This information is arranged by year and includes MSM historical and other highlights of New York City’s music history.
May — Jazz legend Max Roach (Undergraduate ’52) is given an honorary doctorate at Commencement.
December — The John Brownlee Opera Theatre presents the American Premiere of Cornet Christoph Rilke’s Song of Love and Death by Siegfried Matthus. John Rockwell of the New York Times wrote: “Manhattan School has done the opera proud. The musical performance, sung in Bernard Jacobson’s sure translation, was fully professional.”
Other Highlights of New York City Musical History:
Graduate Program in Orchestral Performance begins, the first of it kind in North America. It offers intensive study with members of the New York Philharmonic and other prominent area ensembles. Founding members include: Glenn Dicterow (pictured), Joseph Robinson, and Frank Morelli (BM ’73).
Summer — Manhattan School of Music founds Professional Musical Theater Workshop, Paul Gemignani, Director.
November — Soprano Birgit Nilsson is honored with a gala concert celebrating her years of master classes at the School. Guest performers include Sherrill Milnes and several luminary alumni. George Manahan (Class of 1976) leads the School’s Symphony.
Marta Casals Istomin, formerly artistic director of the Kennedy Center, becomes president (president until 2005).
Under the guidance of Carolyn Marlow, the first American Musical Theater Ensemble production, Love Songs and Alka Selzer, is performed.
Composer John Corigliano (Class of 1963) receives an honorary doctorate.
Alumna Dawn Upshaw (MM ’84) gives a master class (pictured her with mezzo-soprano Patricia Cay) in Borden Auditorium on November 4.
The School celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The School has 875 students, having admitted 39% of 1,725 applicants. The preparatory division has 470 students.
A special performance program is inaugurated in the fall with Pinchas Zukerman (pictured here in an MSM master class), offering an intensive two-year course of study for exceptionally gifted violinists and violists.
Jazz Orchestra features guest artists Wynton Marsalis, Priscilla Baskerville (Class of 1974), and Jon Hendricks, in a performance of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert.
May 16 — The culminating event of the seventy-fifth-anniversary season features Kurt Masur conducting the Manhattan School of Music Symphony in a gala concert. The concert includes the world premiere of Manhattan Concerto by noted German composer Siegfried Matthus, commissioned by the School for its anniversary. After intermission, the School confers an honorary doctorate upon Maestro Masur.
The Augustine Guitar Series moves to Manhattan School of Music and presents recitals by David Russell, Eduardo Fernandez, and Julian Bream in its first year.
New York Wind Soloists (later renamed Windscape) becomes an ensemble in residence.
December — The Opera Theatre presents Miss Julie by Ned Rorem. A live, premiere recording is later released (Newport Classics label).
Wynton Marsalis (pictured with President Marta Istomin and Dean Richard E. Adams ’61) is awarded an honorary doctorate.
Students travel to Washington, D.C., to perform with soloist David Sanborn at the White House for President and Mrs. Clinton.
Jazz drummer Elvin Jones gives a master class in Borden Auditorium.
The legacy left by Raphael Bronstein (violin faculty from 1950–1988) is celebrated in John C. Borden Auditorium on February 11 by alumni, faculty, friends, and colleagues. The gala concert, organized by the Alumni Affairs office, establishes an award given each year at commencement.
Jazz pianist and composer John Lewis (Class of 1953) is given an honorary doctorate.
A Gala Benefit Concert is held on October 4. Guest artists include Pinchas Zukerman, Lauren Flanigan (Class of 1984), and John Lewis (Class of 1953).
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. A live international question and answer session allows students and audience members to ask Maestro Dutilleux about his music, life, and compositional process.
May 18 — A second transatlantic videoconference enables the School to bestow concurrent honorary doctoral degrees on Mstislav Rostropovich (who is in France) and Clark Terry (who is in New York City). President Istomin confers the honors upon both musicians and gives her annual commencement greeting from France.
Four recordings of the School’s opera productions are released on CD: Rorem’s Miss Julie, Donizetti’s Il campanello di notte, Britten’s Albert Herring, and Daniel Catán’s Rappaccini’s Daughter.
Summer — Jazz Orchestra embarks on a European tour to the Netherlands, Italy, and Switzerland.
A memorial concert is held in November honoring Lillian Fuchs (who joined the faculty in 1962), organized by the Alumni Affairs office. It inaugurates an annual chamber music concert series in her name.
March — A performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is given at The Riverside Church. A CD (on Titanic) and later a DVD (on VAI) are released. The American Record Guide proclaims: “… the performance is great and can stand proudly with the best of its rivals in the recorded catalog.”
A benefit concert for MSM’s scholarship fund is held. Featured performers (pictured) are accomanpied by faculty member Warren Jones and include current students, as well as bass James Morris, mezzo and alumna Susan Quittmeyer (Class of 1978), mezzo Marilyn Horne, and soprano Ruth Ann Swenson.
Alumnus Ron Carter
Commencement: Ludmila Ulehla (Class of 1947) receives the first Presidential Award for Distinguished Service for her 50 years of teaching excellence. Soprano Dawn Upshaw (Class of 1985) and jazz bassist Ron Carter (Class of 1961), given honorary doctorates. Mr. Carter is pictured here outside Borden Auditorium.
President Marta Casals Istomin is Grand Marshall of the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade held on June 14 on Fifth Avenue in New York City. She is pictured here, front row / fourth from the right, next to Tito Puente and with other dignitaries.
A daylong, interdisciplinary symposium on Dmitri Shostakovich is held in September in conjunction with the Harriman Institute of Columbia University. Yuri Temirkanov leads a reading of Shostakovish’s 10th symphony with student orchestral musicians.
Six principal musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra lead sectional rehearsals of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the School’s Symphony. A full orchestra rehearsal of the work, conducted by Graziella Contratto, follows.
Dianne Danese-Flagello (Class of 1952), director of the preparatory division for 25 years, receives an honorary doctorate.
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, created in association with the NYC Dept. of Education and the ASCAP Foundation. (Campers are pictured here with visiting artists, the recording duo Ashford and Simpson.)
Second annual interdisciplinary symposium on significant composers is held on October 12 to examine the music of Johannes Brahms. Kurt Masur (pictured), music director of the New York Philharmonic, leads the Manhattan School of Music Symphony in a reading of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1.
Justin DiCioccio (Class of 1971) is appointed chair of the Jazz Department.
December — The Opera Theatre presents A Death in the Family by William Mayer. A live, premiere recording is later released (Albany label).
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