Bronstein joins the violin faculty where he teaches until his death in 1988.
The opera department is formed, headed by Fredrich Schorr (pictured at piano).
Maxwell Roach (pictured) begins work toward a Bachelor’s degree.
Jazz pianist Dick Katz (BM ’50) remembers: “The first vivid memory I have of MSM is taking the entrance audition with Mrs. Schenck in her office: I dutifully proceeded to play the required Bach Invention, and had begun a Mozart sonata when she said, ‘Very nice, but I see here on your application that your main interest is Jazz. Play me something.’ I played a little of Gershwin’s ‘The Man I Love’ and she said, ‘You’ll do just fine.’ ”
Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:
Robert Goldsand joins the piano faculty, where he teaches until his death in 1991.
Class of 1952 (photo courtesy of Blanche Heisler Blitstein ’52).
Jonel Perlea, a conductor at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, is appointed to the faculty. A reception is shortly after he joins, where trumpet student Joseph Wilder, representing the members of the School’s orchestra, presents the maestro with a silver cigarette case in gratitude.
October — A WNYC broadcast introduces the newly formed Manhattan Trio: Ernest Ulmer, piano; David Wells, cello; and Oliver Colbentsen, violin. They perform Mozart’s Trio in E Major.
Joe Wilder (pictured on trumpet) completes his Bachelor of Music degree. Mr. Wilder writes: “I still count among the highlights of my career, playing principal trumpet with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony under the direction of Jonel Perlea.”
Ezio Flagello graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in voice (shown here, right, with John Brownlee). He will go on to sing some 528 performances with the Metropolitan Opera.
Metropolitan Opera baritone John Brownlee
(shown here as Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama
Butterfly) joins the voice faculty and heads
the opera department.
The Harpies, an opera by Marc Blitzstein, is given its belated world premiere on May 25, in a triple bill with Haydn’s Songster and Martinu’s Comedy on the Bridge.
School is expanded; library wing is added.
The School has 650 students representing 30 foreign countries and 36 U.S. states.
February — A broadcast on WNYC features a performance of Nicolas Flagello’s The Land, with basso Ezio Flagello ’53 as soloist. A new piano sonata by Ludmila Ulehla ’48 is given its World Premiere by pianist Leander Dell’Anno. Ms. Ulehla is interviewed during intermission.
Love Triumphant (L’Italiana in Londra) by Domenico Cimarosa is given its American Premiere by the Opera Department.
September — 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.
A Triple-Bill of operas is presented by the Opera Theater in May: Rita by Gaetano Donizetti is given its American Premiere (pictured); The Ruby by Norman Dello Joio is given its New York Premiere; and The Fatal Oath by Boris Koutzen is given its World Premiere.
Paul Price joins the faculty and teaches percussion until his death in 1986. He also establishes a Percussion Ensemble, one of the first of its kind at a major music school. Read a comprehensive history of the MSM Percussion Ensemble here.
First time School makes a widespread drive for funds; slogan is “Help us to raise the roof,” as new floors are to be added, one with a new dining room, the other to have a recital hall.
Under the baton of Jonel Perlea, the 86-piece Manhattan Orchestra gives the New York and radio premiere of Vittorio Gianinni’s Symphony No. 2 on American Festival Series, broadcast on WNYC.
Two additional floors are added, which include a large and beautiful dining hall, a recital hall, studios, and additional practice rooms.
Student body numbers 831 students.
Pablo Casals (pictured here with John Brownlee at MSM) returns to the School to teach a master class.
The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet is presented by the Opera Department (May). A double-bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci is presented by the Opera Workshop (December).
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