This information is arranged by year and includes MSM historical and other highlights of New York City’s music history.
John C. Borden Auditorium dedication concert is held on January 31. Pictured here, waiting for the concert to begin are (from left to right) composer David Diamond, conductor and MSM President George Schick, composer and President of The Juilliard School Peter Mennin, and composer Aaron Copland.
May – The newly-named John Brownlee Opera Theater presents a production of L’Amico Fritz by Pietro Mascagni. Catherine Malfitano (pictured), a junior undergraduate voice student, sings the female lead, Suzel. The New York Times writes: “[Miss Malfitano has] a warm vocal quality and even, considering the present state of her training, a good deal of command… she sounded a bit like the young Albanese.” The Daily News calls it an “impressive debut.”
Classes are suspended as the MSM community grapples with the aftermath of the Kent State shootings that occurred on May 4. Vincent Belford (BM ’69 / MM ’70) writes: “The gatherings of students, faculty and administrators were convened to find a way to mount a peaceful protest through music. The results were a school wide strike as part of the national student peace strike and a full-scale memorial concert…”
October 14 — The School sponsors “Salute to Jack Benny” at the Waldorf-Astoria. Dick Cavett is master of ceremonies for a program which features members of the School’s Orchestra conducted by Anton Coppola.
Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:
The world premiere of Michelangelo — a tone poem for orchestra composed by MSM alumna and faculty member Ludmila Ulehla (b. 1923 – d. 2009) — was given by the Manhattan Orchestra under the baton of Alvaro Cassuto on February 18, 1971. (Ms. Ulehla is pictured above with Mr. Cassuto.)
In February, a concert is given by the first official jazz ensemble at the School, the Manhattan Stage Band, later called the Manhattan Concert Jazz Band. John Carisi conducts.
A group of alumni organize an effort to reclaim the stone seal from the old building (pictured) by contracting stone cutters working on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. (The seal goes into storage until it is installed in the current building main lobby in 2004.)
On United Nations Day 1971 (October 24), MSM President George Schick presented a citation, in honor of the establishment of the MSM Pablo Casals Award, to Casals at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. The following day, Maestro Casals conducted a special televised concert at the U.N. (pictured), that included MSM students in the chorus and orchestra.
Dorothy Maynor, soprano and head of the Harlem School of the Arts, gives the commencement address at the June exercises.
Margaret Hoswell joins the voice faculty where she teaches until her death in 1987.
Allen Hughes wrote in his 1972 New York Times review (pictured): “Is it possible, in a few words, to explain why the John Brownlee Opera Theatre production of Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ at the Manhattan School of Music Saturday night was the most completely satisfying this reviewer has ever experienced here or abroad?”
An interesting double-bill is presented in February, when Mavra by Igor Stavinsky is paired with Puccini’s Suor Angelica (both sung in English).
Virgil Thomson, seated, with MSM faculty member Dora Zaslavsky Koch.
Composer Virgil Thomson visits the School in May for a series of lectures, where he speaks about the operatic “form,” setting music to poetry, and how one goes about critiquing music.
Amendment to the charter authorizes the granting of the doctor of musical arts degree.
In June of 1974, the late Arturo Toscanini’s daughter, Wanda Horowitz, presents Manhattan School of Music with a death mask sculpture of her father by Italian artist Morobito. At the event to honor the Maestro, were Licia Albanese, Robert Merrill, and Rose Bampton (a member of MSM’s voice faculty).
A May 19 benefit remembers the late MSM President John Brownlee. Among the tributes are Licia Albanese, Antal Dorati, Herta Glaz, George London, Rose Bampton, Eve Queler, Regina Resnik, Francis Robinson, Bidu Sayão , Eleanor Steber, and Risë Stevens. Students performed Act II of the Marriage of Figaro. Gabor Carelli was MC.
An alumni event is held celebrating violin faculty member Raphael Bronstein and featuring his student Elmar Oliveira, the first and only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Competition.
Dianne Danese Flagello (Class of 1952) is chosen to succeed Mary Lenom as Director of the Preparatory Division. She retires in 1999.
The Opera Theatre mounts a production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene (pictured are Judy Blazer as Rose and Michael Philip Davis as Sam). Anton Coppola conducts, James Lucas directs. Lotte Lenya, the late Weill’s wife, attends opening night. Michael Philip Davis (MM 1976) writes: “Portraying Sam Kaplan in the 1976 production of Street Scene was my most memorable and important experience at MSM. It was a role with which I strongly identified. Moreover, the unforgettable production afforded me the guidance of conductor Maestro Anton Coppola, stage director James Lucas, and technical director M. M. Streicher — memories I carry with me to this day.”
Janet Schenck, founder, former director, and member of the Board of Trustees, dies at age 93.
John Crosby becomes president, a position he holds until 1986.
Pianist and former MSM faculty member Abbey Simon gives a master class in October (pictured in top photo with MSM faculty member Constance Keene).
Master classes are given by Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Gina Bachauer, Arthur Rubinstein, Abby Simon, Dame Eva Turner, Vladimar Spivakov, and Bidu Sayao.
Soprano Johanna Meier (BM 1960) gives a concert at Alice Tully Hall to benefit the MSM Alumni Association.
A Jazz Workshop is held in January featuring pianist Dick Hyman, bassist Milt Hinton, and percussionist Bob Rosengarten.
John Crosby conducts his first opera at Manhattan School of Music: Nino Rota’s Italian Straw Hat.
Auditions are held at MSM for the film musical Fame. On-screen parts go to Prep students Anne-Marie McDermott, Maureen McDermott, and Kerry McDermott, as well as alumnus Jonathan Strasser ’70.
March — John Brownlee Opera Theatre gives the New York Premiere of Hindemith’s News of the Day. The New York Times wrote: “… a production and performance that deserved nothing but praise …”
Jazz pianist Marian McPartland appears in concert with the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Band.
Master classes are given by Arnold Steinhardt, John Mack, Raymond Lewenthal, Ezio Flagello (Class of 1953), Nico Castel, Jon Vickers, and Magda Tagliaferro.
Josephine Whitford is given the School’s first-ever honorary doctorate for her almost 50 years of service to the School.
Composer Ezra Laderman is the commencement speaker at the May graduation ceremony.
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